Sedona’s Beloved Intuitive Shares Tips for Tapping into Your Spiritual Side

Banya Lim, Spiritual Intuitive, Manager of Sedona Healing Arts

Banya Lim, Spiritual Intuitive, Manager of Sedona Healing Arts

Spiritual Intuitive Banya Lim has been practicing energy healing in Sedona for over 13 years. Her company, Sedona Healing Arts, sits among magnificent red rocks on the way to Uptown Sedona and offers visitors from around the world personal guidance for experiencing the powerful healing energy of Sedona that Ilchi Lee speaks of in The Call of Sedona.

In this article, Banya Lim offers several tips for tapping into your spiritual side.

1. “Before anything else, know that you are a spiritual being!”
Banya points out that realizing that this not something that is taught in schools. “We have not been taught to get in touch with our spiritual side and enhance that aspect of ourselves. The truth is that we are spiritual beings in this physical world.” Understanding that you are a ‘spiritual being’ must come first.

2. Train to sense and feel energy.
With this basic understanding of our spirituality, understanding the energy that flows through all living things becomes easier. Banya comments, “Being able to sense and to feel energy is something that can be learned through training. The word ‘training’ has many connotations, but it is important to realize that all of the sages through history have practiced some form of training to harness the energy we are speaking about.

3. Practice enhancing and expanding energy.
I personally practice Tao to not only feel the energy, but to enhance and expand the energy as well. Through training exercises and meditation, we begin to feel the energy.” She adds, “Energy is the language of the soul. Just as spirit is ‘who we are.’ Even though we may not see it, we know that it exists. We practice to experience it, confirm its existence, and to expand the experience of it.”

4. Get guidance when you need it.
Banya also points out that it is helpful to have some guidance as you strive to be in greater touch with your spiritual aspect. That guidance can assist you in growing and expanding not only your spiritual awareness, but your consciousness as well. Sedona Healing Arts utilizes readings, healing and energy training and Sedona retreats in an individually personalized way to assist in this wonderful process of self-discovery.

To learn more, visit

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

Explore Sedona’s Best 5 Vortex Trails by ATV!

In his book, The Call of Sedona, Ilchi Lee describes the wonders of Sedona’s many vortex areas. Although he has explored these spectacular trails on foot, adventure lovers can now experience these amazing energy centers following a short ride on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle). The ATV can take you places you might not otherwise attain as you create a journey discovering the vortexes and energy of the land.

Sedona ATV Rental

But first, “What is a vortex?”

Vortex energy can be experienced strongly in Sedona, especially in certain areas. These areas are known for healing, calming, or energizing sensations which may be experienced when you visit. The staff at Vortex Healing ATV Rental, featured in this article, offers a free vortex energy orientation help visitors understand and feel vortex energy along with maps and helpful guides for meditation and energy self-healing.

Although there are many options to experience the energy of this land, here are 5 of the best vortex trails in the Sedona area which can be explored via ATV as well as on foot:

Schnebly Hill

Schnebly Hill: This lookout is one of my personal favorites. In fact, I once timed this just right and was able to see both the setting sun and the rising moon from our vantage point! The very rough dirt road ascends upward using one of the oldest original roads in Sedona and is great fun in an ATV.

Dry Creek Road

Dry Creek Road

Devil's Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

Dry Creek Road with hiking to Devil’s Bridge: If you’d like to combine a short ATV ride and some hiking, Dry Creek Road and Devil’s Bridge are a good choice.

Shaman's Cave

Shaman’s Cave: Ilchi Lee’s description of this beautiful vortex in The Call of Sedona is enough in itself to make you want to visit this amazing cave for quiet reflection and meditation. Shaman’s Cave is visited by Native Americans and spiritual teachers and leaders for inspiration.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Black Mountain

Black Mountain

Black Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain: A very exciting ride into the pristine countryside where you’ll enjoy unusual red rock formations and spectacular desert views as you change elevation.

Greasy Spoon

Greasy Spoon Trail: This trail offers a very bumpy, rugged drive as you traverse rocks and enjoy scenic views on your way to a truly amazing view of Secret Mountain. This one becomes more slippery and difficult when wet.

