During my month stay in Santa Fe back in March 2021, I was debating an overnight trip to The White Sands National Park in New Mexico.
I had been going back and forth between will I? or won’t I ? make the 4.5 hour drive, when an email from someone I admire, Chip Conley who wrote the best-selling book Wisdom at Work came across my desk.
Chip had just spent a week in New Mexico and shared a quick 30 second video from his recent trip to —— White Sands New Mexico, and so of course I took it as a sign and planned my trip.
I didn’t want to drive back in the dark, and I knew I wanted to witness the sunset, so I looked for a hotel for a quick overnight. As luck would have it, I still had an unused Marriott hotel certificate, and so $2.50 later my hotel was booked.
So two days after the email that inspired me to say “yes” arrive in my inbox , I set off on my trip to the White Sands region of New Mexico. All week the weather had been spectacular, blue skies, low 60’s – all making for a fantastic trip and sunset experience. And just as I turned onto the long stretch of I-25 that I was to travel, the clouds crossed the sky and the rain began.
For the next 4 hours I found my brain on overdrive, will it be worth the drive? Should I try and go another day? What if there is no sun today? How will my pictures come out? And the list goes on.
What I found myself doing, was once again popping into my reptilian brain and worrying about the perfect outcome, the perfect sunset, the perfect – once in a lifetime experience, instead of enjoying, and working with what was going to be.
One of my favorite quotes is by Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Suffering is simply wanting things to be different than they are.”
So for four hours I suffered, and as a result I missed a lot of the incredible scenery along the way because I was obsessing about the sunset and weather.
4 hours and thousands of negative thoughts later I arrived. The skies where still overcast but the rain had eased up a little.
I gave myself a mindset reset, started appreciating all of what nature had to offer and drove into the White Sands National Park, and as I transitioned from the road to the sand you know what happened? The rain stopped, the skies cleared and the sun began to shine, I mean really shine.
The weather ended up being spectacular and another reminder that life is what happens to us when we are busy making plans.
This experience is probably one of my top 5 adventures thus far. I also used decided it was time to practice my video editing. So I made my first video which you can find here. (Best watched on a computer and expand to full screen.)
It isn’t perfect, but I hope it captures just “how worth it” this trip was, and how when we decide to be in the moment that is unfolding “for” us, most likely that moment will be magical, sunshine or not.