(published Nov 8th through my newsletter)

It has been over a month since I moved into the Scamp camper and it’s become strangely natural to live like this. I’ve been in the same spot, on this animal sanctuary, for over two weeks and I’m well settled in.

The first week was spent exhaling and catching up on work, with a few speedy trips to Walmart (I know, I’m embarrassed, but god they’re good! They have 80% of the things I need).

Oh, and there was that one random Tinder date with the fellow that lives in a tent in the high desert… he was scruffy and kind and drove a strong silver truck.

This past week I’ve gotten the chance to settle, spend time outside in the sun, and explore my surroundings.

Then I drove into Joshua Tree National Park and was absolutely smitten.

If Dr. Seuss and the Loire Valley in France had a baby, it would be Joshua Tree. In general, I’m not a big National Parks person but that park has really got something going on.

Jtree_boulder

Plus you know I’m obsessed with rocks, right? And did you know that one of the urges that brought me to the southwest was the desire to lie on big boulders in the sun?

Well, JTree (that’s what the guy from Tinder calls Joshua Tree) is BOULDER HEAVEN.

When I strode out across the dirt to a giant rock formation, I suddenly felt like I was in that scene from The Sound of Music when she spins with her arms open in the field singing “The hills are alive!”

But it was like, “The ROCKS are alive…”

And they really were.

Also, back here at the animal sanctuary, I’ve tasked myself with mucking stalls.

They are understaffed here, and what I really wanted to do was nuzzle and bond with horses. But when I met the actual animals it was obvious (by the heaps of manure) that I would be better put to use mucking their stalls.

So between editing on my laptop and doing Zoom video calls and researching fascia for an upcoming Tune Up Fitness post, I’ve been trotting on over there to the farmyard and filling wheelbarrows with manure. Then dumping it in a great mound out beyond the fence.

Willow_pony

It’s hard for me to convey how right this feels.

You really have to be my mother (hi mom) to get it, but I grew up doing farm chores and generally puttering around with all kinds of animals and it was a crucial part of my nervous system regulation as a kid. It put me at peace. It made the world right-side-up.

When I had to go to school and shift much of my time away from working with animals, fences, land, I believe this was a major blow to my nervous system.

It set me on a path of dysregulation that caused other, less healthy coping behaviors to arise.

Plus, the horses here, and a donkey named Pumpkin, and the Llama, and the goats and pigs… all of their personalities are so distinct and their communication so clear. I look in their eyes and we seem to understand one another instantly.

The connection is prior to self-definition.

They are the embodiment of authenticity.

ANYWAY, I wanted to write this note about more than just Tinder dates and Joshua Trees and barnyard animals… I wanted to write it about unplugging your dharma.

The real thing I’ve been feeling over the past month is the rush of my dharma flooding through. I’m feeling so much more clarity about what I’m here to do, and say, and study.

Inspiration in rushing. This makes me reflect upon how painful it is when life circumstances limit your dharma to just trickle, or drip… how hard it is to feel your life purpose all backed up inside of you.

Hey… do you think that’s why our culture is so constipated? Is it symbolic of plugged up dharma? Or all the IBS out there… is that like, confused and unformed dharma? And do you think that’s why I’m symbolically cleaning out shit now? (Let’s all ponder that over the weekend…)

But this is what I want to convey: There’s something about the low and the high together… the basic manure shoveling and the ethereal predawn writing sessions to candlelight… there’s something about the whole package that just feels… complete.

I wish this completeness for you, in your own way, as well.

 

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JTree_Sun