Serendipity Times Infinity Going On Over Here….

This is a pretty interesting time in my life. I am content and reassured that I’m in the right place at the right time. I’ve been in a pretty jovial mood, too.

And then, there are the “coincidences” I have been experiencing lately, some of which have to do with boxes of my old stuff from mom’s attic that I retrieved on Monday (3/20/17). Keep in mind I didn’t go to my mom’s just to get these boxes. Rather, there will soon be construction going on and the attic had to be cleaned out. I was only hoping to retrieve Star Wars glasses and forgot that these boxes even existed.

Here are just a few instances of serendipity running my show lately…

  1. On Monday, 3/20/17, the subject of naps came up in one of my classes. I told my students that I always hated naps because I could never fall asleep, and that I envied anyone who could nap. I said that I vividly remember the animals on the shelves that were near my ceiling when I was two or so and how I’d talk to them instead of taking a nap. Later that day, when I got to my mom’s, my brother handed me a bag from the attic, and inside were those animals. What are the odds that the day I mention those animals I actually get them back after they spent 40 or so years in the attic?
  2. I pulled out an autograph book from second grade and looked at the signatures from my classmates, many of whom I am still friends with on Facebook. This was on Thursday. Thursday’s date was March 23. Inside the cover, I wrote the date my classmates signed it: March 23, 1979. 38 years to the date.
  3. On March 15, I found a bunch of 3.5 floppy disks that had some of my old writing stored on them. We actually have a computer in my classroom that still has a 3.5 floppy disk drive, and I was interested to see if I could get anything back. I couldn’t remember at first what program I had used to type them. I recalled it was a competitor of Word, and then it came to me: WordPerfect, circa 1995-1998. I was able to convert the non-password protected files in Microsoft Word on Thursday, March 16. 5 days later (Tuesday), I looked at the “Take a Book, Leave a Book” shelf at work, and there was a tutorial book for WordPerfect from 1997 on the shelf. Sidebar: I referenced one of the files in the novel I am writing last month.
  4. I was talking with a colleague last week about my senior Health teacher from high school (senior year was sex ed). She was always nervous and uttered so many “umms” and “uhs” in class that we counted them each day. There were a few days when she topped 100. I actually found a tally in one of the boxes yesterday. How is it that I go years without thinking of this memory, then shortly after I reference it, I find one of the tallies written on a small piece of cardboard in 1989?
  5. I had the Jawa Funko Pop figure in my Amazon cart but I was saving it. Something was holding me back from buying it. On Monday, a former student visited me and gave me that Jawa. I didn’t tell anyone about wanting it.
  6. Earlier this month, I was talking with my niece about the book “The Outsiders.” It’s her favorite, and I told her it was always one of my favorites, too, but I don’t know where my original copy was. I sent her a link to an article about the book’s 50th anniversary. Well, guess what? I found my copy on Monday in one of those boxes from the attic. Seriously.
  7. This one’s just weird and probably means nothing, but still….honest to God, on Tuesday into Wednesday, I dreamt about the characters from the NBC Show “The Office” for some reason. The first thing on my Instagram feed on Wednesday when I opened the app after I woke up was a Dwight Schrute video posted by someone I follow.

So…….yeah. There’s at least 10 more, but these are the good ones.

I tried to obtain winning lottery numbers using this serendipitous foresight I am experiencing, but it’s not meant to be, I guess, as not even one of the numbers came up. Rats.

The other strange thing is that as I am writing the novel (this week I surpassed 23,000 words), I’m basing some of what the main character goes through on events and feelings from my own life. As I think of what to include, I’m brought back to those specific memories. Some are good, but a lot aren’t, and it’s been a little challenging to mentally revisit the difficult times and to decide what I should use. Enter the boxes: Honestly speaking here…there are journals and items in the boxes, actual physical items from these memories, that have been allowing me to get more into the mindset of the main character. Again, not all good, but it’s the journey I need to take right now. I need to revisit the past and perhaps make peace with those troubling memories and with the person I used to be in order to move forward.

This feeling is inescapable and hard to describe. Surreal and reassuring, confusing yet understanding, heartbreakingly soothing, and one big emphatic YES all at the same time.

I’m thinking that maybe I was on the right path all along, but I just didn’t realize it until now.

