The Spiritual Practice of Waiting

January 30, 2012

I have been diligently going through my email lately and came across one I hadn’t read from November.  And in it,it included the phrase the spiritual practice of waiting.   And I thought to myself, indeed, waiting IS a spiritual practice that I don’t practice very well.  One of my tasks over break was to get my email down to under 50 emails.  Since I began at around 300 I’m not sure that will happen, but I am under 200 now so that’s progress.  And I find it interesting that I read this particular phrase today.

I’ve been tense.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.  I’ve been anxious and impatient and life hasn’t been as much fun because of it.  So the idea of waiting as a spiritual practice lifted my heart.  I want to try that.  I want to see how it will calm my soul.

I haven’t been writing much at all these last couple of months as my laptop died and I haven’t been able to buy another one.  I don’t seem to be on the computer that much anymore except for school and that’s been done since before Christmas.  So my blogging skills have been lagging.  My waiting skills have also declined.  In 8 days I will appear in court to try and get my money from the tenant who took it.  And it’s been a long waiting period.  I began this process in July and it will be February this week.  When I look back on the last few months I can see how much calmer it would have been if I had used waiting as a spiritual practice.  The same goes with my car.  I still haven’t sold that and it’s been 4 months.  Go figure on that one.  I’ve stopped trying to guess.  Ebay is the last resort I haven’t tried.  So I will.  But the waiting… the waiting has been grueling and this realization that I’ve made it more so gives me hope that I can change that. 

I adored my classes last semester so this grueling waiting game didn’t impact that.  I had a lovely holiday and took two Intersession classes that fulfilled me.  Yet now I can see how spiritually I could have used this waiting period.  And there’s not a better time to start but the present.  I’ve started a few other blogs that I never finished and may finish and post those anyway, even though they’re after the fact.  After all it’s my blog so I can do it however I want, right?  🙂

I intend to see waiting as a gift.  I intend to see waiting much like meditation or prayer.  For so long waiting has been the bane of my existence.  I carry a book to read while waiting in line, while on BART, while waiting in doctors’ offices.  What would happen to me if I didn’t?   What could I replace it with that will give me this feeling of serenity?  That’s a wonderful new concept I intend to explore. 

What do you do while waiting?  I’d love to hear.

From my little piece of Mayberry,

Jo

2011

January 2, 2012

It was the best of years, it was the worst of years.  It was neither.  Barring what difficulties I experienced, it was still a wonderful year.  I was doing my life’s work, I had a roof over my head, food to eat, kitties to love, amazing courses to take, friends who stood by me,  and I didn’t lose weight, but I didn’t gain any either.  I experienced deaths and I experienced life. 

I’ve got a new calendar hanging on my wall and its clean empty boxes are calling out to me.  I want to fill them up at the same time I want to keep them clean.  To have an uncomplicated life seems so enticing and that seems to only be to leave empty spaces in my days….. something  I can’t quite conceive of.  There wasn’t much empty space in 2011.  So much studying, so much reading, so much writing of papers, so much ministry to learn.  I left out writing for fun and my blog suffered.  When it came to posting a blog or journaling, I fell into neglect, as that didn’t have a deadline, didn’t need a grade, seemed to fall to the bottom of my list day after day after day.  I would love to say that will change in 2012, but I’m not much of a resolution maker.  I never have been.  I tend to make my resolutions throughout the year, not on January 1st at all.  Maybe there’s more luck for me that way, or should I say more resolution.  It was April when I decided to go back to school and I did that.  It was August when I decided to sell my car and I’ve tried that.  It was June when I began walking and sometimes running for exercise and I did that.  January doesn’t hold the pull for me that it seems to for others. 

There is however a brand new year, a year filled with possibility of what can be, what may come, what I might do with what does come.  That is the fresh clean look my calendar brings to mind.  The possibility that my unwanted habits will fall away and new wanted ones will replace them.  It’s exciting.  That’s the part of January 1st that is thrilling for me, that feeling of anticipation that so much good will come.  A year can be like a life.  We begin it anew, filled with the energy and excitement of youth, feeling anything is possible and we progress through the year, as through life, resisting it, feeling the disappointment, suffering, grieving, recovering, delighting, enthralling, celebrating and at the end, rejoicing, appreciating, experiencing unending gratefulness. 

