The Alchemist

I read it today after it was suggested to me last week. And after I read “Warrior of the Light: A Manual” last night. I am desperately seeking answers. And for one of the first times in my life, I am listening. I see that there are messengers all around me.

I have had a lifelong obsession with the desert. The only person I know who has ever truly understood it is the person who put the obsession there: my father. My mother even laughs and says “you and your father.” Every other person I know, who truly knows me, understands one aspect about the desert that I do. But there’s never been a single person who gets why the very concept of a desert or the presence of the desert on the Earth is so meaningful to me.

Sometimes, I don’t even know that I fully understand it.

Then, every now and again, I read something that speaks so eloquently about the power of the desert. The life in it. The energy. The answers that it holds.

When I first started teaching, the last three months of that first school year were plagued by these dreams. It was the same dream every single night. Just an open desert. There was something there that I did not understand or could not see. So, night after night, it haunted me. I’d wake up in a cold sweat, not knowing exactly what I was supposed to be gathering from these sleepless nights.

So, I took them to a spiritual advisor. And through eight days of meditation and zero talking, except with him, I was able to get some answers. And I returned to Los Angeles by way of the ocean, thinking that I had washed away the desert.

Until it happened again. Another crossroads. And I remember this clearly. I went to my parents’ house, and I said that I was going to pack some things up the next day and go find my soul in the desert.

They both said it. “You know best what you have to do.” And that was the beginning of this relationship. The one that we have now.

And I drove. And drove. And suddenly there appeared in the middle of absolutely nothing on a winding road–rocks. Red rocks. And I spoke with the people there and found my way up the side of one of these rocks, down into a vortex. And for hours, I sat and I could hear the very voice of God or the spirit of the world.

Then there was Gila. And the purple cactus. And cave drawings. And something that made me think I could sit there forever.

Each and every single time, I have wished that I could stay forever. My mind always goes back to the words that first spiritual adviser said: “It would be great to sit here forever, wouldn’t it? But you know that you can’t do that. You have a purpose outside of here.”

So it happens again.

Every single time there is confusion, the desert appears.

This time in a book. Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” describes a journey across the desert. One that I have taken in parts. One that I dream to take. One that was spurred by the same tortured thought processes that plague me. And the same reasoning. Years of omens. And years of thinking that the answer was something it was not. Trying to force an understanding where it clearly did not exist.

And I think he–Coelho–understands something that I’ve always known. All of it. Not just the pieces I can articulate or the parts that people can agree with because they’re trying to appease me. He understands that the very Energy that is life can speak to me in the desert.

One of my most spiritual friends told me once that she was jealous of the way nature speaks to me. She said that she could see in the pictures I took of the ocean and trees and the desert the very essence of God that I was feeling when I took the picture.

And I think now about how I use the words interchangeably–God and Energy. And the past six years. And the mess they have been because I know somewhere deep inside that there is something else. Something that is not being touched. Something that has come alive in very small pieces in very small ways for a very long time. Something that I have buried in the name of fear or the name of some twisted objective that seemed at the time to make more sense. Prior to this time, I have been the one to stop it. I have walked away. I have turned my life into turmoil. I have made the decision. This time, I think it was one mistake too many because this time, it was taken away from me. Stripped away in an ugly way, and at this moment I’m glad it was done that way. Had it been a transition like I had planned, I would be in this same place again in a year–6 months–2 years, and I would cry and I would wonder what I was doing wrong. Again.

This started two weeks ago. With a night of lining up the trajectories of our lives. And me turning to my bookcase and pulling “The Interior Castle” off the shelf. And reading the first two chapters and seeing right there in black and white.

That I am waging a war for my very soul.

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