Our featured topic: Travel
I never took trips without some kind of purpose being attached to it, and without some kind of timeframe attached to that purpose in which to accomplish it. In the past, the purpose of my travels was always a vacation from What Is My Life. I would literally vacate from the responsibilities, obligations and schedules of my life situation for experiences that would soothe, calm and delight.
This time, I am embarking on a road trip with a very different purpose, and with no timeframe.
Lately, I have greatly minimized my responsibilities, obligations and schedules and now have more time for personal reflection. I realize my beliefs, patterns and stories define me. The good ones I’ll keep, the others I’ll question. I no longer prefer to be a walking bobblehead, telling the same stories, repeating the same patterns, and living within the context of beliefs that were instilled in me decades ago by people I would not even ask directions from today. My deeply integrated patterns and beliefs based in fear, limitation and lack kept life predictable, and there is a comfort in that. If I keep doing what I’ve always done, I know how it will turn out.
Yet, the inquiry into the unknown is the only place we discover more about ourselves. Most people do not want to venture into the unknown because they prefer to have a life that is more predictable. To expand as a soul, I surrender to the unknown and I begin the inquiry, “Who am I, without my limiting beliefs, patterns and stories?”
My living situation with my partner Larry is very satisfying and offers me a lot of personal expansion. I know “Who I Am” within the context of our living together. Now I find my heart desires the opportunity to be by myself, to answer the question: “Who am I, when there is just I?”
I’m in the process of embarking on a road trip to find answers to my questions above. I’m taking my 1997 Mercury Villager mini van with 168,000 miles on it, a tent, sleeping bag and a cooler and I’m heading West. I’ll have my laptop for blog updates and a cell phone. I didn’t take a camera with me. All photos on my webpage will be taken by strangers I ask to take my picture with their cellphones and then ask them to text the picture to my blog for posting. I am undertaking this practice to expand out of my old way of being an invisible, independent traveler, and stretch myself to actually connect with other people.
This practice does not come easily to me. My old beliefs kick in: “Don’t talk to strangers. Mind your own business. Don’t bother people.” Somewhere in me new beliefs want to take hold: “People want to help you. Ask for what you need.”
I’m leaving Monday 4/18/11. I don’t know when I will be back, just that I will be.
Following the Flock
After sleeping in my van at the truck stop, I changed into my Easter outfit in the bathroom at the Quick Mart. I was going to the 9:30 a.m. Easter church service at Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Rock Springs, WY. They had me at their “Easter Service, Breakfast Follows” sign. I arrived at 9:15 a.m., only to find that the service started at 9:00. The only seats left were in the front of the church. All eyes were on me as I made my way to a seat.
Soon after I sat down, my cell phone rang. I quickly silenced it. Apparently, my mother in Chicago was calling to wish me a happy holiday.
Being the systems buster that I am, I had great fun reciting the prayers and singing the songs in my loud, reverent voice. The quiet flock was perhaps a bit ruffled by my staunch presence, but that only made my joy in who I am greater. I found the beliefs of this religion about Jesus are very different than mine. Yet, I was pleased these folks, my brothers and sisters, were on a spiritual path.
After mass we were all invited to breakfast in the fellowship hall. I had my choice of six homemade egg dishes donated by church members. An Abundant Universe I inhabit! There were also pancakes, sausage, cinnamon rolls, Easter cookies, juice and coffee. I told the woman minister that I enjoyed her service and that I was on a road trip from Minneapolis. A woman told me she liked my shawl. I did exchange words with the grandpa across the table from me. Otherwise, most people ate in silence.
My friend Kori telephoned me that night and asked, “What are you learning from this trip?” I didn’t have a definitive answer, and said I would think about it more the next day. I went to sleep with the question embedded in my subconscious.
I woke up at 5:55 a.m. with the message that I am a soul having a human experience. Intellectually I know this, but I stayed present with the thought and waited to see where it led me.
I immediately recalled when I was driving through Wyoming and an oversized pick-up truck pulling a livestock trailer passed me. I followed the trailer noticing it was packed with live sheep…two tiers of them. You couldn’t fit another sheep in that trailer if you tried, and I scoffed at the inhumanity of the scene. It then occurred to me if the vehicle should brake suddenly, the flock offered each member safety from physical injury, as the sheep would have the cushion of each other’s wool to keep them upright and unharmed.
