120 steps. 120 years. Walk the path of your life.
By Ilchibuko Todd
President of Sedona Mago Center for Well-being and Retreat
It’s one of the most striking, unforgettable experiences at Sedona Mago—our 120 Steps. It’s a breathtaking installation of 120 stone steps, each engraved with a shining gold number that leads up towards a gorgeous overlook of the land and red rock landscape. However, it’s more than a scenic blend of nature and architecture. It’s a life-changing meditation site designed to help you rethink every year of your life, your present and your future.
How the 120 Steps came to be is a story in-and-of itself and how to walk its path is more complex than you might think. We encourage you to read on and learn about what makes this one-of-a-kind meditative experience one worth having.
It Started with a Question
“Should I be slowing down?”
When our founder, Ilchi Lee, was reaching retirement age, he often asked himself questions like this one. He wondered why most people desire a constant state of relaxation when they retire, instead of becoming more active and embracing life.
It was at this point when our founder made a decision. He decided to live 120 years.
What Ilchi Lee decided that day was more than just a number. He chose to live the rest of his life with energy, passion, strength and happiness. And that’s exactly what happened. He became filled with energy every day, ready to live for a greater purpose instead of waiting for the final day of his life to arrive.
When our founder made this decision, he began to see other examples of this phenomenon everywhere—people who lived longer, fuller lives because they challenged themselves with exercise, charity, family and purpose.
At Sedona Mago, we work every day to contribute to the world and help change people’s lives. That’s why we share our founder’s realization with the 120 Steps. It’s on these steps that our guests reflect on what the journey of life really means… and how they can gain hope from examining the future laid out before them.
How to Walk the 120 Steps
When you arrive at the base of the 120 Steps, you could simply walk them like a normal staircase… but there’s so much more to gain from this meditative experience.
Imagine approaching the immaculate stone steps and slowly lift yourself onto the first raised shelf. Embedded in its rich red tone is a golden number 1. This step represents your first year of life. You may not remember much about being one year old—most people can’t. But you can focus on how you felt. Were you loved, fed and cherished? Did you grow, struggle and stumble? Everyone’s lives are unique and are often a blend of these things and more.
Then, take another step. Reflect on the next year of your past.
As you raise yourself higher and higher with each step, you must ask yourself important questions:
- “What did I want and need during this part of my life?”
- “Did I receive those things?
- “What was my life like because of that outcome?”
- “How did those experiences shape me?”
These are challenging, difficult questions. You may approach things from your past that are painful to remember. However, as you walk the steps, you’ll realize what you’re quite literally doing: walking forward. With each step, you leave the past behind you. You learn to focus on what it means to ascend to a higher state of consciousness, even if it was painful to get there.
You can also focus on the feeling of joy in memories. Find the moments that call to you as you walk—moments that maybe need more attention that you’ve neglected to give preciousness. Life events like moving, graduating, getting married, having children… why did those moments feel so good?
Then, you arrive at your current age.
Whatever that number is—18, 30, 51, 75—we recommend you pause here. Here, your meditation must shift: the steps are no longer about your past or what has already happened. Rather, you must focus your attention on the future. And not just what happens next, but deciding how your future will unfold.
Just like our founder did, you must choose your future. Not just how long you will live and how you will spend your time, but what you will create. How can you give back to the world, person by person, brick by brick, moment by moment? You must realize as you walk the steps of your future that your life and your place on this Earth is far bigger than just you. It’s even bigger than your family and your friends.
You have the potential to impact the world at any age. The ripples of your intentions echo far, far further than you can possibly imagine. Whatever you think you create, you become. So as you walk the steps beyond your current age, visualize and embrace the feeling of destiny—and how you can change it.
When you reach Step 120, you may be tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally—you can be exhausted. You may even find yourself crying or laughing uncontrollably. That’s the amount of effort it takes to view your life in its totality and it’s all for good reason.
We call the 120 Steps a demonstration of two different lifestyles, “Success” and “Completion.” When you live your life for success—titles, money, accolades, rewards—you live for your outward appearance. How others perceive you can feel good and rewarding in the moment, but it doesn’t fulfill you spiritually and emotionally.
When people walk the steps, they often realize that they have so much to live for aside from what society has told them to achieve. They want to create, contribute to the world, connect with family and friends in new ways… the possibilities are endless. That’s the Completion Model of life, something we teach often here at Sedona Mago.
We hope you’ll visit us for one of our many programs and, of course, to walk our 120 Steps. We look forward to meeting you, helping you let go of pain and grudges, finding a new level of health and wellness, and how to share a healthier life with others.