Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sun, June 29, 2008: Infinite Paths

((I continue to be amazed by the circularity of this blog, both the times of year that I travel to places and the realizations that I have about my life. These paragraphs explain the course of my life even better now than they did a year ago, because I am truly free to choose any path. That being said, I made the decision to renew my lease yesterday for another year. I leaped onto the path that I feel is right in my heart, and while I can't see where it will lead me I am doing my best to walk it without fear.))

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Last night while I was in that strange place between being awake and asleep, a picture flashed itself into existence against the back of my eyelids. I saw myself standing at the threshold of a massive translucent sphere with countless pathways stretching themselves before me in all directions. My thoughts whipped me back to the mindset I had while on my trip to Vail, my attempt to pick up the wave where it left me beached in Denver, and I was able to truly feel that the wave didn't leave me at all. Instead, it seems as though I was following one path with fewer crossroads in order to arrive at the edge of limitless possibilities.

After traveling on a narrow path all this time, it feels strange to have so many choices and opportunities suddenly at my feet. It also feels like it's about time! After a year of seemingly unending struggles and upheaval, it was wonderful to see that I have choices.

The very best part of it is that I feel found again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tues, June 24, 2008: Second Pass of Guanella Pass

I've been curious to see if Guanella Pass is sporting more flora this time of year than when I visited last summer. I remember being in awe of its beauty, but somewhat disappointed by the lack of flowers - after all, that's what it's supposed to be famous for ((so said my former landlady!)).

I traveled the road the opposite way as I did last year, and was very pleased by the beautiful views that presented themselves to me along the way. I pulled over beside a stream that seemed to be only just flowing fast enough to keep itself within its banks, and sat in a grove of young aspen trees.There is something very special about the way that light penetrates through the leaves of a cluster of aspen: it seems to adopt an ethereal quality that's usually the exception, not the rule, for other trees. I think that the shimmering of the leaves has something to do with it, and these leaves were shaking like mad under the dominating hand of an incoming thunderstorm.

I saw a large number of these snapdragon-looking flowers along my drive, their color ranging from deep purple to cornflower blue to magenta.I don't think that most of this trip needs narration. The beautiful flowers can speak for themselves. :)As I was driving along, I came across a herd of Big Horn Sheep (did I get it right this time? :P ). They were startled by me at first, but quickly came to pay me no mind to such a degree that I couldn't even get them to look up for this picture. ((This picture has not been edited for decency... teehe!))This beautiful view was taken very close to where I met the sheep:This picture... I couldn't resist. There was snow at the top of the pass!! I know this is probably fairly normal for the mountains of Colorado, but to me being from Connecticut it's absolutely absurd that there is snow in June. I was wearing sandals, a skirt, and a short sleeved shirt, and felt a bit under dressed as I left my car to scoop up the snow...! ((This picture has been edited...)).The pass descended quickly in a series of hairpin turns, bringing me back down to the land of flowers and leafy trees.Just before I arrived in Georgetown at the end of the pass, I was greeted by one last pair of sheep, standing in the middle of the road. One took off, but the other was kind enough to stick around for a bit.Today feels like a wonderful day. I found evening and weekend work for the summer scooping ice cream, which is a very fun job and a nice change of pace from my usual school psych work. I've applied with several temp agencies as well and will be working my first assignment starting tomorrow. I've been concentrating on raising money in my life, since I am pretty broke and very much want to earn my keep in my new place. Perhaps once the money squeeze loosens its grip, I can focus on other things that are more fun. :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mon, June 16, 2008: Searchin For a Job...

Haven't found one yet, but the experience was so strange. Yesterday morning I put on a cute sundress hoping that it would make the cute boutique owners want to hire me for the summer. While nobody in downtown Golden is hiring at the moment, people were gracious about turning me down. So much so that on two separate occasions of denying my bid for employment, the shop owner added "but you look beautiful today!".