And here are a few practical tips for your Sedona adventure: Remember to dress appropriately, including hiking shoes, hats, sunglasses and layers of clothing that can be added or removed. Take along plenty of water. Take your camera to capture your impressions and your experience along the way!

Most of all please treat the land with respect as you visit Sedona’s sites. Travel in designated recreational areas and avoid doing damage to local plants. Never ever carve or damage rock faces and please, take only photos and leave only footprints on marked hiking trails. Never throw a cigarette butt from your vehicle and pack a small bag to contain your trash as you drive and hike to protect wildlife and help keep Sedona beautiful!

For more information and help with planning your adventure, visit Sedona Vortex Healing ATV Rental.

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

Like Ilchi Lee, Retreat to Sedona to Find Yourself When You Are Feeling Lost

Ilchibuko Todd in Sedona AZ

Ilchibuko Todd has recently moved from the beautiful islands of Hawaii to Sedona to teach energy healing and to spread the message of love with more people. As the new director of the Sedona Meditation Center, Ilchibuko shares her thoughts on discovering new energy, direction, and vitality in Sedona.

LAT: Please share a bit about yourself, your passion and the work you do at the Sedona Meditation Center.
IT: I feel deeply connected to Sedona, especially since I experienced a big awakening at Sedona Mago Retreat. Since then, my main goal has been to share what I have experienced—a profound feeling of oneness with people and nature, and with the entire universe. I want others to experience that same awakening, so I do my best to bring that energy to them. My wish is that they will experience it themselves. That is my vision and my passion for every moment of my life!

LAT:Many people are drawn to Sedona Meditation center because they are seeking greater health and energy. How do you deliver these to them?
IT: An important part of my role here at Sedona Meditation Center is sharing important principles with members. The main principle I want them to realize is that they already have health existing inside of them and that their true self is already alive and well inside of them. What they have been looking for, what they want—all of that is already inside of them. Everything they seek is about their inner journey.

LAT: What tools or techniques are used to bring this message to the members of Sedona Meditation Center?
IT: I lead workshops, meet people individually, and guide them to meet their True Selves. Members, to me, are very, very precious, so for every single person who walks in here, I have the mindset that they are able to experience their True Selves. They might do that by going out to the trails around Sedona, or they might experience it in the classroom. Wherever they are, it is always the same for them—all they have is themselves. And they themselves are the only people who can make them change and grow. So, my job is to guide them to let them feel that for themselves.

LAT: Are people sometimes surprised to discover that what they’ve been searching for has always been inside, right there all along?
IT: Yes, definitely. Often they have been searching all their lives, so it can be a surprise. Some of them already have the mental knowledge that it exists inside, but they have never known how to access it. Other times, there are people who don’t necessarily feel the need of it. They might even feel like they already know, but in reality they have not truly experienced it. It’s all about awareness and consciousness and being open-minded about it in order to see the possibilities for oneself.

Even me, I have had many different awakenings, but I still don’t say I know everything. If I were to believe that, I can’t experience any more. The key for them is to remain open-minded so that, however awakened they might believe themselves to be, they can continue to deepen their awakening.

So, yes, it can be surprising that everything they want and need, everything they’ve been yearning for, already exists inside. Most people nowadays have some idea or knowledge that it exists. The problem is that they cannot believe it completely. Also, ideas and preconceptions about themselves can prevent them from really experiencing it. And that is what Brain Education, which we share at Sedona Meditation Center, is all about. It provides concrete steps toward the experience of meeting oneself. It helps people see potential that they didn’t see before.

LAT: Why is Sedona so important to you? What is it about Sedona that helps people on their inward journey?
IT: That’s a really good question, and it’s not easy to understand because it’s invisible. Anyone can see the beautiful red rocks and nature, but the power of Sedona is beyond that. It’s the sacred energy of it—something that’s indescribable, but that everybody can feel. With the special energy and the vibration Sedona provides, it’s easier here for people to open up and let go of all the business of life. Here they can more easily experience oneness with energy and with nature. Ultimately, you can do that anywhere, but because of the special nature of this place, it’s so much easier to do in Sedona.

