5 Self Improvement Wins in the Desert

August 9, 2020
Pahrump Nevada, John Riley Project

I write to you from Pahrump Nevada in the Kingdome of Nye.

Pahrump is a dry, dusty desert town near Death Valley.  I always associate Pahrump with former late-night radio talk show host Art Bell who broadcasted here from this little place an hour north of Las Vegas.  Art Bell’s Coast-to-Coast radio program discussed ancient civilizations, the paranormal and aliens all from is in-home broadcasting studio which just happens to be in the same region as Area 51.

Other than my memories of Art Bell, I really had no reason to come to Pahrump.  I just wanted to get-out-of-town. I had an itching for a road trip during this time of sheltering in place.  I wanted alone time to focus on reading and writing.  I knew that a change of scenery would be part of a healthy process of hitting my reset button.

Living in a San Diego suburb leaves you with limited places to escape to by car.  To the west is the ocean.  To the south is the international border which I figured would be complicated crossing during the pandemic.  To the east was desert and 100F+ temperatures.  To the north were all sorts of interesting places to visit, but they are all mostly shut down because of COVID.

I eventually settled on Pahrump.  I figured I would be isolating myself, so it almost did not matter where I went.  I just needed to be “somewhere else”.  I found a comfortable, inexpensive duplex on Airbnb that was surprisingly inviting and relaxing.  As long as the air conditioning is cranking, I am good.

What has happened here has been remarkable.  It has been a gradual process of destressing, clearing my mind, fasting, and regaining focus.

My trip here has been like Seinfeld.  It is a trip about nothing.  No activities, no travel, no adventures.  I am just sitting in a little 2-bedroom duplex and rediscovering peace of mind.  My mind is slowing down and is much calmer.

What have I accomplished?  So much!

Prior to my trip I had been in a mental funk for a number of months.  My mind has been stuck on issues from my past as I have been doing deep self-discovery exploration.  Like turning over rocks, I have been reliving events and gaining a deeper understanding of how this has shaped me as an adult.  Over the past few months I have been able to connect the dots on a range of isolated moments, thoughts, and feelings of my past.  I can now see them as part of an integrated system.  This process has created many a-ha moments for me but has also kicked up a lot of dust that kept my mind clouded.

Before I left, I had a general sense how to resolve everything and find peace.  I just knew I needed the time figure it all out.

In this trip I have experienced 5 tremendous benefits that will help me be a better person:


1. Reduce My Negative Emotions

I had already made great progress resolving a range of personal issues, but I did not have full closure.  I still had fragments of unresolved thoughts and feelings. I still needed to process a few more things.

Taking the time to be alone without distractions I was able to journal at a much deeper level than I am normally able to do at home.  I was essentially able to meditate but in a way that worked for me.  I sorted things out.  I mentally tied up loose ends.  I closed the door on some important issues that had continuously nagged me.  I knew would get there.  I just needed the time to go through it all.

This process of resolution has helped be defeat many of my negative emotions.  By giving myself permission to close the door (I actually wrote that in my journal) I have been able to quiet my mind.  I am able to filter out those negative thoughts that can turn into negative emotions.

2. Focusing on the Present

Getting that closure helped me achieve a sense of calmness and mental neutrality.  My mind was not racing.  I was not caught up in reliving moments from my past or having anxiety about the future.  Instead I am right here, right now.  I am present.

Being in this Airbnb in the desert really helped me get there.  This place is simple, clean, and comfortable.  There are no distractions.  It is quiet place that helps me achieve a quiet mind.  It is the perfect place to do this work.

3. My Mind is Uncluttered and More Receptive to Creativity.

With a quieter mind there is less clutter.  In a simple environment there is also less clutter.  There is less noise.  The volume is lower.  I can feel the tension in my neck and shoulders relax.  I can feel time slowing down.  I feel more in control of me.

This now puts me in a much better position to be free to create, to build and to grow.  There are less things holding me back.  I have cleared the traps that would normally capture me in a whirlpool.  Instead, I can feel a positive energy that will take me forward.

4. Discover Solutions Within Myself

So often I am looking for answers to my problems from family, friends, authors, and other gurus.  Those people can help us get pointed in the right direction, but they cannot solve our problems.  We have to discover those solutions for ourselves.

As a middle-aged person, I have achieved a tremendous amount of life experience.  I know more than I think I know.  I am better than I think I am.  I know the answers are within me and I have to go through the process of discovering them.

The phrase “trust your gut” is real and is spectacular.  That is your subconscious telling you what you already know.  But we talk ourselves out of it.  Our conscious mind will sometimes ignore the gut and instead irrationally take us down the wrong path.  We have to be self-aware as we go through this process.  We have to always believe in ourselves.  We have to listen to what our body is telling us.

During this trip I was able to take that time to figure things out.  I was even able to process some of my dreams that I had journaled about previously and tie them into my overall system.  I was able to link the conscious and the subconscious.

The answer is within.  Just like we create our own happiness, we also can solve our own problems.

5. I am Ready to Move Forward

“Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can’t Lose” – Coach Eric Taylor, Friday Night Lights

I have created many plans for my future, but they often get derailed for any number of reasons.  It is always me getting in the way of me.  I can be my own worst enemy taking myself off track and rethinking past decisions.

Much of that comes from a mind that is too easily distracted, that is too cluttered and is too noisy.  Another part of that problem comes from a lack of belief in yourself.  But these can only be resolved by doing the introspection and taking the time necessary to process everything completely.

With a clear mind I looked into the future and mapped out an outline of a go-forward plan.  This plan is challenging, but achievable.  It is focused on productivity which will help me build more self-confidence and create a self-fulfilling system of positive creation.

Now I just need to make it happen. 



I do not pretend to have everything figured out.  But I do know that this trip to the desert has helped me check off a number of boxes.  I feel better about me.

My eyes are clearing up.  My heart is filling up.   My path to success is in front of me.