“Mission from the Universe” Part 3: Be Open

201608089 5 Days Blog Photo New Fonts(Click HERE to read Part 1Click HERE to read Part 2)

So, what am I supposed to do with my life?

That is a question I’ve been asking myself since I was a teenager.

I get increasingly frustrated by the answer that comes immediately to mind:

I DON’T KNOW.

Mr. Hand calling out Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High for his tardiness is funny: “’Mr. Hand, will I pass this class?’ Gee, Mr. Spicoli, I don’t know!”

I know you want to watch that scene right now, so click here to watch it on YouTube.

Like I said, Mr. Hand is funny.

My soul and my being not knowing what my purpose is for so long?

Not so much.

Throughout every stage of my life, while I might not have had a gut instinct as to what my purpose was, I’ve at least had goals or an outline of what I wanted to accomplish. I adapted to change, made the best of bad situations, and learned as I went along.

I’ve been successful in my careers, both present and past.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have had, the skills I have mastered, the knowledge I have learned, and the lessons I have been taught by pretty much everyone who has been a part of my journey so far.

Despite all of that, I still feel that there’s something more I should be doing.

So the question remains:

What am I supposed to do with my life?

This feeling of floundering was evident in my word for 2015: DIRECTION.

Yes, I did find some direction. The fact that you are reading this is proof of that, as SoulSEAker was created to help me find my way.

This year, I chose the word DETERMINED as my word of the year. As all good little bloggers and writers do in this age of Zen, Mindfulness, and Intent, I penned a list of 6 personal goals I hoped, rather I was DETERMINED to accomplish.

Afterwards, I really thought about each one of those goals, and this is the first time I am admitting this:

I was full of shit.

Coming up with strategies and lists and doing things I don’t enjoy, just to say I accomplished what I set out to do, is asinine and a complete waste of my time.

Let alone I already have difficulty with daily responsibilities and tasks because of my health, now I was devising goals I didn’t believe in to take up more of that time I spoke of yesterday, time that I vow not to waste anymore?

What the hell was wrong with me?

I guess that since I’ve always had goals and outlines, I thought I HAD to have them.

Then it hit me.

With a rigid goal or plan, I am not open to new ideas or new avenues of discovery, which might lead me to what my purpose truly is. I’m just checking off boxes on a list, and the reward is that I can say I was, in fact, DETERMINED. I can then buy myself a trophy and take myself out to a celebratory meal at Roy Rogers. Big deal.

I’m not promoting irresponsibility at all here, and I in no way mean to belittle the importance of being determined. I’m not knocking mindfulness or intentions, either, as I believe in both. Sometimes true experiences are concealed by buzzwords and media chatter.

Rather, for the first time in my life, I saw the importance of just letting things happen as they do.

I abandoned my strategies and checklists, and became OPEN to what the year will bring me instead.

Once I did, life became less stressful and so much more enjoyable.

OPEN. The perfect word for me.

Then something happened.

I noticed the first “sign,” so to speak, shortly after declaring OPEN to be my new word.

Then the next appeared.

Then another.

The forces of the universe, in definite cahoots with SHE, are having a lot of fun at my expense, and I’m absolutely loving every minute of it.

It’s like a trail of breadcrumbs, one after another, and I’m the bird eating each crumb with excitement.

Some signs point in one direction, some in another. Some are obvious, while others are hidden. The meanings and connections are both easy and hard to decipher at the same time.

There’s a new sign every day, sometimes five or more. I’m open to seeing them, to finding them, to adding each to my web of connections.

And man, for someone who always hated puzzles and guessing games, it’s been ex-hil-ar-ating!!!!

Being OPEN is helping me to further find my DIRECTION. Not a plan, not a goal…just being OPEN.

I still don’t know what the purpose of my life is, and I don’t know why I am going to Dublin.

But for the first time in my life, I’m okay with I DON’T KNOW. Ironically, not knowing has brought joy to my soul and to my heart.

I think Mr. Hand would appreciate that. I know Spicoli would.

Stay tuned for Part 4: The Web of Connections tomorrow.

“Mission from the Universe” Part 2: SHE and ME

“Mission from the Universe” Part 2: SHE and ME

(If you missed Part 1, please click here to read.)

SHE loved James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, and other British and Irish authors. SHE was of Irish heritage, but SHE never got to visit her homeland, the place she loved, the place she hoped to see with her own eyes and walk with her own feet.

While on the streets of Dublin in 2014, I swear I saw her at least three times in the crowd. I recognized her hair, her smile, and her eyes immediately. She was happy and at peace. Those 3 sightings are as clear in my brain as what I just looked at a second ago.

