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23: desert sanctuary : natalie so

The desert is empty and sparse, a thinly veiled landscape that is purposefully uninviting. Everything protects itself. The physiology of its fauna and flora are telltale signs: spiny, prickly, precarious and beautiful, guarded by needles that stab lest you try to steal its treasure.


But the emptiness of the desert calls you to pay attention and fully inhabit your consciousness. You see the desert quail scurry across the road; notice the detritus laying haphazardly on the open plain; watch the trails of steam rise up from the hot sands. Like a monastery in which lack strengthens presence, silence focuses your attention; sometimes it sharpens sadnesses and amplifies joys. A fermata is held over every feeling. Solitude beckons. You have everything you need in this moment. Nothing is urgent. The future does not require your attention. Your heart is filled because you are no longer in want. The horizon, a bottomless basin that cleanses you with its smooth wash of colors, filters out all the thorny noise that was pricking you just days ago in the city. Now you have space and time to listen to God, and the first principles by which you want to live your life float to the surface, a buoy so achingly clear in an infinite blue: love God first, and love others. By that principle all else will fall into place.

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