An Oasis in the Desert
Two Bunch Palms Hot Springs
Desert Hot Springs, California
February 11, 2013
Desert Hot Springs is a short drive from Los Angeles but feels like a different world. After five days of sitting in uncomfortable chairs in a hotel conference room it was time to unwind before hitting the road.
Two Bunch Palms is a mineral hot spring located on a lush property overlooking the desert and the snow capped mountains in the far distance. I’m sure that when it was developed it was in the middle of nowhere but the urban sprawl of Los Angeles has continued to spread and has almost reached this far out into the desert.
I’m not sure when it was developed but the Al Capone Suite gives some indication as to how long it’s been around. The resort is built around the mineral hot springs and there are lovely pools to soak in and relax. It was a chance to begin to empty my mind and retreat into silence and meditation.
Despite being at the edge of suburbia there was wide-open space below the grounds of the resort. I took advantage of this and walked out into the desert to watch the sunset over the snow-covered peaks of the distant mountains to the west.
The farther I got from the developed property the more comfortable I felt. No sounds, no people, nothing to get between me and Spirit. The only visible life was the jackrabbits that nervously eyed me as I walked past. I hiked out until I found a spot that felt right. It was a small clearing in the chaparral that covers the desert floor in the Mojave. I stopped and kneeled in prayer as the last rays of the sun dipped behind the mountains. I prayed for guidance:
What was this journey going to reveal?
There are times when I feel like the caterpillar in the cocoon waiting to emerge and take flight. And no amount of struggling will break that cocoon open early. It will happen when the time is right. This journey is about releasing my attachment to the outcome and allowing the transformation to happen at it’s own pace.
Releasing and allowing something to happen is extremely difficult for me. I spent most of my life as a builder, physically bringing things into existence with my hands. At the end of the day there was something to show for the work I had done. My mind screams for me to do something but my heart quietly says to allow my future self to emerge. So, I am practicing the art of doing without doing.
There have been times in my life when I worked really hard at doing. Long days and weeks of great effort turned into something physical. And the work was rewarding. I enjoy making stuff. Whether it was building sets for the entertainment industry, crafting handmade furniture, or building homes, I enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing the results of those days and weeks of hard labor.
And then there have been times in my life that have had the feeling of magic. Manifestation can feel that way when everything is in alignment. When there is a strong vision behind an idea and it is expressed with intent and clarity, forces align which bring that vision into form.
One such time was in 2004, I envisioned a development project that would take a warehouse and convert it into twenty-five artist studios. I knew that I could not build this project in the same way that I had built other projects in the past. This vision was too large for me to accomplish on my own.
I held such a strong and clear vision that I began to attract the resources I needed to make it happen. An architect, designers and a general contractor got on board. I was able to convince the city to give us a use permit to convert the building to this new use. People and materials began to appear and the building was completed in the spring of 2005.
My vision for the building was that it would become the home to artists who would come together and form a thriving community. I held this vision from conception, through design and construction and when we opened the studios leased out in seven weeks. We maintained a 95% occupancy rate and indeed a thriving community of artist formed under that roof and the vision was fully realized in form.
This vision quest is about revealing my next vision. I have come to realize that my life’s purpose is to create community. The studio project was so successful because it was in alignment with my purpose and was supported by a clear vision. I felt free and the work of creation felt effortless. The universe and I conspired to manifest the vision complete and whole.
The vision that is forming for me now is a community of people who learn to live lives in alignment with their purpose and in pursuit of their life’s mission. Living this way leads to a life of freedom and of infinite possibility. This is my dream.
The following morning I awoke before dawn to watch the desert come alive. I found a spot above the desert floor where I could watch the first rays of the sun strike the mountains and eventually break across the valley. I was accompanied again by jackrabbits as well as kestrels, hummingbirds and a coyote. They were surprised to see me out and about so early but this has become my daily practice as I continue the journey. For me prayer and meditation first thing in the morning reveal great truths and allow access to the wisdom of Spirit. The stillness allows me to hear that still, small voice which reveals what is right and true.
And so I go further into the desert to pray and meditate in order to reveal this vision as if it were fully formed so that the universe and I can conspire to manifest it whole and complete.