Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
I recently returned home from a desert retreat. I try to go every year. It’s the best place I know to get quiet and to heal. No work. No schedules. No social media. No news.
Forty-one years ago, at the end of my senior year in college, I took hallucinogenic mushrooms at Joshua Tree National Park. Early that day, I thought they weren’t working. My then-boyfriend, now-husband, and I had eaten them with our eggs and avocado breakfast and set off hiking in the desert.
But half an hour later, I felt queasy and realized I was tripping while vomiting. I wasn’t the least concerned about getting sick; instead, I was captivated by the remarkable shade of green coming out of my mouth.
When I looked up at the giant boulder formations and majestic Joshua trees, limbs lifted to the vast sky, I instantly understood unitive consciousness. I realized everything around me was alive, even the rocks. The desert, which I’d imagined to be devoid of life, was teeming with it—and I was part of it all.
I’ve been back to the desert (sans psilocybin) many times, and every time I see that landscape, I experience it as I did that day: pulsating with life. It reminds me that nature is immense and holy, and so am I. And so is every person on the planet.
I went to the desert this year with a clear intention to heal. I wasn’t sure of the full extent of what needed healing. There were obvious things, such as my left shoulder, which had mysteriously frozen. For months, I couldn’t lift my arm higher than my waist. My husband and I had also been overworking. We needed time alone together. But I sensed other things needed healing, too, such as how I relate to my day-to-day challenges, including my inner taskmaster, which beats me to a pulp when I’m not paying attention.
As usual, the desert delivered healing. I can lift my arm over my head! My husband and I reconnected and had a wonderful time.
There was, however, one mishap. On our last day, we visited Palm Springs to attend a celebration of life for the father of someone dear to me, and I got the date wrong. On the morning of the memorial service, I looked at the invitation and discovered the event had occurred the day before. This unfathomable mistake was a powerful reminder of the importance of slowing down. It was also an excellent opportunity to practice self-forgiveness.
I feel like I’m coming home when I’m in the desert, and when I’m feeling depleted and small, it’s a relief to remember I’m part of it all!
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