A new year is upon us.  So much possibility to be had.  May you have it.  May you revel in it. 

May you have a magnificent, remarkable new year.

From my little piece of Mayberry,

Jo

Goodbye Sally Mustang

November 5th

It’s been nearly 5 weeks since I took my Vista Blue Mustang convertible to the Buggy Bank. I really love this car, but the time has come to say goodbye. It was a choice I made, carefully, and considering all my options, it feels like the right thing to do. It’s only a 2007 and looks fairly new so hopefully it will sell soon. I haven’t been without a car since I was 18 years old. How interesting this will be. What an adventure this will be!

However if there’s anywhere I can go car-free it’s in the Bay Area! The mass transit here is phenomenal! BART has become my favorite mode of transportation. It is always on time (which can be a problem when I run late) and school is only 2 BART stops away. I’ve gone a month now taking it and the bus a couple of times and actually am beginning to like it. I don’t have to drive around searching for a parking space; I don’t have to PAY for parking; I don’t have to pay for car insurance once I sell it, which I’m REALLY looking forward to not paying! There is a sense of serenity I’ve acquired in being car-free. When I first considered selling it, I kept calling myself car-less. I heard someone on campus say they were car-free and I thought, Eureka! What an abundant way to think of this latest adventure! I am free of the automobile, I can walk where I want to go. When I depart BART I can walk directly to a store or restaurant or campus and don’t have to fight for parking spaces. The worry of being in a car accident is gone. The pedestrian is royalty here in Berkeley! Cars STOP for you! It’s amazing. They really stop. I’ll just enter a crossing zone and the cars slow down – it’s almost like magic. I imagined before I made this decision that it would be so difficult to be car-free and it’s proving me so wrong. I have over 30 minutes a day to walk – time to reflect, time to be silent, time to huff and puff up the 500 foot incline that is the last 2 blocks up the hill to school…. THAT part . . . not so much fun. BUT sooo much healthier! I’ve acquired my own private Stairmaster and with a 15 pound backpack on my back, Bob Harper would be proud! I feel completely self-sufficient.

I know I will miss my Mustang Sally. It was my dream car and I loved having the top down driving down Ventura Boulevard. However Northern California is not Southern California. The temperature range 10 months of the year is between 50 – 60 and not really convertible weather. I know I couldn’t do this in LA. There just isn’t the mass transit options like up here and the mind set is completely different. In Los Angeles you are your car. It is your worth. I’m thoroughly enjoying not basing my self-worth on a mass of steel and rubber. I will be walking my environmental talk also, which is amazing. My carbon footprint will be reduced considerably. And isn’t that the meaning of integrity? To walk your talk. I feel good about helping the planet. Everywhere I go now, I’m travel-pooling, whether it’s by train, plane or friend’s automobiles when they offer rides, I never travel alone. I even have 2 feet, so I can walk on the carpool side of the sidewalk… tee hee.

It’s a very freeing feeling. My parking angel that was a gift last year is now sitting on my home altar. She was wonderful while she lasted, tucked in the corner of my dashboard, working her parking magic. (I actually think it really did work as there were times I got some really awesome parking spaces….. 🙂 ). I really would like to actually sell my car however, and experience the joy of having the money to pay my tuition. So spread the word out there. Mustang Sally is for sale in Berkeley.

From my little piece of Mayberry,
Jo

9/11

September 11, 2011

I wanted to write about this day and yet I didn’t want to write about it. I told a friend I felt if I did, I’d probably be arrested. I have become a citizen afraid of my government, afraid that if I do use my constitutional right to free speech that I will be punished for it.

