Why Joshua Tree Is Meditation Manifest
Anywho, I said all that to say, I won't bore you too much by explaining the ins and outs of Joshua Tree because 1) you can Google that and 2) if I learned anything there, it's that most of the beauty relies on the idea that you get to decide exactly what to make of it.
Instead, I'll take this time to explain why Joshua Tree is basically mindfulness incarnate. With all the open space you can ask for, there's really not a whole lot to distract you from, well, you. If you're like me circa 1993-2015 (aka anxious as can be), the very thought of that much quality time with your brain may freak you out. But, like in any relationship, the best way to get to know the other party is to take the time to simply be with them. And what relationship is more important than the one we cultivate with our own minds? Like with our significant others, all we need is to take a step back from routine sometimes and make room for spontaneity – and the crucial life lessons that follow it – to move us in new directions. You're sure as hell not going to have the brain space to do that in LA.
You see, the beauty of J Tree is that the options are limitless and so, too, are you opportunities to expand.
You can go with lovers or friends or totally alone. You can camp, glamp, or shack it up in a gorgin' AirBNB that you'll refer to as 'home' during those short spans you're away from it. You can spend the day climbing rocks in sensible clothing or in a saucy red skirt. Nix what I said about the 'gram – playing dress-up is fun as fuck and who are any of us to judge?
Maybe you'll get in touch with your creative practice and journal all day and then when night rolls around and you're feeling invigorated by your time alone, you'll drink wine and get way too serious about a game of Monopoly with your three best friends. You'll laugh, you'll get pissy at each other for a minute, then you'll remember it doesn't matter that much at all.
Perhaps, you'll ask a stranger to take your picture as you pose like cacti in the national park and feel naked and exposed as the city kids you are when you go to the local grocer. You'll sing along with your bb Frankie O ("You see me like a UFOo0o0") as you get lost on the winding road through the park and then get prematurely nostalgic about returning here when you're all "wifed up." Next, you'll sit quietly as you realize you're growing up and quickly make a callous joke to remind yourself, not too fast.
You'll feel the presence of each other like the presence of long-forgotten scars: Faded, forever markers of self. For better and for better than that, you'll have always been a part of each other. This place will forever feel like home.
So, yes: Joshua Tree feels like magic. But I don't think it's necessarily because of the national park or the myriad of Instagrammable places. Really, I think it's just because it has the audacity to stand still for you. As the open sky and limitless horizon provide a container for all of your choices, all you must do is find your own stillness and this desert world will inevitably envelop you, encouraging you to vibrate right along with it. Like a meditation manifest on Earth, this place is just begging you to hold this same stillness for yourself. And guess what? By honoring your needs as the time passes, staying present with those in your company, and honoring the sacred space that is nature, you can accomplish that pretty damn easily.
Maybe this is a woo-woo idea brought about by a pretty woo-woo place, but the only proof I need lies in the landscape itself: As the wind howls around your cells, whipping like a cyclone, all it takes is one glance into the distance to see the mountains – strong and unwavering. Which we choose to focus on, is up to us.
– Lenea Sims