Hi, I’m Deidra Leigh. I am a human being and sometimes I make art, sometimes I travel. Some of you read my blogs and some of you probably could care less. That’s ok, I don’t really create or write anything life altering. I’m not saving lives, right? I am flawed, I stand in my own truth, and I’m just a human being with a camera trying to call the world my home.
September 30, 2016 I started on a journey west. It wasn’t my first journey, or my last but it was important. It was so important for me to leave the hive. To go out into the wild and discover myself again. I hadn’t traveled in two years. Prior to that I had traveled quite a lot. I was compelled to go out into the world and I walked that path until it was no loner serving me positively. I went through a divorce and then a break up, my heart broke. I buried myself into my art. My friends kept me alive, my kids…. inspired me. After years of traveling and burning like a forest fire, I stopped. I stopped traveling, I stopped going…. I just stood still. And this hurt and ached in me like a song I could hear over a mountain calling me back, calling me forward, calling me away. But, sometimes going can be running and sometimes staying is also running. You have to understand yourself to know the difference between seeking and running.
I found that after a period of time my “seeking” became hiding. I was just hiding in beautiful places. I was running toward sunsets and away from the reality that there is beauty in standing still and feeling the grass on my legs and the sun on your face with nothing at all to move you but your own soul.
I stood still and I waited. I wasn’t waiting for anything, I was just experiencing the sound of my own thoughts as they moved through me. I took ownership of my voice and every step forward was easier, even if I didn’t actually go anywhere. Sometimes it takes more courage to stand in your own truth rather than running, seeking, cutting down trees to see the world. I already did that. I already labeled and identified every leaf in the valley of my being and every stone on every single mountain peak. I knew their names, I knew their intent and they were good. Their heart, their voice their soul I found was nothing more than love. That I wasn’t this black hearted, torturous creature, that I wasn’t broken and I was never lost. I was just surrounded by stagnancy and toxic people and old ideas that no longer served my path. We cannot control the world around us. But we can control what occurs in our world, we can control how we face it and WHO most importantly is on that journey with us. I am a true believer that there is only two actual root emotions in the world and that is love and fear. I ask myself in all situations, is this coming from a place of love, or is it coming from a place of fear. If it is not love, then it is fear. This helps me a great deal in identifying my own intent and to walk a clear and true path forward. That doesn’t mean life doesn’t get messy or strange or complicated. That doesn’t mean that I have all the answers… I have no answers actually. I am simply trying to experience the world around me unapologetically.
I went on a trip with my long-time acquaintance Kienan who, funnily, I had never actually spent any alone time with and now I was going to spend upwards of 6 days alone with this person. I wasn’t scared I sort of felt like no matter what it would be ok. I thought well this could be amazing or a complete disaster. It could not have been better. I got to know someone who now is someone I really value and appreciate. If you ever want to get to know someone on a human level hike 1500 feet to the top of a mountain for 5 hours with no phone service. In pain, climbing, laughing about everything. Suffering the earth and building human connections like mountains come to be. I found that the most important thing that came out of this trip was the connections with humans I met along the way and the people I was lucky to travel with. My friend, Graham joined us for a small portion of the journey. He traveled 7 hours from Los Angeles to hike one day and be turned around because I had to head back home due to the storm threatening airline delays and I could no longer stay in Utah.
Everyone in my life knows who Graham is. (ok laugh). Everyone in my life knows how important he is to me and how tumultuous our life has been together and how deeply he had affected me in both positive and negative ways. I am who I am today because of This person. Propelled forward, inspired by and encouraged by the undulated and important life we share in this world together. I was nervous about him coming to see me because our lives do not function on a black and white scale with numbers and letters to tell us more about it. It could have gone very, very good, or gone very, very badly. (badly to me and badly to you may be vastly different.) And it was immeasurably good. When you can see a person in their own light and being separate from your own and you can be your own light and your own being. That’s unselfish love. I was happy to finally see that.
All relationships change. Humans change. We have to let them. Sometimes we have to even walk away from people. That doesn’t mean we don’t love them anymore or that we will never see them again. It just means we cant walk a path with them right now in our lives and maybe never again and you have to be ok with that. Because you are safe and you are whole no matter what. You are strong and you are like a river coming home. I love saying that. It reminds me of the power we possess within ourselves to let go of the world around us that does nothing more than distract us. We, in a very real way, buy into the distractions the world provides us with. We eat it up. Shoes, and cars and walls and this, and that. Its all a beautiful castle. Its all a stable hell. Its not always bad. If we are providing a life for those we love and value, this isn’t bad. But if its killing you, if its suffocating you, if its taking your power and your love and your life away. Make a change. Doesn’t matter how big or small, make it. Make it now. Sometimes its better to be terrified than in a calm sensible state of sameness. We have no idea if someone will hurt us, but we still love it. Sometimes we have no idea what’s at the top of the mountain but we still climb it….
Almost the end of this unintentionally wordy blog . Big giant thanks to all the people who made coming home so amazing that I didn’t even miss the purple and yellow and green mountain sides that call to me hard like a song. I came home to love. To the discovery of connections in something beautiful and terrifying and raw and unyielding. Something that you don’t recover from, you can only face it and let the winds take you. To not wilt, to not bend to the echo chamber, the static or pull of negativity. To crack wide open like a planet or a sun and embrace the pain of becoming. Becoming what we already were.
And the “now what part” is…. now what?
Now, what do I create?
Now, what do I do?
Now, how do I go forward?
I have no idea and that’s the most exciting thing I’ve felt in a very long time. More than standing on a 1500 shear cliff…. anything is possible.
(Attached are all the photos and candid shots of my trip.)