This is a sad day for me in more than one way. I am grieving for the type of people I thought Americans used to be. That’s what I feel like we’ve lost since this attack 10 years ago, we’ve lost ourselves. We gave ourselves up willingly. We allowed our government to take away our civil rights, to torture and kill, to do all those things we consistently say America does not do. I am saddened for all the citizens who died that day. I am saddened for the families and friends who grieve for them. I am also angry that we had an opportunity to show the world what America really stood for and instead, we have gone and killed a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan and no one blinks an eye. I cry for what we’ve become as a nation. I hear so many people say that that day changed them forever. What it changed in me was my faith in my government to be humane and decent and keep its integrity in the face of unspeakable pain.

For this I’m afraid to voice my opinion. For I don’t believe in war and see that we’ve missed an incredible opportunity to show that the United States is a decent and peaceful and great nation. Instead we bombed and waterboarded and killed children. How many times do we tell our children that if someone strikes you, you don’t hit them back. You tell an adult or you talk it out, or you somehow resolve the situation with peaceful means. Yet we won’t do that as adults and this hurts my heart.

I couldn’t watch the news this week. I felt as if they were only capitalizing on this great tragedy, working to sensationalize and glorify victims and increase the nationalism that fuels our capitalism. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see street vendors selling t-shirts or trinkets to commemorate this day. For I believe we have become a crass society intent on only acquiring more toys and trinkets and making a buck where we can. I don’t believe this is what America stands for, and yet every day it seems, it only shows me that we are.

Instead I attended a peace ceremony today, The Axis of Friendship, where others like me, prayed and spoke and set our intention for peace in this world. That gave me hope for our country. That gave me a faith that if this one spark can spread, maybe it will overcome the contagion for war and hatred that has spread across our land. I can only work towards that and hope that one day, we will get back to being the people I thought we once were. As a minister, I hope to spread peace.

May it be so.

From my little piece of Mayberry,
Jo

Summertime

August 15th

Summertime is supposed to be a happy time; a time where you lay under trees and feel the air on your skin. Where napping happens and a lot of exercise outside is enjoyed. I’ve had summers like that. It’s been a while, but I remember them. This summer hasn’t been that. It’s had its moments, and there were fun moments, but there were some not so fun moments too.

Today is actually an anniversary of some sort for me. 12 years ago today, I stopped using credit cards and haven’t since. I went cold turkey. It was really rough sometimes, I had moments where it was so tempting, but I stuck to my guns and all of a sudden it’s 12 years. I must say, I feel wonderful not having any unsecured debt and there is not the burden I felt when I did.

However, and this brings me back to my not-so-relaxing summer, I’ve experienced some momentary stress surrounding money. My not-so-magical tenant has not paid his oh-so-important rent in over 4 months. He’s actually never been on time, but up until April he managed to catch up before the next month was due. In July I began eviction proceedings when he reached the 3-month delinquent mark and now August is yet another month, where he is still living in my condo and still not paying rent. I’ve used up quite a bit of savings and unfortunately had to cancel my summer classes I intended to take, and so far I have kept up with all my payments of rent, mortgage, homeowners and insurance. This is where I’ve begun to creep into fear however. I don’t like living there and I’ve used every support system available to me to keep myself out of it. I am so grateful for my support systems. My magical friend Michele (I’ve decided to nickname her Bulldog) has been relentless in filing my papers and basically living in the City Clerk’s office (and thank you M’s daughter Elizabeth, for she’s had to sit there with her…. I think I owe the whole family at least a dinner out!) I’ve learned a lot about Landlord/Tenant law and sooo wish I knew this last year. It feels uncomfortable to think these 2 people are living in my former home and not paying for it. A friend of mine called it stealing, and it is, which I’d never thought about before. And I pray they are at least taking good care of it and not destroying it in this process. Being an absentee landlord is difficult and I need to find a manager for me down in LA, but my first step is vacating my condo and it’s proving much harder than anticipated. I now have become the “evil landlord”, even though I really don’t think I’m evil, and one of my friends pointed out that I’ve been way too nice. That’s how he seemed to take advantage of me in the first place. I was too nice. This is a business, I’ve been told, even though it’s my former home. I haven’t thought of it as a business per se, I’ve thought of it as my home, and I feel a bit violated at the moment. I have talked to an attorney however and that may be my only recourse. But I still haven’t debted and am so grateful for that. I will get through this. I believe that God and the good karma I have collected will see me through.

