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Unpaved Road Home

 

They say, whoever they are, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions but what happens when the road isn’t paved at all? 

 

The road to my new house (shown above) is definitely not paved at all and I’m pretty sure I unintentionally stumbled upon the metaphor for my life right now.  The road I am walking, the path I am taking is definitely an unpaved route.  It is rough and wild, with persistent weeds poking through the center and potential surprises with every semi-cautious step. 

 

I feel like potential avenues abound and the opportunity for the new and surprising is invigorating, I don’t know what’s next but I feel something on the horizon that leaves me buzzing with energy. 

 

At the same time I remember the experience of jumping out of my car on the first day in Florida with the same buzzing.  I was invigorated by the junglish and wildly overgrown pocket of road that hid our home and the few small surrounding cottages from the view of the highway complexes and strip malls.  I excitedly pressed my feet into the soggy earth only to screech at the three thistly balls that had wedged themselves into the flesh of my foot pad.  Beauty with hidden prickers. 

 

I, again, see the potential for metaphor in this experience.  The excitement of the new, of potential, holds in it equal potential for prickers.  Often hidden prickers.  A new blog, a new website, a new state, a new job, new speaking opportunities, and writing opportunities–so many amazing possibilities for wonderful things but also for mis-steps. 

 

I admit that I am both excited about the jungle of the new and afraid of what thistly things might be burrowed in the rich soil.  It does not mean that I will not surge forward and enjoy the buzz but it does mean that I will be aware that nothing comes in a perfect package and not expect life without error.  Overzealous expectation: that has been a past flaw that I recognize in myself. 

 

Part of the meditative, internal knowing of oneself that is part of the constant journey of contemplative practices, spiritual and personal attunement, and what is such a valuable benefit of practices like yoga necessitate us understanding our good and our bad, our unhealthy patterns, and the bumpy unpaved nature of life’s road. 

 

I have learned from living in Florida thus far that a sunny day can go dark in minutes and fluffy blue skies will at some point turn black and angry.  I know there are thistles in even the greenest earth.  And sometimes a beautiful warm evening may contain a flying beetle attack (this is a very personal experience that included a twitch-tastic panic attack). 

 

Sunny Beach Day

 

Light can turn dark and we have to know that and be able to breathe and quiet our mind even more in preparation of the darker days.  It is easy to smile at the sun, we must also learn to smile at the black cloud.  That is a lesson I am learning and working towards daily.  I think it is a lifelong pursuit. 

 

As I walk down my unpaved path and drive down my new unpaved sandy street coming home from work I am still both excited and anxious; but I accept both parts of myself and work towards a smile whatever the weather. 

 

 

The road to success is always under construction.

Lily Tomlin

 

Dark Beach Skies

Florida Family Vacation by skookum on flickr“florida family vacation” by skookum on flickr

 

My new home has afforded me three lizard encounters thus far.  The first was a bit intimate as there is a shower lizard that may or may not live in the shower drain that likes to languish and leer whilst I shower–he’s all eyes that one.  The second encounter was of the morbid kind as I picked up a box off of my ikea buffet in the entry area of the house to find a  black lizard who must have been unlucky enough to have been wedged under the box.  Soon after I lifted the box, made a pitiable squeal of surprise, and called my sister over, the poor thing went to lizard heaven (presumably full of bushy palms and a neverending supply of tiny insects for consumption) and we had to, eek, flush him down the toilet.  I can only hope the shower lizard did not have to encounter him on his way down. 

 

The third lizard was in our spare bedroom/doggie cage room and he was just meandering across the bottom of the wall–I think even the lizards move at a slower pace in Florida.  Needless to say I am on lizard alert, not sure where the next one will appear.  It is both an endearing and equally unnerving element of my new home environment.   I love lizards, I really do but I never expected to share the inside of my home with them, at least barring a beach bungalow life in Thailand or Nicaragua (two favorite vacation spots of mine which have geckos and lizards on every wall of every room). 

 

The amphibian element is only one piece of my adjustment to life in the Sunshine State.  The unprovoked acts of friendliness are another element and I have to recalibrate my Jersey-induced public prickliness to a more sunny and unsuspicious disposition.  A woman was standing behind me on line at Home Goods last night and asked where I was going to put the lovely lamp I was purchasing.  I jolted upright and fumbled, confused, for a reply.  After an awkwardly long pause, and her beginning to eye me curiously, I finally answered quickly that I would be using it in my entryway and walked out of the store hoping I had feigned-Florida well enough.  I can recall this piece of transition from my move to Colorado years  back and I know it takes some time but I have confidence that soon I will smile not flinch when someone speaks to me unprovoked and kindly in public arenas. 

