Desert Wandering. Desert Discoveries.

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Christ / Creative

There is a desert inside of me where I wander, like a hermit, my vocabulary reduced to variations in the salinity of my tears and one Name that I give to everything.  I found myself there again last night, sheltered against the wind by a robe of old rags, walking alone amidst an endless quilt of rolling dunes beneath the stars.  I know I am not the Originator of this place, even though it is in me, and yet these desert treks are awash in the moonlight of Familiarity.  There are no destinations, or objectives, only a continuous finding.

Something calls me there, to that desert place, some heart gravity that longs for me to crawl inside of it.  When I get there, and fall to my knees on a tiny pile of sand below the most beautiful canopy of stars you can imagine, I can taste the echoes of that Call on my swollen tongue.  I look up into the Heavens and I see Writing.  I look down in the sands and I see the ashes of last night’s text.  I look around and try to see the One who is watching me.  I stare far, far into the distance and watch Him watch me.

Sometimes the wild scent of Love fills the air.  You cannot imagine it.  The agony is delightful.  It is as if you stumbled into a bakery before dawn, and you were fresh off a ten year famine, and the oven doors were just opening, and all the transformed loaves were being pulled out to cool, filling the room with that fresh aroma.  The scent of Love in a midnight desert is like that.  Surely Love’s trans-national pipeline must be on the other side of the hill.  It must have burst, and Love must be pouring into the air in billowing clouds.  This is dangerous, because the need to strike a match comes on like a seizure.  (There are no lighters in the desert, only howling animals.)  I fall on my back instead to make sand angels, or run and dive off the top of a dune in an effort to fly, and just tumble and grunt for a while.

I run to crest the next dune, and look down, but there are only bones.

* * * * *

Last night was the same, but I was hunting for some One.  Sometimes when I feel the desert calling, I look inside myself with x-ray vision, and I see a lamp swinging back and forth, held by a hand, casting shadows on the sands that look like kites flying across the ground.  The lamp has a warm, yellow glow.  It’s glass on four sides, in an iron frame, hanging on a chain, held by this One.  I’m high above looking down at this lamp, and that is when my whole being becomes the desert, and the lamp is gone.

Last night I saw a yellow light off on the horizon, jittering around like a bug.  I yelped and pawed at the air.  I lost several hours trying to find wood to build a signal fire.  Foolish.  (There is no  wood in the desert, only howling animals.)  Then I started running.  But you cannot run for long in the desert, and finally when I got to the top of the next rise, I sat down, panting and laughing and choking, and looked at that light, and I used the one Word to which my vocabulary had been reduced.  I looked at that jitterbug light and I spoke that word, and I waved my hand in surrender, as if to say, “I give up.  Here I am…

“…I’m ready.”

A desert thrush alighted on my shoulder then, and I knew something had been returned to me.  She looked out with me at the horizon, her head slightly twisted to one side.  We looked with one vision, and I knew I would never be without her.  How can something that is inside of you ever get away?  She knew how to find nourishment in empty spaces, and she was the return of that Knowledge.

* * * * *

I was walking again, with a desert thrush on my shoulder, and we rounded a dune and saw a lamp on the ground, an oasis filled with cool water, a tree or two, and a few shrubs.  There’s more in this desert inside of me than I can ever really say.  Rumi was seated on an old log in the shadows, eyes twinkling.

I’m praying for snow, he said.

I looked up at the cloudless sky.

Someday it will be the time of snow, he said, and tonight all beings are envisioning that moment.  Creation has put out the call and we have answered.  Wouldn’t snow be beautiful?

The time for calculating had passed.  I love you, I said.

You love everyone, he replied.  Like me.  Come and sit.  Pray for snow with me.

I love everyone?  I looked at the lamp.  I felt confusion.  My place in the moment became an open question.  Something threatened to crumble inside of me, and I asked myself how could I find this place, and now be standing here like an idiot, nonplussed, with my thrush returned to me and silence all around?  How did I get through the desert if I still had this shame in my gut?  Something in the bushes flickered, a rustling.

You there! Rumi exclaimed, leaping to his feet.  You!  Hiding in the bushes!  Let me hide with you!  Until our friend returns!  And I stood perfectly still, dumbfounded, as Rumi dove into the bushes.