So there goes my summer. School is just around the corner and a whole new semester looms. I know I will love it just as much as last year. It’s cold again, the foggy winds blowing in from the Bay, and now that I’m a knowledgeable resident, I know that September and October will be warm and sunny once again. I haven’t felt the magic lately, but I still hold out hope that it’s coming back. There’s a lesson here for me and I feel I have learned a lot this summer. Knowledge isn’t always gained in schoolbooks. I’m sure there’s a sermon in here somewhere…….

From my little piece of Mayberry,

Jo

Day 1 near Yosemite

July 22nd

So as I was driving down the 140 with a female peacock in the passenger seat, I was admiring the wooded mountains and the beauty of the Foothills. Yes you read that right. I picked up a female peacock in a dog carrier in Merced for Ruthie so her male peacock would have a companion to make him more homebound. He tends to wander off. This may make him more of a homebody. I had previously stopped to buy her 2 loaves of cranberry raisin bread with walnuts from the famous Acme Bread Company in Berkeley (yum!) that she was craving so desperately and was equally enthusiastic to pick up her peacock for her too. I even got used to the odor of peacock in the car after awhile. (smells a little bit like chicken…) They do have a distinctive odor. She was a fairly docile bird, flapping her wings as we bounced over potholes, but she did calm rather quickly at the sound of my voice. “Have a soothing tone when her feathers get ruffled,“ were my instructions, and I followed them along with slightly petting her through the holes of the light grey dog carrier she was kept in. Very soft feathers I must say. And she definitely had an attraction to male singers as opposed to female. She was consistently quiet when Paul Simon or Ray LaMontagne came on, but only seemed to give a 7 or 8 to Sarah McGloughlin. 🙂 Ziggy Marley kept her very peaceful especially… she must be a reggae peacock…. 🙂

So I arrived with peacock in tow to my friend Ruthie’s farm, somewhere near Yosemite off a freeway, a highway, a side dirt road leading to a barely two wheel-rutted path. She is out in the boonies. Along with her 3 horses, 2 goats, 2 roosters, upteen chickens, gaggles of geese, ducks and turkeys, 5 dogs, 18 cats and now 2 peacocks. It really is another world out here. Her horses are beautiful, white with copper colored paints, and very docile. Sugarplum, Sugarpine, and Acorn. Everywhere I looked, there was life. I saw animals in every nook and cranny. Out in the middle of nowhere, with a view of the Sierras off the front porch that could keep me in pure bliss. This farm house of hers is full of life.

I helped her patch a fence where the year old filly kept punching through – we were 2 Pioneer women! We took the dogs on a walk to the pond and sat and watched them jump and play in the water. The rooster continued to crow and the cats snuggled up to me and all felt right with the world. It was a much needed peace after the legal jungle I’ve been plowing through. A much needed respite. We even drove into town and saw “Horrible Bosses” and had a continuous belly laugh through that entire movie! What a contrast coming back into the modern world, but oh, it felt good to laugh! And here I sit once again in the quiet of the night writing, by hand, as I don’t have reception on my laptop… no wireless here. I’ll have to post later. And it is indeed quiet. The animals have all fallen asleep – even the roosters are silent, with an occasional goat bleat or cat playing with something heard in the distance. It really does feel like a little piece of heaven right now.

Until I write again….
Jo

One Year

July 21st

One year ago today, I was driving a 16 foot Penske truck up Interstate 5 moving half of my belongings north to the infamous Bay area. It really does seem like last month and it’s been a full year. I’ve completed my first year as a seminarian, learned my way around, lost a beloved pet, made new friends, and generally settled into a new life without expectations and receiving immense pleasure from all my experiences. I gained the Freshman 14 and am on my way to losing them again, 11 pounds to go. There’s a fitting synchronicity in the fact that it’s the 21st. 21 has always been my number, it’s my birthday number, and has always felt special. So to move up here and start a new life on the number 21 is extremely fortunate…. In my opinion.. for of course, what do numbers really mean – they are man-made and may not hold any special meaning in their own right. I choose to see some meaning in numbers however, as there have just been too many coincidences in my life with number relationships. So I see the excitement in birth on the 21st. Different month, different year, but the serendipity is there.

