The Shaman’s Cave

The Shaman's Cave or Robber's Roost, you decide.

The Shaman’s Cave or Robber’s Roost, you decide.

I was hiking recently in Sedona, AZ, and had the rare privilege of making it up to the Shaman’s Cave. Many native Americans, spiritual leaders and mystics make it a point to visit this cave for inspiration.

Before it came to be called the Shaman’s cave it was known as Robber’s Roost. Which name fits best would depend on your perspective and your intent.

When it comes to self-assessment this begs the question – Are we what we are, what we say we are or what we want to become? Again, which best fits your view of self depends on your perspective and your intent.

No one gets to the Shaman’s Cave easily. The trail head is at the end of many poorly marked dirt roads outside of Sedona. It doesn’t show up on the usual maps. The last quarter mile of road was more like an obstacle course of jutting, oil pan puncturing stones and axle snapping pot holes. A high clearance vehicle with heavy duty shocks is an absolute requirement.

The trail head itself was unmarked, the Park Service’s way of discouraging visitors in order to preserve the site. After a one mile hike, the last 100 feet to the cave entrance can best be described as perilously precarious, with a sharply sloping drop-off to one side. Still, I made it there and back without incident.

When I left for the cave that morning I was unsure of the exact location or of the validity of my directions. It took some guess work, persistence and a few track backs to get there. I had no idea how difficult it would be when I struck out. But, I made it.

Looking out of the Shaman's Cave toward the valley below.

Looking out of the Shaman’s Cave toward the valley below.

My rewards were a great view of the box canyon and mountains beyond the entrance of the cave and the special, mystical appearance of the cave itself.

Although my path to the cave was unclear when I started out that morning, I knew I would be standing inside the cave before the day was over. That was my intent. By simply making the decision to go, I had all but guaranteed my eventual arrival.

Sure, something could have prevented me from making it to the cave at many points along the way. But, there is no denying that I would have never made it to Shaman’s Cave without a desire to go, some sort of plan to get there, and without simply starting.

I believe we are not  just representing who we are at any given moment in time but rather an amalgam too of who we think we are and who we want to become. It is the summed difference of these that becomes who we are.

When I began the journey out to the cave that morning, I became Clark Gaither standing in Shaman’s Cave. It didn’t matter I hadn’t arrived there yet. Such was my perspective, such was my intent. How else could I have done it?

How do we get to where we want to be? We get there first in our hearts, then in our heads and arrive at last with our feet. Each individual decides.

If you are nose deep in fully engaged living with passion and purpose (think Shaman’s Cave) then you have arrived there with intention. There is no other way to get there.

If on the other hand you find you are burned out (think Robber’s Roost) then the only way you will stay there is with intention.

Who you are. Who you say you are. Who you wan to be. How does this all add up for you? What are your intentions?

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2 thoughts on “The Shaman’s Cave

  1. Dr. Burnout, greetings and salutations! I am yawning. To respond, I am. I will when I make up my mind to, or at least get started with that first step. Why is that initial step so hard to take sometimes? For me the second, third, and forth step just naturally follow – like being on auto pilot. I take off, and the rest sort of follows naturally- one step at a time. It gets easier and easier. Each steps brings me closer to my path of achievement, makes me stronger, and helps me gain momentum. I take in the moments, enjoy the process, and shoot for that natural high that success brings. I take my inner self to fine tune my whole being. It’s a tune to be played – a tune to be sung- a tune to celebrate being me. If I am not what I think, I can become what I am in my head. It works both ways. I am if I think I am? Hmm. I become as I evolve. All my life I have flown in my dreams. I do fly in real life. I flap, but am careful not to flop. I glide and enjoy the updraft and the joy of the experience itself. The moment- each breath and moment leading to another. I am looking forward to hearing more of your philosophy, your inner being, your thoughts, and adventures. I have not climbed the heights that you have or trekked the distances that you have, Clark. Are you enjoying your adventures as much as you seem to? The pictures are delightful. What do you do as you tire? What do you tell yourself

  2. I am looking over your Shaman’s Cave again. I will read again at a later time and post closer to the point . Really love this whole post, Dr. BURNOUT. I am burning out now. It is 1:51 AM and I have spent the whole day with my dad in Havelock, NC. He is a full time job. I am lucky to still have him. Much of the time, he doesn’t make sense to himself.