The thrush on my shoulder just waited, looking into the bushes.

After a time, Rumi popped his head out between some leaves and looked into  me with his eyes for a moment, then offered this assessment to his hidden friend, still looking into me: He still thinks there are reasons.

We can turn moments like this into grand events, make the study of our shame an intense process, or we can realize we drank gasping draughts from the Source to quench our longing, and inadvertently got some Love down the wrong pipe.  I coughed and turned red inside, and chastised myself for a moment, and wheezed and gasped for air, and my shame transformed into laughter as one more unnecessary clinging disappeared.  Rumi winked at me, and I dissolved into the moment again.  Next, I dove into the bushes.  The thrush chirped a song of joy and leapt up into the trees.

This is my Friend, Rumi said.  We are praying for snow.

In the dark, under the leaves, under the moon, under the sacred texts of the heavens, in a desert inside my heart, I said to his Friend, I love you.

Jesus said, I love you, too.

We whispered one word back and forth for a long time underneath that tiny canopy of life in that desert, and when we emerged there were little flurries of ice waving around in the sky, falling down from a cloudless sky.  I realized there were thousands of people gathered around the oasis, seated on blankets, talking, reveling, dreaming.  I discovered how deeply I knew each of them.  I discovered that I didn’t know where my desert ended and theirs began, not here in this open Place.  We all just watched as Creation unfolded around and through us.  The thrush chirped to me from the top of the tree.  It caught a snowflake in its beak.

Little joys can fill us up to the brim.

Sometimes a moment comes and then it goes.  It doesn’t mean anything.  (There is nothing to fear in the desert, only howling animals.)

Come and sit, Rumi said.  Pray for sunrise with me.

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: On the Nature of Power (Interlude) | Embracing Forever

  2. “We can turn moments like this into grand events, make the study of our shame an intense process, or we can realize we drank gasping draughts from the Source to quench our longing, and inadvertently got some Love down the wrong pipe.”
    Lol, yes…lovely image Michael.
    Peace,
    Debra

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  3. I tend to fly with the tribe that does their doing from trusting the first gut response and then asks questions later. Shame and second guessing can wait. SO, here we go with letting the words free…

    Ok, on second thought (lol) my might be better to address via a post so as not to clog your comment space. I’ll work on it.

    Hope your time away took you right to those places you long to be, seeing what you have been longing to see. It has been my experience that our shared inner-net comes on line a bit more when focus is not split with the inter one, too. -x.M

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    • That’s a good tribe, M. Self-consciousness is something I’ve slowly peeled away. Like tip-toeing towards truly free self-expression. It’s funny, when I first linked back to the post I had forgotten entirely about the shame piece even being in there. I was remembering another part of the idea that had inspired it, about Creation being somehow a mysterious, yet collectively shared experience, perpetually evolving. The time away was good. I am also glad to be back!

      Michael

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      • I set the intent to be the hands of Christ in action upon this planet. I set the intent to be, breathe, reflect, act and embody unconditional love at all times, in all things and in all places and then I go about living the life currently called Maren. Do I have aspects of “myself” that stand in the way of this…have wiring built on illusion and pain and external lies that have been internalized covering true one self? YES!!! NOT PERFECT AT ALL WRITING ON THIS SIDE OF THE COMMUTER 🙂 ! HOWEVER, when I set the intent to live and be from unconditional love, I get sent on my path the experiences I need to clean house inside myself…to “purify” my vessel so to speak so that the “signal” of unconditional love can be broadcast through me, from me, as me with more clarity as I move and BE in the world. REALLLLLLLLLY overly simplistic language (bit Matrix sci-fi), but it is short hand to quickly get to what I am on about. It is DEEEEEEPPPP and words are challenged to capture the complex simplicity.

        This was the post that came to life from wanting to leave a bigger comment here:
        http://seeingm.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/dancing-not-a-but-the/

        Just linking for any who are wanting to follow the trail a bit easier.

