An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

Hello Everyone and Happy Thursday! I just returned home from a slightly extended, (and much needed), trip to one of my favorite places to visit in Southern California – Joshua Tree National Park.

It was exciting, relaxing and wonderful as usual – this was my third time visiting this national park.

I missed not going last year, tremendously, because I was deep in the throes of overcoming grief, and I didn’t realize exactly just how much I missed the desert until I was finally able to once again step foot onto the coppery, tawny hued hot sand and dirt of the very beautiful Mojave-Colorado desert inspired landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. You really have to visit this part of the earth to truly appreciate just how welcoming it is.

To back track a little bit, I didn’t go last year because it just didn’t feel right. I even made reservations twice last year, and cancelled them just as soon as I made them. So, I know deep down I wanted to go badly, but my need to hibernate at home and learn how to live without my youngest child was so much stronger. Sometimes I think that my son may have even had a hand in my not going because I was no where near ready to enjoy myself – as one should when on vacation.

My last visit was just a few months before my son’s death, so as you can probably imagine, this trip brought back so many memories of when he was still physically in my life.

This year though, I was more prepared for the adventures and physical exertion required for such a trip; as well as the opportunity to release some really heavy internal turmoil and manifest a hint of personally relevant rehabilitation. The desert offers many opportunities for reflection and healing and my heart and mind are now in a good place – a place of equanimity.

This trip was quite different from my previous trips to Joshua Tree National Park in that it was less about reaching a specific peak, enduring a strenuous trail, or taking a lot of pictures so that I could post them to Instagram. In fact, for the first time ever while traveling, I gave extra attention to avoiding my smartphone while away. I wanted to make sure that I would be fully immersed in my trip, and that required me to be fully present in every moment so that I could obtain the most from my experience with nature, and the culture of the area, while there. Trust me, it was by no means easy, and I was tempted to get on my phone a few times to post photos on social media and to create a post here on Salubrity and Soul, but I didn’t and I am glad that I was able to keep my promise to myself and to ensuring that I would be able to have the best possible connection to my trip experience.

I did take a few photos eventually though, because I had to have something to remind me of my trip besides the Joshua Tree t-shirt that I bought. I just made sure that capturing photos from my trip just so that I could let everyone know what I was up to at the moment was not my main focus – or a focus at all.

This trip was was less about physical activity and more about becoming one with nature, more specifically, the desert – and and allowing it to teach me about surviving, overcoming, adjusting to harsh conditions and thriving while in that state.

I love being in the desert and I figured if anything was going to propel me to another level of healing in my bereavement it would be within the lessons learned from watching the example of resilience from the delicate but oh-so-mighty desert.

One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of plant life and wildlife at Joshua Tree National Park this year. It was obviously more green and more bright with colors from a variety of plant species that were dormant during my last visits – (and my 2017 visit was pretty exciting as far as seeing color and running into fauna was concerned, so that should give you a little hint to the eye-catching changes that left me in awe.) I concluded that my increased sightings of lizards, birds, insects, desert rats and rabbits were the result of the increased plant life which undoubtedly was the result of the fact that the desert had received quite a bit of rain earlier this year. This part of my trip was something that I enjoyed witnessing as it made my trip even more pleasurable and in a lot of ways – more spiritual.

Joshua Tree National Park emits such a deep, raw energy within its boundaries that I would describe as being very cleansing. Maybe it has something to do with it being a high desert, or maybe it is because when you are out there it is almost as though you are visiting another planet, or because the desert holds a great deal of “fire energy”, or perhaps it is due to it being a vast land once inhabited by ancient natives and still feels like it.

Whatever the reason, many people, myself included, love to visit this desert public land for the visual aesthetics, the physical activity offerings and the spiritually stimulating opportunities.

Had I decided to go last year, I know that I would not have enjoyed myself as much. It would have been a very solemn and mentally draining trip and I don’t believe that I would have been able to even entertain the thought of going out for a hike each day; or try new restaurants in the area like I was able to while on this trip. It feels very good to be able to open up myself up to new experiences once again – and in a place that fills me with so much joy and peacefulness.

Have you ever gone on vacation only to return home feeling as though you now need a vacation from your vacation? I have, but that never happens to me after visiting Joshua Tree.

I am grateful for every moment of mindfulness along the trails that I hiked and every awe-inspiring view that captured my attention and my heart. The connection that I receive with every visit here never fails me. This time is no different. Right now I feel transformed, invigorated and inspired to share the lessons of resilience that I learned from the desert.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time,

Take care + be well

Just Be Thankful.

Just Be Thankful.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

– Melody Beattie

As the month of November comes to an end I begin to sense the spirit of gratitude slowly fade away. The “month of gratitude” may be over, but I do not plan to stop practicing gratitude thereafter. My gratitude practice is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that makes every day of my life a magical and wonderful journey of discovery and appreciation. Even in the midst of grief and profound loss.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take care + be well,

Carol xo

Why I Stopped Saying “I’m Blessed”

Why I Stopped Saying “I’m Blessed”

The words “I’m Blessed” is a phrase that I have used quite often in the past to express the way that I feel about all of the good and wonderful things that I have received and accomplished in my life.  There is no harm in celebrating the good that occurs in our lives…right?  However, one has to ask, does that change if we become a bit too zealous in our efforts to celebrate ourselves and we begin dismissing the misfortune of others?  Does it change if all of the good that we receive changes us – and not for the better? 