It was puzzling the first time it happened, and even more so the second. It seemed like such a strange thing to say, though it was kind of them to compliment my appearance. Was that supposed to be some sort of consolation? Oh, I can't hire you but don't worry, you look great! Cool, does looking nice pay my bills? Strangeness! I would rather have just gotten hired, but thanks for the compliment just the same!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sat, June 14, 2008: Shaman Land

I did go to the past life meditation last night ((mentioned in my Connecticut Hooo! Part 2 blog entry)) and am still mulling over what I saw. The most vivid image has stuck with me all day and I can't get her out of my mind. A young woman with long, blond hair peeked into the stream and winked at me. Paula, the shaman who ran the workshop, said it was me in one of my past lives. I thought she looked more like a fairy or wood spirit. Maybe she just lived a really long time ago.

Paula made a comment that really struck me too. She said that shamen believe that nothing in this world can hurt you, it can only trick you into hurting yourself. I love that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tues, May 27 to Thurs, June 12, 2008: Connecticut Hoooo! (Part 2: Journey to CO)

Day 1: June 10th – Granby to Cincinnati, OH

My mother and I spent a bit of time this morning squeezing the last of my things into the few remaining corners and pockets of space left in my car, and to her I said my last goodbye of my trip. I can't stand goodbyes, and it bothered me to hug her before I got into my car. Saying goodbye hurts, and I can't handle the emotion and drama – especially since this trip had so many hellos and goodbyes. The most emotional ones were of course with my family, as I think over the years my friends and I have gotten used to seeing each other every once in a while and that we will surely see each other again when the opportunity arises. With family, especially parents, they say goodbye every time as if they will never see you again.

I spent my day weaving in and out of lines of giant trailers with a few cars here and there, grateful when the speed limit increased to 65 in the rich green hills of Pennsylvania. I passed the town of Lock Haven, and was reminded of a comment my sister made when I was home. She said that she liked one of my former boyfriends, which was interesting timing for that comment since I had been thinking about him since passing Lock Haven on my way to CT. The town made me think of him because he went there for the first years of his undergrad classes before I knew him. It seems a strange place for a college to me, as it's completely in the middle of nowhere. I'm not sure what the students would have done for fun, unless they all enjoyed hiking through the hills together. My thoughts about him were that I really liked him too.

I feel like I'm becoming accustomed to this drive and so knew what to expect from the countryside. I finished listening to Outlander on CD, which was fantastic! The end of the book was very emotional so of course I started crying, uncaring what those driving past me thought as I wiped tears from my face. With the book complete, I tried listening to music but found my mind incessantly mulling over thoughts of the guy I'm dating and what to do when I return. Should I call him right away, or let it go for a while? I'm not sure what the point would be in delaying other than I wouldn't have to deal with it for a bit. I'm saddened by the idea of losing his companionship as a friend, but uncertain of my willingness to keep an ex in my life as a friend. I think that the idea of losing someone I've invested myself in right now is all that much harder after having spent the past couple of weeks in the love and companionship of my family and friends. I think that it will make the return to Colorado seem that much more lonely because of the contrast of my life there to what I am leaving behind in Connecticut.

Unwilling to entertain such thoughts on this day, I put in Memoirs of a Geisha on CD and let my mind get wrapped up in a story once again. I made it down to Cincinnati around 8:30pm and got a motel room for the night. I plan to head out early tomorrow morning to make the drive to the Serpent Mound. I wanted to look up a map online tonight, but apparently the motel doesn't have internet and I don't feel much like exploring the city with my car packed to the gills with the last of my things from my parents' house.

When I pulled up to my room at the motel this evening, I was struck by an incredible wave of sadness and loneliness. Perhaps it was all the thoughts of friends, family, home, and relationships finally caught up with me, but I don't think I've ever felt it hit me like that before, like a wave yanking my feet out underneath me. I barely had time to slide the key card in the door before the tears came. Sometimes in random little moments I will realize that it's kind of scary being a woman traveling alone, and I get flashes of vulnerability in realizing how alone I am. I generally do very well suppressing these feelings, as I refuse to let them immobilize me, but sometimes they surface here and there in the gaps between thoughts and events. All I could think about in that instant is how wonderful it would feel to have a man around to make me feel safe and protected just by his presence and willingness to make sure I am ok. I felt a moment of strong envy for the many people I know who are able to experience that with their partner.

