Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Camel in the Desert

'Tis is the season of enchantment.
Of magic . . . of miracles . . . of mystery.
Inhale deeply.
I remembered something—something I knew but temporarily forgot—and it came to me in a flash of “Aha!”
There I was, driving East on Highway 36, following a train of worrisome thoughts that bordered on obsessive, when a truck sped past me with a large camel tethered to its flat-bed. Of course the camel was stuffed, and dressed for what I imagined would be a fabulous holiday pageant, but there it was sort of looking at me from the corner of his eye as if to say, “I see you.”

Instantly, the mind-chatter stopped, crushed in a wave of knowing that it was all going to be okay. And then I laughed out loud—at myself, at the human condition, at the futility of worrying about things over which we have no control.

Consider the camel. This guy lives in the hot, sandy desert—the harshest of all climates. He can walk for miles and miles in the most extreme conditions; never complaining, but always serving others.
Every aspect of his anatomy has been designed to accommodate his unique purpose. In fact, nothing but the camel can move through the desert with such grace and ease—not horses or donkeys or zebras, not cars or bicycles—nothing, for they all get stuck in the sand. But the camel was built for the desert, with legs that glide and toes that spread outward to prevent him from sinking in the blazing hot terrain.
The composition of his eyes are such that when sandstorms arise, he can close his thick, translucent eyelids and still see his way through the blinding terrain. And his nostrils are these highly muscular slits that close at will to reduce irritation as he moves through the desert.
Speaking of movement—with legs strong enough to support 1,000 pounds of cargo, a fat-storing hump and a body built for water conservation, allowing him to go for days on-end without food or water, not to mention his uncanny ability to find the next water source in the middle of . . . nowhere—this animal has carried the wealth of nations on his back, helping to build trade routes and cities, creating abundance for his human companions in the dry, barren desert.
He is at all times what he is meant to be—a generous and beautiful gift from our Creator. And he doesn’t worry or strive or compete for resources because every detail of his life was considered and designed into being.
And so it is with humans. We, too, carry with us all that we need for our journey through life. But unlike the camel, we get trapped in our minds thinking we’re separate, trying to control it all and make it happen NOW; at times, feeling victimized by our circumstances.
That’s where understanding our true nature helps, for it reminds us that every living thing contains within it a bit of the Source from which it came. Call that Source what you like—God, Allah, Great Spirit, Creative Energy, the Big “C”—it matters not, because there is only One Source from which all of life flows, and it’s nothing if not creative.
Take a look around—we are in a constant state of creation and movement. Every day, our bodies kill off old cells and make new ones. We breathe. Our hearts beat. We make babies, creating new life from our own. We sleep and wake. We eat and drink and our bodies process it all—distributing nutrients where needed and eliminating the rest as waste—all through an intricate system of organs, tissues and cells that we have absolutely nothing to do with; not consciously, anyway. Yet it is evidence of the creative blue print from which we came.
We were made to create, to invent things, to solve problems, to structure meaningful lives and make choices about how we want to experience our environment.  And while we may not be born with every material advantage. . .or a perfect body. . .or an automatic solution to every problem—and for anyone who has ever pursued a goal or dream or wanted something really, really badly, we know that it isn’t as simple as wishing it so—we come equipped to function in the world and handle whatever comes our way. 
We awaken our greatest potential by remembering our creative nature, reconnecting with the all-creative-I-thought-of-everything-loving-life force—or Source—from which we came. We are made in this image, they say.
Life is a gift, not a right.  But what we choose to make of it and how we use it—even in the face of tragedy, adversity and disappointment—well, that is our right and I believe the ultimate act of creation here on Earth.
And so this was my holiday epiphany—a gift from a stuffed camel on the back of a truck—sent to remind me of this simple truth just when I needed it most. Now it is my gift to you. As we move through the holiday season and begin a brand new year, may you discover the wonders of creation within you and your amazing power of choice.
By Melissa Johnson

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