To Do or Not to Do?

 

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I’m not a Catholic girl, but recently I’ve noticed a tendency to want to start new blogs with, “Forgive me Father, it has been 13 days since my last blog.”  I’m not quite sure what I need to be forgiven for, but I have concluded that clearly, it must have something to do with myself.  Whatever.  Maybe the answer to that will become clear as this blog—or this day—or this lifetime moves on.  We’ll see.  Or not.

I’ve done a lot of blog stop-starts in the past few days but they are just that.  Starts and stops.  Life is like that sometimes—a series of starting stuff that I don’t finish.  Maybe that’swhat I need to forgive myself for, especially those days when I just can’t seem to get out of my own way.  Heaven help me—I’m in a blog fog!

A few days ago when lethargy was the order of the day, I blamed it on post Royal Wedding Blues. All of that glorious anticipation and activity leading up to The Great Moment when Harry and Meghan finally tied the knot and we all had our curious little questions answered.  Will Harry wear a uniform and keep his beard? Will he wear a wedding ring? Who will walk Meghan down the aisle?  What will her dress be like and who was the designer?  You know—all of those intriguing questions that tickled the world’s fancy for weeks on end.

Well it was either that, or a week of grey gloomy weather that added to the post wedding blues that got me, or maybe a combination platter.  Whatever it was, voila!  Instant depression.  How depressing!

Okay so today is a whole new day and I’m over it.  I’ve allowed myself the luxury of a full do-nothing, guilt-free, three-day wallow and now it’s time to move on.  There is something really therapeutic about giving oneself the gift of a good wallow, provided it is not allowed to go on for too long lest it become self-defeating hence unhealthy.  Three days max.

Now here I am, fresh as a daisy, bright as a star with a whole day (albeit another gloomy one) in front of me with nothing on my calendar and nothing pressing to do.  So many options, so many choices!  In her recent blog, Natalietalksabout.com inspired me to declutter a jewelry drawer.  I could do that, I suppose.  Or write a blog about decluttering (and with any luck it might even make it to the finish line).  Or I could stop procrastinating and plant some flowers and herbs in the pots on my balcony.  Well maybe—I never like to rush into anything.  Whoa–were those the Blue Angels that just streaked overhead past my balcony?  If I had been out there tending to pots, perhaps I wouldn’t have missed seeing them.  Oh well–maybe later–

Meanwhile, lest I fritter away the entire day in indecision mode, best I pick one and just DO it.  So here I am DOING it, and as it turns out, the IT is a blog.  Well, whatdya know—I think maybe it might even be finished.  Today there is hope about making it as far as the jewelry drawer.  I’m not too sure about those empty pots however but God willing, tomorrow is another day.

Hot dog.  Today there is nothing to feel guilty about or forgive myself for.  Not today, not any day, no matter how naughty I think that I may have been. God bless God for giving us do-over’s—the chance to fix what isn’t really broken in the first place.  I’ll drink to that.  Except that I don’t drink anymore.  Drat.  Maybe I’ll just celebrate with a push of the post button and dance a little happy dance instead.

Ye haw.  Thank you God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Meaning of This?

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In keeping with my usual “get-up-early-so-I-can-loaf-longer” mode, it is o’dark-thirty and I have been up for over an hour and a half.  So far, I have picked up my pen instead of my computer (a major start-of-the-day accomplishment), meditated, walked and fed the dog, and just settled down to enjoy my second cup of coffee.  Somewhere between the twenty steps that separate the kitchen from my Lazygirl, a small kamikaze fly took a suicide dive into my coveted second cup. Bummer.

My normal modus operandi would be to immediately ask myself,  “What is the meaning of this?”   Today I have admitted to myself that perhaps there is no meaning in this.  But hey—it wouldn’t be like me not to wonder just a little bit—and to use the incident as a springboard to the discovery some sort of magical, mystical, amazing hidden Truth that suddenly reveals itself as a reward for my continual forward march on the obstacle-strewn path to Nirvana. What is my life after all, if nothing but a search for meaning?

The fly-in-the-coffee routine is reminiscent of the wasp-in-the-purse number that occurred a number of years ago.  It makes me wonder—why bother to search for meaning when I have already found it long ago (and apparently forgotten it again)?  That would be a little like reinventing the wheel.  On the other hand, what with my forgetful ways, I always do appreciate a good reminder because Heaven knows, I can use all of them I can get!

Just so you know—the little story that you are about to read was lifted right out of my book, Amusings—Looking at Life Through a Stained Glass Window.  Is it blog- cheating to plagiarize myself?  I don’t know, but I’m going to do it anyway, so here goes.  The following little vignette is titled The Wasp.

