Finding Your Vortex

Mom and I on each side of Airport vortex-first picAs my mom and I stood separately on each side of the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona, the view was powerful yet calming. A vortex is a site where spiritual energy is concentrated – a globally recognized power spot. It is usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a beneficial source of energy. There are only a few of these locations, including Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, Machu Picchu and Sedona. There are multiple vortexes in Sedona and each one has a stunning view. We were surrounded with vibrant red rocks, love and fresh air. I could not have asked for more.

Although positive energy has been felt at the vortex spots in Sedona, energy is everywhere. Different experiences, people and places move each of us. I believe it comes down to perspective and what inspires us. I’ve come to realize that no matter how PKD may change our body or our life, it does not have to change us at our core.

Mom in poolFor me, aging has come with clarity and an ever-growing perspective on life. Our recent family vacation was rejuvenating and full of memorable experiences – from simple moments hanging out at the pool to seeing the Grand Canyon. While at the pool, I enjoyed watching my mom and Noah swimming happily, and my dad relaxing in the hot tub. I soaked up the sight of the towering red rocks surrounding us and came to the realization that I was completely in the moment. I was not thinking about health issues; I had no worries or stress. I was just “Valen,” enjoying the day, my family and the beauty that graced our presence. That moment was a true gift.

Seeing the Grand Canyon was awe-inspiring and eye-opening. While witnessing one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the vastness was hard for my mind to process. It was a tremendous sight to see. As I peered down into the canyon – at some places more than one mile deep – it gave me a deep perspective on life and myself. I learned how my thought process changes when looking down versus upward. While visiting the Grand Canyon was amazing, I found greater inspiration from the soaring Sedona red rocks.

Grand Canyon

As mom and I stood on the Airport Vortex, looking at the top of the rich-colored red rocks, it evoked wonder in my heart and positivity in my soul. The perspective of looking toward the sky and outward gave me a sense of hope, something to look forward to and positive energy. This beautiful environment stripped away all of the “fluff” in life and allowed me to focus on the core of who I am and what is important to me.

Dad and I at vortex-last picWe should strive to find our own vortex in life – something, someone, or some place in which we feel inspired by a positive source of energy. For it is rejuvenating and good for our health to have the everyday “stuff” temporarily disappear from our train of thought. To be in the moment and reconnect with ourselves and reflect on what motivates and inspires us.

What, where or who is your vortex and how has it helped you on your journey?


  1. Lisa Simpson

    Interesting. Last week I took a trip by train to the Grand Canyon to see it for the first time. It was our last trip before I start dialysis. We are going to get trained to do it at home very soon. (I have PKD but it wasn’t symptomatic until a few years ago. I’m 61 years old now.) I know one can travel while on dialysis but I wanted to take a trip without that worry while I could. The Grand Canyon was amazing. Now I wish I would have gone to Sedona too. Hope to make it there someday. Thank you Valen, I really enjoy your blogs.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Lisa,
      So happy to hear you took a trip to the Grand Canyon before you start this next chapter in your journey. The Grand Canyon sure was amazing. I too hope you can make it back and see Sedona. It’s a magical place!
      Thank you for sharing and happy to hear you enjoy my posts!
      Wishing you all the best as you start dialysis!

  2. Madeleine

    I am starting dialysis soon and know it’s life changing. I am having a hard time accepting this. How do you cope?