Ernest Hemingway was born this day, 112 years ago. His life has always fascinated me and I hope one day to write as well as he did. I write in the dead of night, as I’ve read he had a custom of doing, and it always feels comfortable to me – the quiet silence of night is quieter than any other time of day and seems to be the most peaceful and sacred time. I was born at 232 am and my mother always commented that I had my days and nights confused and it could be because of when my day began at the beginning of my life. I’ve never thought it was confused; this is when I come alive. I like staying up until 3 in the morning and sleeping till noon. It feels comfortable for me to do that. And it’s an opportunity to be alone and enjoy the world when others are not in it. Many a night I’ve sat and gazed at the stars and enjoyed the quiet. I’ve been blessed to be able to do that. I feel blessed today. Even through the grief of losing a beloved animal, through the craziness of having to evict my first tenant for non-payment of rent as a brand-new landlord, using up my savings in a way I didn’t expect, I still hold a sense of peace and blessings in my life. I see the phrase “opportunity meets preparation as luck” (or however that quote seemingly goes) as my Waterloo as a new landlady. I wasn’t as prepared as I ought to have been last year when I transitioned from down there to up here. There was so much I didn’t know about renting property and I’ve paid the price this summer on what I didn’t know last. However, I have felt the brick hit my head and learned my lesson well, so God up there, I got it. I’ve spent the last few weeks reading the Nolo Press books and learning what I need to learn as a landlord. And I see where I wasn’t prepared and the revelation translates to other parts of my life. There is a power in controlling our fate that we have when we prepare. Doing the footwork and taking the action creates a space for what we call “luck” to emerge. And it is as clear as a ringing bell to me now and I revel in the recognition of it! They say that things happen for a reason and it’s a wonderful benefit when we recognize that reason.

I’m enjoying every minute of my life. Granted, there are exasperating circumstances daily that try my patience that are only relieved with dark 70% chocolate wedges, but in the grand scheme of life, they are few and far between. The knowledge that I am on the right path is so strong and clear that it exhilarates me and I love that feeling of exhilaration! It’s about time I finally discovered what I’m supposed to be when I grow up…. It only took 50 years…. 🙂 I saw a news brief tonight on the evening news about Baby Boomers and their Second Acts and thought to myself, that’s what I’m doing. Rediscovering myself in the second half of life. And I’m really enjoying the second half much more than the first….. I just really miss the body I had in the first half…… 🙂

From my little piece of Mayberry night,
Jo

Homage to Sequel

First Day Outside for Sequel
June 21st

He was a little orange cat with a white nose when I saw him at Pet Rescue in Burbank. Willie had disappeared, my most favorite orange Maine Coon cat of all time and I had gotten Callie thinking if he comes back, I’ll have a female and they will get along. But Willie never came back, and after a year of waiting, I found myself jonesing for an orange cat, for they are the best you know. That was 1997 and the day after I brought him home, he and Callie were licking each other’s heads and I knew they would be alright.

I wasn’t home much then and I thought maybe a companion would be good for Callie, as she was home alone so often. I used to call her the angel cat, she was white and mindful, and I would call him the devil cat, for he was orange and troublesome. He was small for a Maine Coon, just 9 pounds, but could jump higher and run faster than any other cat I had. He would knock over lamps and had a penchant for fresh flowers and whenever I had a new bouquet, he would knock over the vase to get to the petals to play with. After 5 broken vases and many water damaged items, I learned to find a place to put them where he either couldn’t reach them, or I could weigh them down enough so that at least he couldn’t spill the water. It became habit to lock up the flowers in the bathroom at night so his plaything wasn’t available. Although I wish I had done that the night I left a vase on my 32” Panasonic. That became toast when Sequel knocked the vase off the top and water ran all throughout the innards. That is part of his legacy and now when I think about it, it actually makes me smile.