Have you ever popped into your car, reached your hand into your purse to find your keys and discovered that there was a wasp wandering around somewhere between your checkbook and wallet?  It is probably a moment you would prefer reading about when it happened to someone else than actually experiencing for yourself.

Well, we had quite a time, the wasp and I.  We had a little conversation—seems I did most of the talking—while the nosy little itinerant inspected the contents of my handbag.  Hitching a ride to somewhere, and looking for a bite of free lunch, I supposed.  I wasn’t much looking forward to being his mid-day meal.

Apparently, I managed to talk some sense into the tiny critter’s head, because before too very long, s/he flew out the open car window, rather than risk being bludgeoned to death by the contents of a closed purse being pounded in panic against a hot asphalt parking lot.  Thank goodness.

Once my heart rate returned to normal, I immediately launched into my usual what-does-this-mean mode, and concluded that the wasp had given me a very great gift.  I drove away thanking the clever powers that be for the experience, because now—ta dah—I had a juicy little tidbit of insight for the subject of my next writing session.

There was a time when I thought that daily bread was a tangible, like money, or food. (Naturally, I’d be thinking in terms of food).  But that day, thanks to my friend the wasp, I came to an entirely new understanding about the meaning of daily bread.  Daily bread became transformed in my mind from the tangibles of food and money into food for thought.  I moved from the tangible to intangible, then back to tangible again, by bringing ideas, creativity, wisdom and inspiration into physical manifestation through words as a personal expression of individual creativity.

Some folks can take their ideas and build buildings, or paint masterpieces, or write great American novels, or take embryonic ideas and turn them into enormous business empires. Well I had an unfortunate relationship with geometry, never got past kindergarten art, and my grandiose, highfalutin entrepreneurial ideas have long since gone up in smoke, along with the dream of making it onto Oprah’s book list.

But I’m not dead yet! Thanks to that unexpected, uninvited visitor in my purse, I was given an idea and a story to tell, along with a healthy dose of insight, inspiration, and willingness to use it creatively. So the idea is to write the idea. And who knows?  Maybe one day the idea will be published somewhere and I’ll even get paid fir it.  Now wouldn’t that be something!

Either way, published or not, when I fail to write for myself as a personal expression of my own inner creativity, I’m starving myself to death.

Oh Lord, give me this day my daily bread.  I’m too young to die.

 

 

 

 

Speaking for MySelf

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I’m kinda new at this blogging thing—I’ve only been at it for about three months now, and being the baby blogger that I am, I am still struggling to find my voice.  I tend to write whenever the spirit hits me with an idea, which could be anything and everything, once a day or once a month—and when I sit down to write, I’m never sure what’s coming or where it’s going.

People ask, “What is your blog about?”  Well, I wish I knew, but I really can’t say for sure.  Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes silly nonsense, sometimes spiritual, sometimes a tad irreverent.  What can I say?  Would that I had all the answers.  It’s a little like a day in my life when I plan to go about it with intention but somewhere along the line I’ve wandered off course and wind up at a destination I didn’t have in mind when I first started out.

My erratic writing habits give those who know and love me a chance to stick by my side and love me in spite of myself.  As for the rest of you, well that’s entirely up to you, but I’d be really happy if you’d hang in there with me on my journey to wherever and allow yourself to be as surprised by the ending as I often am.

Take today, for example.  I sit down with my journal and take pen in hand.  An unexpected conversation shows up on the page.

“I am always here to talk with you.”

The vague recollection of a conversation seeps into my awareness and I wonder—did I imagine that?  Dream it?  Read it?

“You are never alone.”

Hmm.  No wonder that my blog is called Voices in my Head.

Who is speaking, I ask?

“It is the Lord,” says the voice.

The Lord?  Do you mean God?  That Lord, I ask?

“I am the Lord of your Being, the voice that speaks to and for your soul.  I am the voice of your higher self.  I, along with others form a group comprised of those who are your guides, angels, teachers, protectors, and guardians.  Together we are a team assigned the task of keeping your best interests in mind and heart, and we function as a group under the leadership of the One who is in charge of your spiritual journey.

‘We speak on behalf of The Great Lord, the team of Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit, All That Is.  Our job is to help guide you back to your true home.  On behalf of the Great One, we teach love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion.

‘We invite you to allow your voice to be the voice for all that is good, of all that is truly helpful. We challenge you to gather the courage to use your voice on behalf of The Great One with the wild abandon of the eagle that flies with wind beneath its wings, soaring for the sheer joy and the freedom that it brings.

‘We urge you to simply allow the spirit of this message to live in your heart, and not become caught up in the mechanics of terminology which the ego would use against you to derail your journey.  Simply allow what is to just be, and relax and enjoy your journey.  We are with you each step along the way.”

End of conversation—at least for today.