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Madeleine,
      I was on dialysis when I was 18 years old. I’m 32 now. I did dialysis for around seven months until I received a transplant. I was very sick at the time and in the hospital for most of my dialysis treatments. I can sympathize with you having a hard time accepting this next stage. I looked at it from the perspective that we are lucky to have a machine that can do the job of our kidneys and keep us alive until we receive the gift of life. Every body responds to dialysis differently. I know some that do beautifully on it and lead a fairly normal life. I was very sick at the time and battling several health issues, which made dialysis harder for my body to handle. I coped by taking one day and one dialysis session at a time. I encourage you to try and find something positive to occupy your time during your treatments. Not sure if you are doing this at home or at a facility. You may like company during your sessions, or to be alone and read or watch movies. Try and make the best of your time and to not solely focus on what you are enduring. Sometimes it is nice to have positive distractions to help the time pass. Some people like to sleep during dialysis. You will learn what is best for you. The quicker I accept new health issues or phases, the better off I am. I adjust to the new normal and try my best to stay positive. Also learned that it is ok to get upset. It’s important to let those emotions out and then quickly bounce back and get focused. Sometimes we underestimate the power of positivity. I firmly believe a positive frame of mind is why I’m still alive today. While on dialysis, I always focused on the light at the end of the tunnel, receiving the gift of life!
      I wish you all the best as you transition into this next phase of PKD. Sending lots of strength! Please let me know if there is any way I can help. Hugs!

      • Madeleine

        Dear Valen

        It was very kind of you to reply about my situatiion. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been on dyalisis at such a young age. I hope your new kidney is fine.

        I am79 years old and I consider myself lucky that this disease is just starting . I probably am too old for a transplant so I expect dialysis indefinitely. I will have to adjust as there is no choice. Thanks again for your advice.

        • Valen Keefer

          Hi Madeleine,

          It was challenging, but grateful I had a means to stay alive while I waited for a kidney. I had my transplant 13 years ago and it is doing great!

          Wow, so amazing you are 79 and have been ok up until this point. Good for you!

          You’re very welcome for the advice. I hope it helped in some small way. You never know about the transplant. Please keep me posted on how you are. Wishing you all the best as you transition into this next chapter in life. Hugs!

  3. Christine Richer

    Hi Valen,

    I always look forward to your posts because you really know what we PKD patients go through and yet you’re always a ray of sunshine! I’m 63 now , diagnosed at age 50 and just went into stage V. So much is happening all at once – I’m going to get my a-v fistula created this month, I’m still being evaluated for a transplant, and they also want me to get evaluated for a catheter for PD! Yikes! The way I cope/escape is by reading or watching movies or being lucky to live in the Berkshires and enjoy our beautiful foliage! Plus I’m looking forward to a trip to Pennsylvania for a family housewarming and first birthday party, just before my surgery. I’ve also been working part-time as a caregiver for seniors and hope to be able to continue doing so between surgeries and dialysis. It’s rewarding work that helps me to concentrate on helping others. Take care, Chris

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Christine,
      Your sweet sentiments arrived at the perfect time, thank you! It means so much to know that you always look forward to my posts. That encourages me to keep writing.
      It sure sounds like a lot is happening for you and fast. Thank you for sharing the positive ways in which you cope. I believe it is so important to have things to look forward to and I’m glad you do as you have a lot going on right now. Where are you visiting in PA? I’m originally from York, PA.
      Wonderful that you have a rewarding part-time job. Positive distractions are great to have when we ourselves are going through so much! I admire how you are embracing your PKD and living the best life you can. Wishing you the best with everything and enjoy your trip to PA!

      • Christine Richer

        Hi Valen,
        We’re going to be visiting my husband’s niece and family in Boalsburg, PA and staying at a bed & breakfast! Can’t wait! Then I’ll have my fistula surgery 2 days later and recuperate for a couple of weeks at home. I met the transplant surgeon yesterday and all is going well as far as getting onto the transplant list. He was wonderful – he laughed as much as I did! My husband wants to be tested to be my donor if we are a good match. He’s been pretty supportive, going to all my doctor visits with me. For now, I’m going to be working Saturday through next Wednesday if my energy holds out! Then we leave for PA next Friday – whew! My doctors seem to think I may have a year before I’ll need dialysis (that’s good!). Take care and stay well! Chris

        • Valen Keefer

          Hi Chris!
          You’ll be about two hours from where I grew up! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful time with family.
          Health wise, things seem to be going pretty well for you, considering. Here’s hoping that your husband is a match and you can get a transplant before starting dialysis! 🙂 Have fun in PA and I hope things continue to go smoothly for you. Take good care. Hugs!


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