The winds picked up and the storm began to rage. The winds were so strong that I could barely stand. The straps to my backpack began to tear. The noise and howl of the winds was deafening. Sand was consuming my vision and filling my eyes. The grit in my eyes was painful, I tried to block my face with my arms but it did no good. I couldn’t keep the winds from attacking every part of my body. My backpack felt heavy and it was just another weight, another structure that the wind could grab onto and use to throw me around. Everything that wasn’t physically attached to my body was being torn away. My pack flew off and I couldn’t catch it in time before it blew out of my sight. I couldn’t run after it. I could hardly even move. My breath even felt stolen from me. Every breath was filled with grit. I searched as best as I could for shelter but there was none. I was in the middle of the desert and the desert was unforgiving. The winds slowed and I was able to take a better assessment of my surroundings. The vastness of this land stretched far in all directions. I felt the winds pick up again and they battered me. They slowed enough for me to get some sort of bearings again before the winds raged again. My shirt tore, my shoes flew off, my hair tie was long gone. The winds slowed again and after countless teasing by the winds….battering, ignoring, beating, gently touching, striking, pulling away. Countless times of this I realized this storm was not going to let up. I needed to find shelter. I was so broken and tired and weak. I felt like I had nothing left. My clothes were torn and some were gone. My backpack was a distant memory. I had one thing left. I had my hands and my arms. I looked at the ground underneath me, sand. I began to dig with my bare hands. At first the hole I would dig would get filled up half way with sand falling back in. Then a storm would come and cover everything up again. But I kept digging. Pretty soon I found moist earth like the kind you would find at the beach when you think you can dig down to the bottom of the earth. As a kid I never got very far, but this time, I needed to dig deep enough to find shelter for my whole body…..for myself. Hours and hours, days and days. Weeks. Months. The storm kept raging and taunting me like a bully on a playground. I would panic amidst the calm. I knew the winds would come back. I would feel frantic at times. I was so tired. My fingers bled. My arms were burning from every movement that it took to dig. There were times I thought I had dug enough and the little hold I created for myself was enough to protect me, but I was wrong. The storm sought me out and it would find me. So I would begin to dig again. I cursed god. I cursed my life. I cursed the winds. Why me? The more I dug, the deeper I became, the more peace descended upon me. The winds were not as loud, they didn’t feel as strong down here. When they calmed, I didn’t fall prey to the delusion. I knew they weren’t over. And they weren’t. They would pick up again but almost as if they were angry that I wasn’t surfacing to play in it’s game. The storm wanted someone to push around as if it wasn’t as powerful if it didn’t have something smaller to measure itself against. I refused to play. But there were times the sands from up above would come flooding in and smoother me and fill my hole almost to the top again. I would feels so defeated at times. But I knew the only way to safety would be to keep digging. And that is what I did. The storms are still raging up above but the peace down below is becoming more palpable. It takes work to be in this place. Sometimes I look up and I wonder what it’s like up there when the winds are calm. Sometimes the raging of the storm scares me and I look up and battle the voices of the storm. I forget to dig and I’m caught up in the storm. Just what it wants from me….my attention, my focus. This storm doesn’t want me to go deeper. It wants to tear me apart slowly, limb by limb till I cry out in mercy and bow down to it’s power. To turn my focus from this terror and it’s strong gravitational pull feels impossible at times. I wonder if it is stronger than me. To remember to dig and to keep digging just sometimes doesn’t feel like it’s enough. And then I start to dig again, it takes effort to ignore the screams of the winds and it’s pull upward but once I get into the rhythm, I begin to find myself here again and I remember how powerful my focus here in this place is. The storm isn’t real. My intention is what is real. And I intend to grow strong in this place of peace where no storm can ever touch me or what is real.