Okay, so do you see what I mean?  I don’t know what’s coming next folks, but whatever it is, I think I’ll sit back, relax, and watch to see what unfolds along the way.  Meanwhile, I’m just going to spend some quality time hanging out with my teammates with gratitude and appreciation for the miracles that they perform on my behalf, and for the blessings that they endlessly shower upon me.

I enjoy my little chats with my team.  I hope that you enjoy mine with you.  If you do, please push the “follow” button on my blog site and you’ll receive emails notifying you when I post a new blog.  To quote the over-quoted legendary Forest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”  I hope that you’ll be willing to dig in and enjoy the whole box—even if it means that you must take the risk of getting the jelly one that you’d rather spit out than swallow.

One of the things that I love about blogging is that I can make mistakes and don’t have to follow the rules.  There’s nobody to correct me or tell me that I’m doing something wrong.  Love that!  It’s a place where I can be myself, and don’t have to worry about being perfect, but instead can do my best to do the best I can, and maybe as time goes my best will keep on getting better. Meanwhile, you, dear reader, if you wish to do so, have the opportunity to practice forgiveness and love me anyway (and my incorrect grammar and punctuation) in spite of myself.  Isn’t that great?  Isn’t God great?

Before I close, I’d like to share a little PS news flash that just happened before I could put the final “amen” to this little epistle.

I was as happy as a little lark just finishing my blog when I hear the ominous sound of wretching coming from the direction of the dog.  Uh oh—I know what that means!  Charlie has moved himself from his bed on the hardwood floor to the carpet (why do they always do that?) while I start saying NO NO NO in my insistent STOP THAT voice.  I jump out of my Lazygirl to get to him in time to redirect the action away from the carpet back to the hardwood but as I try to stand up, the calf of my leg is gripped by a Charlie horse and I am temporarily and painfully disabled.  Meanwhile, Charlie continues to wretch while I continue to curse at my inability to reach him in time to avoid the inevitable.  Curses indeed!  My leg returns to functional just in time to clean up the mess.  Gee thanks for the dreaded chocolate covered jelly, Charlie dog.  Were you and Charlie horse in cahoots?

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Oh—did I mention?  Those voices in my head sometimes have a wicked sense of humor.  Haha.  Very funny, you guys.  Thanks for the opportunity to remember that it’s not what happens to me that matters—it’s the how do I handle it that counts.  Oh yeah, and thanks for the humorous little antidote to end my story as a diversion from the serious back into the silly.  I know that you dog lovers out there can relate!

That’s it for now, folks.  I’ll see you next time (I hope)!  I wish you blessings, miracles, and grace today and every day.

 

 

 

Trashy Dreams

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Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Julia, self-appointed Queen of the Trash Room.  This honor is bestowed upon me courtesy of my own idiocy as a result of my willingness to join the board of directors of the condo building where I live. Clearly, we do not have a janitor.

My kingdom includes a 300-square foot trash room with cinder block walls, a concrete floor, and a dumpster, the receptacle for whatever crazy stuff that residents can think of to send down the chute from six floors above.  I don’t recommend vacuum cleaners.  The result of such folly inevitably creates a horror show that would send a janitor running for his life.  Would that we had one but alas, I’m it.

If the dumpster is overloaded the bags bounce onto the floor and heaven help anyone who might be standing in the way.  The room itself is the collector of an unimaginable assortment of dumped household belonging—an unholy mix of trash, garbage, and recyclables—fluorescent bulbs, half empty paint cans, discarded electronics, mattresses, broken desk chairs—the possibilities are endless.  Happy am I when the room is tidy and clean, empty of assorted litter and junk because then in my world, all is well and God is in her heaven.

It’s bad enough when I have to deal with this garbage for real—but really—do I have to do it in my dreams too?

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Last night I had a hideous nightmare in which someone dumped a 60-gallon dirty yellow container down the chute, and rather than using a securely-tied plastic bag to rein in the contents, the expletive-deleted perpetrator had filled the thing with a broken down cardboard carton full of loose trash.  Naturally, the container landed upside down and emptied its mountainous load of yukkiness all over the floor, a horror show of epic proportions.  The Queen of Trash nearly had a fainting spell at the mere sight of it, not to mention the mind-numbing prospect of having to clean it all up.  To make matters worse, the container had a wheel broken off, a sure indicator that it too qualified as trash, providing an even greater puzzle to solve.  Is it recyclable? Is it plastic or rubberized? Is rubber recyclable?  How am I supposed to get rid of that?

As I stood at the intersection of horrified and enraged, an idea popped into my head.  “Hey, wait a minute.” I thought.  “Maybe this is just a nightmare, and if so, I don’t have to worry about how to clean it up.  Maybe I can just wake up and poof—problem solved!  Wouldn’t that just be miraculous?”  And with that, my eyes popped open and I woke up with a realization that it was indeed, just a dream.  Words cannot possibly begin to describe the mixture of gratitude, relief, and joy that I experienced to discover the unreality of that nasty situation.

