Last night I sat under the patio with my husband, sipping sangria and watching lightning tear through the darkness and stroke toward earth. Palms creaked and rattled in the wind. The leafy tops of ficus and oak shuddered and tossed. A light rain pattered down, dimpling the water in the pool. The air had cooled, and carried the now familiar desert smell of wet dust and ozone. I felt fall coming. A relief after a another long, hot summer.
For me July and August are not my favorite months in Arizona. I don’t enjoy having to run an A/C non-stop, (or pay the extortionist electric bill that results). Having to keep the doors and windows shut against the relentless desert heat. Having to walk Zeus before sunrise; the hour I’d rather be meditating, or writing. If I had my way we would have more of the other ten months of the year, rather than these two bright and searing months. But, nature has her own idea of what’s perfect, and in July and August she lets Arizonians know she’s the boss. I have no choice but to acquiesce. I try to do so with as much grace as I can muster; enjoying the gifts these two months have to offer. Resisting only makes life difficult.
We humans have a tendency to try to make every situation like others that have gone before it. We seek out what seems familiar to us, and shy away from that which jolts us out of our comfort zone. It’s so apparent here in the Valley of the Sun. Rather than embracing the bio-diversity, many of us migrate from the North—then try to make this desert place like the place we just came from. We plant lawns, and the sort of fragile plants that would never survive here naturally. We water it all copiously, then despair when it fries.
Recognizing what is within our power to change, and what is not, can keep us from a lot of grief and stress. Sometimes we must accept circumstances or conditions that separate us from the familiar, or from what we think we’d prefer. But, if we are flexible and tolerant, if we open ourselves to change and look around ourselves for the good, rather than kicking and complaining about what isn’t to our liking, often an experience or situation we thought we wouldn’t enjoy teaches us something new and unexpected.
Have you ever been jolted out of your comfort zone? Do you find yourself seeking out only that which feels familiar?
Here’s a fun challenge: This week, keep an awareness about you as you travel through each day. Watch for opportunities to try a new experience.
I’d love to hear what happens, and what you learn. Feel free to write me about your experience via the contact page of this website.
Fall is coming. This morning I heard the first faint strains of marching band music drifting over from the high school several blocks away. And the air outside is cool enough to turn the A/C off—at least for a few hours. Soon I’ll miss the season of barbeque parties and midnight swims. Floating in the pool while reading a paperback. The smell of Corona and lime. I’ll miss the cascades of bougainvillea slouching over wall and fence in bright magenta waves, and predawn skies of dusky purples and fiery pinks.
But I’ll be sipping pumpkin spice lattes. Camping beneath Cottonwoods, and hiking in Sedona. Driving with the windows down. Reading in bed beneath a big fluffy comforter. And always, of course, watching for what new experience will come my way.
Pumpkin spice latte is one of my fall favorites. Here’s a link on how to make your own right at home. Yum!