I’ve lived in and had the fortune to travel to many places with vastly different terrains, from the Alpine Mountains down to the Dead Sea. There is so much breathtaking beauty in this world of ours that it’s a challenge to pick a favorite. I suppose you don’t have to choose which you like best, but for some reason I have given this a lot of thought over the years.

What I learned is that I am drawn with a deep, ancestral longing to the deserts of the Middle East. I was brought to my knees, and I mean this literally, the first time I crossed the invisible geographical divide between the coastal region of Israel and the arid Negev desert. I knew in my bones that I had come home.

The desert called to me again and again during the years I lived in Israel. I spent more time than I can recall now among the granite of the Sinai and the sandstone of the Negev before coming to the realization that the desert’s allure is a holdover from my past lives. Despite the intensity, it is not relevant to this life of a girl born in America and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. With a sense of profound loss, I returned to the U.S. to fulfill the life I had been born into. Some would even correct me by saying: that I had chosen to be born into.

In this lifetime I am drawn to forest streams. I find harmony in the rush of water, rustle of leaves and scampering of wildlife punctuated by bird calls. So here I sit as I write this blog, on the patio of a quirky coffee shop along the bank of such a stream in the Smoky Mountains. My sense of inner peace radiates from me, that’s how much this place fills me up.

I inhale the cool mountain air deeply, swat away a fly, exhale slowly and completely, and then pause to fully appreciate this breath before taking in the next. I don’t know if I will live in a forest on the banks of a rapid stream, but I know that when I close my eyes to meditate, this is where my heart will take me.

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