Silent Contemplation

Recently a series of events had me fade away, to regroup. Life, both personal and professional, had blind sided me in a way that I felt lost and floating in space.

I have been flying and traveling almost non-stop for several months. After a unusually long trip which kept me on the road for almost 3 straight weeks, an emotional family roller coaster visit, and lack of sleep (who knew sleep was so important), I entered into a group setting that slammed me into outer space.

I thought, before that trip, I was in a good place. I knew where I was going, I knew what my next set of steps were. Out of the blue, life stepped in to not only make me second guess everything I thought to be true, but doubt all my decisions in the last couple of years.

In times of sudden uncertainty or overwhelming confusing, I step back. I deliberately, without warning to those around me, simply stepped in to utter darkness.

I questioned everything, everyone, the truth, the universe, me.

Slowly a pin prick of light appeared and as time always does, allowed the light to grow and keep growing until I could breathe. Facts started spreading as I sat in silent contemplation. For the first time in a long time, the sound of hands reaching out to escort me to the light broke through.

Without realizing it, I found that past lessons are not being repeated even though at first glance it appeared that I was repeating the past. While we all live with our choices, good and bad, they all have consequences, the question is, did you learn from it the first time around.

The silent contemplation worked well for me. It let me lick my wounds, gave me time to heal, showed me that I have learned and grew and matured. I have chosen my friends more wisely, I have a solid foundation below my feet. I am recovering quicker because not only did I realize my friends are still there, but they support me, maybe even more than I do.

I am human and stepping back — even without warning — to contemplate what, who, and where I am is a normal part of this life. My friends understand my habits, they reached out, they were patient when I did not fully engage with them, but most importantly, they were there when I was ready for them to be.

Sometimes falling silent is not a bad thing, but telling people that’s what you are doing is even better. It’s easier to come back into the light when the contemplation needs to be acted upon or or let go.

While I am unsure of the future, I am more comfortable and confident I can handle the bad and the good. I have a solid foundation and now, through all of the patchy light, I know I am where I want to be, should be, and that I am better than OK.

Nomadic Home

It’s been a long time since I’ve been home. HOME.

Home is a funny word. It’s been years since I’ve called anything other than Jersey home. I’ve been a nomad since childhood even though I didn’t leave my home state until I was 18.

It’s a feeling more than an activity. I’ve felt restless and aggravated and lost and sometimes found.

Smokey Mountain LakeJersey | Writing Rants

Joining the Air Force met my nomadic needs and turned my world upside down every 4 to 5 years. It was a wondrous feeling of traveling the country and the world, of meeting people and experiencing cultures only found on black and white paper. The reality sprang to 3-D life like nothing else could.

I mentally always was nomadic, needing a change to spark my creativity, reboot me. Maybe it was because I was adopted and searching for my family or maybe I was born restless or maybe I’m running from something I will never understand…or maybe I’m just looking for home.

When I left the military, the nomadic life didn’t come to an immediate end. In fact it would take another 6 years before my wandering life style went dormant. I was grounded in one state for 12 years before I picked up roots and moved on.

As I sit in an airport contemplating my current space, debating my next move — or maybe lack of — I realized that I am waiting for my connection home (and no I don’t mean Jersey — which is disconcerting in of itself). I mean home to Austin. My bed, my friends, my life.

I watch people come and go. Different accents, conversations between strangers about work and vacation plans, a woman highlighting spreadsheets, children running in the center court. Everyone going somewhere and me? I’m going home.

I’m not sure I can explain how I’ve come to think of Austin as home as much as Jersey is still home for me. Despite the Texan ego, there are a lot of similarities between the two places I call home.

They are both beautiful states, the people are proud of their land and the history that is woven across the years, they are independent and strong and compassionate. Give the weather 5 minutes and it will change. The foods are diverse and delicious. You can go hiking and swimming and biking all in the same day.

I wonder if a time will come where I will find Austin lacking. Will I move on again?