There is the element of feeling safer when another is around, but probably more important is the element of actually having someone around to experience things with, to laugh at this strangely decorated room and the way that the toilet here sounds like it becomes a violent volcano when the neighbor flushes. I miss having someone to talk to about the trees or houses passing by, about my jumbled feelings of excitement and sadness as I make my way away from my old home and toward my new one. I feel like for people who have found someone special to be with, the most important thing becomes each other. It must be like taking home with you wherever you go because the most important thing in the world is right there next to you.

As I sit here with this ache, wondering if my heart's prayers for this person to manifest in my life will be answered, I am reminded of a comment that a friend said once long ago. It was in response to my blog post about seeing Feist, and we were discussing my feelings about her ability to express her emotions so deeply and boldly. My comment was that I wish that I could do the same. His thoughts were that she is able to do so because she has an audience of hundreds of thousands of people who want her to do that, who want to listen to her bare those feelings because her words touch those parts of themselves and connect deeply. He said that everyone needs just one person in their lives to listen to them that well, to look forward to experiencing them that deeply, whatever the emotion: fear, joy, pain, love. For me, the ultimate manifestation of that is being in a relationship with someone who is your best friend, and I think that is a quality that I value very highly in my romantic relationships. I feel that I am very lucky because, as a result of these blogs, I have been able to share some of my deepest emotions with my friends and family, and have been surprised by the fact that sometimes people actually read them. I truly appreciate everyone who has taken any time to read my words and allow me to share my experiences with you.

These blogs have been just words lately with the fun and stressful chaos of moving. I do have pictures and stories to share of my trip! I need to locate the cable that allows me to download my pictures onto my computer… then I need to locate some internet…

… and there goes the toilet volcano again. At least it only *sounds* like a volcano….

* * * *

Day 2: Cincinnati, OH to Atlantic, IA

Serpent Mound!

I drove through a lush countryside peopled by barns proclaiming that Jesus is the answer, accompanied by old men riding around on ATVs. There were no signs for the Serpent Mound anywhere, and I was just wondering if I'd passed it when I saw a very small brown sign pointing me to the entrance to the park. I searched online before leaving and had equal difficulty finding it online. When I arrived, the only occupants of the land were an elderly couple and a young boy, who quickly left. I climbed on the platform to view it, surprised to see the mound was only about 3 feet high and covered with mown grass. I imagined the lawn guy riding a mower over the snake and pondered whether the image made the place seem less sacred to me. I passed a sign that indicated the point of summer solstice sunrise, approximately across from the apex of one of the snake's curves, and it seemed to me that the snake didn't really appear to be indicating that.

I stood beside the mound, next to the area that was the sun or egg the snake was eating, and thought of my friend relating his experience when he stepped into the figure. Filled with curiousity, I looked around and listened for a moment. The air smelled sweet and slightly spicey, and was filled with the sound of birds and locusts singing. The parking lot was empty except for the little dot of my own blue car. I knew I had to do it....

I hopped over the mound and lay down inside of the egg/sun shape. If you know me well at all, you will know that I'm a total chicken about doing things that I'm not supposed to be doing (I'm not very sneaky so I always get caught!), and my heart was pounding very loudly in my chest. I took a deep breath and told myself that the effort would be wasted if I couldn't feel past my fear and nervousness about being caught, took another deep breath, and closed my eyes.

The feeling that caught my body was strange. It felt as if my bottom 3 chakras were connected to the depths of the earth by a powerful taproot that was draining something of myself down down down. There was no rotation at all in the feeling, just a straight sucking down. At the same time, the feeling somehow managed to make me feel filled up, and when I finally stood I felt buoyant and wonderful.

