It’s late December 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic and at the close of a hellacious year for all of humanity, not to mention my own personal chaos. So for both business and personal reasons, I now find myself driving solo with an empty U-Haul truck and trailer across three states to empty our Moab home. Well driving in one direction, that is- forward only- there and back to be clear. Forward only because I have never driven and towed a trailer in my life, so I only know how to drive forward! I told myself, “who needs to back up a truck and trailer anyway?” We are NOT going that way people! Also, because non-essential human movement is not allowed in California (the state I am departing yet returning to at some point, I hope), the vast majority of humanity is not present anywhere. I am passing through small isolated towns that feel more like ghost towns. They hold both an eerie yet peaceful feeling simultaneously, forcing me to sink deep into my own inner world for comfort.
I’ve known this feeling before, where you drift into the unknown and surrender to being fully present with the moment. Ultra’s give me this gift. Upon release of expectations and inner chatter about your experience, everything inside you opens up… swinging wide the doors towards your soul. Magic. Just take a deep breath, and I tell myself; you are safe in the wilderness. And just like that, my eyes got w i d e r , my ears got LOUDER, my smell got Sharper, and all of my senses became heightened. I drove onward, faster, awaiting the inner landscape learning that would soon come.
Daily for well over a year, and now directly before my eyes again, I see both economic and social devastation. I am deeply saddened. I see endless boarded-up businesses and main streets. Personally knowing dozens of Entrepreneurs and business owners who are either done or hanging on by a thread, our lives are all changed forever. It is one thing to be engulfed in your own loss- but to feel the loss of the collective is a pain from the depths of Humanity. I allow the grief to flow.
I drive past Native American Reservations, where our First Americans are living already in isolation from the rest of their country. Such Human suffering is a sharp contrast to the exquisite beauty of our nation’s desert landscape and forgiving endless blue sky. Home is something different to everyone once again. In the middle of nowhere, I find a green belt park or powerful artwork that some expressive human has built. I see random signs with handwritten encouraging messages as if the Universe knew how lost we would all feel in this moment.
Uncharted territory for us all emotionally. This land in the west of America, like all of the Earth, honestly, makes me feel like an explorer. But why? Born of immigrants, I have been traveling thru America many times over my life. Pulled onward again, a big part of me is so hungry for adventure and thirsty for the truly unknown. However, another part of me is hesitant and fearful. I can’t help but think, “where the hell am I” right now- both physically and mentally. I accept that being lost is part of the human experience. Many times in my 51 years, I have been untethered, but never like this. Down every dirt road and from each of these abandoned shacks, stories are reverberated out from the humans they held. As I speed by now, I feel the need to acknowledge each and every one of those stories of humanity that lay beyond the paved road. We are not separate in this moment, but I am them, and they are me. Each of us sharing this unprecedented moment with all of humanity, and all of us simply striving for a better tomorrow. I drive faster into nothingness.
But then a random Uhaul passes me. We wave. I am a Uhauler too. We are both in the middle of nowhere. Who is that? Where do they find solace in home now? What is their story of change? We are one crew together inside that passing moment. New world explorers along Route 66 through the Mojave Desert, passing thousands of Joshua Trees and storming along the majestic Kelso Dunes. Wait. STOP. For a minute of bliss, I forgot there was a pandemic at all. I am now immersed in real life within the extreme beauty of Mother Nature, and her silent solitude has taken me far away from the unreal world.
Peace. Quiet. Nature. Me, myself, and I. Stripped down by the miles and comforted by the Earth herself. An immeasurable joy comes pulsing through me. I am now, I am here, and nothing more defines me. Everything I need and all I know to be true is inside this moment. The exact feeling is freedom, and I gave it to myself by simply removing all the external messaging, shedding off the layers of pain, and filling myself with the only thing that ever matters, self-love. This magic feeling IS my life. I pull over in the middle of nowhere and stop the Uhaul in a daze. I get out and breathe the dry desert air. I have endless miles to go, but no matter what, I am home.