LAT: Ilchibuko, how do you guide people who may be feeling lost on their search to find their True Self?
IT: It’s all about the internal journey, or, as we say, “being mindful.” But what does “being mindful” mean? It’s about being in the present moment. That sounds easy, but it can be very difficult during people’s busy daily lives, where they live every day according to busy work schedules and following the routines of life. When they come to Sedona, it’s easier to be in the present moment.

So how can people be in the present moment? It’s a matter of feeling one’s body, feeling one’s breath. In the center, people learn to utilize the five senses fully—smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing—through breath, and they take time to experience the energy of this place. Through their five senses, they can start connecting and feeling. Breath is an important aspect of that, too.

Also, slow walking is one of the types of meditations we do. Sometimes we take socks and shoes off because we have so many senses in our feet, and our feet are connected to our whole body. In particular, there is a special point in the foot, the Yong-chun in the middle area, that allows us to feel the energy of the Earth.

We also do slow moving meditation, called Dahnmu, or energy dance. And we do Qigong movement, too. Through these slow movements and connection to energy, we can gain awareness of our oneness with the energy of nature. As we do this, we can release old energy that we’ve been holding and receive new energy for healing and renewal. Release of emotions and reflection about the self then flows naturally from this.

In meditations, there are four key phrases for purification of the soul that we use: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” It may be easier to say one than to say others. Slowly, we can melt away all of the things we are holding on to. We can start the releasing and purification process. And that’s all about energy—receiving and releasing. That is the principle of Tao, and that’s what we teach.

LAT: So the journey of self-discovery is also about understanding of the way that energy flows—within ourselves and within all things.
IT: One thing that is unchanging is that everything is changing. So, if we try to hold on to something, we become blocked, and we become sick. Continuously letting that energy move is the only way to release old energy and old consciousness, and that is the only way to discover yourself.

LAT: In The Call of Sedona, Ilchi Lee writes about meditating in several special places around Sedona and about the feeling of oneness that arises through the energy of nature.
IT: We can also do meditations with the tree, the creek, the bright sun, the red rocks. There is so much that we can experience about ourselves through communication with nature. We can purify, and we can receive. We can discover some voice inside of us that continuously talks to us, a voice that was always there but we ignored. And it can start talking to us more. And we can hear that voice more. At that time, we can be touched by ourselves, and we can recover.

Whether in the classroom or outside with nature, how we guide people is the same. They can reconnect to the self they really are, and once awakened to that, it’s unchangeable. In other words, no one can “un-awaken.”

So people come here, and they change. As their awakened self, they go back home, and they see everything in a different light. That is our mission. There are so many visitors here, and although we want to help them all, that’s hard to do. Many are visitors to Sedona from all over the world. For them, it’s a gift that they can take back home.

LAT: What message would you most like to share with those who dream of coming to Sedona?
IT: If you dream of coming to Sedona, that means your soul is calling you to experience who you really are. Listen to your heart and come to Sedona. You’ll have the experience of a lifetime!

LAT: Thank you, Ilchibuko!

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

5 Ways to Make Your Sedona Trip More Eco-friendly

Eco-friendly Tourism in Sedona, AZ

It is likely you have heard term “ecotourism” and are familiar with the phrase, “Take only pictures, and leave only footprints.” At the heart of the philosophy of ecotourism is a deep respect for the earth and a desire to protect and to keep it clean for all who share this beautiful planet. Whether you’re planning a Sedona vacation to see the red rocks, enjoy the sparkling creek waters, or visit a vortex and meditate among the crimson canyons, it’s the perfect place to practice traveling in an eco-friendly manner. Here are five practical tips on how to help preserve the stunning natural beauty of the area.

1. Conserve Water: Arizona is located in the Upper Sonoran Desert, which means awareness of water usage is always important. Help conserve local resources by consciously taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth and shaving.

2. Limit Your Energy Use: If you are renting a room in Sedona, turn off the lights, air conditioning, or heater and TV as you leave or whenever not in use. Reusing towels and linens for multiple days instead of having them changed daily is another way to help save both energy and water.

