Healing My Sole In The Desert - an unexpected lesson
In and around the city of Palm Springs there are numerous breathtaking hikes. A recent favourite area of mine is called Indian Canyons - the sacred land of the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians. On one of the hikes, my friend Jodi and I inadvertently added 3 miles to our planned 6 mile hike. The reservation has a strict rule about everyone leaving by 5pm - otherwise your vehicle will be towed. It was nearly 4pm and we had about 2.5 miles left in order to return to our vehicle before the deadline. When I felt a swell of anxiety rising and said to Jodi: “What if we don’t get back in time?” her response: “I’m sure we have some leeway. It will take a tow truck at least 10 minutes to get to the the parking lot, so we’re probably good until 5:15 or so.” Despite her reassuring words, I wasn’t appeased. I felt the intensity of the anxiousness in my gut; it was about a 5 out of 10, with 10 being the worst. Not super strong, but strong enough to pull me out from being fully in my body and in the desert. Instead, as I continued hiking I was right in the middle of a tense state as if cloaked with a veil. The thin veil was enough to separate me from feeling grounded and connected to my surroundings. It energetically was wrapped around me so that my senses were dulled. I could still see, smell, hear and feel but a layer was now between me and my experience. I noticed I sped up my pace and although I didn’t want to, I was on autopilot. The distance between Jodi and I grew but Jodi seemed unfazed.
I realized the anxiousness wasn’t serving me or my higher self, so I decided to consciously bring compassion to this anxious energy inside. I said to myself: “I love you anxiety. It’s no big deal - if the truck is towed, we get a ride to town and pay for towing fee. No one is hurt, no one is dying.” I still didn’t feel reassured - but I tried.
I noticed a sense of disappointment in myself for being anxious. “Here you go again. Why can’t you be more calm and easy going?” This was a very familiar loop for me. I breathed deeply, looked out at the beautiful desert around me and told myself “I love you Alexia. Be here”. I felt a whopping two percent better.
Suddenly I felt something sticking to the bottom of my hiking boot. I had to stop to check what it was only to discover the sole was peeling off. I laughed out loud and showed Jodi, who also chuckled. The entire sole had to come off so I could continue hiking without tripping. Fortunately, I was able to carry on without discomfort, just a little less tread. It forced me to focus on where I was stepping instead of worrying about the time.
We made it back to our rented vehicle at 4:48pm! The ranger was sitting in his truck waiting for us. We waved in acknowledgment as he courteously escorted us out of the grounds, driving a comfortable distance behind.
I bought some Gorilla Glue, cleaned up my boot and glued my sole back on. Despite looking a little messy at the edges, my boot was as good as new - maybe even a little stronger.
A day or two later it hit me. My sole malfunction was in fact perfectly timed! There was a deeper lesson here. My peeling sole made me stop, slow down and focus on what was right in front of me - the land.
It removed the veil of separation and guided me back to the present moment - to Oneness. Just as in Rumi's poem The Guest House - this was a reminder that every part of me is needed in healing my own soul. The anxiety, the disappointment or whatever comes is a guide from beyond. At the end of the day -my soul may be a bit messy but it's more resilient than ever.