What I learned from a week by myself in the desert
Last week, I was in the Mojave Desert all by myself. I don’t say alone because I was there! 😉
I kicked off the week by attending a one day retreat with my writing mentor, Rachel Resnick (more to share about this fabulous woman in the near future!). Six days later I was scheduled to spend a full day with her one-on-one so I decided rather than returning home between these two events I would make the most of what I have been referring to as the “Sacred Container” and stay in the desert for some personal time and reflection.
I learned or more accurately was reminded of some very important things during my time in the desert that I thought you might like to reflect on as well…..
- I learned a few years back when I used to do an annual writing retreat with some colleagues and friends in Colorado that it takes me a FULL three days of completely unstructured mostly alone time before the persistent chatter and hum of my “to-do’s” drop away and allow me to relax into the space and let my creativity begin to flow. I did take care of just a bit of work that needed my attention but I mostly read, did yoga, meditated, did a little bit of writing, and watched movies. Creativity requires “space” and we just don’t give ourselves enough of that. I highly recommend that you carve out time for yourself on a daily or at least weekly basis but nothing compares to giving yourself four, five or even six days like this, if you can work it out, at least once per year. Let me know how many days it takes you to really settle into the relaxation 😉
- As an extreme empath (you may be more familiar with the popular phrase “highly sensitive person” or HSP) and probably just a bit too psychic for my own good, it’s not optional for me not to have regular “time out” from everyone else. If I don’t, eventually I begin to believe that the thoughts and feelings I am having belong to me when in fact they often belong to someone else. Having consistent time with only myself ensures that I can show up fully as me for me – and for you! Might you be feeling other people’s feelings and thinking other people’s thoughts? If you never spend time with just yourself to learn to distinguish between what belongs to you and what doesn’t life likely weighs on you a lot more than it needs to.
- The environment you are in needs to support your intention. I know if I had returned home I would have gotten sucked into all the things that still need to be completed from my most recent move only six weeks ago. In my regular environment I am responsible for so much. While I was staying in my little log cabin my daily responsibilities were minimal and limited only to my own daily nourishment and upkeep. Stepping out of your regular environment frees your mind in an amazing way. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. This can even work with simply trading homes with friend.
- No matter what your preference; mountain or sea, forest or desert; there is nothing like spending time in nature to ground you back into your body and connect you with a great sense of appreciation for the earth and for life. I had to laugh at myself when I realized that although I was technically in the desert the place I happened to stay could have easily been above the tree line in Colorado. Right out the peaked windows that I could see out right from my bed upon waking I looked out on a majestic mountain range. On the other side of the cabin was the only river for miles and miles and an area my host called “the jungle” because of all of the trees and foliage. Except for the insane heat (hovering around 105 all week), I never would have known I was in the desert. I had to laugh at myself when I realized I basically chose a Colorado wanna-be as my getaway; log cabin and all!
- Messages are everywhere when you take the time to notice! I know this one well but even I get to busy sometimes and don’t pay as close attention as I like to. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me share about my series of “messengers” that arrived on my doorstep every day. Look beneath the surface for the symbolism of animals, events and objects to hear the conversation the Universe is having with you. I had unconditional love show up in the form of two friendly dogs, the portend of change in a gathering of lizards, the transformation and enlightenment embodied in a dragonfly putting on a show for me and a surprise-find hidden in the midst of the little nature and wildlife library. When‘s the last time you noticed a message hid den in plain site?
Which one of these reminders; deep relaxation, time alone, your environment, nature and messages from the Universe will you play with today? I’d love to hear what you notice!