Upside Down

Words and photographs by Lea Colombo

While on assignment for Atmos, Lea Colombo’s trek through the Namib Desert took an unexpected turn: a brush with death that brought a new perspective.

My body of work over the last year has made reference to a White Light Being. Always present, always guiding, always emitting a strong energy field into my work. But this presence has remained at a distance—a connection solely with one’s higher self, one I had yet to fully unpack.


However, through the vast emptiness of the desert, its textures and color, I finally came to know the White Light. I felt it. I saw it. My being was pulled so strongly toward it. Our Cruiser had experienced the deadly Namibian roads, spiraling off the dirt track in a matter of seconds. My reality inverted as we rolled through the hot Namibian sand.


The Light engulfed me as our car hit the gravel upside-down. My eyes kept trying to adjust, to focus, to see anything other than White Light. “Breathe,” I told myself. Long and steady breaths. I focused on my exhale and the comforting voice of Asher, who continued to call my name. I surrounded my body in love and light—taking teachings from incredible souls who have touched my path along the way. I was able to restore a sense of calmness to my body, despite the chaos that surrounded it.

Within seconds, I was pulled from the passenger side and lifted out of the crumpled vehicle. As I attempted to take my surroundings in, this White Light confronted me. My head had been knocked hard. A beautiful white halo filled my vision—it beckoned me. I could immediately sense what was happening and knew I needed to turn inward quickly. I clung onto the sense of calmness I had managed to foster and gave my body all the strength I had left. The more I trusted and guided myself, the stronger the energy was behind me, grounding me back onto Earth, into my body, into my consciousness.


And there it was: color. In all its glory. I was back.


Pages from Seat of the Soul scattering the roadside. Our belongings and tangled mess of a car breaking the vastness. As far as the eye could see—barren, except for claw-like trees reaching out of the earth, bodies not yet ready to be buried. Life and death, ever at odds in the desert.

And us, alive. Guided and protected by all our guardian angels. A bad knock to the head and the knee but all in one piece and grateful to have escaped in the way we did. All of it will require rest and healing and a big lesson in patience, no doubt.


I have always trusted in the process—in my body and in my ability to navigate disruptions to a never-concrete path. Two months have passed, and I still cannot escape the feeling that my pull toward the Namibian desert, our tumbling, was a chance to experience chaos in every sense, life turned upside down.

Shop Atmos Volume 06: Beyond

After a year of global upheaval, one question is on all our minds: What lies beyond the horizon? We know we need a new future, but what does it hold? What exists on the other side of disaster capitalism and colonization? What wisdom awaits beyond binary thinking and Western views of time and space? What does the cosmos contain beyond life on our planet? For Volume 06: Beyond we are imagining a world free from the constructs that have confined our planet and its people for too long.

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