Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
I recently took my first vacation since before the pandemic. When I pulled my luggage off the top shelf of my closet, it had cobwebs and a couple dead spiders!
I packed for warm weather and was disappointed when I arrived in Desert Hot Springs and encountered cool temperatures and wind. Lots of wind. Loud. Unsettling. Howling. I tried to make the best of it, telling myself, These are the winds of change. But what did that mean? As I reflected, I thought, More love and less fear. More ease and less struggle. More acceptance and less resistance. More expansion and less contraction. More faith and less worry. More union and less division. Personally, as well as globally. And more health and less dis-ease—a real end to the pandemic.
With my COVID-cautious mindset, I’d been looking forward to dining—and doing most everything else on my vacation—outdoors. But after our first blustery alfresco dinner we relocated to a quiet, private corner inside the restaurant. We also ate dinner one night in our suite. It was cozy. We began to relax and let go.
Eventually the winds died down, the sun came out, and I floated. Literally.
That’s why I escaped to this desert oasis: to float. To let go. To be held by water. To stare at the sky. To let the sun warm my bones. To allow nature to seep inside me until I remembered that I’m not separate from nature, but part of it.
Palm fronds swayed in the breeze. Hawks flew overhead. Hummingbirds hovered. Ducks and turtles emerged from the pond. At one point I felt as if I were being cradled in a cosmic womb made of earth and sky.
In the desert, my racing thoughts slow down. My body relaxes. I grasp viscerally that there’s more to me—more to all of us—than atrocities, violence, war, disease, disasters, outrage, exhaustion, overwhelm, and fear. “Oh, to be fearlessly alive again!” artist Vik Sheldon, a student in my class, wrote this week. The desert reminds me this is possible, that a large and luminous love exists at our collective center.
It’s fitting that May is Mental Health Awareness month because the desert brings me back to my senses, back to my soul. May is my favorite time of the year to visit the desert, and I’ve missed it these past two years.
We stayed at Two Bunch Palms Resort, an oasis with mineral springs, soaking tubs, a pool, and spa. For years, before the pandemic, I’d make an annual pilgrimage to the desert for R&R. In the early days we’d camp at Joshua Tree National Park. But regardless of our location, it’s always been about rest and relaxation, and also reflection and retreat, which inevitably leads to surrender—my ultimate oasis!
I surrender the effort it takes to be me in the world. I surrender the need to achieve, accomplish, manage, control, judge, evaluate, interpret, and make up stories. I stop. I just am.
It’s interesting to see where surrender takes me. On this last trip, it took me back to my creative work/play. I’ve been writing drabbles: 100-word stories. My editor returned my first batch of ten drabbles on Mother’s Day (the day before we left). I brought my laptop with me, and it was wonderful to drabble in the desert, to get some writing immersion time, free from daily distractions and responsibilities. I also read Bob Thurber’s book of micro fictions: In Fifty Words! Telling a story in fifty words (the form is known as a “dribble”) is an impressive feat.
Distilling experiences, large and small, into their purest essence fascinates me. So far, my taste exceeds my skills, but I hope to close that gap, learn, and keep having fun.
Here’s what I did not do in the desert: I did not read the news. I did not go on social media. I did not check email. I was offline for five glorious days, which was a welcome change, indeed. It left me feeling spacious, creative, and joyful, and reminded me that I spend too much time online. This is something within my power to change. With consciousness and a clear intention, I can create my own oasis wherever I am. We all can.
While I was away, my book, Where Do You Hang Your Hammock? Finding Peace of Mind While You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book, tied for first place in the 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest international awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. I’m grateful for the recognition, and I’m looking forward to reading the book that was recognized alongside my own: Self-Publish & Succeed: The No Boring Books Way to Writing a Non-Fiction Book that Sells, by Julie Broad (Stick Horse Publishing).
It was great to get away. I’m looking forward to attending Camp Scripps in June. Camp Scripps is four days of workshops, panels, fun, and friendship with fellow Scripps College alumnae. Our motto is, “Everything Possible, Nothing Required.” I’ll be teaching a writing workshop, participating on an author panel, and sharing new writing at an event called Wordsworthy Women. It’s our first in-person camp since before the pandemic. Many activities will be held outdoors. Vaccinations and COVID tests are required. The protocols are strict, and I appreciate that.
My suitcase is clean, I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel again, and I’m ready for my next adventure! How about you?
[Heads up: Summer Writing Circles begin June 27. Claim your seat today! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.]
Get 80+ writing prompts to ignite your creativity, gain clarity, and help you reach your writing goals! You'll also receive my inspirational blog/newsletter and hear about opportunities and offerings when they become available.