April In The Desert

April 16, 2009


The Arizona desert in April: the very thought triggered a stream of contrasting images; a bit like your average male with the TV remote; red rocks, dramatic vistas, desert brush, warm sunshine, shorts; all flickering rapidly through my mind. I pushed the competing images into my mental filing cabinet, just stayed with the possibility for a moment then let it go. However, it did not go away, I found myself scanning my trusty iCal for a window of opportunity and visualizing the freedom of the open skies and camping in my VW van. Then an amazing conversation with a client about the voice of the soul and the reflection that perhaps it is the desert where I tune in most clearly; followed by the recognition that I had three specific decisions to make each of which would be served by my solitary retreat to the desert. Everything seemed to be falling into place. The plan was set; I would leave on the afternoon of the 16th for the long drive south. It was only eight days before my departure an unwelcome dialogue began in my mind. “Did you draw a rune about this trip?” (One of my commitments to serving soul is that I always draw a rune before I finalize any plan to go away. It helps to reassure me that I am not just being diverted by my ego.) I could feel my resistance to the unwelcome intruder. “I think so; ages ago; anyway I don’t need to; it’s all so clear.” An immediate response “Are you sure you are worried you won’t get the answer you want?” Damn! The argument was indisputable. I either trusted this unconventional relationship I had with oracles as guidance tools or I didn’t. The oracle would always direct me in a path consistent with my highest good. I had learned that many times. I picked up the bag of runes and framed my question “Is my trip to the desert a go?” I drew a stone, hesitated and turned it over; there was no symbol. Blank is the rune of the unknowable and not very helpful. I cunningly reframed the question, “can I plan on leaving on the 16th for a trip?” I drew a second stone from the bag and looked up the meaning of the symbol – Opening Reversed. This did not look promising. I read the words “living for a time empty, waiting for the new to become illuminated. I sighed and resigned myself to enter the familiar state of not knowing. I began to wait patiently for the sign that would confirm that the trip was on. I did have a strange dream that seemed relevant. I was with an attractive woman; we were exploring the possibility of relationship. I was planning to go south to the sun; she was planning on going north to the mountains and snow. I asked if I should go with her and she responded as she kissed me that I had to make up my own mind. I wondered if she was an image reflecting soul. What was in the North? I pondered possibilities but nothing came to me and as sometimes happens the dream’s significance evaporated like a fog in the morning sun. That night I had a friend over for our regular mediation evening. This particular night we each drew cards from the Lynn Andrew’s Power Deck. I pulled Dream, which talked about the feminine power of intuition and suggests that each of us has to awaken from the dream to appreciate our true nature. It was a lovely reading but did not seem to throw much light on my dilemma. The next morning I read the card again and it prompted a recall of my dream. In the Power Deck the direction of the cards is very important. North is the home of strength and wisdom, where the adult lives, the home of spirit and prayer. The South represents trust and innocence, the inner child, physical being. I felt confused. I had no desire to go north but was this a metaphysical choice? North is cold, South is warm. I gave up. I would not solve this in my head. The days ticked by. I could feel my patience being stretched, there were only four days left before my departure and I had received no signs to guide me. Sunday morning I decided to draw another rune. Reverse Movement – another promising omen, I reflected sardonically. I looked up the meaning to read “what is yours will come to you.” I smiled, recognizing that this indeed was another experience to allow the picture to form, like a jigsaw puzzle, from many disparate pieces. I had another dream. This time from a friend in Toronto who called to say she was planning to visit. I called her to check if this was a clairvoyant dream but go no reply. So I waited with a great deal curiosity. On Monday I went for a bike ride and had an insight. I realized that although I was willing to rest in confusion, I had not let go of my desire to go away. I decided to formally surrender my attachment; it was time to let go. I celebrated by drawing a rune. This time I drew Joy and immediately wanted to see this as sign to resume my trip plan. Attachment is obviously hard for me to break. Then I read the final two lines and got this message “There is a new clarity that may cause you to renounce existing plans, ambitions, goals.” I laughed and started to think about planning the time I would now have at home. I sense I should draw another rune to confirm that the period of suspense was complete. Confidently I stretched my hand into the bag and extracted… the blank rune. “Unknowable” I guess the journey is not yet complete. So I did my best to exist in the state of “no – thing” I did not know if I was going or staying. The key I realized was to attempt to let go of expectations or attachment to either alternative. It sounds so simple but in fact it helped me to realize how subtle attachment can be. A bit like trying to keep your eyes away from a TV left on when you drop into see a friend, there is almost a hypnotic pull toward a state of something rather than nothing. Finally it was Wednesday night the day before my original departure. I had not planned to go away nor had I made any plans to fill the time available if I stayed. I pulled one more rune asking where I was on this particular journey. Strength: “prepare for an opportunity disguised as loss” and “the new form, the new life is always greater than the old.” The new form of course is learning patience and letting go without maintaining expectations. And yes at some level my personality was disappointed about letting go of my trip but I also noticed a relief that I followed this through together with a real appreciation for the gift of all this extra, unplanned time. Listening to the soul is not so much about a place, it is more about the space and I had the space here or in the desert.