        Michael, I so appreciate the contemplation you have so generously shared here with such eloquence. We run into great artists on our journey…and for me, it is a beautiful and rare thing to run into another whose chosen medium for the creation of their life is also unconditional love. We are blank canvases arriving here with free will and the free agency to create whatever we want within our shared creation called earth. How heart happy to find a little electronic home for a family member who is painting in a similar part of the pallet…part that gets to or possibly is the foundational roots. -x.M

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        • My heart is full also, Maren. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts and expressions here. Your presence is a rich fertilizer for our growing hearts.

          Michael

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      • I thought about not linking this as it is quite old now. Almost 5 years have passed since the words were formulated and the ego tries to say how embarrassed one is of the rawness of the offering, however…

        This is the only verbal publicly recorded place that begins to speak a bit more about what I am on about discussing how this actually works in felt experience in the living of ones seemingly separate life. NO OBLIGATION to listen at all. Just left as an expanded voice for anyone interested in looking a bit deeper. My part begins about 14 minutes in.

        http://c-realm.com/podcasts/crealm/episode-185-the-beingness/

        Will have to get something new out there to share soon :). Might ask to be a guest on one of my husband’s roam casts -lol.

        -x.M

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        • Hi Maren, I have listened to the first thirty minutes of your interview. It is great to hear your voice, and wonderful to hear and sense within it your enthusiasm and integrity for being… and for being Love… Thank you for sharing that. If your ego is tossing out that feeling of embarrassment at the way these feelings came out “way back then”, I would just say there is both power in your vulnerability and innocence in the clarity of your communication. Awesome stuff. It sounds in the recording as though speaking this truth you feel alive within you was perhaps a way to “own it” on an even deeper level, which is like an act of creation.

          I have no idea what a roam cast is, but it sounds good! Let me know when and where to find it, please… 🙂

          Michael

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      • I am not sure how your wordpress format organizes comment responses, but this one is written addressing your taking the time to listen to the link. Really, there is nothing said there that would be new to you, rather it is just a trail for anyone out there reading on the hunt for more details related to how to actually apply the living of this in felt experience in their life. Words are wonderful, but what happens to them when you find yourself cut off in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store? Rewiring with unconditional love is an actual thing that each one of us can do.

        Roam casts are found under interviews here: NeilKramer.com -along with many interviews, a few videos and very eloquent essays. With my support, my husband does this full time. His writing (like yours M), brings joy to my heart. …such clarity and depth. I personally struggle to check Rumi-eskness at the door with my words 🙂 so I have been happy to place my voice behind my husband’s name as the place that the message we feel is important to share is sent more publicly out into the world. The goal of our lives is to use the living of them as radical art projects in unconditional love and then turning and sharing what we glean.

        A small juicy taste:

        When I discovered my husband’s voice sharing in the world, he was writing on a blog called “The Cleaver”. This link is left for anyone reading here as a request (not really applicable to you M, as I know you would roll this way anyway):

        http://seeingm.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/love-of-an-overcoat-cleaver/

        It is the very open, “American”, oldest child of 10 who is respectfully sensitive to the more reserved, “British” only child whose sharing style contains less personal details than mine… neither of us is “wrong” in the way we conduct ourselves in the world due to our early wiring and we are both growing toward an evolving balance. I do not mind attracting the “nutter factor” (respectfully described as such from a place of love) in public sharing, but I think many of my personally needed lessons related to this have already been owned, while for N, there are a few still in the works of resolution. 🙂 🙂 When someone is deeply seen and known by someone else it is a
        d * e * l * i * s * h * i * s * h
        and sacred thing. Finally someone else out there gets you and there is a place to tie the life raft and rest a bit. His voice is so clear and so strong that I do not blame those who want to do the daily dance with him. I do too :).

        -x.M

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        • Beautiful stuff, M. So great to have found a life partner with whom you can share, align, express, be, grow, and love. (I am grateful and humbled to be able to say ‘I know the feeling’…) Thank you for sharing the “link”. I’m just not sure why you would want to check your Rumi-esqueness at the door…! 🙂

          I have read one or two of your husband’s essays since you have shared the link and enjoyed them a great deal. So great to have found you guys. So great you share a desire to share and express that intangible thing called Love.

          Michael

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  4. Pingback: Dancing Not A But The | seeingM

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