Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Your Life Is Speaking to You - What is it Saying?

Oprah Winfrey


Today, on the final episode of "Oprah", Oprah was reflecting on the impact her show has had and giving us all some final words of wisdom.  She spoke beautifully to her audience, reminding us all of the message she has tried to bring to us over the years.  It has always been a message of hope and self-empowerment.  One of her viewers wrote, “Oprah, watching you be yourself, makes me want to be more of myself."  That message has been one of the most powerful things I have learned from Oprah....be yourself.  And that alone is good enough.  The fact that you are you gives you the right to be worthy of anything.

She also said, "God is love.  And God is life.  And your life is always speaking to you.  First in whispers, and a whisper in your life feels like, mmm, that’s odd, or mmmm is that right?  Its subtle, those whispers and if you don’t pay attention to the whispers, it gets louder and louder and louder.  It’s like getting thumped upside the head.  If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside the head.  You don’t pay attention to that, the whole brick wall falls down." (not an exact quote, but close)

"Your life is speaking to you - what is it saying?" 

Listening to her speak, my life flashed before me.  I thought back to the many "thumps upside the head" that I ignored, then the subsequent "bricks upside the head" that I just cried about.  It has taken the whole brick wall to fall down around me to make me finally sit up and listen.  My life is screaming at me to make drastic changes, start fresh with my life, say goodbye to my past, and move on.

It's time to listen to my calling.  Oprah reminded us we are all called to do something and our real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it.  She said that we get a juice from doing what we are meant to do.  She said, "A calling lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing."

I've spent so many years trying to make things work knowing deep down that no matter how much I wanted something to work, it wasn't right for me.  I am a problem solver.  I would make a good mediator I think, because I always see both sides of the story and have sympathy for both sides.  But that trait has made me stay in situations much longer than I should have and has led me to wonder what my true calling was.  I couldn't figure it out.  Nothing really gave me that "juice" Oprah talked about. 

But over the last few years, I have finally figured out what gets me juiced up.  I have finally discovered where my true passion lies.  My writing, photography, and art are my passion.  When I can communicate through my words, photos, or art, I feel truly authentic, I am me, at my best.  I feel as if everything is right in my world.  It feels natural to me. 

The connection I make with people through my creative outlets is so rewarding to me.  The comments I receive on my blog, my photos, or my art....that is my validation.  That is me knowing that you see me, that you hear me, that you get me.  We all need that validation....to know that we matter and that we've made a difference.  We all need it. 

So, as the brick wall comes crashing down around me, I am finally listening, intently.  I have made some major changes in my life, tied up some loose ends, and have a few more major changes heading my way.  I'm not disclosing everything just yet, but stay tuned for more details.  Just know this...I now know fully what my life is saying to me and I am ready.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tornado Warning

For the last twenty four hours, we had been anticipating a major tornadic storm to be headed for Oklahoma.  As time passed, the concern over this storm intensified.  We all knew it was coming, but had no idea just exactly what to expect.

As the day wore on today, I kept checking the weather online and could see nothing on the radar so I wasn't too concerned yet.  The reports were saying the storm would hit between 3pm and 5pm.  Around 2:30pm this afternoon, concerned parents began arriving at my school, checking out students in a chaotic manner.  Tinker Air Force Base cancelled the evening shift, Edmond Public Schools cancelled evening functions, and the news reports were predicting violent tornadoes.

I texted my own kids who were already home and told them to make some initial preparations, just in case.  They, of course, thought I was in panic mode.  I was just trying to be smart.  You never know about these things in Oklahoma.  Storms can turn deadly without warning.  But because we have an excellent team of meteorologists in the area, I felt confident that by listening to them I'd stay informed. 

Caroline went to the garage to get our caving helmets - gotta protect our heads.  She piled blankets in the bathroom.  Brad walked around shaking his head like we were crazy.  I reminded him it was no big deal.  We could easily just put the stuff back, but we'd have it ready just in case.  We grabbed caving lights, a few candles and matches, and tennis shoes.

Those were the basics.  Now, what else was important to me?  What else did I want near in case tornadoes did hit us?  What would I want right next to me besides my children?  What would I hang on to for dear life if this monstrous storm came knocking at our door?

As a woman, I, of course, grabbed my purse, putting the cash I had stashed away inside of it.  My precious camera was next.  My laptop with all of its jump drives on which I have backed up all my data was carefully nestled into its red case.  My Barnes and Noble bag that has all my junk in it - bills to pay, the New Mexico map that I have been wagging around for two weeks, my little red book of inspiration that I keep - was the next thing I took to the bathroom which would be our shelter. 

I was wearing my silver and peridot ring that I bought myself for my birthday several years ago.  I'd never spent so much on a piece of jewelry for myself.  This was a unique piece that meant a lot to me.  I wear it every day.  But was there other jewelry that I should take?  I had some antique jewelry that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother but I didn't want to mess with it.  Maybe in a fire, but not for a tornado.  There was a piece given to me by someone special several years ago.   A turquoise pendant - a piece of turquoise from New Mexico and a piece of turquoise from Montana were on this pendant....it represented both of us.  That I would hold on to during a tornado.

Other than that, I didn't put anything else into the bathroom, just in case the tornado did hit.  At one point, we thought we might ditch the apartment and head for the "tornado church" as Caroline used to call it.  It is a church here in Edmond that has a basement.  We've visited it a couple of times before during tornado season. 

We were ready...just in case.  As we watched the coverage though, we quickly realized that the storm was not going to hit us.  It moved north of us.  I am so grateful, because as I sit here typing this, the news coverage is showing the immense damage of those who were hit by the storm.  People are looking for pets, photographs, any evidence of their lives prior to this storm. 