Until next time,

Jill

The Story is Just Beginning…

“Eyes, pale as the sea the wind had freshened, paler, firm and prudent. The seas’ ruler, he gazed southward over the bay, empty save for the smokeplume of the mailboat, vague on the bright skyline, and a sail tacking by the Muglins.” – James Joyce, Ulysses (Episode 1 – Telemachus)

Wow. Just Wow.

I now understand the magnitude of the above quote from Ulysses, and so much more.

What an amazing experience I had while in Dublin!

I’m sitting here trying to absorb everything I saw, heard, felt, tasted, and learned, while contemplating what might come next along this journey.
I have so many photos and so many stories to share. However, the universe has other plans: somehow the charging port on my computer stopped working while I was away. Very weird, since I left my computer at home unplugged for the whole time I was gone, and nobody else used it. Anyway, my computer is at the local repair hospital. 

In the meantime, I am writing and posting from my phone for the time being.

One of the best parts of the week was having a poor wifi signal at the hotel. With an international phone plan that did not include data, I was forced to abandon technology. Which was GOOD. I filled my notebook with handwritten comments, thoughts, responses and more. Old school! And I think everything was more meaningful that way.

I am very grateful that my health cooperated for the most part while in Ireland.  I’m still adjusting to the time change back here at home and I’m having some issues today health wise; I’d much rather feel like this here versus while away.

So, what did I do? In a nutshell:

I lived as a Dubliner for a week. I walked in the footsteps left by James Joyce (and his characters), Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and Seamus Heaney.

I walked up the steepest hill I ever climbed (which was a challenge) to see 5,000+ year old artwork left inside a cave. I completed a pilgrimage to the Hill of Tara and the Stone of Destiny. I saw medieval stone towers, stone Celtic crosses, and the decapitated head of Saint Oliver miraculously preserved in a bog.

I walked over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, saw the Famine Memorial, and went to a storytelling dinner at The Brazen Head Pub. 

I laughed a lot with my traveling companion as we journeyed through downtown Dublin and suburbs Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire, Howth, and Bray. 

Most of all, I abandoned my fear by fulfilling my mission from the universe while honoring the spirit of my treasured friend. I hope my eyes showed her everything she could have ever wanted to see with her own eyes.

My journey to Dublin might be over, but I think the real story is just beginning…

Here are some pictures from my phone to give you an idea of some of the things I saw and did while in Ireland. Trust me, more is definitely coming! Thank you for following! 🙂

Buying lemon soap at Sweny’s Pharmacy, just like Leopold Bloom did in Ulysses
Statue of Molly Malone
the Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Square Park
James Joyce statue on Talbot Street. Check out the gal on the right.
The actual door from 7 Eccles Street, Leopold Bloom’s address in Ulysses. The door is on display at the James Joyce Center.
Outside Trim Castle, with “Sir Gallahad.” Trim Castle was the castle in the Mel Gibsom movie Braveheart.
At the James Joyce Tower in Sandycove. This is where his book Ulysses begins.
Along the Irish Sea in Bray

“Mission from the Universe” Part 7: I Go!

20160814 TODAY USE Days Blog Photo New Fonts

go!

It sounds like something my 2-year-old nephew or Ivan Drago from Rocky IV would say.

It is time.

Tomorrow evening I will be walking onto a United plane in New Jersey, and after about 7 hours or so, walking off in Dublin, Ireland.

I’m in awe that I had the courage to make this trip idea a reality. I’m actually doing it!

I am open.

I expect nothing.

I will be mindful and present and let life happen as it should.

I will treasure each footstep and everything I see.

I will watch the sun rise and set in a new land.

As suggested by John Keating in Dead Poets Society, I am doing something I consider extraordinary.

Most importantly,

I seize the day.

Thank you for reading, for listening, and for supporting my journey. I am immensely grateful for the loving support of my husband, family, and friends who have had to listen to be jabber on for months now about my mission from the universe. Most of all, a huge thank you to my travel partner in crime, my dear friend for over 20 years now, who is accompanying me on this adventure.

As I will be focusing on LIFE and LIVING while in Dublin, I do not plan to post here on SoulSEAker until I return. I will most likely post a few photographs to my Facebook and Instagram pages only, depending on access to technology. If you are interested, please follow me there for updates (links below).

The time is here.

Let’s do this! 

Jill

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“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? 😉