I was so excited when I moved and he had a place to play outside that was safe and cat friendly. He absolutely loved being out there! He would stand by the door waiting patiently for me to open the door of freedom. Alas, this only lasted 3 months before his first bout with illness. After that I could rarely let him out for fear that he would become worse. When the diagnosis was inevitable, I decided there was no reason to keep him inside. If he only had a short time left, then why couldn’t he enjoy it the way he wanted to. So I began to let him out again, the last month, and he almost always still came when I called him. The last week I would have to go in Mrs. Kravitz’s back yard to pick him up, where he sat in his spot by the rose bush, for he really wanted to stay out there forever. He used to always come when I called him. I taught him to fetch a ball and stand and turn on command. He was my dog-cat I called him, for in so many ways he was like a dog as a pet. He would sit in my lap – only when I had the afghan over me however – and would follow me from room to room.

It was so difficult to decide what to do when the inevitable came. I had a trip planned and had thought the end was near enough that I made an appointment with his vet to have him put down. But two days before I was scheduled to leave he was still jumping on the counter and the top of the frig and still wanted to go outside and play so I felt it was too soon. I guess I wasn’t meant to be with him however, for he died when I was in LA five days later, on what used to be my mom’s birthday, and I received the news at the last place he lived before we moved north while I was visiting the grey that used to be my cat Penny. In some ways, that must have been his goodbye to me. I’m not sure what the meaning is, but it seems he knew somehow that I would search for synchronicity and look for signs. I think he knew it would be easier for me if he chose the time to go then if I had to choose it for him, and for that I am grateful. Although I don’t know that there is an easy way to lose a pet friend.

I feel like he was always there. He was there through 2 major breakups of ex-boyfriends to hug and cry with; he weathered the move from Burbank to my condo when I first bought it and then the giant move from the condo to Mike’s to my apartment in the Bay area here. He was there when both my parents died, during each transition from job to job and career to career. He saw so many Christmases – loved to sit under the tree – attended all the parties I threw in the great condo party place where he spent most of his life. I could hug him and he put up with it. I could dance with him and he put up with it. He would run up and down the stairs at lightning speed, jump to the ledge of the window spanning the loft 12 feet high in the air, never falling (although once he clung to the window sill by his two front paws as Rani and I talked and we rescued him – oh if I just would’ve had my camera!). He was constantly curious, which could be an irritant sometimes, but generally was a delight for me to see.

I buried him in his favorite spot in Mrs. Kravitz’s backyard and I know that’s a special place for him to live. Lee was there and he and I both said some special words and that was the last I saw of him. I buried him with his favorite toy and food dish and even still I’m seeing him in the corner of my eye. I’ll think he’s coming around the corner or jumping on the window sill. I hope eventually I stop seeing him so this lump in my throat will go away.

I know that there is wisdom in this pain and hopefully it will help me to help others when I finally graduate to minister. He wasn’t a child, he wasn’t a spouse, so I know the grief isn’t the same, but I hope in some way I can find solace to give others when they are going through grief. In some ways it’s more painful than when my parents died. In some ways it’s not. I spent nearly every day of my life for the last 14 years with this little creature and he made much more of an impact on me than I suspected. I knew all along how much I loved him; it has just taken its effect on me now that he is gone.

It’s taken me nearly a week to write this homage to him, it was sometimes too sad to write, but I didn’t want to leave it incomplete. I needed to put this in writing, for my sake, not for his. I want others to know how special he was and how I loved him. I don’t know that he liked me typing all that much, since he would walk on my keyboard or sit on my lap in a way to make me stop. He probably wanted my attention and I hope I gave him enough. I feel like I did. There are the inevitable feelings of inadequacy – did I do enough? Could I have done something else to help him? Did he have a happy life? 14 years isn’t quite enough for an indoor cat’s life and I always thought I’d have 4 or 5 more. I got what I got however and I’m forever grateful for having shared these years with him. He was a wonderful confidant and companion. I miss you Sequel.

