Some things are just free
Good friends and a great sunrise
No money can buy
(Note: spent some time with friends from ‘back home’ today. What a gift!)
During my walk through my ‘village’, I am constantly struck by what an alien landscape it is to me. Even the name of the place reminds me of some sort of Sci Fi novel where you can’t be quite sure who is human and who might appear so, but is really a look-alike with highly functioning artificial intelligence.
The homes are all blazingly white, with only specifically allowed colored shutters and all laid out with the same floor plan–this giving the effect of some weird colony created by Big Brother (it was actually in the ’70’s, and BB was the usual group of condo types trying to create the ultimate paradise), but getting cookie cutter instead. It was a good thought and the prices were good, so the humans came…
But as I stroll around a corner and am by myself, the southern sun shimmering off the dazzling white homes, I feel transported to decades into the future. Maybe I am the last ‘real’ human left here, wandering the streets, pretending to be one of ‘them’. They sit behind their curtains, with no honest food in their refrigerators (because they don’t eat) and their hollow laughs echoing in my mind. Who are they really?
I walk and wonder. Do they know who I am? Do they watch me from behind those standard colored shutters? Am I safe? My heart picks up a pace. The heat beats down.
Then I turn a corner. Music drifts from one of the identical homes. I listen: some 60’s tune I recall… And in the driveway next to this home, a car has a bumper sticker: COEXIST. You know the one: with each letter representing some spiritual symbol.
And I snap back: maybe they are really human after all? I remember now, it’s 2017 and it might be OK.
As I’m walking, I briefly look up at the empty blue sky above me. And just for a moment, I imagine a huge billowing mushroom cloud. I lower my head and keep walking…
Meditation always helps me to think and brings out interesting thoughts. Today this is what floated to the surface: my future is preparing for me as I am getting ready here, right now. I know this sounds simple…of course it is, everyone’s is, but I mean it in a more concrete way.
What I envisioned was my actual future preparing: like the home (or homes) that I may live someday are being lived in now by folks that will care for them so that I may take over them at some point. Their lives will change course to make it possible for me to love the space on future date. That home by a lake, or the road leading up to it is there now–as I am here now, waiting for the future, preparing for our encounter.
Maybe it will be a person, or people–significant relationships that will alter the course of my life, who are gathering their life story so it will intersect mine. They are playing out their time currently so they will be ready for when we meet, so we will be ready to care, maybe to love, but certainly to know that we were meant to know one another for years to come.
And maybe it will just be a scene or road that has been waiting for me, calling to me for all my life, but one day I will finally reach it. Because it has been that they have been there the whole time waiting…waiting until the time was right, until I was really ready, my heart open and the vision clear.
The future has just been preparing for me…it’s right there, so close I can feel it. It’s me that must be worthy.
Since it is my preference lately to hang mostly among the shadows, I find the comfort of home is where I can be found. In the quiet, familiar backdrop, my everyday life scrolls forward in an orderly fashion. This too protects me and surrounds me like a warm blanket on a wintery day. It’s safe and holds me in its embrace–my four walls are my fortress keeping my truth free and the mystery of others at bay.
Going out can sometimes be a challenge these days, especially if it’s somewhere new. Uncharted territory on clogged and hostile roadways send my tentative energy levels to a heightened state. Honking horns if I am too slow, lost in the jungle, rattle my senses and the animal part of me takes flight. It’s disturbing, enough where I avoid putting myself in these types of situations as much as possible.
My guide is technically based, thank goodness, or I would be completely lost and most likely never leave my apartment. I am a person who navigates by landmarks and memory, repetitive action. Once I am familiar, the anxiety goes away. Most likely it’s the OCD part of me that makes me like this–I need to know everything in advance in order to be comfortable. And because I’m simply not grooving with the outside world in general these days, it makes all this quite challenging.
So, today, the trip to my city library (after parking on the wrong block at first), proved to be fruitful on many levels. I love to read. And I’m reading lots while I’m unemployed, but buying books just isn’t feasible. I bought a kindle, which I mentioned on my blog. And I discovered my library has Ebooks! After figuring out where the place was, parking in the wrong spot and getting honked at in the parking lot–I am now connected after getting a library card!
While I do miss holding a book, the trip to and from the library would be too much for me at this point of my weary journey. Maybe instead I can save the trips for some of the events they have there.
And hopefully someday, when my spirit is stronger, I will venture forth again through the stacks…
I have been searching
Are you within
Or down some dusty road?
Through empty skyscrapers
My wandering dreams take me
Where are you?
Do others dwell
In the land where I belong?
That blown out desert
Pock-marked with craters
In I fall
Maybe to the other side
They will walk upside-down
And I won’t be held
By gravity’s pull
A quiet night here…just remembering holidays past. Snow and cold and kids. Nothing like that now.
No warm fires, or decorations or happy voices…or mad wrapping…
Nope, those days are long gone. And only memories to cherish as my Christmas gift. And thank goodness for those!
No-one like to feels like a dummy. But I think we all can agree that the first day of any new job can make any of us feel that way. Even if it’s a job that we may have experience doing, but especially if it’s something new or if we’re rusty doing it. Then, it’s easy to feel like we’re back in elementary school when the teacher calls on us and we don’t know the answer.
Today was my first day at my new job! And mind you, I made a conscious decision to get out of healthcare! So I totally understood that I could make myself look silly starting over at something completely different. I simply could not take it any longer in a field that I personally feel is rampant with unhappy, over-worked and often petty employees.
