I recently had the occasion to spend nine glorious, beautiful days in the desert. First, I sojourned in Phoenix (which is only recommended if you have a liking for overly oppressive heat and friendly biting bugs known as fire ants) and then in Sedona. Phoenix was just that, a beautiful, fiery glorious bird-being, flying high above the world on glittery wings of gold. Heat, yes, giant bugs, yes, but still stately, and alluring. I never understood why I always saw my beautiful planet, Azelle, as a desert until I spent five days in the heat of a Phoenix summer and realized the beauty of it. Well, five days in a Phoenix end-of-summer-cooling trend, but considering I spend my summers in Colorado, it was probably a good thing I didn’t brave the 120 degree heat out of the starting gates. 106 is quite daunting enough. Despite the heat, despite my wilting flower tendencies, I love the desert. The stark beauty. The majestic rocks. Even the heat that plays tricks on your perception of distance and vision. There is something about a desert that strips down everything and reveals the sheer beauty of being. There is nothing to distract. No green, no living things (except those tough plants that thrive on harsh heat and little water), no gentle blue of water. It is the bones of the earth, showing through the lush carpet of life that covers its surface.
I fell in love with the desert. The energy of Colorado is light, lissome, teasing. Coy. The energy of Phoenix is clear, expansive and joyous. Sometimes unforgiving, raw and honest, but never hiding. There is no pretending in the desert. You are a part of something much larger than yourself. If you have the courage, you can embrace it. Or you can let it overwhelm you. The choice is yours. The desert welcomes either.
Then I made my way to Sedona. There are no words for the power of that place. A place of healing, of love. Nurturing. Beautiful, of course. Hiking on one of its myriad trails, I found myself moving quite unconsciously in tune with the Tai Chi I am learning. Embracing my body was easy, effortless. Nothing seemed out of place or upsetting. Everything just flowed. Spontaneous healing, emotional barriers collapsing, openness where none was available before…Sedona is a mysterious, beautiful place that is the universe’s gift to us. A marriage between Earth and cosmos, where stars beyond counting and the bones of the earth meet in glorious harmony. I could spend all of my existences through all time and space there, in that glittering place.
It is Alawahea, the title of my book and a word I created to explain that beautiful concept of embracing and celebrating everything exactly as it is, without needing to change anything at all. It is an acceptance and a rejoicing, a throwing open of the heart and knowing that everything is…just as it is. Not good, not bad, just what it is. It feels like home….and perhaps it is.