“'What makes the desert beautiful,' said the little prince, 'is that somewhere it hides a well...'”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Reverence is not merely a feeling, a religious attitude, or an act easily executed, but something that takes an excavation of the soul to fully encounter.
After a spiritual breakdown and years of exhaustion over an ever-present numbness since my return from the Iraq war in 2005, I yearned to feel, to reconnect my spirit to the world around me. After years of what felt like abysmal loss and hopelessness, I was fortunate to find myself in the middle of the Sonoran Desert one weekend after New Year's 2010. It changed my life forever.
For whatever reason, a light switch went off inside my soul. Upon inhaling the arid air, drinking in the surreal colors of the desert, I had an irresistible urge to abandon my life and belongings in New England and embark upon a new journey into the desert of the US Southwest.
Years after making that decision to act, and to escape spiritual death, I am happy to report that out here in the desert - the Mojave Desert now - I have had found that glimmer of hope and followed it through reverence. I have rediscovered not only the ability to feel again, but the ability to experience gratitude in everyday life.
It wasn’t an easy journey, but a necessary one to feel alive after years of trauma, wounds that I had neglected, and spiritual neuropathy. Such a journey could not have been possible between these deserts without wonderful people I've met along the way.
In revering the otherworldly beauty and solitude of the desert, I have found a well. A well that has seeped into my veins so deep that it helped a heart broken a thousand times over to feel love again. Once I was able to love - my art, life lessons, others around me, and myself - anything became possible
This post was inspired by a prompt from Robin Sierra and The Global Reverence Project. See Robin's art at http://robinsierra.com/.
Dispatches from an itinerant and irreverent artist.