 

Another transition piece that I have yet to get fully accustomed to is my newly hairless pooch.  Yes, I have shaved my little dog to a fully naked but not quite profane state.  She has transformed from looking like a miniature beagle with a pug/squirrel tail to looking something like a mini Jack Russel Terrier with a possum tail (see below).  I found very quickly that Florida is just too hot a state for a long haired tiny dog.  She was panting like crazy and shedding like mad with such a fury that three days into the move I decided that the hair just had to go.  She seems somewhat confused but overall pleased with her new do, or lack of a “do”. 

 

Hairless Doggie

 

On the whole we are a household a bit confused and fumbling.  Last night the bed was me plus two dogs and thank god we got the king-sized bed before the move as it was cramped even with all the space.  All three of us were twitchy and hyperalert the whole night long, jolting up at every strange noise.  Around 2 a.m. the rumbling thunder came in with force and was so close and roaring I could feel it in my gut.  A family divided by space and states I find myself languishing a bit in my own solitude as I fumble through the nuances and confusions of new geography alone.  At least, I think to myself, I have the dogs and the lizards to keep me company. 

 

In the quiet of an empty house, as I find myself more and more talking in full conversations with my dogs, pausing and intuiting their replies before I continue on with the dialogue, I know these are the moments in which quiet contemplation and a focus on inner calm is the most necessary.  I know that these are the times for which I prescribe such measures for my clients; in periods of uncertainty, restlessness, sadness, fear, and general discontentedness.  Just breathe, I tell them and then I progress forward in teaching them how.  I know I must remember these tools for myself and I must focus on self-care. 

 

Just breathe.  I will repeat this mantra and work for inner meditative peace and search with a bit of urgency for my yoga mat that I know is packed somewhere in the few remaining boxes.  I yearn desperately for the peace of fluidity in silence and breath.  And if I don’t find that stinking mat by tomorrow I’ll just have to go find a new one.  Perhaps even find a local class with my fun new iphone “YogaNow” application.  It is what I purchased it for; when I was fumbling, lost and confused…in search of a collective namaste kind of moment.  I think that time is soon nearing.

  

Smile, breathe and go slowly.                                         Thich Nhat Hanh

 

ocean colour scene #3 by macca on flickr

“ocean colour scene #3” by macca on flickr

Just Before Sunrise over The Port of Tampa by ShootsNikon

“Just Before Sunrise Over the Port of Tampa” by ShootsNikon on flickr

 

Around two years of age in a child’s life is a fascinating time developmentally and otherwise.  A child is learning the world one step at a time and one word at a time.  They are understanding balance and gravity from the inside out and beginning to discover language and the capacity for their mouths to dictate how they interact with the world. 

 

I worked in daycare for about 3 years with 2 year olds and I saw that experience every day: it was a priviledge to watch the little explorers expedition through life with fresh eyes.  I spent  a lot of time reminding these novice linguists to, as I put it to them, “Use your words.”  A  seemingly simple yet often vastly difficult and complex request which I definitely did not fully understand the intricacies of at the time.

 

All of my endeavors in the mind/body sphere of healing come from a place of understanding that words are often not enough to express emotion, at times words are not even possible when experiencing emotionality.  Today was one of those days where I felt that literally, palpably, and painfully in my own experience.  Having spent the  last five days moving to Florida from New Jersey, which included a north to south coastal drive with two dogs and my sister (my husband followed about half a day behind with U-Haul and his father as copilot) and unloading and arranging a household and a lifetime of things, I just concluded this five day whirlwind by dropping my husband off at the airport in the pre-dawn hours of this morning.

 

The sky was dimly lit by deep vibrant blues with smoky gray clouds jutting out of the horizon and the rain poured in spurts from one mile to the next.  My husband drove to the airport and I took in my first pre-sun morning in the Sunshine State as I held tight to his hand, not certain of when we would see each other again.  I found myself fumbling for words to crystallize or explicate our last moments before parting but found none.  The simple phrase, “Use your words,” came to mind which made me scoff at my younger self who requested this task of fledgling vocalist toddlers like it was just the natural path of communication.  I found myself exploring this phrase and dissecting it.  In that moment a breath, a silent moment, a touch of two hands clasped together with intention surpassed any word in any verbal language. 

 

Sometimes using your words is an unnecessary, even a superfluous action, that distracts from more intense connection; a moment spent in silence with hands intertwined and breath imbibing the last moments together. 

 

See how nature–trees, flowers, grass–grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Teresa

I Wanna Hold Your Hand by batega on flickr

“i wanna hold your hand” by batega on flickr

May 2020
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