Our journey began in Marrakech. The energy of the city was a perfect mirror to the overall energy of the group. Our Riad was quaint and cozy, filled with color and warmth. The doorways are arched and lined with intricate hand carved tiles. Beautiful traditional rugs fill each room from corner to corner.
We meander our way through the souks, our senses are overwhelmed. It seems almost impossible to take it all in. We are inclined to breathe in every detail. And so, we do. We step into a room filled floor to ceiling, wall to wall, with handmade rugs, blankets pillows, poufs and the like. We are silenced. We take a minute to absorb the reality of all the hands that went into making each and every piece. Each one with its own story. We see our own stories woven into them, told by the hands of women we’ve never met. We want to know their stories, so we take a piece with us to remember and honor them. The markets are fast paced and intense, filled with trading and bartering and lots of movement. Sometimes we go slow so we can watch this new world revolve around us. None of these details are expected to be hidden behind a seemingly inconspicuous, yet beautifully crafted wooden door, much like every other door in this city.
For a moment, I feel like I am looking at the world through rose colored lenses: everything seems to have a blush hue to it. Both figuratively and literally. Each building is another corner to the pink labyrinth of narrow alley ways that make up the blueprint, or dare I say pink-print, of this unique metropolis. The only distinguishable difference are the doorways, providing only a little taste of what might lie beyond them. This is Marrakech.
We make our way into the desert, seemingly barren. Yet still somehow mesmerizing. Our drive to the desert gives us ample time to reflect and pinch ourselves to remind us that we, in fact, are not dreaming, “Is this real life?” The desert Is like that. Much like staring into a burning flame. We watch the rolling hills undulate as we pass by on a pothole filled road. The only traffic we hit are a few men on ‘donkey-back.’ The earth is blanketed in a soft, dry, light golden beige as far as the eye can see. When all of the sudden, over a hill, hidden and tucked away, a cluster of white tents emerge set against the backdrop of the warm desert sky. We are speechless, yet again. For a second we are eight years old again. Young girls. Seeing the world for the first time. And then, we all turn to each other once again, and in unison exclaim “Is this real life?!”. We continue to giggle, because what else do fully grown women do when they're simply blown away at the surrealism of it all; basking in a state of delirious wonder.
Staring off into the vast nothingness. A gift that allows us to see clearly the thoughts that travel across our minds. We shed another layer, revealing a new stratum within our being, that had been hidden away with time. Allowing us to gain access to a deeper, richer, more vulnerable part of our soul that we might have tucked away In a box at some point earlier in life for safe keeping, left to be rediscovered only when we are ready. For some, these layers melt away with the desert heat, they have held onto this layer and have waited for some time to release it to the wind. For others, this is a layer that they hold dear. And know I will be a part of them forever. They honor it and cherish it. Some see this layer for the first time. There are tears, because they are reacquainting themselves with a part of themselves that they have never seen, or have lost. This is the magic of healing.
There is truly indescribable feeling of driving up to the ocean after a fair amount of time in a city and desert. It was the perfect contrast and balance to each step we had taken before. Standing somewhere on the line between the yang of the city and the yin of the desert was the ocean in all its majesty waiting to welcome us with open arms. We roll down the windows, feeling the cool ocean air lightly filled with salt. Just enough to taste. We breathe a little deeper.