3. Reduce and Recycle: Many Sedona hotels and resorts offer recycling containers for the public. A little extra awareness can help keep recyclables out of landfills. Bring your own BPA-free water bottle to carry while hiking and refill from larger containers. Go all out and visit one of the local water stores to purchase reverse-osmosis, distilled water, or structured waters and refillable quality plastic hiking bottles. Return or recycle any pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines you collect along the way and consciously reduce the number of bags, cups and napkins you use at fast food restaurants.

Mnimize eco footprint

4. Leave only Footprints . . . and make sure those footprints are on marked hiking trails to avoid harming native flora! You can obtain free advice and maps from local stores that sell hiking gear and supplies, and guided tours are always a great option. Pack a small bag to contain your trash as you hike, and also consider picking up anything left by others along the way. This not only helps keep Sedona beautiful, but also protects wildlife from ingesting or becoming tangled in the trash as well.

Be mindful to use the hotel restroom or facilities at the trailheads before you depart. Dispose of sanitary waste properly and please, to avoid contaminating Sedona’s beautiful creek waters, never ever leave diapers or other waste along the trail or worse yet, place them in or near the creek’s edge.

5. Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist: Sedona has much to offer so take time to explore the region, visit the dynamic rock formations, and learn about the extraordinary diversity of plants, birds, and animals, including many rare species present here. At times, the area can be extremely dry, so be sure to light campfires only where permitted, extinguish them well before you leave, and never throw a cigarette butt from your car.

Sedona’s recreational areas and historic sites should be visited with the utmost reverence and respect. As Ilchi Lee states in The Call of Sedona, “Every land has a sacred mountain or a place of wonder where people gather, drawn by the extraordinary energy there . . . I have traveled to many places around the world . . . but I have yet to encounter a place that draws the heart as does Sedona.”

Love Sedona as if she is your own and leave her as you found her; a rare jewel indeed! Remember, consciously being an eco-friendly traveler and paying attention to how you travel helps conserve our beautiful planet for the enjoyment of generations to come.

For more information on how small changes in our behaviors as individuals can add up to big results for Earth, visit the Earth Citizens Organization’s website at

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

Discover the Divine Connection to Your Creativity at Sedona Mago Retreat with Julia Cameron, Bestselling Author this Month!

Julia Cameron Where does creativity come from? Find out during Julia Cameron’s ‘Creativity and Divinity – Dancing Partners’ Retreat and Workshop, September 30 through October 2, 2016.

According to this bestselling author and creative artist, “We often speak of God as the Creator without realizing that creator is another word for artist.”

And, as she notes, artists longing to ‘create’ soon discover the ways that creating beauty is spiritually uplifting both for the artist and those who behold the finished product.

However, we too are a work of art that desires fulfillment and completion. All too often, we dismiss our yearning for creativity due to the belief that creating art is somehow a process to be achieved using tools and ideas from outside of ourselves.

In truth, creativity is a ‘full circle’ type of process: That is, we are both the Artist and the Art. Can you see the parallel between the Creator and that which is created?

Come explore this idea for yourself with world-renowned artist and bestselling author, Julia Cameron, who comments, “Most of us have no idea of our real creative height. We are much more gifted than we know.” Learn how to nurture those gifts and boost your creativity with new ideas about what creativity is, where it comes from, and how the process works!

Cameron will guide you through 3 days of self-discovery as you create a working partnership between your creative self and your Divine self. In a safe community of like minds at Sedona Mago Retreat, you will enjoy exercises that will allow you to experience the joy of connection with your true self and the creative energy that flows through all things. You will also explore and discover the ways prayer and meditation can reconnect you with your inherent creativity.

The workshop is being held at Sedona Mago Retreat, a center for spiritual awakening and holistic healing where participants can immerse themselves in renewal and rediscovery of the true self as envisioned by founder Ilchi Lee.

If you have read The Call of Sedona, you may recall the story of Sedona Mago Garden, the nickname for Sedona Mago Retreat. Mago means Mother Earth in Korean, and in the book Ilchi Lee describes Sedona as, “the land where the heart of the earth can be felt.” The beautiful, peaceful grounds of the property nestled near the red rocks encompass walking trails, a natural pond, gardens, and yoga facilities. What a perfect place to slow down and allow the pure natural surroundings to reconnect you to your Divine inner creativity and energy!

