Once Upon a Time in the Desert

Greetings from Liberty

As promised in my previous post, I’d like to tell you another story.  This one is about a magical fairy, a blue-bellied lizard, and house with eyes.

In February, I called my friend Stacey and told her I wanted to go on an adventure.  I met Stacey in preschool before I could count to ten.  She is a magical fairy, a yoga teacher, a vegan chef, a raw chocolatier, and a world traveler.

Stacey told me she was going to take me to a special place called Liberty Advance, a yoga retreat center near San Diego.  On that weekend, we would join a dozen teachers who had volunteered to do some maintenance on the retreat property.

When we arrived on a Friday night, I felt a little disoriented.  The light from my hi-beams led us down a dirt road for several miles.  When we reached the end of the road, the house greeted us with two glowing eyes that had been painted on the second story windows.

If only this house could talk.
If only this house could talk.

Once we entered the house, we climbed up a steep ladder to a large room with mattresses evenly spaced on the floor.  We set up our sleeping bags and settled in for the night.

In the morning, we sat outside on a giant rock and drank coffee while warming ourselves in the sun.  We ate vegan banana pancakes for breakfast.  I decided I could totally go vegan if I could eat these pancakes for breakfast every morning.  But I’m sure I would have to eat more than pancakes eventually.


After breakfast, everyone set out to work on different projects.  I hopped in the back of a pick-up truck that took us to the other side of the property.  While we were working, Stacey met a blue-bellied lizard.  The lizard clung to the sleeve of her sweater while we continued to work.

Blue Belly


After several hours of work we headed back to the house.  I wasn’t brave enough to go naked in the hot tub with everyone else.  Stacey played her guitar, and we sang songs.  We played the drums and talked about how we’ve grown since we first met back in preschool.  We watched old school Bruce Lee in The Year of the Dragon.  I savored some of Stacey’s handmade raw vegan chocolates.  I still dream about having one of her peppermint patties.  Mmm…  So many reasons to be happy.

Next to the kitchen sink, there was a photo of a man with a quote written underneath him, “Real happiness lies in making others happy.”  He had a gentle smile, and he was clasping his hands in front of him as if to contain his happiness.  I found myself arguing with this man every time I went to the sink to wash a dish.  I prefer the words of Anne Frank, who said, “Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”  Happiness in contagious.  Now that’s something I can aspire to.  My adventure in the desert was definitely a step in the right direction.  Do you feel happy yet?  I do.  Let’s start an epidemic.


More from Alyx Schwarz
Night Hike to Parker Mesa Overlook
Facebook Twitter Pinterest EmailsharesRecently, my friend Drea from The Cult Collective and...
Read More
0 replies on “Once Upon a Time in the Desert”