What is it about a place you have never been to. There is a certain mystery that resides in the discovery of the place. Yet there is a place I have been and the only mystery is in the intense feeling of being home. How can it be that some place a person has never been can create such a feeling of being safe and content? This place for me is the desert, specifically Sedona, AZ. The first time I was ever there I loved it and felt that I could remain. Each subsequent time I have been there has been the same. The last time I arrived was a time in my life when things were kind of unsettled and yet when the magnificent red rock came into view I had the overwhelming feeling of being home and knew without a doubt this is what I needed.
It is as if this place has been calling to me, yearning for me and has been waiting for this precise moment when I would set foot on its crumbling red dirt. The energies of my body and spirit intertwining with the energy that is part of the soil and the rock that surrounds it. I breathe in the vastness of this place and it cleanses my entire being. I lift my face to the warmth of the sun and I can feel its rays shimmering on my skin. I am being blessed.
Why do I have such affinity for this place? It is like being with a good friend. No matter how long it has been since you last spoke everything is still familiar and wonderful. It is as if you have never been apart. There is a connection that exists long after you have parted and one that is easily tapped back into when you meet again. The tie is never truly broken. It is a thread that remains and one that can easily be felt and called upon when needed. And no matter how many times you have been together you grow and transform.
This is how I feel when I come to this place. Whether it is in true physical form or only in my minds eye. The desert of Sedona calls to me and I am home. It is a place that revives and rejuvenates. It is spectacular in its massive red rock and also with the minute organisms that reside in the soil. Everything is living and breathing here. And as I breathe I take in the rhythms of everything that surrounds me and I am one with this environment.
I have questioned why this is so. For the most part it really doesn’t matter. I have come to accept it, as it is. An unexplainable comfort, a place that can renew me, a place that causes me to grow and expand. My affinity for this place has grown and continues to do so. even though the reason doesn’t really matter I believe I was given part of the answer. I have been having a love affair with a book entitled Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
It is a collection of stories, of wonderful teaching stories of women and finding their voice, of keeping the wolf part of their nature alive so that they might continue to create, to be intuitive and to love. In finding out who we are or who we have been and forgotten or been hiding we gather bones and in this gathering of bones we find our song. Like the dry bones we start out in the desert.
Here is an excerpt from this story that I relate to and provides some explanation for my feeling of coming home when in the desert. A desert is a place where life is very condensed. The roots of living things hold on to the last tear of water and the flower hoards its moisture by only appearing in early morning and late afternoon. Life in the desert is small but brilliant and most of what occurs goes on underground. This is like the lives of many women.
The desert is not lush like a forest or a jungle. It is very intense and mysterious in its life forms. Many of us of us have lived desert lives: very small on the surface, and enormous under the ground. La Loba (the one who knows) shows us the precious things that can come from that sort of psychic distribution.
A woman’s psyche may have found its way to the desert out of resonance, or because of past cruelties or because she was not allowed a larger life above ground. So often a woman feels that she lives in an empty place where there is maybe just one cactus with one brilliant red flower on it, and the in every direction, 500 miles of nothing. But for the woman who will go 501 miles, there is something more. A small brave house. An old one. She has been waiting for you.
Some women don’t want to be in the psychic desert. They hate the frailty, the sparseness of it. They keep trying to crank a rusty jalopy and bump their way down the road to a fantasized shining city of the psyche. But they are disappointed, for the lush and the wild is not there. It is in the spirit world, that world between worlds, Rio Abajo Rio, that river beneath the river.
Don’t be a fool. Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Go up and knock on the old weathered door. Climb up to the cave. Crawl through the window of a dream. Sift the desert and see what you find. It is the only work we have to do.
You wish psychoanalytic advice? Go gather bones.
I think each time I go to the desert I am gathering bones and in the gathering of these bones I am creating a song that I will sing to create life anew. I am wanting, desiring to go the last mile of the 500 so that I might have that rich full life, the one that is hidden beneath the desert floor. It is work, one that must be done if we are wanting, desiring the richness that our lives have to offer us. Go gather bones, and walk or maybe even crawl that last mile so that you might reach all the beauty and wildness that is yours.