I love deserts! There is something about the big skies, the intense sunshine, the dramatic geography and stark contrasts that call to me. On my recent trip through California I encountered a variety of different desert experiences. The high desert around Mammoth Lakes adorned by sagebrush and the spectacular snow crested peaks of the Sierra Nevada always invigorate me. Death Valley is so much more than a single desert experience. From a vast expanse of sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells to the deeply corroded yellow badlands around Zabriskie Point, it is ever changing, at times a lunar landscape, and then the verdant oasis around Furnace Creek. The desert just needs water to break into life. I think one of the reasons it resonates with me is that is offers such a wonderful metaphor for a landscape of the soul. At times we feel isolated, arid, abandoned, thirsty and barren but there is always the promise of light and water creating an outpouring of life.
My favourite desert is the red rock desert around Sedona in Arizona. The result of ancient ocean floors being raised then corroded into amazing contrasting shapes, it is high enough to have significant vegetation in the form of pine trees and flowering meadows amidst the cacti and prickly pear. (Do not get too close to one of these suckers, I found by cruel experience it can bury a myriad tiny needles into your flesh.)
I love to meditate and contemplate while engaging in some arduous hiking and biking around Sedona. I feel relaxed, engaged and open to guidance. On my most recent trip I have been contemplating James Hollis words about living my largest life. I love my life with the depth of meaning I achieve through my spiritual coaching, my dream workshops, my DecisionClarity work and my involvement at Inspire Health yet I have been asking whether there is more I can do. On this particular day I had cycled to a beautiful landmark called Bell Rock where I climbed a little way and sat admiring the vast vista laid out in front of me. I sat and contemplated then put the intention out to the cosmos, “If there is something you want me to do, let me know”. I sat admiring the beauty and allowing the attention to set then began the clamber down. I noticed a rather irritating thought that seemed to be about adapting my DecisionClarity philosophy to a focus on accessing intuition in a way that would appeal more to the business arena. This seemed to make no sense at all, it would take the soul out of what I did and soul was where I wanted to focus. All I could see were challenges around bridging between two dissimilar worlds, I was a spiritual coach and I recall the very word causing uncomfortable ripples with some people; I would watch their eyes glass over when I shared my vocation and they would seek desperately for escape. Anyway I was approaching 67 and I did not want to go back into that world. However I could not help but notice that the annoying idea had popped into my head just as I had put out an inquiry so I qualified my negative response by thinking, ‘I am considering this a random thought that has no meaning and if I am to change my mind, I will need a really clear neon sign!”
As I drove the 2600 kms home to Vancouver, the memory dissipated and I had basically forgotten the episode until the day after I got home when I received an e-mail, “We’re having a 1-month reunion for people who took our program in September and I thought it might be good for them to hear a little about your own journey and your intuitive decision-making model….” This startled me; it was from someone I had met recently who works in an organization that supports participants in making new career choices. It seemed rather an overt sign. In addition that evening I was working with a client and he began to share some insights he had received from a book by Wayne Dyer called “Excuses Begone!” and somewhat shamefacedly I recognized some of the inner arguments I had faced when leaving Bell Rock. I had clearly been in resistance!
The next day I began to explore and develop an adapted presentation. To my surprise I felt inspired and motivated and soon the outline fell smoothly into place. I recognized that the key to maintain the integrity of my model was to maintain a focus on meditation. I realized that meditation is not necessarily a spiritual practice. It could simply be positioned as a process to concentrate and focus awareness and help to access our intuitive faculties. It is the power of our thoughts and feelings that block intuitive wisdom, the key is to find a way around this barrier. The essential steps involved setting intention, paying attention and meditation. Simple, effective and inspired in the desert.