For most of us, the New Year means setting new goals and resolutions to: get out more, be more active, lose weight, get a new job, work a little less and spend a little more time with family, meet new people, find the “one”, get a new look, whatever. Reaching the edge of the end of a year and the view of a new one is always a perfect time to reflect on all that we’ve been through this last year and see the places we’ve left behind and the horizons we have yet to conquer. For me, 2014 was a year of growth and risk. I felt myself truly grow creatively, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. There were moments of pure bliss and ecstasy whenever I reached a surprising height and a view so breathtaking I wanted more of it, and then there were moments where everything inside of me felt emptied out like a dry river bed aching for the winter snow to melt and bring in a rush of water. There were people I met who lifted me and others who drained me of my source of love, and when the last few hours of the year came near, I understood then, that everyone I met, and all the things I felt and places I’ve seen, were all part of my journey–my ascent–to see the beautiful horizon that lay ahead of me. I climbed and trudged through difficult terrain and braved through many storms to reach this breathtaking view, and even though I am proud and happy for having done so, I know that these mountains will not be the only landscapes I’ll journey through.
I spent the last weekend of 2014 camping in the Anza Borrego desert. It’s a different kind of feeling from hiking in the mountains where you have a goal in mind: to summit to the top and see the view.
Life is that way: ascending towards the ultimate view and that captivating feeling of awe with all that surrounds you at the top.
You don’t have an ascent or a peak that you hike to in the desert, no. The desert has something entirely different. It has a sacred depth hidden in the vast emptiness of its nature. The mountains surround you from afar like a comforting friend keeping a watchful eye on you, but the desert offers something more than friendship. It offers a journey to find the beauty of a dry land so immensely quiet and bare in its naked skin. It offers a journey to listen and hear the sounds of the gentle wind and the crackling of a star dazzling in the cold night sky. It offers a journey to understand what it means to be in awe of everything and nothing, at the same time.
I peeked out of my warm sleeping bag a couple of times to surprise the stars with my eyes and I felt like they were giggling at me as they twinkled across the velvet blackness of space saying, “Don’t be so afraid to come out and dance with us. You are one of us, too. Warm and bright. Get out of that silly heat bag.” Despite it being nearly 30ºF, I laughed back and in a rush of adrenaline, hopped out of my sleeping bag and danced underneath the light of my distant friends. It’s a beautiful feeling to surround yourself around the serenity of a landscape that is sparse with vegetation and immensely enchanting.
Life is that way. And you move through time and your days in that way: not ever really knowing what lay ahead in the sparse nothingness that surrounds you. So when you walk through a desert and admire the resiliency of life when things are bare and naked, you understand that life can only really be lived in such a bare and naked way–a way that allows us to go deeper into the vast emptiness and create with our unique magic and love, an inner life rich with vegetation and enchantment from the stars we shine.
You begin to understand that even though life is an ascent towards something, life is also a vast and infinite horizon that we must keep moving forward in.
My word and anchor for 2015 is deeper. In the desert I felt a very deep connection to all that was around me: The nothingness. My skin, cold from the unforgiving sand underneath me. The quiet whispers and tenderness of the wind in my ears. The children in the stars, playing and taking their turns to shoot and dazzle for the moon. The way nothing felt so comforting like a blanket keeping me warm. I danced until I couldn’t feel my fingertips or toes on the sand, and let the desert take me deeper into myself to feel a real ecstasy that only surrendering to love could make you feel. This last year was a very challenging year to ascend and climb through, but I understand now, that deeper is where I need to go. In the desert, you find that deepness, that rawness and bare nakedness that summons you to go forth and move towards the depths of living.
This year, I want (and I hope you might want to do so too) to love more deeply in such a way that stirs up a chaos of fire and new life inside another soul that a society where love is matched through online dating sites, Tinder, and Ok Cupid, fall to its knees and beg for a deeper love like that; to kiss more deeply and hug more deeply in such a way that society stops and wonders what it’s like to feel a real human bond–stomach to stomach, heart to heart, lips to lips, eye to eye, soul to soul; to connect with people more deeply in such a way that the only value exchanged is our laughter and the memories we create together; to gaze and appreciate more deeply in a society that has lost what it means to have patience in a fast-paced instant world where we can have everything at the palm of our hands; to create and make art more deeply in such a way that breaks old grounds and stirs up a new kind of consciousness; to learn with a deeper curiosity in a society that no longer favors exploration of the soul and mind but rather, the exploration in possessing and amassing items that do not serve our highest selves; to speak and think more deeply in a world where very few understand what it means to really connect and share yourself with another human being; to live more deeply in such a way that my unique soul and magic can manifest and grow to inspire others to do the same.
I want you to understand, that in this life we will climb plenty of mountains. Most of us see a peak that challenges us and we make our plans and set out a course to get to the top. But in this life, we cannot avoid the deserts we must walk through. They exist in us the day we are born and can only be appreciated when we turn our eyes and heart into ourselves and see the vast emptiness we’ve created in our lives through hiding our talents and magic, fearing our passions for comfort and security, turning to our phones for passionless connections, and being a coward to living the life that wants to live through you in this time and space. Your soul and spirit are infinite, but the human life you have is not. We live in a time where we are planning ways to make the human body live forever as if such a thing is natural. There is a season for everything–take a look around you. Your soul and your passions, your talents and unique magic are aching to be lived through your human life. They want to manifest through you in a way that their other star siblings were not given a chance to do. We are truly are an impossibility living in an impossible Universe. How magical, crazy, and enchanting is that?
Turn your eyes towards yourself, darling.
Climb your mountains and grow strong enough to love and see the world when you reach the top–the Universe needs that from you, but it also needs you to be empty enough to sit down with the sparse nothingness and terror of the desert and be humble at the same time with its worse horrors. Turn your eyes towards the horizons and depths of your inner-self and love, and all the passions that burn within you, darling. When you walk through a desert and feel the comfort of the wind grazing your skin and the lashes of your eyes, and find your two feet on a solid ground that will keep you steady at your own pace, remember that you are on a deeper kind of journey that only requires you to move forward along the horizon, in any direction that your heart wants to follow.
That is how you grow. You keep walking. You keep moving. Closer, deeper, going further into yourself, going further into your art and magic, going further into your love and light, going further into your passion and ambition to live your human life the way your soul has wanted it to for so many decades.
This is what it means to live with full awareness of the nature that is within you: the mountains and the desert, the ascent into everything and the movement towards the abundance of nothingness.
What a feeling it is to sleep under the winter stars in the desert. A free and wild yet comforting kind of feeling. You hear nature in its most rawness, and it hears you in your journey towards a deeper kind of love. And when your cold-rimmed eyes shut and you hear the sound of your pounding heart burning through your veins and your thoughts escalating towards the heavens and your soul reaching for the infinite, listen closely.
This is when you will discover what it means to be a soul living and loving. This is when you will understand what it means to live a truly human experience.