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Desert Canvas: Every Good Thing You Want To Believe About The World In One Place

A lot of people have written here how volunteering for or attending a Desert Canvas event or workshop has changed them for the better. I’m not writing about that, because Desert Canvas didn’t change me. It did something better….

Stop what you are doing. Turn off your music, silence your phone….  Now remember back to when you were five years old.

They say when you’re that young, the world is your oyster. You are always curious to try new things and learn new things, and others in your life foster your creativity and exploration (for the most part). If you see a garden hose with water flowing out of it, you pick it up, and wave it around and you quickly discover that you are soaking yourself. You giggle, you cry, you smile. But most importantly, you are alive.

(Me when I was 5 years old)IMG_5561

When you were just two years older, at the ripe old age of 7, you met your aunt. And the first thing that came out of your mouth was “Aunt Cheryl, you’re big!” Ooooh and you got into big trouble. “You can’t say that to your Auntie!” Even though you were merely stating a fact. And in a sense, you’re a kid–so a lot of things are big from your perspective.

But in this moment, you found out two things:

  1. To hide what you are thinking.
  2. That Aunt Cheryl being big is a bad thing, and you should judge big people whenever you see them.

As time goes on, you keep learning about the rules of society.

You learn to chew with your mouth closed. You learn to “not talk to strangers”. You learn to not talk about other people when they are not around.

In my case, as I grew up and began high school, this living and learning life continued on, and as it did, creating and exploring began to take a back seat to what the adults in my life called “GROWING UP”–but what is actually just learning how to support yourself and SURVIVE. This survival lifestyle basically entails finding a job, and fulfilling the different requirements to get and keep a job. Volunteering so you can put it on your resume, getting good grades so you can check off the box of going to college, taking unpaid internships, and on and on.

And you don’t even realize you’re learning it, but you are doing everything out of survival.  Your world eventually revolves around it, because almost everyone you know has told you that this is the ONLY way to survive. And the consequence of this is that you make more and more of your decisions based on this lifestyle.

Maybe you pick one major over another because you think that it will give you more/better paying job prospects when you graduate. Maybe you take a psychology class instead of a glass blowing class because you think psychology will give you an edge over your competition in job applications. Maybe you take an internship over the summer instead of hiking the Teton Crest Trail with your friends.  The list goes on…

(A post from a friend of the Desert Canvas CommunityThis is What is Important

In my case, I did my best to balance the line.

I didn’t like the survival lifestyle that was being pushed at me since I was in junior high. But even though I didn’t like it, I believed it was the only way to survive. So what did I do? Half my decisions would support my passions, half survival lifestyle. I picked a major because I was told it would lead to a good paying job when I graduated…even though I wasn’t a huge fan of it. But I also made a last minute decision to follow my passion and play baseball in college even though I was told there was no future in it.

But as I have written in previous posts, when my baseball career was over and I earned my degree, I moved from 50/50 to 100% in a “survival lifestyle”.  But after doing that for 2 years, I came to the conclusion this survival lifestyle couldn’t continue.

So I traveled.

And what did it confirm? There are other ways to survive that don’t force you to put your passions on the backburner, and it can be done through community and resourcefulness.

I came back knowing that I could never live the survival lifestyle again. 

And lucky for me, I had a friend that wasn’t living that “survival lifestyle.” One that had figured out a different reality and was creating it for him and others–one that we imagine movie stars and athletes and comedians have. He had this idea of sharing what he learned with as many people as he could. And at the time, this idea was simply that–an idea. It was in its beginning stages. It started with free yoga and music and slacklining and whatever else people wanted to contribute, every week at Papago Park.

Today, his idea has become much bigger. It is manifested in Desert Canvas—a place where every good thing you want to believe about the world exists. How?

It starts with Desert Canvas’ philosophy. Its ethos. Its heart.

Desert Canvas says there isn’t one way to survive.

Desert Canvas believes individuals are unique, and each person truly has something to contribute based upon their background and experiences. Desert Canvas believes if you set goals, you have the ability to create a future manifested by your passions. You won’t be simply trying to survive, but actually living a life of adventure. And a direct result is a life of authenticity and sustainability, because you are following your true passion.

But the lifeblood of Desert Canvas’ heart that makes your individual success a reality is the fact that it fosters such a supportive community.


This community is created through events, workshops, housing, and weekly meetups. I have participated in many of them. And I will tell you this: This philosophy has brought together a lot of amazing people. This philosophy has brought out the best in the people that you meet at these events.  Everyone you meet is an individual. Every person is unique. And every person at a Desert Canvas event knows YOU are unique.

And it’s not this “We’re better than everyone else because we’re unique.” Every person you meet at a Desert Canvas event TRULY believes that, BY DEFAULT, everyone is unique in the world and has something to contribute. And this makes for a magical place. It makes for a playground. A place where the world is again your oyster.

“What a soul awakening experience.  Got to spend it with the best group ever and met many other beautiful souls through out it. ” – Quote from a Desert Canvas Munduzer Festival Goer

I experienced this kind of community firsthand in Argentina, Bolivia, Eastern Europe—but in the States, where were all the people that believed all of the things that I believed about the myself and the world? Was I alone?

I’m not alone. You’re not alone. Desert Canvas has created this community. Desert Canvas didn’t change me–it has created a community that truly has everything I want in the world in one place. The people, the support, the adventure, a sense of life and joy!

You may be thinking, is this a place for me? Well…

If you’re looking for value in yourself, Desert Canvas is here ready to bust you out of your shell. If you’re a positive person who feels the pressure of the darkness and negativity from the world, Desert Canvas is here as a shiny and positive force. If you’re a traveler finding yourself in a rut, Desert Canvas is here to push you back outside your comfort zone. If you’re living to survive and want to experience life and just have a good time, Desert Canvas has an adventure waiting for you.

Desert Canvas is a community with a philosophy for life that isn’t bound by distance. It’s the way the world should be, and the best part is, we want you to be a part of it. It’s not about the adventure hikes, the interactive art, the yoga, the music, the workshops, the speeches–those are simply the amazing products that come out of an idea.

It’s about the people. It’s about the philosophy. It’s about you!


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