SHE and I were colleagues for 14 years and spent a lot of time together from September through June. We’d share duty periods, lunch periods, meetings, activities, and prep periods together as much as our schedules would allow.

Whenever she’d see me, she’d say, “Hey, you.”

I can still hear her voice say those two words, and I probably will for the rest of my life.

Outside of our work hours and months, we texted here and there and saw each other for lunch usually once a summer. We weren’t best friends by any means, but we confided in and supported each other no matter what. A treasured friend. That’s how I think of her.

As I wrote yesterday, I lost my father-in-law four months after SHE was gone, then was hit with another punch to my soul when my own father died from a massive stroke in his sleep 8 months later.

For the most part, it was a real shitty time for me from December 2013 through early 2015.

The upside since?

I am more aware of LIFE and what the term “living” actually means.

I want to LIVE MY LIFE, which is, unfortunately, a life negatively affected by a very active Lupus flare since last year. My health limitations amplify the importance of “living” as much as possible every minute of every day.

And man, do I cherish the good days and moments.

I am no longer a lackey. Instead, I confidently and unwaveringly say NO when my life, my health, my peace of mind, or my well-being will be negatively affected, nor do I allow the precious time I have left here on Earth to be pilfered away by someone else’s agenda, to do list, or so-called “emergency.”

Yep, there SHE is, that spit-fire, coming out through my words! Loving it!

For some reason, SHE has definitely been more in my life since her passing than when she physically walked on Earth, which has been pretty freaking awesome.

Our connection is stronger now than ever. It took me a while to believe it too, so I don’t begrudge you for thinking that I might be a little nutty or if you doubt that this is all part of a bigger thing going on.

But it is. It’s much bigger than me.

I’m following my heart and listening to the universe. SHE’s playing a very active hand with the universe, and at times, she is holding the winning card.

It’s definitely more than so-called “coincidences.”

Things that happened in my past, and I mean like 20 years ago past are now making sense through the massive web of signs and connections SHE has, in part, guided me to over the past year and a half.

20160808 6 Days Blog Photo New Fonts
The James Joyce Tower near Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland

SHE is giving me confidence and the gumption to say YES to life on my terms.

SHE is helping me find my voice.

And in 6 days, SHE will have succeeded in her long campaign of getting me to return to Dublin.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Be Open tomorrow.

“Mission from the Universe” Part 1: The Ides of 2014

20160807 Y Days Blog Photo New FontsI’ve been alluding to my upcoming adventure, which I have dubbed my “Mission from the Universe,” for some time now in random SoulSEAker posts.

Now the real countdown has begun. As my mission will commence in 7 days, I am ready to share parts of my story with you.

PART 1: The Ides of 2014. I was originally supposed to visit Ireland, Wales, and England with fellow teachers and students in April of 2014, but it was not meant to be. My father-in-law unexpectedly passed away the day before I was supposed to leave, and instead of kissing the Blarney Stone during Spring Break, I kissed Poppy goodbye for the last time.

Losing him was just surreal, like every death we all have dealt with I’m sure, but this was POPPY. He was the glue that held us all together, and we were all left shattered, heartbroken, and lost. A few times I just collapsed on my living room floor and lay there, in the fetal position and in solitude, sobbing uncontrollably.

Personally, I was also extremely angry, which at the time was misunderstood as selfishness.

That was the furthest from the truth: It wasn’t because I couldn’t go on the trip. Rather, I was angry that we were all robbed of Poppy and his presence in our lives.

I was still reeling in silence at losing a treasured friend and colleague (who I will call SHE for now) four months prior. I kept that grief bottled up inside ever since I received that fateful phone call from my friend D over winter break. Now here I was again, confronted with another huge and unexpected loss over a break, and I was pissed beyond belief.

I mean I literally saw red a few times. Literally.

I wanted to hit, punch, kick, and scream, and I did up at the beach three times. I am sure I looked like a raving lunatic yelling at the waves and the sand as I acted out like a two-year-old, but man, I had to in order to release the anger from my system. Looking back now, I think that was the angriest I have ever been in my life.

When my nephew, who was 8 at the time, heard the news of Poppy’s passing, he cried, “Things are going to be so different now.”

He was right.

It is true that “This Too Shall Pass,” and as each tomorrow became today, things subtlely returned to as normal as life would be, albeit with that sparkle in Poppy’s eye missing, his compassion and kindness now absent.