The retreat is operated by Tao Fellowship, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is “Love Humanity, Love the Earth.” As a spiritual center seeking interfaith friendship, the organization states, “We believe that peace and harmony can be realized through our connection with Earth; without which, humanity cannot survive. Our common goal is sustainability of Earth and all of its inhabitants, now and for future generations.”

Escape into the beauty that is Sedona to rediscover your own creative spirit! Learn more and register for this exciting upcoming creativity workshop and Sedona retreat at

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

It’s Up to You!

“Be the sun breaking through the clouds.” ― A.D. Posey


We can be so affected by the weather, especially at this time of year when Nature seems to be having trouble making up her mind! One day is brilliantly sunny and the next is cloudy and gray!

It is easy to let the changing weather influence our mood from day to day. Yet, balancing moods and energy in spite of the weather is not out of reach. In his book, The Call of Sedona, Ilchi comments, “Because everyone has a natural yearning for completion, we are able to change and recreate ourselves endlessly.”

Ilchi Lee teaches simple and powerful methods for maximizing our natural healing power. We can learn to realize the warmth of the sun within ourselves and change not only our health and our mood, but our world as well.

One of the ways to do this is through Sunlight Meditation—to receive energy directly from sunlight. But if it’s a cloudy day, Solar Body Exercises can help increase body temperature and energy through movement. You can learn more about these exercises in Ilchi’s book, The Solar Body: The Secret to Natural Healing.

For now, try the movement called “Brain Wave Vibration” to quiet restless, cloudy-day thoughts and emotions and strengthen energy and blood circulation in the abdomen and brain.

From a seated position, relax your shoulders, straighten your spine, and focus on your abdomen. Make loose fists and gently begin tapping the area two inches below your navel with alternating fists.

You will feel your belly growing warmer. As you continue, move your head, spine and upper body in sync with your inner rhythm. When your tapping grows more rhythmic, begin gently shaking your head from side to side. Empty out all thoughts with your exhaled breaths and experience a growing sense of lightness with your breathing.

Start with just five minutes. Begin Brain Wave Vibration tenderly, and proceed gently at first and take care not to overdo it. To finish, use the palms of your hands to pat any areas where you feel tension, slow the movement and relax a moment.

Check with your medical practitioner before trying this if you have any health concerns. Visit a Body & Brain Center for assistance in learning to do this exercise.

In spite of the gray clouds, you will come to understand a simple, powerful truth: your health, happiness and peace are truly up to you.

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance web writer on topics of art, music, and wellness, Lynn is also a wildlife artist/photographer, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

Sedona Film Festival Director, Patrick Schweiss Shares His Joy of Sedona Living

Patrick SchweissLike Ilchi Lee, Patrick Schweiss, Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival, heeded the Call of Sedona and enjoys an exciting career helping to create some of the annual excitement that happens in Sedona.

LT: Please tell our readers what drew you to Sedona.

PS: I’m from Minnesota originally, and I went to Arizona State University, and that’s where I met my wife, Elizabeth Larsen. Elizabeth is a native of Sedona, born and raised here. Sedona is so magnificent—we’d come up on weekends, and it’s so beautiful, but I was never expecting to live here. It’s like being home and being on a permanent vacation! It is that magic we have. But I ended up here in a ‘non-magical’ way.

LT: In what way?

PS: Elizabeth’s family owns the Sedona Red Rock News. She was attending ASU. We met on the yearbook staff there. That is more of an enchanting story than the whole “Sedona connection.” I guess it was meant to be.

This was 1986, and ASU hadn’t had a yearbook for 14 years! (Because of the political unrest of the early 70’s, the students made a very politically-motivated book, and so the college canceled it.) The year we were there a group of students decided to bring the yearbook back.

Both Elizabeth and I have publishing backgrounds and were high school yearbook editors, so the happenstance that we actually met in a group that shouldn’t have even been formed was kind of amazing! We brought the yearbook back and did several years of award-winning books. We became best friends instantly and eventually got married in 1990.

LT: Is that when you moved to Sedona?

PS: No, first I took a job with a publishing company in Richmond, Virginia right after we got married, so we moved out there for two years. I loved it, but Elizabeth just didn’t like Virginia. So we came back to Sedona. And, I’ve had a blast! I started working for her family’s business and ended up being there for 12 years. And I fell in love with Sedona . . . it is a magical and wonderful place!

