Water For The Desert: A Template For Evolutionary Change

Chronicling the sudden loss of a long-term intimate relationship, not with a person, but with a place, the author admits, “I used to be in love with the desert, a thirty- year indulgence seasoned with reciprocity and delight. Like lovers, we embraced and whispered to each other in the stillness of Sonoran nights. But unexpectedly, the magic vanished. It was the same as waking up next to a person you would suddenly feel shocked to see, questioning, “Who are you and why are we together?”

How do we find water for our own desert experiences? Water For The Desert chronicles the onset of sudden drought and the resulting discovery of how, like the wise Saguaro Cactus who expands its ribs to store water for the dry season, we also can expand our own ribs to adjust to loss and find water to slake our thirst. In the depths of shock, we find a template for negotiating change, absorbing new skills that moisten our hearts.

Description

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: Shock
THE FIRST 30 DAYS:
WEEK ONE
1. Everything Begins Where We Do
2. I’m A Mess
THE NEXT 7: WEEK TWO
3. Learning To Be New
4. Breaking Out Of Self-Made Prisons
IT CONTINUES: WEEK THREE
5. Monkey Mind
6. The Bird Clan
7. Don’t Hate Me For Being White
AND SO ON: WEEK FOUR
8. Silence
9. It’s All Perception
MONTHS 2-3
10. I GET It (I’m Home and the Lights are ON)
11. Life Magnifies Your Fears
12. The Gift of Your Natural Rhythm
13. Conscious Aging
14. Who’s In Control?
15. Grace and Ease
MONTHS 4-5
16. Island Interlude
THE FINAL MONTH
17. Culturally Conditioned
18. Synchronicity Rising
EPILOGUE
Post Script: The Field of All Possibilities

INTRODUCTION: Shock
HOW DO YOU MAKE SENSE OF A SENSELESS LOSS?
You might assume that a seasoned psychotherapist would have pretty well learned how to flex with change. She would also have met and banished her own demons enough to be adept at navigating the landscape of loss. After 25 years of providing counsel and doing my own personal work, I, too, made the same assumption. But following retirement, I met a completely unexpected new waterloo and lost my way, falling more deeply into the mysterious unknown than ever before.

For any of us, dark nights of the soul can strip our egos and challenge whatever beliefs we have constructed; they require a deepened spiritual intimacy with change and the willingness to allow the emergence of a new template. For me, an unsettling and unwelcomed loss was drifting me into a deep void. The need to deal with the disturbance it created in my psyche rendered the situation nonnegotiable, where plummeting through and then finally letting go might be the only way to survive and invite a deeper nourishment to breathe.

The loss precipitating my own dark night was not from loss of a beloved person or valued career (although I’d experienced those, too) but of a long-cherished place. The startling loss of vibrant relationship with a deeply meaningful place might be similar to waking up one morning with a jolt after years of familiar human companionship and wondering, “Who is that person sleeping next to me, and why are we together?” In the absence of human partnership, a few favorite sacred places had become confidantes, companions, and lovers. So upon returning to the once-enticing Sonoran desert after having loved, keenly needed, and relied upon it for so long, imagine my surprise when I felt nothing, nothing, wondering why the spirit that used to water the desert landscape, delighting and hydrating my soul, was now suddenly absent, gone without a trace or without even whispering, “Farewell”.

Who knew it could even be possible to experience such destabilizing loss of relationship with a place? Who knew this loss would catapult my former capable self into a shock so deep as to render me parched and immobile, thirsting for the sustenance upon which I once depended?

And who knew this would ultimately forge a channel for evolutionary change?