I sit here, with my laptop out of its case now, on my comfy bed, with a glass of wine next to me on my nightstand.  All is well in my world.  My kids and I are all still alive and well.  I still have all the belongings that I treasured enough to take to my bathroom shelter.  I still have my pile of laundry to do.  Many people out there wish they could find just one piece of clothing that belonged to them. 

So many people have been devastated by the vicious tornadoes that have barreled through Tornado Alley recently.  It reminds you of how precious life is and how very little meaning "stuff" actually has. I like my stuff and  it's nice to have, but in the end, it's just stuff.  The lives of those I love are much more precious to me than anything else I could possibly lose whether to a tornado, fire, bankruptcy, or divorce. 

As I continue to watch the coverage of the devastation of the areas in Oklahoma hit by the tornado, I see people with that same attitude.  They are grateful to be alive.  Their homes have been flattened beyond recognition, years of hard work gone in an instant, precious memorabilia destroyed.  Yet the resiliency of the human spirit is so powerful, so inspiring, it reminds me that we are capable of anything....anything.  We can get through anything that life throws us and we can do it with grace and love.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Soul Mates

It's been two years.  Two years since we broke up.  Two years since I felt like my heart was being savagely ripped from my chest, but at the same time feeling as if maybe now there could be peace in my life.  How can you love someone so deeply, so passionately, feeling him in every cell of your being and yet be so utterly frustrated and heartbroken at the same time.  And strangely, I think he felt the same way about me.  I know he felt the same way about me.  How can two people be connected at such a primal level and not be able to be together? 

Soul mates.  I knew it from the beginning.  We were soul mates.  Even through all the confusion and frustration, I still knew.  I always knew.  He is imprinted in my memory, my DNA, just as animals have instincts imprinted into them....they just know what is.  He just "is" in me.

After two years, my head should be cleared of thoughts of him, longing for him.  Together for six years, apart for two.  I should be free by now.  But he is everywhere....he is at every intersection, every stroke of a keyboard, every glass of wine I pour.  Every map I look at, he is there, telling me a story of when he was there, or right there with me, experiencing the majesty of a mountain vista.  He pops into my head at the most curious times. 

Why?  It's been two years.  We drove each other crazy.  It clearly wasn't meant to be.  So why?  Why can't I clear my head of thoughts of him?  Why does his soul permeate mine so deeply?  Why does he come to me in my dreams at night? 

I've done everything I know to let go.  I've tried to embrace the fact that he has a new love in his life and has had for two years now.  I've tried to find other men that interest me.  It's pointless.  I'd rather just be alone at this point.  But at the same time, I don't want to be alone the rest of my life. 

Therein lies the confusion.  I've known love like this one time.  One time.  Is this normal?  Does everyone go through years of trying to release the love that binds your heart so tightly that at times you can't breathe, you can't think?  Will I ever be able to let it go and find this kind of love again? 

I know that we can find love with many different people, I do.  And we can find good love.  But can we find love that is this binding?  Growing up I heard the term "heartstrings".  I understood the basic concept, but never understood it fully until this love.  It was this love that brought home deeply the true meaning of all those words of love and heartache.  I understood them all fully and knew that others had experienced what I had, at least to some level. 

But this was different.  We both knew it.  Everyone around us knew it.  Good or bad, it was different from anything I'd ever known or seen.  I couldn't find anyone who could relate to it. 

How do I let go of it?  When will his memory stop possessing my soul?  When will my skin finally forget the feel of his touch?  When will I forget the way he smelled while curled up next to me, arms wrapped around me lovingly?  When will I forget his laugh and goofy dance moves?  When will I forget his kiss?

When?

When?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mountains

Photo by Geraint Smith 2006

My first experience in the mountains was when I was around 13 years of age.  My family went snow skiing for the first time in Taos, New Mexico.  This may have actually been my first time out of the state besides going to Texas, and that didn't count.  Growing up in Oklahoma, the closest thing I had seen to real mountains were in the Wichitas.  And while Mount Scott and the surrounding landscapes of southwestern Oklahoma are beautiful and impressive, especially for Oklahoma, I had not yet experienced the breathtaking beauty of truly majestic mountains. 

I will never forget my first sight of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  At first they looked like clouds in the shape of mountains in the distance.  As we drove closer and closer, my  eyes remained fixated on the faraway formations, not truly believing yet that they were, indeed, mountains....real mountains.  We drove ever closer and with each mile, small details began to form.  I finally convinced my eyes that these were not merely clouds that looked like distant mountains, but were coming to life before me.

I fell in love immediately.

As we drove into Taos, the first thing I noticed was that the air was different.  The energy around me was incredibly powerful.  Even my young thirteen year old body could feel the difference, and it felt it deeply.  The excitement of actually going up the mountain to ski the next day was almost more than I could bear. 

My first trip up the ski lift was spent not in fear of falling off, but in complete and utter awe of the surrounding landscape.  My God!  I had seen photographs, but this...this was like nothing I had ever seen!  And the air, so pure, so clean, so intoxicating.  Much too soon the ski lift reached its destination and I had to get off.  But I soon felt the snow beneath my skis, the immensity of the behemoth below me and felt as if I was truly home. 

Skiing down the mountain my first time I burned every vista into my memory, into every cell of my being.  Again and again I would take the ski lift up to the top of the mountain, scanning the horizon for views I had missed the last time.  I felt at home...completely at home.

In later years my travels would take me extensively through the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado.  Each time I felt as if I could finally breathe fully when I was in my beloved mountains.  Though many of the rugged landscapes I explored varied immensely, they each held a certain peace for me, a certain authenticity.  I felt completely connected to myself, the earth, all that is greater than me.  When in the mountains, I knew I was exactly where I should be. 

It is now time to go home, for good.  The mountains call to me, they beckon me to come home and finally find peace.  Soon, I'll be there soon.....

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