I have been wandering silent in the desert. I could not find nor utter any words. It is as if I am empty of everything. It is not a bad thing. It is just what it is – a time for the quiet.
In the quiet, I am learning to be still within myself. I’m finding that it is safe to stay here in this moment, in this space. No need to rush off. There is no emergencies, no one to rescue – except myself. I can be here for me.
My time in the desert is coming to an end. It is time well spent, getting acquainted with myself, feeling my body, its sensations, its discomforts and staying the whole while. I have learned to weather all the changes and storms like the majestic mountains. I am standing tall and rooted to the ground – steady and strong. I am understanding of being grounded. I am here today and not gone tomorrow.
I love the desert with its silence and barren beauty. I will come back again and again. It nourishes me and makes me feel whole.
It’s a bit cold here in our desert but we are soothed by its stillness and quietness. Our hearts are gladdened by the brillance of the sun. It beckons Sheba and I out the door and down that yellow brick road. It is not always paved with gold nor lined with friendliness.
We try to take things in stride – brave the chill, the rudeness and mean shouts behind our backs. We try not to respond in kind. But I did hold up evidence that we are responsible dog and dog owner. We pick up after ourselves. So what is your problem that you bang on your window and send your kids out to scream at us?
No matter. My temperature did not rise. I did not come undone. And there was a friendly witness who gave us smiles and Sheba many pats on the head. Jesus came to rescue us in the desert. He helps those who help themselves.
I am buoyed by my new found calmness. The hard work has paid off. I am nearing four weeks of practicing being in my body, in the now, accepting things as they are. My uncertainties and fears have lessened. I tremble no more. I am recovering parts of myself lost along life’s highways and byways. I will be finished the course when I come out of the desert. How sweet it is – NOW.
The road to well-being and happiness is not an easy one. This is not a rant. It is what I am learning over and over again. Damn! There is no getting there. When you get there, you find that there is no there. It is a continuous journey through hills, valleys, deserts and oases. The terrain is terrifying, glorious and unpredictable. Beware if you tend to use the cruise control.
I’m venturing into the desert again for forty days and nights. This time I’m taking Sheba with me. Together we will explore the barren and arid landscape like Dorothy and Toto. We will find our own yellow brick road through our Land of Oz. Whether or not we will find the Emerald City is not important for us. We want to develope our intelligence, heart and courage. We want to come out the other side healed and unshakeable.
We are on our way. I know there will be many challenges ahead of us. But that is the pull, isn’t it? There is room and time if you want to join us.
I am finding the truth about truisms. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Knowing that, I have no resolutions for the new year. No point in adding another failure onto the New Year’s Resolutions list. Instead, I am working through Suzannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead. I am trying some of her magic.
The last couple of days, I had been on working on the question of what was my favourite moment, day or occasion of 2014. It took some time before I knew the answer. I felt knowing what nourishes me was important. Other times, if I couldn’t find the answer at a snap of my fingers or the time to hit the ENTER key, I would have given up. I wonder how many of you are like me.
My favourite occasion in 2014 is the time we spent in Arizona. What I love about the desert is the silence, the sky and the open spaces where cacti and sage grew and the desert flowers bloomed.
In the arid barrenness, the thorns and messiness of every day life fell away. There was room to breathe. There was space to grow and expand. There was time. In the desert, I let go of what was not me. We were in a foreign land where God was the only one I knew. I surrendered, dropping my mask and defences – if only to myself.
I was free to wander through the landscape of the unknown and untried. I did not know I could cycle up and down the hilly streets of Lake Havasu and live to tell about it. I shifted gears, huffed and puffed, pedalling up the steep hills. I heard the air whistled in my ears as I coasted down the other side, hanging on to the handlebars for dear life. I felt petrified and exhilarated.
I baked bread in the desert, listened to the birds in the morning and swam in the afternoon. The sunsets were glorious and picture book perfect. The moon and stars looked down on me in the evening as I sat by the fire. Peace and silence echoed all around me. In the desert I surrendered and bloomed. At last I felt a sense of me.