Looking at the sheep, I felt a kinship with this flock. The sheep offer each other safety and fellowship and make the journey easier. I was traveling in my van alone, without the safety or fellowship of anyone. I left my mate, children, family and friends at home. Was my journey harder?
My eyes caught the eyes of one of the sheep as the trailer passed me. Our eyes held each other’s gaze and time ceased to exist as my spirit joined with this sheep’s. I felt the animal’s uncertainty as to why? it was in this trailer, and for what purpose? I wondered Why? I was in my van, and for what what purpose? Here I was traveling the country without my flock, and suddenly found myself following this one.
Were the sheep going to greener pastures? Or to the slaughterhouse? Where was I going?
In the present moment the sheep and I did not know where we were going, or for what purpose. On a soul level the sheep and I know, no matter where we end up, it is the desire of our souls to expand into greater aspects of ourselves, and we will be okay.
Realizing I was traveling at 70 mph (in a 75 mph zone), I returned my thoughts and eyes to the highway ahead of me and wished the sheep well on their journey.
Now I can answer my girlfriend’s question posed to me over the phone: “What are you learning?”
I am learning who I am without my flock.
It is Day 24 and I’m in Kansas City, MO. Yesterday I drove the most miles in one day since embarking on this trip. It was the second day in a row that I pushed myself to drive more miles than I wanted to. A perceived problem at home with one of my adult children was the motivating factor that seemingly pushed my journey, my adventure, my needs, onto a back burner in favor of my imagined parental obligations.
What am I teaching my daughter if I set aside my needs in favor of hers? For two days I found myself racing home earlier than I want to, to take care of her…to console her…to help her. Coincidentally, the problem is that she is doing the same thing: setting aside her own needs in favor of her boyfriend’s. She is sacrificing who she is, what she needs, and who she wants to be.
Mommy to the rescue! I’ll save you my dear child.
This has been a pattern for me all my life…putting my needs, wants and desires on a back burner in favor of someone else’s. Letting other people manipulate me, control me and tell me what to do. I have allowed myself to be blamed, shamed and guilted. I have spent my life seeking someone outside of myself to love and approve of me. I was born into this pattern, and I kept it alive in my own children. The truth is, Mommy cannot rescue or save you.
This journey is about recognizing my old patterns, old beliefs and old stories. My daughter is merely reflecting me back to me. And now, 450 miles from home, it is clear to me that putting my needs, wants and desires on a back burner in favor of someone else’s does not serve me or my children.
The missing piece here is Self-Love. Therefore, I am loving myself enough to continue my road trip and not come home today. I shall allow my dear child to discover in her what has long been overdue in discovering in my life: That no one will love me, no one will save me, no one will rescue me. It is my job in this lifetime to do it for my Self.
Two days later, I’m home. I arrived home about 3 p.m. after being gone for 26 days and traveling 4,419 miles. It has been an expansive experience filled with serendipity, kindness, magic and joy. I am happy and excited to see my partner Larry.
The yard still had its winter coat on when I left. Now the grass is green, the trees and shrubs are budding and blooming. The gardens are springing to life. The lawn furniture and statuary have been taken out of winter storage. A new granite step rises to the hot tub house.
The inside of the house has taken on a fresh look with new drapes and bedspread in the master bedroom. The baseboards were stained and mounted in the guest room ending its redecoration. I am welcomed with a vase of red roses and star-gazer lilies. The hallways are festooned with red rose petals and candlelight. My little dog runs excitedly around the house, back from its long stay with my ex-husband and his girlfriend.
I am happy to be home. Larry is happy I am home. The dog is happy, too. We have all experienced a lot of personal growth. I am grateful for my road trip experience.
My journey into the Unknown taught me about trust, faith, and being in the moment. The Unknown isn’t frightening, it is filled with love. The Universe saw to it that I was safe, loved and provided for. People are wonderful, helpful, and kind. It also confirmed how I create my own reality. I am looking forward to continuing to re-pattern my beliefs and life and embrace who I am.
Thank you for accompanying me on my journey.