Monsoon Nourishment

Night sky background. Moon and the planets Venus and Mars, which look like points of light – stars, form a triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the painting. In the rest of the painting dots of white create a sacred heart. Dots of green, red, blue and yellow outline the shapes of flames coming out of the heart. A dusting of paint inside each flame helps the clarify the design of stars creating the shape of a heart on fire in the night sky.

Clouds pile on top of each other from behind the mountains, slowly building, expanding upwards, reaching up and then out across the sky. My favorite time of year in the desert, this unpredictable Monsoon season, with the miserable humidity and soaring temperatures and then sudden explosions of rain bringing cool relief. I never think in the morning looking out towards the mountains that there will be rain. Monsoon clouds build slowly. It’s always a surprise when the bright blue desert sky suddenly is smothered out with dark clouds, the heat, now so unbearable that I’m sending urgent pleas to the clouds asking for rain.

When rain comes, it is never on my schedule. One minute I’m crabby and CANNOT cool off. The next minute rain is pouring down flooding the streets and washes. Like a lot of things in my life – nourishment feels like it is all or nothing. Days and weeks of frustratingly whittling words out of my body and heart, suddenly saturated with great conversations and new tools to dig out the truth. Never when I demand, never when I want, but nourishment comes in its own time. This teaches me something even more important – how to be patient and aware of when I have a choice to receive.

Choice is such a decadent thing. When I have a choice, I savor it, like rolling a piece of chocolate over my tongue, letting it melt and inhaling the flavor. Somehow, I’m not sure if it’s a North American thing or what, but I often think I have a right to a choice. A choice when I can receive help, receive attention or validation. In reality, choice isn’t often something I get a right to, more often choice is created out of privilege (having resources) or out of my own awareness of knowing what I need. Privilege is not something I can count on. Awareness is all I’ve got to access choice.

Sign placed on dirt. Sign says Self-Care is letting go. by N. Ortiz

Awareness is the slow process of learning what it feels like in my body/mind/heart when I need something. I have to listen and learn a little at a time. One part of this awareness process is to realize when rain is coming down, when nourishment suddenly appears I can make a choice to receive it. This means letting go of whatever I am doing/being when nourishment is raining down on my head. Purposefully pausing to enjoy and soak it up, a choice of letting go of what I thought I wanted – my agenda in the moment, in order to have what I need – random gift of nourishment.    

In the desert when the monsoon storms unleash hard unrelenting rain upon the sandy soil, only so much can be absorbed. The wombs of the desert are dry washes which swell and carry the overflowing abundance of nourishment downriver to areas still dry. Part of becoming aware is my learning to surrender to nourishment when it arrives. If I let go and allow myself to be filled, I can carry this nourishment through me and out to others. I receive enough to share.

  • – What are ways you receive nourishment from nature?
  • – How do you know you are getting support (from people, animals or nature)? What does it feel like?
  • – When you’ve received support, attention or help, how do you share that with others? (Are you more patient, supportive or fun? Something else?)

(c) 2015 Ortiz

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