Just as I am physically moving out of the desert, I am easing into Lent. I am back in the desert where the mornings and nights are cool and air is so clear. The doves are cooing and the song birds are singing their song. The quails strut their stuff.
I am happy in the desert. I love its barrenness. There are no distractions. There’s no news – no television, no radio. There are no things for me to want, no cravings to satisfy. There is only quietness and stillness. I can almost hear God’s whisper echoing in the canyons. I can see his shadow in the moonlight.
I can see forever in the desert. I can breathe with ease. I can still my mind and listen to my own heartbeat. I will follow it when it is time to leave the desert again.
My time is coming to an end in the desert. I have ridden its hills and valleys and have always stopped at the top, standing tall and triumphant. What an accomplishment for this prairie girl! But I do remember that I once was a mountain girl. My village in China was named Mountain Top.
I am grateful for the blessings of the desert – the peace and stillness, the moon and stars, the magnificent sunsets, the sunshine and the warmth. I will go home feeling rested, restored and comforted by nature’s arms.
I will remember my time in the desert, the place where I slowly learn to let go of all except for the present moment. How difficult and easy it is at the same time…to stay here in this moment, however it is. But I have learned to climb the mountains of elation and to face the canyons of my mind. And I am still here, breathing and whole in the desert.
I am cold this morning in the desert. I tried to do my quigong outside but my breath would not come. I could not be in the moment. How could that be?
But I gave in and came into the warmth. Then I was able to be somewhat one with my breath and finished my morning routine. Ahhhhh! Some relief.
I am learning to relax into the mysteries of the desert and life. I am learning to embrace Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Whole Catastrophe Living – that it is about ALL of life, the good, bad, and ugly. There is a reason for everything.
Slowly, I am quieting myself. I am steadying myself, staying within myself with ease and not wandering out, lost in the desert. I have trust in myself and the universe.
I am cool in the desert this morning. I am missing the snow of home, Sheba’s happy face, our morning runs and hot chocolate after. But I am getting warmer in the desert. I am happy and content.
Though it is a month before Lent, it is no surprise nor an accident that I find myself in the desert. I am once again lost in the wilderness, wandering up the lonesome road, trying to find my way, looking for my words.
I have lost my words these last while. They have disappeared from my fingertips. It is a struggle to recover and grasp them again. It is not a bad thing to feel the silence and the stillness. It is not a bad thing to sit, wait and to listen to the quiet.
There is time. No need to rush. No need to despair. I have 30 days in the desert. There is time to breathe, exhale, count my heartbeats and march to my own drum. There is time to live, love and gather the sacred sage.
I am in the desert again. Only this time it is not of my choosing, nor is it Lent. But that is how life is. Sometimes we don’t get to choose.
My fingertips had been silent these last days. No relief to be had from the tapping on the keyboard. And so I remained till now.
You cannot force these things. You cannot speak against your will. And so I remain silent, ever hopeful to find my way out of the desert. Now I see a glimmer of the passage out. And I am ever so grateful…to find my voice again and to feel the ground beneath my feet.
I am happy to leave the desert. I have suffered and endured, but it has also been time well spent learning the lessons of the desert.
It is Easter Sunday and God is out in all his glory, shining his light and love upon us.
Sheba and I basked in the sunshine as we walked the streets this morning. I have recovered from working nights nicely but still….
It is difficult to pick up the threads and rhythms of your life as if you are a normal person. I do believe that we, shift workers are not quite normal. Perhaps I should only speak for myself. I admit it. I am not quite normal. That is not a bad thing unto itself. It just means I am quirky, eccentric, weird, remarkable….But I am not flaky nor crazy. There are subtleties.
With Easter comes the end of my official written journey in the desert. But I have fallen in love with this arid climate. I will stay and live in my desert. I have not suffered nor deprived myself of anything here. On the contrary, the desert has been very kind to me. It has taught me many lessons. It has tempered this stiff stubborn Chinese neck of mine. I am a wee more forgiving, a wee more kind and opened to possibilities.
I am blessed.