I am in the desert. The air holds that sweet desert smell. The sun is melting into the mountains. All kinds of grays and pinks are streaking the sky. It’s dramatic. It’s evolving. It’s unapologetic.
I used to be that way. I was bolder. I was surfacing. I was certainly without apology. Impertinent even. I could get away with that. I was young, talented, ambitious and intrepid.
Now not so much. Time has weighed in. Battles have been won and lost. People have died. Scars have healed. There’s a weight of both the successes and the failures. There’s a history full of so many crusades. And sometimes I’m just wiped out. It’s time for some relief.
I’m grateful for having gotten older. Wiser. More prudent. I don’t have to fight as hard or as wildly on those battlegrounds. And while there are new arenas in which to battle, I have the experience and the knowledge to strategize well. Find different ways to approach the cause. But as I watch the clouds dare the horizon, I wonder how much I’ve given up. I certainly have to go into the war zone. Every day. The work’s more challenging. There’s not as much joy or inventiveness. There’s fear and anger. I’ve given up as much as the next guy. Professionally. Artistically. And it costs. For all of us. It costs us our audacity, our originality, our dignity.
I’m done paying that price. I want to be courageous. I want to find my way back to fearlessness, to be able to look up and know exactly what it feels like to be the boldly ever-changing clouds claiming the sky.
I came here to the desert to get out of myself. Out of my mess. My computer, my work, my car. My anger and my disappointment. And away from a routine that’s beginning to consume and suffocate me. And right now, as the heat surrenders and the night creeps in, as I look into the healing water, I realize that there is one unquestionable thing I must do — I must reclaim myself. There is no getting out of me. No escape from myself. U-turn back.
(It’s interesting that often when we make a move away, we find what we’re leaving is exactly what we have to recover.)
I have to be willing to see myself. For who I have always been. Who I’ve become. Who I genuinely am. And then, and only then, can I shift. And take steps towards cloud dancing.
I feel deeply that I have to let go. I’m holding on to some idea of who I have to be to keep it all together. Me, my family, and whatever path my career has taken… But the harder I hold on, the less we (anyone in my life) can breathe. The more I tread forward, furrowed brow, tight stomach, shoulders hunched, the more confined I am. And everything in my life stifles within that confinement.
The sky is dark now. I’m about to slip back into the hot mineral water. Wine glass in hand, tears welling up with such a deep longing. A longing to be young, talented, daring and free. Young – well, truthfully I don’t miss that. It was exhausting. But the rest… is in me. I’m about to submerge and will surface weightless. I will be baptized as myself. And then the journey back to fearlessness can begin.
P.S. This morning, coming to the end of my couple of days in the desert, I had a treatment – a balancing energy massage. As the oils melted in, I went deeply inside and expanded. I felt like I could do just about anything. When it was done, and I was one with the table, the woman working on me said: “I don’t know if I should share this but I got such a strong feeling from you…”
“Go on,” I said.
Her face opened up and she said, “You have so much power in you and you’re sitting on it. So much going on. You can trust that it’s okay to release it.”
“It scares me sometimes,” I replied.
“I know. But trust that it comes from love. Trust that, and let it go.”
So with that I return home. To my remarkable family. And to the power within me. With the trust and the courage to reclaim myself.
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anaïs Nin