Imagine you are lost in the desert. I'm hopeful that you must imagine this, as I do, because I am hopeful that you have never actually been lost in the desert. Yet from time to time in life you may have felt as though you were.
I have visited the desert, though. Perhaps you have also. Can you think of a time when you were hot, tired, and thirsty, as a person might be while they wandered the desert? For me, the occasion that stands out is a 2-1/2 hour hike straight up and out of the Grand Canyon one memorable August afternoon. I emerged hot, thirsty, and ravenously hungry. See if you can find a similar experience in your own memory.
I have been lost outdoors. Perhaps you have also. It can be a little scary, especially under adverse weather conditions. In my case, it was nighttime, a steady light rain was falling, I had no rain gear, the temperature was quite cool, and my clothing was wet. I was completely disoriented in a large grove of pine trees and, due to the cloud cover, unable to even gather my bearings from the sky. Can you find a similar experience in your memory?
Now put them together. You are very thirsty, tired, disoriented, and slightly scared. You're not sure where to go next, and yet you do know one thing. You must find water.
You may have felt the same way from time to time in your life. Of course "desert" is a metaphor and the thing you so urgently seek in life may be something other than water. Money to pay the bills, perhaps. Companionship. A safe place to live. Love.
Let's get you out of the desert.
As you wander through the desert, it may seem that water eludes you intentionally. From the wilderness survival training I've taken over the years, I *know* that there is plenty of water to be found in the desert if a person knows where to look. Yet to the untrained eye, it may be elusive.
Furthermore, the moisture that the untrained person stumbles upon may take a shape that is far removed from the image of that cool bubbling spring he continues to picture in the privacy of his own mind. Insects, for example. The inside part of a cactus. Dew licked off a flat surface first thing in the morning.
A clever and resourceful person could probably survive for quite a while in the desert on such moisture. Yet she wouldn't thrive. Her thirst would never really be satisfied. She would continue to wander in search of that cool bubbling spring. For a while.
After a while, our wanderer would most likely acclimate to the conditions. Learn to take sustenance from the cactus and morning dew. Possibly even forget the image of that cool bubbling spring. He would adjust his aspirations to match the landscape around him.
One day, though, it could happen. One day, having completely given up the search for that cool bubbling spring, after having accepted that it is possible to survive in even the harshest of conditions on less than she would have thought possible, our wanderer might find a surprise.
Turning round a corner, there is the spring! It's just as she'd imagined it! Cool, bubbling, and surrounded by trees and grasses. Amazing! How could she not have turned round that same corner before?
Well, perhaps she had.
You see, as long as the wanderer believes he is in the desert, he will view a desert landscape. Cool bubbling springs surrounded by lush vegetation do not occur in the desert. Reason tells him so. Therefore, even though the spring he's seeking might be close at hand, he is unlikely to take the turn that allows him to view it in all its glory.
At worst, our wanderer (in the story of your life, this is you) will come to believe that she's set her aspirations too high. There is no completely satisfying vocation, perfect affordable housing, or well-matched life partner. This is life in the desert. A person must be realistic. Work to pay the bills, live in a marginal neighborhood, accept the companionship of a partner with whom you do not thrive.
Here is your Christmas present.
You do not live in the desert. Your aspirations are not set too high. Shift your vision. See abundance. Watch for evidence of the missing piece of your life showing up around you.
But wait. You may be able to see it before you're able to access it. Perhaps it's as though you can see that spring from across a deep ravine. You can see it over there. You know it exists. Yet you can't quite drink from it.
Take heart. Once you can see the state you desire, you're nearly there. This is where you apply the lesson of becoming "un-lost." Anytime you feel lost, you can take confidence in the fact that there surely is also a state of being "un-lost." After all, you lived there just a little bit ago! The only thing missing is the awareness of a clear path to get there.
Here's what to do. Ask for guidance. Call upon every angel, saint, or higher power you can think of and ask them to guide you. If you're literally lost outdoors, ask the landscape itself to reveal your best pathway. Then simply have faith and follow the guidance. It will be revealed to you, just as that grove of pine trees showed me the route to their boundary on that cool rainy night. Within moments, I was safe and warm in my sleeping bag.
You'll be safe, too.
Elizabeth Eckert can help you explore how simple everyday choices create health — or undermine even the best of intentions. With a background that ranges from energy medicine to structural bodywork to developmental psychology, this "Stick-To-It Coach" has the experience to support you in creating the healthiest possible expression of — you!
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