So I began to apply to anything that remotely appealed to me or where I thought I might have a half a chance of getting a job. I had certain criteria of course: Part-time was preferable for the pets; close to home if possible; if it had to be a big corporation again, then hopefully it would be decent or have good benefits with it; and if I was lucky, maybe be something I actually wanted to do! Another dream part of the job, of course, would be if I ended up working with great people….
Well, I’ve ended up in a sweet little position working as a cashier at a local Farm market. The farm itself is huge and specializes in sustainability, organic vegetables and fruit, locally grown also, U-pick on the property, all sorts of local breads and other wonderful items. What a difference working in a place that smells nice! It can’t compare to the smells on the ambulance!
They had a sign on the Cash register that said: Cashier in training, Be Nice! So they even have a sense of humor. As I bumbled along trying to figure out why they considered an avocado a fruit and which items were sold singly and which by the pound, my customers were very patient. And even though I thought I knew my vegetables pretty well having been a vegetarian for 40 years, a rutabaga looks pretty much like a turnip when you’re in a hurry.
A place that has a 21-year-old in charge because he’s been there since he got out of High School (he told me his goal is actually to become a fire fighter/paramedic–imagine that), can’t be all bad. And they even have an AED, so while the boss wants me to save him if he has a cardiac arrest, he wasn’t sure the batteries were working. Yikes. Stick with farming dude!
So while I was nervous and felt like pretty dumb at times, everyone was helpful and assured me at the end of the shift, I wasn’t fired yet. Even though I didn’t do a very good job wrapping the breads that came in either. Maybe it’s just the perfectionist in me? And this place seems to have my most/all of my criteria for jobs too? Time will tell…
But riding home in my car I thought: gee, I used to save lives didn’t I? I guess eventually I’ll get the hang of this won’t I? Of course I’m older now…but like we used to say in the back of the ambulance: just pretend you know what you’re doing and be nice. The customer/patient may not notice it’s not true…..
Today struck me as a day to reach back and reach forward. So I sent out some emails to folks I have lost along the way: partly on purpose, partly because life just happens. Feeling disconnected might do that to us I suppose…make us want to see who is still out there; those that were a part of our lives in the past. It’s interesting to see if they still care at all, how they are and what they are up to and if the connection still lingers. Sometimes the world can seem an insulated place.
And one email was sent for future connections: to put a feeler out to see about a Friend’s Meeting at a Quaker Meeting house not far from where I live. I’ve attended them before and would like to check it out. Who knows if it still exists–they are often small gatherings in out-of-the-way places. So rather than go, I figured I would see if I could find anything out first.
Moving into my second year in this new place, I still feel alienated in many ways. While many things are good in my life (like the wonderful relationship with my Mother), there are other things that feel hollow. I’ve heard repeatedly from folks that this area is a hard place to feel a sense of community or to make friends, but I don’t completely blame the area. It’s my mental space too.
The older I get, the more introspective I become and the harder it is for me to find my tribe. Even one friend can be a challenge. Sometimes the confines of my four walls are a space that give me a comfort that can be hard to replace with other kinds of satisfactions. Being home is sacred, comforting, safe and peaceful. But I know the danger in being lulled into never venturing out.
So, I push myself to reach out: to the past (although it took dropping some walls on my part) and to the future which means letting go of some fear of not fitting in, to see if this sense of drifting I feel at times can settle down.
I readily admit a feeling of doom and gloom, not just because of yesterday…but life in general has been seeming blah. I’ve been working over-time to keep my spirits up, and during my meditation this morning, my old thoughts crept in. Those dark and bleak thoughts where I convince myself that I don’t know how to be positive for very long, that life always seems to put stuff in my path to make me feel low or lost.
Luckily, I don’t stay in this place very long these days…but it stinks that I go there at all. It seems like a shadow that follows me, on sunny days as well as rainy. It lurks just around the corner, like the crazy man smoking the cigarette by the lamp-post–the one that is a bit scary and mysterious all at the same time.
But happily some good things are happening to get me out of this slump I’m in, thank goodness. By luck, an old and dear friend is visiting. We all know there is nothing like friends to cheer us. Being surrounded by love and those that accept us for who we are without trying to change us is so important as times like these, especially when we are at odds with ourself and questioning our sense of self. For someone to take time away from work and to pay to visit really means a lot to me.
The other good news (although slightly bittersweet) is that my old home will finally close on Monday. It has dragged on for over a year and I’m really ready to be done with it all. In the end, it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, and I was probably a sucker. Sometimes I am nicer than I should be and folks take advantage of my good nature. That was the case here. But hopefully I will gain some Mitzvah in the book of heaven? Or I am creating good Karma or at the very least the whole darn thing will be over once and for all.
I will miss that house and all its beautiful memories. This apartment can never compare in many ways: the gardens, the peace, the lake, the woods, the birds, the sunsets…. But its time has passed. And I am so grateful to be here with my Mom.
And I’m so blessed for the friends I have now, who accept me, even when I disagree and speak my mind. They seem to understand my moods, my faults and how I can be different. I am lucky that I can call on them to vent, to cry or to be silent for they will always listen and not judge me.
So even if the world may change in a way I might not like or agree with, my tiny world will stay the same as long as I have those near and dear to me close by. And we will continue to keep our world filled with love, kindness, empathy and compassion for each other at least–and there’s usually some left over for others that may need it too.
When we choose to look out of a window of our home only and forget that we are a part of an interconnected web of humanity, then our view becomes narrow and self centered.
And so then, we sadly miss the beauty of the world around us…..