I hopped out of the egg/sun and peered curiously at the head of the snake. Figuring what the hell, I hopped inside of that too, this time seating myself cross-legged right in the middle of it. I felt a very similar feeling in my bottom chakras, the draining and filling up at the same time, and I began to wonder if part of the purpose of this monument was to cleanse. That's what it felt like it was doing to me, cleaning out something but filling me with the most wonderful feeling. I had wondered if the snake would feel scary at all, but it felt so very good. While I was seated with my eyes closed, I heard a buzzing noise close to my face and swatted it away, only to hear it again. I was grossed out, thinking that a locust had landed on me (they were EVERYWHERE), but when I looked it was a tiny ladybug sunning itself on my shirt. We sat for a while, then I returned to the path.

I figured that since I'd felt two places on the snake, I might as well feel the third that seemed important to me: the spiral of the tail. I nestled myself against the point of the tail and reclined against the mound, gazing at the leaves against the sky above me. Before I was able to feel anything, I heard some dogs barking nearby and figured it meant there were people there and I should stop lounging around on this ancient monument as if it was my backyard. I was completely loopy on the energy the place had given me, and I leaned my forehead against a tree for a bit to ground me before getting into my car and taking off.

Much later that day, in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, I drove into the most terrifying thunderstorm I have ever experienced in my life. Running through the rain to check in to the motel felt like crowds of people throwing buckets of water on me, never stopping. I absolutley love storms and was always the kid who ran to the window to see what I could see, excited by every bolt of lightning and crash of thunder. This Iowa storm was the first time I have ever been afraid of a weather phenomenon in my life. The receptionist was on the phone asking someone if there were any tornado warnings, and all of a sudden my stomach fell. Tornados? I had just been watching tornado videos online at my parents' house with my father, and now all of a sudden all that destruction was all around me. I went to my room, absolutely soaked along with my belongings, and turned on the TV. I couldn't take my eyes off it for about an hour, wishing that I knew more about the geography around Atlantic, Iowa so I'd know how close the warnings were.

The next morning when I checked out, the receptionist said there had been tornadoes in about 5 of the small towns surrounding Atlantic, but none in the town. That was the scariest night of my life, more scary than the night that Becky and I were alone at Brushwood and freaked ourselves out.

* * * *

Day 3: June 12th - Atlantic, Iowa to Golden, Colorado

The day was blissfully uneventful, and I was surprised to see how many trees thrive in Nebraska. All I could think of was how good it felt to be surrounded by love from my family and friends and how I was speeding away from that feeling across the barren northeast corner of my new home state. Comparing that wonderful feeling to the feeling that I have experienced with the guy I was seeing these past couple of months (the bad months, not the first good ones), I felt like any decisions to be made about our relationship were pretty obvious. I had been looking forward to being back and doing things with him, and even brought back my ren faire costumes I made years ago. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it just didn't feel good. I think a relationship with someone should feel just as wonderful as the feeling I had from my family and friends. It shouldn't be something that feels bad. My friend had advised me to just feel my way through it, and I did. And while it feels bad and sad, it also feels good to be free from feeling terrible with the person who is supposed to care about me as a boyfriend.

There is a workshop tonight at a new-age store in my old neighborhood and I think I'm going to go. It's a past life workshop and is about learning from your past lessons to break through the self-defeating patterns you have fallen into in this lifetime. Since I find myself in pretty much the same position this summer as I did a year ago, I think it's an appropriate message for me right now. There are some wonderful changes that I am making though, and having my own place that I chose to live is one of them. I wish I could step out of my body for a moment, shake myself by the shoulders and tell myself to just stop being afraid and then these patterns would stop repeating themselves. I obviously can't do this, but I do have the thought. I think my job now is owning the thought.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tues, May 27 to Thurs, June 12, 2008: Connecticut Hoooo! (Part 1: Journeys Around New England)

Wow... so much has happened in the past few weeks, I don't even know if I can remember everything I wanted to write. Not having internet is driving me nuts, but I discovered that the main office of my apartment complex has an unsecured wireless network. Aaaaahhh.

