Today is day thirteen. I have been here for almost two weeks with these other women. Today I am continuing my reflection on this experience thus far and the challenges that come with living off of four gallons of water a day.
When I first came to this place, I was nervous and scared. I knew that this process would take physical and mental strength and endurance. Now thirteen days in, I have found peace and a rhythm. I still miss home and those I care about, but I have a comfortable routine here and with the other women. We have developed a stronger sense of comraderie being here for a couple weeks now. My days have stopped moving in slow motion. Before I know it, the sun is setting over the mountains and we are all sitting outside eating dinner. I have found a purpose for my days. At first, I had anxiety and I felt restless. I was so used to being busy and if I was bored, I would make myself busy or numb the empty with technology, social media, etc. I can’t do that here. I can’t run from time or my thoughts. I just have to exist in this space.
Living off of four gallons of water a day has its challenges, but I also realize how conscious it has made me about my water usage. I used to believe behaviors that require a lot of water at home, also a dry desert, were necessary. That they were survival. However, after being here for only two weeks and experiencing water scarcity first hand, I realize that so many of those behaviors are not dire. They are societally constructed. Humans can conserve and living off of less doesn’t have to degrade your standard of living. There is also something exciting about knowing that it is possible. I can live off of four gallons of water a day or less. It has sparked a lot of truly interesting conversations here and creativity. It might not always be comfortable because I am accustomed to running water at the turn of a handle, but I can do it and that is a comforting thought.
The vegan/ water conscious diet was also a hurdle I had to learn to overcome. My body was detoxing and I had horrible cravings. Now, even though my body is still detoxing, I no longer have these feelings. My skin feels/looks better and I am less bloated. I have lost almost eight pounds, but I feel so much lighter beyond the number. I fall right to sleep at night and I toss and turn less than I did at home. My body is definitely happy here, despite the increasing heat.
Although I was nervous, I really needed this time in the desert. Here I can decompress. I needed to be able to center and remove myself from the “go, go, go”. It is so different to study something and then put your body on the line to research it more. It has already been a very tough, emotional, and educational experience. I am ready for the next two weeks as I follow up with each of the women here and ask them about their conclusions about sustainable development/ behavior and happiness.