Desert Journeys – 23/3/17

Desert Journeys 17

March 23rd 2017

In 2011, I spent 6 days and nights in the southern Sinai Desert, traveling with a small group led by Wind Sand and Stars. By day we trekked on foot and on camelback, sheltering in the shade of rocks in the hottest part of the day. We ate food cooked over a fire by our Bedouin hosts. At night we slept under the stars, the moonlight magnified by the pale dunes.

That’s what we did, but what happened? How was that experience of spending time in the wilderness, admittedly not alone, yet far from the familiar, the comfortable, the known?

The desert was truly awe-inspiring with its extremes of temperature, its stark vastness and raw beauty but, for me, it was the encounter with the immensity of silence that was the most visceral experience. It stripped me back and asked hard questions. It urged me to face the reality of what I am and what I am not, what I most need and what I do not. The experience of journeying with so few belongings and no way out without a guide, brought with it a profound sense of peace.

Leaning into that silence brought clarity of thought, insight, a sense of what really matters. I was challenged, called to something beyond the known path and the safe option.

In desert times and in silence our human vulnerability is exposed. So is our false belief in our independence, autonomy or superiority of any sort. Can we dare to trust, to follow in the footprints of Jesus, to simply be there with our discomfort, our struggles, and to listen? And then, as the silence brings clarity, and truer alignment of heart and mind, can we follow his example by risking all to follow our personal calling regardless of the cost?

Felicity Collins

Labyrinth Facilitator, Freelance Trainer and Writer

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