Many of you know that Tom and I recently moved from the ranch where I had lived for the last 18 years and where Tom and I had lived together for the last 10. Anyone who has ever been to Twin Creeks Ranch will tell you that it is a very, very special place.
I had admired the ranch for years before it became available. Once it did, I called the realtor so many times on the first weekend that I’m positive he thought I was a looney tune. It was already 25 years old when I bought it and was in serious need of a major remodel. When I took my young family to see it, all they saw was a grossly outdated home, unkept land filled with nasty tumbleweeds, and a non-functioning pool. All I could see was a vision of what it could be from the moment I stepped through the front door. Fourteen months and too much money later… I had created a place that was a true expression of me. Expansive views from every room, acres of farmable country land, historical significance as a stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach line, warm earthy colors, welcoming openness, custom details, and cozy sitting areas galore. Equally important to me (a gal who lives to hike) were miles of canyon trails into the BLM and Cleveland National Forest land directly behind the house. For me, it was paradise and uniquely suited to me.
Over the 18 years that I hiked that trail, I dropped 40 pounds of weight, worked out truckloads of problems, created countless ideas for my business, wrote my best speeches, gained courage for my life’s most courageous conversations, welcomed the seasons of nature and of my life, shed tears of gratitude for my many blessings, had my first “date” (a hike) with my Tom, deepened my relationship with my Creator, found my authentic self and stepped into my true power as a grown woman. A very special place indeed.
Yesterday, I went back to say goodbye. I knew I would have to do it. I would have to walk up one more time to the special spot at the top of one of the peaks on the trail that I lovingly referred to as “Church.” Every single time I went to that specific spot, I felt a deep connection with my source that is still hard to put into words. On that spot, divinity was no longer “out there” but instead it was viscerally alive, palpable to my touch, and completely present for me in technicolor. Church felt like an opening in my universe, a portal with direct access to wisdom, grace, and unjudging love. In that spot I developed a ritual where I could see, feel, and hear my mother, grandparents, and other loved ones as well as powerful people in history and faith. I would hold up my hands to the heavens, and I would feel them literally flow right through me… laughing and delighting all the way. They were all there. Loving me. Guiding me. Forgiving me. Urging me forward to go and live my life to the fullest and passionately return to the work I was called to do.
So how could I imagine saying goodbye? I literally had dreams about not having access to Church anymore. I worried that I would not be able to find a space for that same communion to happen for me again at our new place.
After several attempts to postpone or delay the event, Tom finally said that today was the day. We drove back out to the ranch, piled into the Ranger equipped with a bottle of our favorite red wine and set out in the late afternoon. Along with us we took the remaining bag of my mother’s ashes along with those of the three dogs who shared the ranch with us over the years: Jessie, Roxie, and Shiloh, all of whom loved the ranch and with whom we shared volumes of incredible ranch memories.
It was windy, and their ashes were lifted in the breeze and carried out across the wide expanse of the canyon to rest forever there. I knew each one of them were not in the ashes, but in the place. As the sun set and I struggled to find the right way to say my farewells, I decided to just “be” for a few minutes. As was always the case, it allowed the time and the opening for me to hear the perfect message. I share it with you just as I received it:
You silly, silly girl. This is not at all a goodbye. You believe that you leave us here on this spot when you walk away, but you never have. We walk with you always and are accessible to you whenever you take a moment to connect. It was you who came to the spot to be quiet, to listen, to ask, and to receive and so you associate us with this place, but it was you who came here to see us… not us who reside here waiting for you come.
Tears of understanding, growth, and appreciation streamed down my face, and I exhaled a huge sigh of relief and smiled the smile of deep gratitude for how the ranch and the land has served and loved me during this season of my life. I stood in the knowing that it was still teaching me valuable lessons to the bitter end, most importantly the lesson that I take all the growth, expanding understanding, and precious memories with me in my heart and soul.
Thank you, Twin Creek Ranch. Thank you for giving me Church. Thank you for giving me Tom. Thank you for giving me a quiet refuge to come home to in all those years of travel. Thank you for filling my life with so many sweet memories with my children, family, friends, and colleagues. Thank you for showing me what I have the capacity to create for myself anywhere, anytime. Thank you for showing me that a place is just a place and only love, intention, and connection can turn it into something that we call home.