Coming from a family of nature lovers, I was taught early to respect all plants and animals. A deep connection with nature gave me an understanding of the concept of mother earth growing up. I considered the earth a relative of mine. I felt the most at peace and most confident in myself when I was in nature. Whenever I was outdoors, I felt safe, like I was home.
When I painted my first art car to look like the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, I did not know that I would live there in just a couple of years. As a child I had dreamed of visiting the desert, knowing that I had some kind of connection with it.
When I went to the Sonoran Desert for the first time it was a magical experience. A friend and I waited for our hosts to finish a ceremony as the wide-open landscape of Arizona began to settle down for the evening. The deserts’ many aged saguaro cacti reached their prickly limbs toward the sky. In one direction we could see the sunset, coating the horizon in pastels. Another direction offered a beautiful rainbow and from another, a magnificent lightning storm brewed in the distance. I knew in that moment that this would be a very special place to me.
Later that summer I attended an arts festival in the mountains of Arizona. That’s when I met a young couple who invited me to visit their goat farm outside of Tuscan. We became dear friends. I helped around the land, compelled to stay as long as possible in that magnificent landscape. Soon I was invited to live there. Young and eager to explore life, it was an appealing offer that I could not resist. My home was a broken-down school bus surrounded by ancient cacti. A giant century cactus grew just outside of my door. It was said to bloom only once in the span of its’ one-hundred-year life.
Though the desert was considered a dangerous place to some, to me it was nurturing, almost gentle. My spirit felt at home there. I could feel my connection to the earth getting stronger. The Sonoran Desert inspired me to learn everything I could about it. I wanted to know about all of the plants and animals that resided there. I began to explore how to make food and medicine from the prickly pear, barrel cacti, and chaparral trees. I quickly became aware of how healing this surreal landscape could be. It was sacred. It was such a nurturing feeling to be connecting with the earth in this way. She was becoming more like a mother to me than I had ever felt before.
Living there had piqued my interest in spiritual practices. I poured over books on earth magic, shamanism, yoga, and herbalism. I met the psychedelic toad of the Sonoran Desert who shared visions with me of my ancient connection with planet earth. Standing in the desert with friends one quiet evening, I witnessed my first UFOs. Beauty and magic seemed to seep from the deserts’ pores. I felt a deep love for the planet I called home.
My time in the desert had ignited a strong connection with mother earth and a newfound interest in my spirituality. My dreams became lucid and my intuition was keener than ever. One night the century cactus outside of my bus bloomed, the only blossom humans would see from it in one hundred years. I believed it was mother earth’s way of saying, “I love you.” I felt her encouraging me to continue to follow my new spiritual path of loving, worshipping and respecting all of nature.
As a child, I had always felt at home in nature and now I trusted my intuition on a deeper level. Just as I had known that I would someday live in the desert, I knew that communing with nature would continue to be my spiritual path. Loving and connecting to the earth is the best way for me to be close to Great Spirit and my divinity. The earth is my temple. And she continues to nurture and inspire me just like a mother should.