Golden Eagle: Medicine For Ramblers.
Several days ago, I embarked on a mini road trip in an attempt to clear my head.
Work, my business, personal studies, writing, juggling friendships, family health, and men, were all becoming overwhelmingly heavy to me. I was losing clarity in my vision for my life and career. I was feeling antsy and uncomfortable in my own skin.
When this sensation reveals her uncomfortable self, I turn to my go-to medicine: travel. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, but movement, a change of scenery, some adventure, and unpredictable interactions, are what I consider travel. I had a shot of whiskey, and decided it was time for me to shift my energy.
On a whim, I decided to check out an area of Colorado that many special people have told me to explore. The destination town was only two hours from where I’m currently living, so within a moment I decided that a drive to this town was what I needed.
I had no idea where I’d be staying or what I’d be doing… I had no idea of even the environment I’d be driving through to get there. I didn’t care. In fact, the not-knowing makes the medicine of travel even more potent. I told my best friend and current cabin-mate my plan, and she decided to change her weekend plans and join me.
I usually travel alone for the best medicine, but she and I have been going through a process of professional and personal self-discovery, offering thoughts and intuitions to one another on a regular basis. We keep powerful company for one another, and I knew her joining would enhance this trip.
We packed our bags and hit the road. The sun was a blazing glory, the music was our standard Moondog Matinee — a Reno band worth checking out. The river canyon, as we left our town toward Mesa Reservoir, was frozen and breathtaking.
There were people ice-fishing on the lake, and they looked to me to not have a care in the world. As we continued driving, I felt myself settling back into my own body. The wind beating against my jeep as we drove settled into a rhythm that calmed my mind. It is my own, unique form of meditation.
The jarring rocks of the canyon we were driving through just became more breathtaking and pristine. Eventually, we came upon a truck and had to slow down until we hit a point where we could pass.
I was just sort of gazing into the road, thinking of my life and how grateful I was for that very moment, when a bird flew out and away from my jeep. As I watched the bird take flight, I realized that it was literally the largest bird I’d ever seen. It was a golden eagle. The bird seemed nearly as large as my car.
The power in watching this beautiful animal fly was beyond description. Throughout my time in medical school, I worked with many different shamanic healers, and they always emphasized the power and medicine of an animal who reveals itself to you. I knew that the golden eagle held medicine and insight for my current questions.
For the rest of the drive, I felt the vision of that bird settle into my body, not yet ready to tell me why he appeared. The constant of the road helped me accept his presence internally. Without question, though, my friend and I had been blessed for our journey.
We continued on the drive that led us through a gorgeous high mountain desert. The temperature hit nearly 50 degrees, and we were surrounded by sage; it was -10 degrees where I’d woken up that morning.
Neither of us had any idea we’d be driving through the desert. The desert holds a special power inside of both of us, and it’s also in the desert where our friendship began. This trip was packin’ a punch that I was ready to receive.
Near our destination we found some hot springs to sweat out the previous night’s adventure. The hot springs were situated comfortably in a desert canyon, and guns could be heard firing in the background.
As I sat in the warm water, sharing conversation and silence with others, I was feeling more and more welcomed into the state of Colorado. I was feeling at home for the first time since my move from Seattle.
I was feeling relaxed in a way that I forgot I could feel; it’d been since before medical school began that I recalled feeling this much ease. The dry, clean air, hot spring water, company, and day’s events, were reminding me of something inside of myself that I wasn’t questioning for a change. I could breathe.
After three hours of soak time, we continued on down the road. The short drive into the town of Ouray, our final destination, pulled us into some high desert mountains. We were relaxed, dehydrated, and ready to eat.
My roommate was told to look up a friend’s connection when we were there, so after dinner we headed to meet the owner of the local ale house. Intoxicated by the historic buildings of the town and few people we’d interacted with, we strolled in to the ale house.
The owner, Hutch, was just saying goodbye to a friend and welcomed us in. My friend introduced us, and I found myself slipping away to the heat of the fire, taking in the strong smell of cedar. I found my comfort in the shadows as they established how they knew one another.
Lost in my own head, I studied this man’s business, his life. It was unique, it wasn’t new, it wasn’t pretty… but it was beautiful. It was his heart. It was obvious that he’d pursued his vision for his life. He represented a unique success to me, and I was ready to soak up his words of wisdom.
Hutch poured me an apple cider and the three of us talked for hours around the fire. I sat on a tree stump, and felt warmed from the depths of my insides. We talked about life, following your dreams, his establishment, and love. Hutch was someone I was meant to meet, as an elder in the journey of choosing your own way.
He was quickly becoming my friend. Our communion continued deep into the night until we were tired and sleepy from the fire, when my friend and I sauntered down the road to bed. I was elated at the events of the day, satisfied that the opening I had asked the Universe for was becoming clear and still integrating within me.
I was full of gratitude.
More visions, insights, and experiences came from this trip, but suffice it to say that the medicine I’d asked the Universe for was delivered in a gentle and powerful way.
According to Native American folklore, a golden eagle flies in from the winds of the east, delivering vision, rebirth, and creative, emotional, and physical power in times of significant transition.
My personal take on his medicine for me is still integrating, manifesting and growing inside of me, and I don’t want to risk limiting his power by putting it into words just yet.
My life is in the strongest transitional phase I’ve ever experienced, and having to learn to access my own power in the midst of it, while choosing to go against the grain for my livelihood and career, is proving to be an oscillation between challenge and immense fulfillment.
The road showed me that the reassurance I need along this path can only come from me, with the little pieces of magic along the way being the boosts for solidity and power, and it’s up to me to allow those boosts to come affect me.
My intuition knows what I really need for myself in this journey, and a shot of whiskey, the road, and the right company serves as my very own form of medicine at the pit stops along the way.
Jacqueline Thomas is a board-certified & licensed Naturopathic Doctor by profession, and a writer by nature. She is currently committed to helping her younger brother in a battle against late-stage cancer. Life lands Jacqueline farther from her expectations every single day she wakes up, and the fear of this unknown continues to slip away as she realizes that everything she needs is in the love shared with those closest to her. Knowing her passions, cultivating, and releasing them back into the world is her life’s work and she couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with others.