I was able to get a refund for my missed trip (sidebar: always spend the extra to get the trip insurance).  As luck would have it, my mother and a longtime friend both agreed to accompany me in July/August on a similar trip to Ireland, Wales, and England. We left on July 26 and returned on August 3, 2014. Throughout the week, we visited Dublin, Killarney, Waterford, Cardiff, Stonehenge, Bath, and London.

It’s now two years later, and I am headed to Ireland again a week from today with the same longtime friend.

This time, we will only be staying in Dublin. That’s by design.

Those who really know me know I am a creature of habit, and hearing that I am returning to Ireland next week might not be a surprise.

Others have asked why I would spend money and time to see someplace I already visited.

The reason?

It’s my mission from the universe, and I must go.

Stay tuned for Part 2: SHE and ME tomorrow.

And, yes. The term Mission from the Universe was inspired by Jake and Elwood Blues. I certainly won’t be causing as much damage as they did…or will I? 😉

Today I Rise

Transcript:

Where are you?
Where are you,
Little girl with broken wings
But full of hope?
Where are you,
Wise woman covered in wounds?
Where are you?

Today is the day
I will not sit still and
Give in anymore.

Today I rise.

I am bruised
But I will get up
And walk again.

Today I rise.

I don’t care
If you ignore
My beauty.

Today I rise.

Through the alchemy
Of my darkest nights
I heal and thrive.

Today I rise.

I move through the world
With confidence and grace.

I open my eyes
And I am ready to face
My wholeness as a woman
And my limitless capacities.

I will walk my path with audacity.

Today I rise.

I reconnect with the many aspects of myself.

I’m in awe of the reality I can create.

I am a queen.
I am a healer,
A wise woman,
A wild woman.

I will rise and be.

I am a rebel.

I will wake up and fight.

I am a mother,
And I am a child.

I will no longer disguise
My sadness and pain.

I will no longer suffer
Or complain.

I am black and I am white.

There’s no reason to hide.

Where are you?

Where are you?

I call upon Khali to kiss me alive.

I transform my anger to power.

No more heartache
Or strife.

The world is missing
What I am ready to give…
My wisdom
My sweetness
My love
And my hunger for peace.

I weep with the trees
And the rivers
And the Earth in distress.

I rise and shine
And I’m ready to go on my quest.

Today I rise without doubt or hesitation.

Today I rise without excuses or procrastination.

Today I call upon my sisters
To join a movement of
Resoluteness and concern.

Today is my call to action.

I will fulfill my mission without further distraction.

Today is the day.

Today I will start
To offer the world
The wisdom of my heart.

Let’s Live This August

My friend posted this meme yesterday. I shared it on my profile, then really thought about what the meme is saying.

August is like the Sunday of Summer.

It sure is.

Don’t get me wrong…I still love every summer day no matter what the month might be.

I just want to hold onto Summer so much. It’s my season, when I am my best self.

June is a new beginning, a giant sigh of relief. It’s full of opportunity and wonder, like January 1 kicks off every year. Anything is possible. It’s refreshing and reassuring. It’s also deceiving, leading us on to believe that there’s plenty of time to get our summer “to do” and “to enjoy” lists completed.

Then comes July, which is like my favorite pillow. I can hug it a thousand times, or play with it over and over, and it never loses its shape. It’s there when I wake, and when I say goodnight to the day. I can sleep soundly with that comforting pillow, free from worries and nightmares. It reassures me that tomorrow is another day when I can still start fresh, no need to really be concerned about the passing days…

As July wanes into August, things change again, ever so subtly. Each day is now filled with a little more urgency. Sunsets get earlier as the sun’s early evening slant changes its angle and becomes less intense day by day. Many of the bright summer flowers have lost their blooms, and nights become slightly cooler by the week. I look back at June and July, and wonder where the hell those days went. I then look ahead at what’s still on my summer goal lists, crossing some things off because there’s no longer enough time to accomplish everything I had hoped to do.

The lone cricket’s serenade that woke me early this morning affirmed that yes, it is indeed August already.

So, what do we do now?

Let’s live in the present and forget our lists.

Let’s hold onto each moment, to each day, to each experience.

Let’s notice the breeze blowing through our hair and feel the rain on our skin.

Let’s put our feet in the salt water and find eternity in the waves.

Let’s savor the ice cream cone, the watermelon, the corn on the cob, the peaches and plums.

Let’s laugh and sing with family and friends.

Let’s be grateful for all that we have, for all that we are, for all that we do, and for all in our lives.

Let’s face each day without worry, without fear, and without strings attached.

Let’s soak up every single second of August without leaving any time behind.

Let’s live.

Let’s live this August.

Will you join me?