I stopped saying “I’m Blessed” a few years ago when I began a volunteer position working with foster youths helping to ensure that they were receiving proper care with regard to their health and well-being in their prospective foster homes.  Just hearing those two words at the time would make me cringe whenever I heard them coming from my mouth or from the mouths of others.  All of a sudden that little special phase began to seem shallow to me, and I just didn’t feel comfortable using it anymore. 

Another reason why I stopped saying it was because I began to notice that there are a lot of people who do not have a “typical” family structure or a “typical” shot at some of the opportunities that others have. Not to mention having the “good fortune” of celebrating the holidays with their loved ones in many instances. I also began thinking about those who had lost their homes and loved ones in recent storms and natural disasters. Once all of this began to infiltrate my mind – well, it was a given that I, personally, no longer felt comfortable using that phrase. 

Once I really began to pay attention to how common these issues are, I realized how egotistical I must have sounded to give myself so much praise and attention when I really didn’t need it – any of it – because I have enough. More than enough, even with all of my own personal struggles and imperfections. I still have enough, and I don’t need to tell anyone about my blessings because we’re all blessed in one way or another. As a result, it became more important for me to just appreciate my blessings and be thankful for them in silence and with grace.

I think the word “blessed” can sometimes be taken out of context to go beyond simply meaning “to be fortunate” or “lucky” and is often instead referred to as being something “more than“, being “highly favored” and exalted by a higher power which is often the result of performing some spectacular act, or just being successful or having a perfect family, appearance or life.

Once I began practicing gratitude as a way of celebrating myself and all of the things that I am fortunate to have or have experienced in my life, everything changed. For one thing, I can honestly say that I am now a more humble and open person and someone who is always conscious of what others may be going through.  Now I count my blessings instead of professing that I am blessed. You and I – well – we are all blessed just for being; and we shouldn’t feel any obligation of having to have had accomplished something  to receive those blessings. Besides, blessings often run out, while gratitude is often the gift that keeps giving; no matter what the situation.  Speaking of giving… I hope that you will join me by still celebrating yourself, (in whatever way you need and prefer to), but by also remembering to always make an effort to try to be a blessing for someone else whenever possible. Blessings to everyone!

Until the next post,

Take care + Be well,

Carol 

Attachment…I think I’ll Stick With It

Attachment…I think I’ll Stick With It

“They say that people are innately afraid of those who need them, they say that people are afraid of “clingyness”, afraid of attachment, afraid of being needed by another. But I beg to disagree. I believe that people when looking at someone who is needy of them, see themselves and see their own fears and they go away because they can’t handle those fears; it’s their own neediness that they’re afraid of! They’re afraid to want and to need because they’re afraid of loss and of losing, so when they see these things in another, that’s when they run away. Nobody is actually running away from other people; everybody is really running away from themselves!” – C. Joybell C.

The term attachment has been getting a lot of attention these days. I cannot recall exactly how many social media posts I have encountered that have stressed the new found acceptance for becoming detached to everything and everyone as a way of avoiding the chance of getting hurt or having to go through the terrible emotions that generally come over us when we lose something or someone.

“The beautiful thing about fear is, when you run to it, it runs away.”

– Robin Sharma

I get it. I understand how the emotionality that correlates with losing something that we like or love can hamper our ability to maintain our focus to get things done, and who wants to be in that type of predicament? When we slow down we are less productive, which in turn, often also means that we will be less accepted.

“Maybe life is about learning a better goodbye. Learning to let go of the one’s we love with nothing but love.” – JM Storm

The thing to remember is that attachment is in all of us. It is a part of us and a very human primal need. Without it, there is the potential to suffer worse than we would had we just succumbed to the attachment. To not want to bond well with something is probably okay; but to not want to bond well or genuinely connect with others is – well – a bit disturbing.

“And – was it really love if you didn’t feel that loss to the very core of your soul?” – Carol C.M.

Fear can protect us, but it can also cause us harm. There is a lot in life that we are not able to run away from, and should not run from if we want to truly experience life. I, for one, can honestly say that my acceptance of being attached to things has brought me as much happiness as it has brought me pain. My greatest lessons in life are those that were born out of immense love, my ability to accept moments of vulnerability, deep interest, passion and ultimately the loss of something or someone whether a relationship, parenthood, or an occupation or something else. I have loved and lost, but I have grown so much and that is what life is all about. Isn’t it? So be grateful for those moments that you realize that you have become attached to something, not fearful because that is just one more place where the beauty of life can be found. Leading you to a most substantial existence and life experience.

Until the next post


If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful please feel free to share it – and as always…

Blessings,

Take care + be well,

Carol xo

Balanced Healing

Balanced Healing

 

“The waves ebb and the waves flow, and yet I never tire of watching from the shore, the way the waves rhythms show their intensity, then inactivity; as if to remind me of what I already know in my heart and in my soul, which is that to life there must be balance, and happiness is empty if sadness we must forego.”

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo

Love’s Burden

Love’s Burden

“Your burden is already so heavy, so be light with yourself. Look at the way you take the pain from your heartache and allow it to sustain you through the rough waves of mourning – Never once forgetting that your reason for enduring it all was and will always be love.”

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post.

Blessings,

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol xo