LT: You eventually left the newspaper and became Executive Director for the Sedona International Film Festival, a non-profit organization.

PS: Yes, the festival is 22 years old; I joined them in year eleven, so I’ve done twelve of the festivals. When I took over, it was a two-and-a-half day festival; now it is nine days. We built the Mary D. Fisher Theatre four years ago, so we have our own venue and can do independent films and special cultural events. Now, our festival actually expands all year long with two shows a day, and has brought many cultural things Sedona normally wouldn’t be exposed to: the Bolshoi Ballet, the National Theatre of London, simulcast events, Met Live Opera, and more!

LT: The festival makes people’s imaginations dance and is a huge annual event!

PS: Audiences are blown away by the quality of the films we show! We take them to another world they wouldn’t normally get to see or experience. We are very, very fortunate, not only to have filmmakers and audience members from around the world, but we are one of the strongest-supported local organizations: by the local residents and businesses, our membership base, and our sponsorship base. We are just really blessed!

Audience members are coming from everywhere. We’ve gained a reputation now of being a really wonderful, wonderful festival in a very beautiful destination.

And, I’m not foolish enough to think that Sedona doesn’t have something to do with that draw!

LT: Thank you, Patrick!

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance web writer on topics of art, music, and wellness, Lynn is also a wildlife artist/photographer, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

Awakening the Spirit of Youth


“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” – William Shakespeare

No matter that age may have changed the skin around our eyes to crepe, even all the way to sagging “elephant skin!” We still look out through those familiar eyes from a soul which is both old and young at the same time. We know the physical world of aging; and turning seasons; of birth and of death. And yet we also sense the essence within which knows no time—the tireless, changeless and constant factor of ourselves that has always been at our very core.

So spring recalls in our memory freshly mowed green grasses, small children, Easter Sundays gone by, and sun on our cheeks, and reminds us our youth-filled nature is still very much alive within our sometimes weary physical dwelling. Spring is just the experience to awaken that spirit each year!

Get out in Nature and find a quiet place to discover within yourself the awakening spirit of youth. Experience a “Purifying Emotions” meditation as described by Ilchi Lee in The Call of Sedona:

Outdoors, sit someplace appealing in half-lotus position with palms upturned and relax your body and mind. Steady your breath and imagine spring’s soft, gentle, and purifying energy flowing down, through your crown into your head, shoulders, chest, and palms.

As you focus your awareness on your chest, allow any emotion or feelings that arise to be felt and then released. Take as much time as you need to replace the “old” with this new, fresh energy. Draw in the full spirit of this magnificent, seasonal rebirth and allow yourself to become free of past emotional burdens. Imagine the old energy is flowing out, away from you through your fingertips, as you slowly move your torso from side to side, swaying gently like a reed in the breeze.

Feel forgiveness, gratitude, love, and the renewed energy of spring filling your heart. Accumulate this energy in your abdomen as you sit comfortably and finish with several deep breaths.

Many blessings!

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance web writer on topics of art, music, and wellness, Lynn is also a wildlife artist/photographer, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

Experience Verde Valley and Sedona Area with Birding and Nature Festival


If you are visiting Sedona this spring and love birding, add the 2016 Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival, to your itinerary. This unique recreational experience includes birding tours and guided walks and other activities. Scheduled for Thursday, April 21 through Sunday April 24, 2016, the event includes a “Family Nature Fair & Open House” on April 23, 2016.

The Verde River Valley, one few remaining free-flowing rivers in the Southwest, is teeming with wildlife and plant life to be explored. Fed by tributaries from the Colorado Plateau, perennial streams flow out through Sedona, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Cornville, Lake Montezuma and Camp Verde and make the valley most unique! These waterways connect diverse life zones ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 feet in altitude as they travel through pine-fir forests, oak tree woodlands, pinyon and juniper forests and areas of desert scrub. Quoting from the website,, “this vast watershed is habitat for one of the largest concentrations of resident and migratory bird life anywhere in the southwest.”