From my little piece of Mayberry,
Jo

Musings in an Airport

My dad had cancer 3 times, although on his death certificate the cause of death reads pneumonia. My mom had breast cancer, yet died of heart disease. My two aunts died of breast cancer and a dear friend Roger Borden, died of cancer too. And now my second favorite kitty in the world has it and I have to watch the deterioration of a living thing yet one more time. It was hard to leave on this trip knowing that he is in decline. I have left him in the very good care of my dear neighbor Mrs. Kravitz and the incredibly talented, pill-giving vet tech Meghan. I know he and Callie are in good hands. They will just be lonely for a week as I won’t be there. And I have to have faith and trust that they will be alive when I get back. If not, there’s nothing I can do. It’s this part of letting go that is so difficult for me sometimes.

But I’ve discovered that when you give to others, others give to you. When I sent out a plea to my Brain Exchange women, I received the most compassionate and caring responses that I never expected. One member is even a cat empath and on Tuesday when I actually had an appointment to put Sequel to sleep she said, no he’s not ready yet. And it’s Thursday and he’s still with us. He’s a feisty one she said, and maybe even in denial. How like humans are animals…. or vice versa.

So here I sit in the Phoenix airport awaiting my connection. I could have flown faster to New York. But it was a cheaper fare to connect from Oakland to Phoenix to LA. Such is life. I had to go out of state to go to Southern California… tee hee. I have had my traditional Café Mocha from Starbucks…. This time it WASN”T decaf… 🙂 and a delightful cranberry muffin that did the trick early in the morning. I haven’t flown in a while, but it’s still the same. In fact Oakland went so quick through security, I had over an hour and a half to wait to board. June 9th must be a good morning to fly out.

I’m looking forward to my visit. I haven’t seen my cousins in 3 years or more and it’s going to be so much fun to catch up with them. We’re coming from 4 states and 6 different cities so it’s a mini-reunion in some respects. Zac’s graduation is bringing the older generation together and that’s nice. We shouldn’t wait for a momentous occasion to reunite. We can create our own momentous occasion to get together… hey I should suggest that.

So goodbye Berkeley and Phoenix, I am now on the last leg of my journey. More to come when I get my laptop charged up again!

From the traveling Mayberry-ite……
Jo

The Last Oprah Show

May 25th

I was feeling so depressed today… I’d had a bad week. A family member said some hateful things to me and I realized this relationship is irreparable. I was feeling that shame that only a family member can bring on, feelings of worthlessness and failure, those subsequent feelings when one’s buttons are pushed. Sequel is practically a walking skeleton – when I pet him I can feel all his bones through his fur, yet he still jumps and plays, but I know the end is soon near. And the last Oprah show aired. It felt like a week of loss.

So as I sat down with my chocolate sorbet from Trader Joe’s to console me as the Oprah show began, thinking what a waste of my life I’ve had and used up, I began to listen to her explain her mission; of how she wanted everyone to find their calling, to use their passion and find fulfillment in this life. And I thought to myself I haven’t wasted my life. For I’m on my own path right now doing what I know to be true to me. That can’t be a waste. I watched intently the entire hour and began to realize something. I had an aha moment during this show. All these years of watching and I never once got to a taping. My aha moment intensified as I realized why. I never tried. I thought it was an impossibility to get to Chicago from California and I never tried. I never got a friend who thought it was possible either to go with me. I can honestly say I haven’t done that on most things in my life, luckily, but I have done this on some really important moments in my life. And I considered this a really important moment.

So what do I take away from this aha moment? The idea that I CAN do it and the only one that WILL stop me is myself. I remember when I was 38 and I backpacked through Italy by myself after the end of a relationship and I stopped to visit my parents flying across the country. And my dad said, why do you have to do this? Why do you have to go? And I said, because I can and I may never get another chance. And so far I haven’t been back to Italy and I have wonderful memories of my first solo vacation. I know my father was just afraid for me and wanted to protect me, but I only saw adventure. Interestingly enough, I seem to do this periodically in my life, but not all the time. A muscle that needs to be strengthened.

This revelation will only help me to better define myself. My verbal altercation with my relative will never be resolved I realized, but I know that I gave it my all. I can’t ask any more of myself than that. I know I will grow in my communication skills, that I will grow in my faith, and I will grow in my own strength of character. And the next time I tell myself something is impossible, I’ll remember my missed opportunities. I will miss you Oprah.

From my little piece of Mayberry,
Jo