The frenetic activity of the past four months has come to a halt and I am coming to terms with the stress and loss that my wandering path has brought about. Freedom, simplicity, and joy remain as the guiding current in the river of my life, but the stream has gone underground for the time being. The starkness of the high Sonoran Desert has brought me an unexpected gift – an unavoidable period of fatigue and depression.
Our home on wheels is parked, “docked,” to use motor home language, at my son’s house in southern Arizona. The weather is lovely. The family is supportive. And I am absolutely exhausted. Plans to roam about the area have been shelved and replaced by plans to read lots of books and take frequent naps. Quixotic notions of slaying windmills have faded for the moment and I find my mind slipping into a spacious place of healing and recovery.
I had underestimated the psychological and physical effect of leaving everything behind. I don’t regret it at all, for I can sense the spaciousness that is now slowly taking shape. It remains, however, a profound loss of all familiar things, places, and routines that are associated with “home.” These things cannot be immediately and off-handedly replaced by an entirely different way of living without a grieving process.
Continued stress greatly reduces the body’s production of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter among whose complex functions, is enabling the ability to feel optimistic and enjoy a sense of well-being. Aging, wouldn’t you know it, also slows down the production of Serotonin. So this aging, tired, and depressed man has been clearly told by all of his advisors, seen and unseen, material and spiritual, to Rest! The adventure is an authentic and important one, but for the next two or three months… Rest your body and mind!
It is very helpful for me to be able to frame the coming months as a “resting in the desert” experience. Many spiritual traditions see the desert as a place of cleansing and renewal. One returns from the desert having experienced the burning away of the extraneous and inauthentic. The desert is not a place of bustling activity, it is a place where roots must burrow deep for water; where rest occupies the greatest part of the day; where stillness brings insight; and where beauty is found in hidden places.
So, this is me… resting. I might not write as often for a bit, but will do so when it seems congruent with the healing process. My invitation to you is to pay attention to your own stress and fatigue. It builds up silent and hidden, repressed by the need to produce and be active. These are stress-filled times. Make rest and healing a non-negotiable part of your life.