The Verde River Valley offers many trails to be explored, and each is unique in its own way and in how the experience of your journey will unfold. Why not approach nature with an open heart and view the land and its inhabitants with fresh eyes as you go?

With this approach to the experience, you will become significantly changed as the life inside of you becomes more fully awakened. Ilchi Lee explains in the pages of The Call of Sedona, “That life rejoices and is glad to see other life. When the life inside of us awakens, we can truly say that ‘every blooming flower is beautiful , , ,’ People who feel that, ‘I really have a bright and beautiful life inside of me,’ and come to know it, also know that other life forms are just like them.”

Try a birding adventure or nature hike and create within yourself a “walking, waking meditation.” Enjoy the sights and listen for the call of wild birds as you explore nature and enrich your life with a keener awareness of all life.

Enjoy your journey!

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance web writer on topics of art, music, and wellness, Lynn is also a wildlife artist/photographer, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.

The Call of Sedona Awakened the Artist for Harriet McInnis

As Ilchi Lee so often points out in The Call of Sedona, the landscape here is fertile ground for inspiration and creativity! Oil painter, Harriet McInnis discovered this for herself as she developed new interests and talents in Sedona.


LT: Harriet, your work has an essence that captures the gentle countryside, rather than the famous red rocks of Sedona.

HM: I love to paint landscapes. Everybody talks about the red rocks, and a lot of artists paint them. We could not live in a more beautiful place, but I don’t really have any interest in painting red rocks. I’m in awe of the people who do such a beautiful job of it, but I want to establish my own area of expertise. I like telling “a story,” like the history of an old barn or old building and like to take a different perspective.

Waiting-for-a-Fisherman-by-Harriet-McInnis-350wLT: It was interesting to learn you have been painting only a short time.

HM: I see myself as an emerging artist, so there was a tremendous thrill in having three landscape paintings sell from the Movin’ On Gallery at Hillside Sedona. That just kind of blew me away and gave me the feeling that I’m on the right track.

LT: What year did you arrive in Sedona?

HM: My husband and I moved here from Connecticut in 1991. Our first trip we arrived at night, so it was kind of a shock when we got up in the morning and saw the red rocks! We discovered right away that people were extremely friendly here and we liked the openness of Sedona.

On the second trip here my husband and I spent the whole day with a realtor and we picked two houses. There was “his house” and “my house,” and my house won! We never expected to be doing that—it was just that we fell in love with the area.

LT: When did you begin painting?

HM: I didn’t take art classes until the end of 2009! I began with Dumb Bunnies Art Class. It was taught by Mary Belle, a woman in her early eighties who had previously owned a gallery. Her expertise was different techniques and I learned a lot from her. She had us copy reference material, which was an interesting experience because you actually learned how another artist created what they did. And if you came up with a good copy, you supposedly learned to do what they did. Color was important, light and contrast was important, and then there were the techniques that she taught you.

She used all kinds of things to make different textures; sponges, aluminum foil balls, scrubbies, fan brushes, and I got a lot out of it. But after about a year and a half, I didn’t feel I was getting the instruction I needed to work on my own, and I didn’t want to keep doing copies. That’s when I went to Sedona Art Center (SAC) and took a class with Gretchen Lopez.

Gretchen’s a wonderful teacher, and I love her art. She was a good example for me. I go now as often as I can afford to and sometimes I will do a private tutoring session with her. I love her brush strokes, and that’s what I’m trying to achieve in my own paintings. SAC is rich with talented teachers. You can work in a variety of mediums, you can learn from different styles. I haven’t taken full advantage of that, but I know that SAC is there and I can see the possibilities.


LT: In what ways would you say Sedona has influenced your artwork?

HM: The art and artists here have had a tremendous influence on inspiring me to keep going and do better. The ability to talk to other Sedona artists helps because you see them at exhibits, you meet them on the street, you go to galleries and sometimes they are there working, and every time you have a conversation you learn something.

LT: Any Final thoughts?

HM: I just want to say that because of the friendliness of the people here, I have never felt as at home as I do here!

LT: Thank You, Harriet!

Lynn A. TrombettaBy Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance web writer on topics of art, music, and wellness, Lynn is also a wildlife artist/photographer, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.