New Year, New Sense of Gratitude

We recently joined my husband’s parents on a camping trip in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Upon arrival. We arrived at dusk, just in time to witness a stunning sunset, in total panorama. As we set up our camper for a long winter, desert night, some fear set in. If my children wandered off, how would we find them? In the middle of the night, if anything should happen, how would we call for help? And so on, and so forth.

It was a long night. My mind would wander, only to be brought to the present by any unusual noises outside our camper. Once the exhaustion overwhelmed my body, I surrendered to the pressing call of rest.

The morning brought a hearty breakfast surrounded by family and friends. Once the coffee began to stir some life-force within me, I took in the bright desert that was a but a fauvist blur the night before. That was when a thought struck me, the desert is teeming with life.

Well, the dramatist in me couldn’t let this idea go. As our trip wore on, I couldn’t help but notice all of the ways this desolate landscape sustained life. The sunrises, blue skies, and sunsets stretched to infinity. This visual feast fed the soul.

The New Year can bring with it great hope, and oftentimes, pressure. Pressure to make drastic changes to “better” ones life. Sayings like “New Year, New Me” run rampant. There is even this odd sense that if the previous year was a rough one, that the simple ticking of the clock from one year to the next grants us a clear slate for a better year ahead.

“Things happen, and we have no control over that. What we do have control over, however, is our approach. “

This time last year, I felt that same pressure. But, life and that trip to the desert has taught me one thing. Things happen, and we have no control over that. What we do have control over, however, is our approach. When we first arrived to the desert, my mind was racing to make sense of the situation, I was on high alert. The next night was the complete opposite experience. I felt comfort from the blanket of stars that draped above our camper. The noises outside made me smile, as I knew it was a desert critter, looking for crumbs that our toddlers may have left behind. If something were to happen, we would have each other. Absolutely nothing had changed, but my own mindset.

“amongst trial and despair, there is LIFE. “

The other important idea that the desert introduced to me, was that amongst trial and despair, there is LIFE. And it is GOOD. Beautiful even. I think back to all of the hardest times in my life, and I change the script by remembering the good. How beautiful is that?

When I feel overwhelmed by the “bad”- I now envision a Desert Rose. There is good in our everyday lives, and in the world. When facing adversity, it is important to not feel overwhelmed, but to look at the situation from alternate perspectives that can grant you personal freedom, peace, even joy.

I wish you all the year of the desert rose. That you don’t feel the societal pressures to change weighing on your shoulders, but instead, you are able to grant yourself some grace and appreciate the good that already surrounds you. There is beauty to be found in all of this. May you work on cultivating more of THAT.

Happy New Year, friends! I love you all, just the way you are.

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