This week has been a beautiful and much needed change from the norm, with just a small trip from my city of Los Angeles to Palm Springs. My mind has been on overload recently…personally, professionally, and creatively. So there is something incredibly perfect about getting away into the middle of the desert.
I’m still struggling to eloquently explain my thoughts on this city in the desert. There is so much beauty, and so much desolation. My soul has always been incredibly sensitive to the atmosphere, my surroundings…and to be perfectly honest, there is something a bit spiritually confusing to me about Palm Springs.
A highway seems to do it’s best to separate the rich from the poor, the “good” part of town from the “less than.” Cookie cutter religious types stand in plazas with pamphlets, proudly sporting their “DARE” anti-drug shirts. Meanwhile, the parking lot crawls with tumbleweeds and quirky characters…almost like a scene out of “Breaking Bad.”
My incredible hotel deal I found was for Aqua Soleil, and while it is a bit off the beaten path and in the middle of nowhere, it is actually the perfect fit for this introvert in need of rest and rejuvenation.
When I say “spiritually confusing”, I guess it’s because I do see and feel a lot around me. This brought me to an unexpected meditative moment of prayer last night as I was in the hot tub. (The great thing about traveling during weekdays and off seasons is that you get a tub all to yourself.) While enjoying the steam and relaxation, I was pondering religion, tradition, and practices. I began talking to God, praying and ranting (as I often do), and I decided that I wanted to be on my knees in this prayer. It never really struck me before, but it felt right. So, in the oddest of places, hot pink bikini and all, my knees hit the steps of the hot tub, body still mostly submerged, and that’s where I decided to pray.
I was talking to God about how out of place I felt in most intentionally religious settings. I was telling him that I even felt that way in general spiritually…that when it feels forced, it just doesn’t seem to fit for me. I told him that I meant to make it out to Joshua Tree during this desert trip, to be silent, to read my bible, to pray, and mostly, to be really spiritual. Instead, my worship was in the hot tub in a bikini. This made me laugh and tear up all at once. “Am I just too stubborn?” I asked him. “Am I constantly failing? Will I ever be even a bit closer to perfect?”
Suddenly, I had the answers. My mind was on overload. “It isn’t about perfection. It never was. Just don’t be afraid to go deeper.” That’s what popped into my mind.
Don’t be afraid to go deeper.
I had to laugh at myself again as this occurred, because in front of my eyes in bold lettering inside the tub read, 3 1/2 FEET. I didn’t know how much deeper I could go in that moment on a grand scale, what huge leaps of faith I could conquer. But I did know I could go a tad deeper. So I jumped into the pool. It was a little cold, but refreshing…definitely worth it. Definitely deeper.
Life isn’t about seeking perfection, striving for the flawless. Even in travel or vacation, I find so much meaning in the spiritual warfare that is real life.
Learning to enjoy insane winds and random rain. // To choose weakly wonderful coffee in a hotel room over a cocktail in some swanky tourist bar. // To feel more at home in a field of darkness, tumbleweeds, and litter than I would at the Hard Rock Hotel. //
It is in our recognition and appreciation of the weird, strange, beautiful, human glory that brings the depth that I think God wanted me to acknowledge. I didn’t need to be in a spotless world to find my getaway. The imperfections made it a perfect trip. The quirks and odd moments, people, and surroundings are what created the depth.
To wrap up my travel rant, one of my adventures was finding the famous Palm Springs pink door. I was really excited about this (blogger moment), but now I am even more excited to be able to honestly say that I enjoyed the desert desolation and abandoned tumbleweed parking lots as much as I enjoyed the wealthy neighborhoods with breathtaking architecture and colorful doors. They compliment each other, really. And the darkness only helps me to appreciate the light even more, with an extended amount of depth.
We don’t connect through perfection.
“Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.”-Rumi