In the swirl of people and the announcement of my flight, I’m eager to be home. To return to my new home. It fits me, I’m comfortable, and relaxed. It amazes me that somehow, Austin feels right, as much as I rejuvenate in Jersey, Austin resonates with me. I fit in.

I still like to travel and see new places, flying is such an adrenaline rush, but coming Home…that is a new feeling and one I’m not likely to change in 4 years.

I like the fact that I have 2 homes and love them both deeply. I guess that makes me Jersey Texan.

Creating My Life

A couple years ago, I took a step back and thought about what I wanted to bring into my life. I believe that we all bring into our life what we need to make us who we are, to be stronger, to learn…to evolve. What you focus on shall be. If you don’t focus on anything then random acts of the universe occur.

So, with that philosophy in mind, I did the most logical thing; I wrote. I wrote about what I wanted and needed.

I have experienced synronicities since I was a child. Whenever I wrote about something, I would find that it would materialize over the next few weeks or months. And I don’t mean every detail, but the important details like traveling the world, biking, or people.

When I stopped writing, when I stopped paying attention to who I was, I found that my life did not run smoothly. I drew in the wrong friends, I experienced accidents, I slid into the mundane and the contented blahs of life.

After I gathered strength and courage, I changed my life creating a new one, but it still wasn’t enough. I was still stuck and moving no where. As I started to travel again, I found my passion for writing.

It blooms and fills me with joy and passion like few things do. There is something about leaving home, leaving the day to day behind that make my mind shift into overdrive.

Smokey Mountain LakeJersey | Writing Rants

Smokey Mountain Lake

As my thoughts spilled on to the page, I realized it was time to make space and put into words (insert Elton John how wonderful life is) what it was I wanted.

I wrote at least one page for every area I wanted to make better. I wrote about the place I wanted to live (it took exactly 18 months for that to become a reality), I wrote about writing (see this blog and Texas Hill Country for where I am now — short stories and all), I wrote about the people I wanted to be in my life and what I wanted to do with them.

There are 2 parts to the friends I wanted to have in my life. First are what I termed: Biking friends. I wanted to enjoy biking with people and learn from them. It started off as just road biking, but has grown to include mountain biking. I am thoroughly enjoying the community of bikers and have met some awesome people.

The second part, the more lengthy part, are people where we could hang out and socialize and be active. Specifically, I wrote about 6 female friends who as group would travel, throw dinner parties, go out to movies, do outdoorsy things and in general, laugh. I was pretty detailed about this part of my new life, my new friends. I have a picture of 6 women that embodied what I wanted as my core group of friends.

A couple weeks ago, it occurred to me, that I have found them. A year and a half after moving to the space that I wrote about first, I went on a long distance trip with a few of (what I like to call) my core friends. They are smart, strong, and supportive.

They like to do dinner and movies, they like to hike and boat, and they like to travel. This last part was important to me. I am bursting at the seams as I re-read what I wrote 2 plus years ago and realize that I can check off over 90% of what I wanted in my life.

Those words on paper are now reality. It was a beautiful trip to the Smoky mountains where we unplugged and relaxed, hiked, boated, and whitewater rafted. We enjoyed kids ice cream cones and grilled and admired the sunsets.

I enjoyed every minute of nature and my friends. I would not trade any of it for anything. I have successfully created (with help from the universe) what I wanted most in my life. I have not lost focus and what I have written about is materializing.

Smokey Mountain LakeJersey | Writing Rants

Smokey Mountain Lake

I wrote about my life and put it away (obsessing is never good) and let the Universe do it’s thing.

My life is not perfect, but what has materialized is exactly as I have written about.

I cannot wait for the next group adventure!

Go Make Memories

Not too long ago an acquaintance of mine passed away suddenly. Well, for her it was not sudden, but she decided to not tell a lot of people that she was ill, so for those of us on the fringes of her world, it came from out of the blue. It came without warning, it came without preamble, it came without a fairy tale ending.

She was a big asset to every community she was a part of, work and personal. She was always happy and out going. A gracious and warm host who went out of her way to talk to everyone.

