Arizona Birthday Journey | 29 Years Around the Sun | San Diego Lifestyle Photographer

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Hey guys, it's me. This is a rather deeper and longer post than I normally put out on the blog, but, in all transparency, I’m a very spiritual and emotional being who has real struggles, and I personally struggle around my birthday, which I celebrated last weekend on July 31st.

It's been awhile since I’ve truly felt into my birthday. What I mean is in the last couple of years I've overlooked it and have been rather disconnected to it, even when my boyfriend (now my husband) threw me a surprise dinner with a bunch of good friends a couple of years back I found myself detached and depressed. I'm not scared of getting old; I’ve always embraced the notion of the gray hair. It’s something about the spotlight that I have shined away from in recent years and a profound resistance to feeling special. I imagine this is a normal feeling and obviously has deeper roots than the earth has exposed to me (but trust me when I say I’m digging).

This year according to western numerology is Year One, the year of beginnings, and all signs pointed to creating new rituals around my birthday and specifically to get out of town (that’s what the tarot cards said). I have asked the universe to connect me with healers, and as the earth glittered majestically, in walked Olivia, the Blogger behind GoodGrateful, a blog about truth telling and self-healing. We connected over sleeping with our crystals in our hands and continued our conversation through Instagram. When I told her my birthday was coming up she wished me a pre-birthday journey and asked me what my freedom looked like.

A birthday is more than a cake (although trust me cake was had and there is a video at the end to prove it). For me, it needed to be a journey with a destination. So, when I felt a calling to head eastbound toward Arizona to be with my friend Katie and her babes the Friday before my birthday, I knew I needed to answer it. Lucky for me, my best friends in the world are mommy’s and so my best friend Lina rounded up her three babes to join me on the journey into Phoenix and onward to Sedona.

Katie beyond graciously hosted the five of us and took us to some of the most extraordinary healing spaces in Arizona. It’s monsoon season there so every single day we were cleansed with the rain, and sometimes electrified with the lightning. Not only is it monsoon season, it’s hot as balls because it’s summertime in Arizona.

The first full day we were there we made the decision to hike Papago Park with the gorgeous large sandstone rock formations. It was sooooo hot that when I finally got to the top of the mountain I was shaking with sweat and heat, but that didn’t stop me from taking photos. It was such a beautiful sight to see Phoenix from this viewpoint and I spent the next couple of days healing. Healing in many ways: from the heat, from habits, and from my emotions of being away from home.

During our trip, Lina told me she wanted to bake me a cake. Well, I had taken a vegan cake class a year or so ago with my mom, so I had the recipes to do it and Dylan found them in the nick of time. We went on a shopping spree to find all the ingredients. I got everything organic and ingredient legible except for the vegetable shortening which I swear non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening is not sold in Phoenix (I called 5+ grocery stores in search of it).

When we got back home finally it was getting close to 9 pm and I thought well I can just return all the stuff and we don’t have to make a cake, but Lina insisted. And so, her two youngest babes and I prepared the vegan coconut cake.

The next morning, we headed out to Sedona and Katie surprised me by taking us to the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, a magical Buddhist retreat against the red rocks where I spied a family of quails (which are my absolute favorite bird), a patient lizard (which I find lizards to be very spiritual creatures… side note, I’m thinking about The Teachings of Don Juan), and a cactus pad shaped like a heart (so magical and unreal). The kids absolutely loved this place and so did I. It was energetically awesome.

But it was the next location that swept me off my feet and into the present moment. We hiked down a path and found ourselves at a creek against the red rocks with cold rushing water and no one else but us. We rubbed mud on our skins, danced on the shore, and swam in the water. It was a welcomed rewilding and free moment. I had bought a new bathing suit which quickly turned into a photo shoot of us all modeling. Like almost all women I know, I’ve always struggled with my body image, but I felt called to step up and feel proud of my curves. Afterall, you don't turn 29 every day!

We ended our evening back at home, another late night. Again, I thought, forget the cake. It’s too late. We still need to eat dinner. But Katie said no, let’s assemble the cake. So, again with my two helpers and everyone else, we assembled the cake and styled it out for a photo. Omg, it was hilarious (video at the end). All that time and energy literally for one shot but everything that went into it made it a memory that I am still cracking up about. Katie even posted a video of us doing this with the caption, "WTF is happening?" which is too funny.

As a birthday message to myself, let me say, this is a year of self-healing and truth telling, setting new patterns, breaking old habits, and finding balance where there is imbalance. I will never forget my 29th birthday with my best girls, their babes, in the hot as balls desert. Thank you, everyone, for the birthday wishes. It's going to be a great year!