Well, I'll get the not fun stuff out of the way first. I arrived back in Golden on Thursday, and called the guy I was dating that day to tell him I agree that we're not compatible. He said all kinds of nice things about me and said he hoped someday we could be friends or maybe try dating again. All I know is that right now I feel angry and frustrated and hurt. I learned some very important lessons and gained some positive memories and these are the things I will take with me right now. I think the hardest part about this is that he is the first guy I've really connected with since moving out here, and I was so very excited to finally have someone to do things with. We made plans to do so much: hiking, camping, potential road trips, and I was looking forward to exploring Golden with him. I feel very sad to be back to doing things alone once more. Having another person to share things with really does add so many dimensions to each experience.

I know I've written a bit about my adventures back in the land of the green trees, but now I have pictures. :) I did a lot of random driving around (big surprise) when I was home, trying to process my thoughts and feelings about my life over the past year. It's very strange that last summer I was going through these same things: moving, breakup, chaos. This time it's somewhat different though, and better, and I realized that Golden is the first place I have ever intentionally chosen to live in my life. That feels very good to me and leads me to believe that I'm doing something right.

Even though I knew what to expect of Connecticut, I was amazed and refreshed to see the things that I have missed:

Salmon Brook, which runs through a good part of the town:A tree-lined road (Firetown Road):A "real" tree, the Granby Oak:My favorite body of water near my hometown: the Colebrook Reservoir:My dad and I took a trip to Newport, Rhode Island, and wandered around the main streets of the little town. Three and four hundred year old houses crowded the roads and each other, and it felt so strange to be back in "Olde New England". It was so refreshing to hear seagulls and the lapping sounds of the waves against piers and the sides of boats.I also had to visit my favorite hills, the Berkshires in southwestern Mass:
Part 2 is my journey back to Colorado!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Weds, June 4, 2008: Surrendering to the Surreal

((Present Day: I learned this evening that I will not be returning to the school district where I have been working for the past 2 years. This has nothing to do with me as a professional and everything to do with individuals in our administration hiring their friends... which greatly softens the blow. :) While I am concerned about what will happen to me financially, I am looking forward to whatever adventures await me next with excitement and anticipation!))

* * * *

I have discovered of myself that when I travel by plane to a place, it makes me feel spacey and disconnected and I never really feel like I'm *there*. Driving my car across the country to the place I've always lived erases that feeling though, and I feel through and through like all of me is present and accounted for on this journey.

So where does the surreal come in? It's so strange looking at my life in comparison to most of the peers I grew up with - a good number of people I know from high school and college are either married, engaged, or in a serious relationship. I know that you're not supposed to compare yourself to others - and I never was one to do things someone else's way...- but it's difficult sometimes not to take that perspective. Last night, my mother and I were talking about grandparents, and she was talking about what kind of grandparent she wants to be. She used the words "IF you have children...", which was pretty heartbreaking for me to hear. I have always been the daughter who professed that she would have 10 children when she grew up (a number which has since lessened considerably), and now I feel like I'm that daughter whom the family wishes would just find somebody to settle down with already.

I am finding as I gather more and more relationship experiences that I form a better understanding of what I am looking for in a man. My journey has been pretty different from that of many people whom I know, but not so different from others. In the end, I seem to always follow my gut feelings (even when they lead me to do unconventional things), and I still believe that "there is a purpose to the madness".

At this point, I just want to know what the purpose is! I feel like things are coming faster and closer and that there is a convergence on the near horizon. I'm so excited to see what is there, and I am awed by this life that is constantly hurtling me toward these new convergences, each one an important place, person, or discovery about myself in the world. There is a string of amazing somethings laying before me like beads on a necklace - which, if you understand my obsession with beads, should convey to you exactly how exciting and wonderful a prospect that is to me.

While it seems unreal to hear people around me talking about their husbands or their children, my body feels firmly planted on its own path. One step at a time.