First off, I must mention that for the entire trip, I didn't drive once. One of my oldest and dearest friends Andrea, who is visiting from Vancouver, drove out and I drove back with Andrea's friend Ingrid from San Diego, who met us out there. In high school and through most of my adult life, I have always been the "driver" in my social group (a duty I also share with my wonderful friend Monica, credit where it's due :)) It was a really powerful experience to relinquish that control.
This lead me to thinking about the role of control (hey, that rhymes!) in my life. I wouldn't say that I'm a "controlling" person, but I am very particular, enjoy taking a leadership role and relish the sense of being "in control" of myself. I must admit, it felt quite liberating to let go of the need to direct, drive, control and plan each and every moment. The ability to surrender to the flow of life does not always come organically to me, but when I do experience it, I certainly enjoy it. I feel primed to flow even more, particularly as I feel at such a crossroads in my life, with so many interests and paths calling out to me these days. It's good to be reminded that I'm free to change course, make fresh decisions and just see what happens. I don't always have to be in control.
Next, I must say, it's so great to be around people who do different things than I do. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my yoga community and my dance community, but it is so refreshing to hear different perspectives. Both of my travel companions work in urban planning and design, and I loved being exposed to all manner of new thoughts and processes that these smart and savvy ladies share.
We stayed at a beautifully rustic homestead, about another 15 minutes drive off the main road that runs through Joshua Tree, and wow, the sense of silence out there was amazing. The stillness, the peace of the place was palpable. Which in turn makes the moments that the silence is broken, be it with laughter or coyote yips, even more powerful.
The variety of things we were able to get up to is not lost on me. Our first night out there, we ventured to Pappy and Harriets for some live music, spent the next day roaming the park, checking out Barker Dam and hiking out to an abandoned Gold Mine, and on my last day, we even took in a sound bath at the Integratron. I tend to be a creature of habit (and comforts), so breaking out of the routine is super important in keeping things fresh for me.
I often lament that it takes me a long time to make changes in my life. I'm a very gradual, cautious, steady person in terms of change, and being in the desert was a great reminder to me, that nature has all different ways of sustaining life, dealing with change and evolving. To the untrained eye, the desert may seem barren, still, and even hostile. But what is revealed is that the desert is actually full of life, all perfectly orchestrated and calibrated to work within a particular set of conditions.
I learned that after it's initial growth spurt, the Joshua Tree grows only 1- 1 1/2 inches a year! Looking at the tall, spiny iconic Joshua Trees all around me, I felt a kinship. Many of those trees will live to be hundreds of years old, at that slow and steady rate of growth. At the same time, some will burn in fires, rain waters will flood the high deserts, life once dormant will spring forth in a burst. Life is so much like that, in my experience. We live our lives day to day, to the best of our ability, slow and steady, dealing with the floods and lightning strikes when they occur and change everything.
With these refreshed eyes and easy heart, I hope to bring a little bit more love and a little bit more joy to all I pursue. Time away in nature, with friends, is truly a vital support to me and it's a powerful thing to be able to surrender to.
Ishvara Pranidhana, huh?
Namaste friends and yogis,