archives, you & me

The Labyrinth: A Series of Art. {Part Six: Lush Desert}

{Photo credit: Kristi Stout}

The first place we came to in the terrains of the labyrinth was the Wild Wood. Now, to its antithesis, only by climate, we venture into the Lush Desert.

Lush is not something we typically associate with the desert, like we do a forest, and that is precisely why I’ve named it the Lush Desert. Because there is so much going on here, for a place that is seemingly dead.

“You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men; it challenges you every step, and kills those who become distracted.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

With temperatures climbing so hot as to cause death, and even deserts named for death, you’d think that’s all that happened there — death. But not so. Death only for creatures not adapted to its intriguing ecosystem and alien-like flora. Flora designed to survive and thrive.

Like the saguaro cactus, retaining water within its beefy trunk, storing until a rainy day. With blooms so lush they could rival roses. Saguaros offer safety and food for bats and birds alike, like the Gila woodpecker.

It is specifically for its energy of adaptability and survival that I have chosen the desert as a sacred terrain. It also plays an archetypal role in part of the sacred life-cycle that is death, decomposing, and becoming new life.

To me, the desert has always stood for what’s ancient and and primal. Its sand, tiny, decomposed mountains and matter waiting for millennia, the elements and new life to reshape it, as dunes morph daily with the wind. The desert is constantly alive and changing in this manner, as though the very landscape itself was in motion, dancing.

Even the way the light plays upon its face, producing scenes that Van Gogh or Monet would envy… the Painted Desert will tell you, just look at it. You don’t have to be an artist to see the artistry there.

How can we know what we are made of if we do not whittle away to the very primal core of what we are? Grains of sand and matter, persevering where it is under the assumption we cannot possibly survive. Just ask the coyote, the rattlesnake, or the camel.

But so often, it takes being whittled down to nothing, barely hanging in there, to see true value, and how fear is all an illusion rooted in the feral mind, or shall we say fear-al mind?

{Photo credit: Kristi Stout}

Another thing the desert reminds us of is the power of silence, so that we might hear our own heartbeat and dance to it. Our true authentic sound, which is repetitively drowned out by the din of tame society and having to people our way in this world. When I say people our way, I mean, having to be civilized people and play by the rules of this society.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking anarchy, as I am a firm believer in a structure, a set of boundaries to operate with.

But people in the sense of a society where we have placed false values on things, believed in false truths built on grounds of fear and deception, and have decided to play by those rules for whatever reason.

For example, this whole mentality of the harder you work at something, say your job, or your role in a corporate position, the more value you should have to a company, only to be laid off because sales margins aren’t what they were in the 3rd Quarter of 2018. Fuck how hard you worked. You were still expendable.

What is that? False value. That’s what it is, and that’s an example of what I mean when I say people our way in this world. Why can’t we just begin to see the value in being exactly what we are and being cherished for it? We all have a very special role to play here, on another level.

We need to find a more balanced way to people ourselves in congruence with the Wild terrains, as our vitality depends on our remembering what true value means.

We are all suffering from an epidemic of soul-loss, which is why we all suffer with some form of anxiety, depression, or dis-ease. In a way, we have peopled this world to a pulp, and we now need to do things a whole new way, let’s call it human… humane. Lest we survive and thrive. Our souls have become a barren desert.

But I want us to see the lushness of this terrain, and learn how to move through it with ease, like the sidewinder, adapting into something more human(e).

We need to re-imagine what it means to be human, as the old way of conquer, succeed, and own is no longer a sustainable model. We’ve conquered all the land in this world, and climbed the industrial revolutionary ladder so high it’s getting ready to topple. Now what? The climate is groaning, so are the wild animals.

I see it happening, a new model, but slowly. I am merely continuing the facilitation of this new idea — this new way of peopling. This very concept is why the desert comes in to remind us about adaptability and thriving in a balanced way, in what appears to be inhospitable. So, time to sprout needles and retain water (just kidding)!

The desert, though hostile, teems with thriving life. Life that respects the desert for what it is and knows how to work with its intensity, its extremes. But within such extremes, we learn how to polarize. We learn polarity. We learn the sacred importance of duality and these two oppositions. We live in a world of polarity, and the desert teaches us how to work with that, if we let it.

The proverbial promised land comes after we have suffered. That is to say, after we have faced off with our own polarizing dynamics, and learned what we are truly made of, a place of repentance and transformation: at-one-ment.

“Why the desert? In the desert, we stand alone before God. We empty ourselves of obstacles to God. We reflect on our faith in God and examine our values. We are forced to live with the ambiguities and inconsistencies of our lives. In the emptiness of the desert, God’s power and goodness becomes overwhelming.Thus, we become strengthened and ready to serve.” ~ Louise Zdunich

{Photo credit: Kristi Stout}

This is an ongoing series by Kristi Stout.
Tune in weekly for the next chapter in ‘The Labyrinth’.


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Kristi Stout

Kristi Stout

Kristi L. Stout is an artist, mother, and lover. She considers herself a Renaissance woman, in service of Love in its many forms. It is her belief that inside each of us is our own sacred, Wild nature -- a hidden instinct that is not forgotten as much as it is dormant, like leafless trees in winter. It is the part of us that is connected to all things. A knowing without knowing. The part deep inside that understands darkness is necessary for the moon to simmer silver, and recognizes that even if you’re lost in the middle of nowhere you can always find a sacred somewhere -- like an internal compass pointing true north to your heart center. Her passion project, work in progress, is She Is Wild. You can find more of Kristi’s work here or connect with her on Facebook.
Kristi Stout