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The Layers

Grand Canyon Series -


I had been here before. I had taken in all the beauty from this enormous, one-mile-deep hole in the ground. I had marveled at the colorful layers of rocks that reveal millions of years of geologic history; bands of oranges, tans, browns, golds, greens, and yellows that light up in the sun and look ominous under the clouds.


The Grand Canyon. In all its glory.


I had witnessed what the Grand Canyon has to offer before – from the rim trail. This time would be different.


Over 5.9 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. But only 1% of those visitors hike to the bottom of the canyon. In June 2021 I became one of the 1%. Pretty elite, huh? It’s quite an experience and one I’m still reflecting on. A journey inside of an adventure.


It all began months before I arrived. I was part of a group of 10 experiencing a “healing journey” with Sara Schulting-Kranz and Live Boldly Coaching. I had always wanted to hike to the bottom of the canyon, but it wasn’t something my husband wanted to do. So, I set out to find a way. When I realized Sara led these 5-day retreats AND Sara was born and raised right here in my hometown – little ol’ Black Earth, Wisconsin – it was a done deal.


In preparation for the hike, Sara hosted pre-hike Zoom meetings where we set our intentions for the trip. After nearly three years of running my own business, I was searching for what was next and planned to design my vision. I was not on a healing journey. I was going to hike, not heal! Laugh out loud! Yup, resilient Nancy.


However, with each pre-hike Zoom meeting, I began to feel what I call “emotional tugs.” Something gnawing at my insides, telling me to let go and go deeper. But I was scared, unsure, and didn’t understand. I was uncomfortable in a way I had never felt before.


I began to realize the truth. I did need to heal. But, from what? I have not experienced any type of deep trauma in my life. I’ve been blessed in so many ways. So, what was it? Of course, there was the obvious – a pandemic! This shook each of us at the core. A once in a lifetime experience (at least I hope!) that we are living through. Not to mention, my mother had passed away in October 2020 and she was my second parental loss. A finality that struck me deeper than I wanted to admit.


As we continued our pre-hike Zoom meetings, I began to understand what was happening to me. We all need to heal. In fact, most of us will experience some form of depression, loneliness, or anxiety in our lives. Did you know that one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And about seven or eight out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives with eight million adults experiencing PTSD during a given year, according to the National Center for PTSD.


We have all lived through setbacks and some form of trauma. When we compare our own life experiences to others, we create our own internal narrative. My narrative was not one of despair, but rather one of fortune. “I am lucky.” What I learned was my internal narrative was protecting me from feeling my deepest emotions. This trip to the Grand Canyon would be my healing journey. I was ready to peel back the layers…. Watch for my next blog to follow my healing journey.


Note: As part of my healing– I have become an ambassador for Sara Schulting-Kranz’s The Live Boldly Movement. I host a free Walk Through This book club (you buy the book and join in on Zoom). When you are ready to peel back the layers contact me to begin: Nancy@KalsowCoach.com