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Lost In The Desert

Apr 29, 2023
Gary Merel
Core Spirit member since Mar 21, 2023
Reading time 4 min.

Since spending the last four months in Tucson, many of the blogs I have posted reference the Sonoran Desert. Tucson is a city interwoven into the fabric of the desert. The Sonoran Desert bears witness to 4000 years of continuous habitation. There are echoes of the past and voices of the present. I have spent much time hiking in the desert, sinking into its rhythms of life. After 3.5 months of wintering in Tucson and feeling settled into a new home and life with my girlfriend, I felt it was time to take a medicine journey. I decided to take 3 grams of psilocybin mushrooms. I consider that a moderate dose. It is not nearly a heroic dose of 6 or more grams. Certainly sufficient in quantity to have a profoundly moving experience of expanded consciousness. An experience that requires surrender and a complete letting go of any preconceived notions about myself and my life.

Being drawn to the beauty of Sabino Canyon, I decided to have this experience there. This park is vast. Besides the areas where most visitors hike, it is a gateway to the Coronado Wilderness area, which encompasses 1,780,000 acres. Seeking solitude, I drove to the overflow lot at 7:00 in the morning, hoping that the lot and the park would be empty. I wanted to be alone and embrace the seclusion of my surroundings.

From the very beginning, I felt challenged. I was sitting in my car feeling the all too familiar hesitation of taking the medicine. A feeling I confront before any medicine journey. I experience a whole-body reaction to what is involved in letting go of the known and familiar. A ripping asunder of my ego. Sitting in my car, coming to terms with taking the mushrooms, a cardinal landed on the driver's side rearview mirror. It was looking directly at me and vocalizing loudly and defiantly. I knocked on the window. I rolled it down. The bird was 8 inches from my face and would not leave. It just stood on the mirror with a look of righteous indignation. Finally, after 5 minutes, it flew away.

It is about a half-mile hike from the parking lot to the shelter I was planning on spending the most intense part of the experience. There is an area of 3 relatively new shelters. They provided benches that I could lie on and a roof to protect me from the sun. I ingested the medicine in the car, knowing that by the time I arrived at the shelter, I would be experiencing the onset of the mushrooms. Although there are a few gravel roads are in the park, cars are usually not allowed in the Sabino Canyon, and about 20 minutes after arriving at the shelter, about six vehicles pulled up. At that point, I was definitely in the midst of a peak psychedelic experience. People began to move about. A few looked at me with an expression of uncertainty. They began setting up what looked like a classroom. I asked one of the people what was going on. I was informed that the shelter area was being converted into a classroom for about 200 kindergarteners. What a way to start a medicine journey! I finally found my way to a place where I could find solitude and comfort.

I find doing plant medicine Soul jolting. Psilocybin mushrooms might not give you what you want, but always give you what you need. I found the Sonoran Desert an amazing backdrop to allow my consciousness to be fully expressed. I had direct and intimate knowledge of the fabric that holds our reality together. Call that what you want. For me, it is a direct experience of the mystery of life itself.

A few days later, a friend asked what I had learned and what my takeaway was. I told him that I met myself in the desert and was given a message to trust the unfolding of my life.

I shared that I had a deep visceral knowing that my life is enough. That I am complete in who I am. That I could let go of the need to seek. Seek meaning in my life. Seek for purpose. Seek knowledge and understanding. Seek community and love. That list is endless. I was shown no other information or insights were needed to gather about my life. I have what I need and just need to embrace the gift of my life. As I like to say, I need only to "lean into my life." That leaning forward can be mundane. It can sometimes be tedious and sometimes extremely challenging. But it is always sacred.

I want to share a few of Robert Atkinson's beliefs that resonate with me. He is the author of A New Story of Wholeness. He says, "As we communicate more with the inner realm, lost archetypes burst forth from within, giving us a timeless understanding. Our life journey consists of a process of knowing, forgetting, and remembering.
As we live out certain types of experiences that are common to all and become conscious of their meaning, we initiate a process of remembering our innate wholeness."

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life, I remain open to Grace and the gift of my life.

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