Star hug

Her wife is just as personable and outgoing as she was. I remember the first dance I went to over a year ago. They introduced themselves and we talked for several minutes. I remember walking away wondering if I knew who they were.

They talked to me like I had known them for years.

At every dance, I would talk with them and each time I walked away with the feeling I had known them for a long time versus brief snippets of time. The last dance I went to was her last dance. I did not know at the time, neither did most people.

I remember talking to her wife for longer than I had in the past. We caught up as old friends do and I never saw any signs of worry or concern or tiredness. She was charming and warm and loving. And once again, I walked away as if I had caught up with a childhood friend.

I was away when word reached me of her sudden passing.

It would be two days later before the full impact of who she was would catch up to me via social media.

A big portion of my group of friends knew her, so my feed filled up with pictures and stories of her and her wife — her life.

The woman I barely knew, who treated me as a life long friend, was highly respected in my community, loved by everyone who knew her, had touched me.

I felt a loss from a woman not much older than me, dying too young, from my friends grieving through memories, from social media randomly popping up photo’s of an active, full, happy life.

I attended a memorial in her memory. Bands played, people laughed and danced. Her family and close friends spoke about her impact on them, and thanked a wide cast of their support system. I was surprised not only by the friends we had in common, but also by the sheer volume of people who came out to celebrate her life.

I overheard another friend say that now, for a brief moment before memories fade, they tell people they love them, that they hug a little longer, that they need to go make memories.

Time is never a given. Time is short. And while we all know it, it is not until someone who is unique and loving and alive disappears that we mere mortals step back and realize, we need to make memories now, we need to live now, we need to love now.

I may not have known her well, but I was touched by her through the friends we have in common, through the social media presenting her memories to me, her family to me, and through the universe bringing me into her world — her life — to show me to stop waiting and just live.

Emotions are Illogical

There’s been a lot of angst and tragedy worldwide in the last few months. Some events have been closer to home than others, some have made national news, and others are more immediate and personal.

As I’ve moved on in my life trying to get back to who I was, I have taken more notice about what is occurring around me. The news and social media make it difficult to hear yourself or those around you and life comes down to conflicting sound bites.

I’ve listen to the rhetoric and the hate and the drama of public figures and of my immediate day-to-day world. The phrase of the moment is “drama free zone.”

At first I thought that would be nice, that drama free was a kind of Utopia. It would be great to end the hate and the conflicts and the killing.

It would be nice to get up, interact with other people and be happy and get along. There would be no killing, no arguments, no hate. We would all agree on everything because logic is an unbending unyielding truth of fact – just ask any scientist.

Energy is matter and matter cannot be created or destroyed: Fact. E = mc2 : Fact. The sky is blue: fact. Logic is emotionless: just ask Data from Start Trek.

Drama Free Zone is not Utopia, it’s not idyllic, and in the end, it’s impossible. Human interaction alone will always prevent this false illusion from occurring.

Emotions are not logical. Logic belongs in the world of movies, built for Artificial Intelligence — and quiet frankly, boring.

Look at all the good books and movies. They have one thing in common: drama and conflict. The one thing that attracts most people in a good story is the build up to the conflict and the one of many ways for resolution.

It’s the story, the conflict which wraps around your emotions that touch us the most. It allows us to find ourselves in the atoms which make us up;from pure happiness, laughter, sadness, and anger.

It is these emotions which make us alive and feel and create like no other living being on the planet. Without these illogical feelings life would be drama free. It would also be boring and stark and lifeless.

I’ve been in places where drama is a daily occurrence, where you don’t know what to expects. It is pure hell on earth and not something I will tolerate again in my life time.

On the other hand, being a hermit (for all my joking) is not a fun place either. Is it drama free? You betchya, but it is also lonely and boring and soul draining.

One cannot grown and thrive in an logical world, interaction is the only way to be you. And it is through a balance of logical emotions that we can be who we are.

Despite all the events of the modern world, emotions will always create drama. It is up to each person how much they are willing to tolerate.