This trashy nightmare brings to mind a question that I have pondered many times over my lifetime. What is real?  What is illusion?  While I sleep, my nighttime dreams become my reality and are as concrete as the floor of that trash room.  They are as real as the world seems to be when I am in a so-called waking state.  Yet when I am walking around in the daytime with my eyes wide open and think that I am awake, the dreams that I have at night vanish into thin air and quickly fade and are forgotten.  Where do the nighttime dreams go?  Where do the daytime dreams go?  Which one is real?

Perhaps none of it is real.  Perhaps it is all only an illusion.  Perhaps we are all asleep and dreaming and perhaps one day we will all wake up to a new reality in which we realize that life is nothing more than a dream, a movie projected by our minds based upon what we think, feel, perceive, or believe is real.

In the meantime, perhaps we are all living in the same dream with a common belief in love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, black and white, beliefs that divide and separate us from one another when in truth we are all one, we are all the same, we all are only here on classroom earth learning how to get along together and to let go of fear and replace it with love.  We’re all teachers, we’re all students, we’re all in it together.

Let’s face it—the world we live in today could qualify as a nightmare.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do my best to turn the nightmare into a happy dream and wake up to the Truth that the only thing that is real is love.  Meanwhile, I’m going to practice loving my enemies.  It isn’t easy, but the result is surely worth the effort.  Care to join me?

Bye for now. See you in my dreams.

With love,

Julia, Queen of Trash

 

When Is It Gonna Get Hot?

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This morning I checked the weather before I took Charlie out for his morning constitutional. The temperature clued me that I needed to bundle us both up in our winter duds and brace ourselves for an unseasonably chilly morning.  What is wrong with this picture?  It’s 33 degrees on April 8, that’s what.

I don’t know about the weather where you live, but I can tell you that in my lane, we’re all sick and tired of layering up when it’s supposed to be spring. Down coats and scarves just don’t go with cherry blossoms and daffodils.  As I zipped and hooded us up a “Once Upon a Time” story popped into my head.

Many years ago when I was an outside sales rep, my days were spent pounding the pavement (ouch—sorry feet!) hiking from door to door in building after building in hot pursuit of hot prospects in a big city full of big buildings.

Oh there was a whole lot of hot out there.  One year in late May and early June, the weather moved from winter directly into an endless stream of days so brutally hot that the very thought of going outside sent folks scurrying back to the safety and comfort of their air conditioned zones.  Day by day as I slogged my way from door to door I began to notice that mine weren’t the only spirits drooping from the scorching heat.  There seemed to be an epidemic of general malaise in the air, a fog of depression that had engulfed the entire city.

Oh for an inside job where I could sit at a desk in air-conditioned comfort all day.  Fortunately for me, most of the kind folks I encountered took pity on me, but I could only linger for just so long before someone thought that it was time to kick me back out into the oppressive heat.  It would be times like these when any self respecting outside sales rep in her right mind might consider a new occupation.  Alas, such was not the case, and the person I worked for was not sympatric to the plight of her soggy beleaguered sales team.  Off we went.  Out the door and into the blistering heat.

 

 

On one such as day I stood propped in the corner of an elevator on my way down from the 9thfloor dreading the thought of having to exit the building, the elevator stopped long enough to collect a new passenger.  “Oh good, I thought.  A brief momentary delay before venturing out into the inevitable.”

I can still see him to this day.  A handsome hunk of a guy wearing a crisp, clean Fedex uniform and a smile so bright that it reminded me of those toothpaste ads where a sparkle of light pings off a front tooth.  There I stood propped in my corner dazzled by the vision of handsome, while trying my best to refrain from wilting down to the floor in a puddle of despair.

“Good morning!” he said with a cheerful attitude that matched his sparkle smile.

“Well, it would be a good morning if I didn’t have to get off this elevator and go out into the heat,” I grumbled.

“Well we asked for it, you know.”

“Huh?  What do you mean?”

“We kept saying, ‘When is it gonna get hot?  When is it gonna get hot?’”  And then he was gone.

Aha!  The man is right!  Just as it is now, the weather then had been unseasonably cold for far too long into the spring.  Everyone was complaining. “ It’s too cold.  When is it gonna get hot?  When is it gonna get hot?”  There was a group mantra in the air and it got hot.

Is it true?  Do we get what we ask for?  If so, perhaps it might behoove us to give some serious thought to what we allow to wander around in our heads.  If I change my mind will I change my experience?  I decided that I was going to rewrite the mantra.  If it is true, if a group consciousness can create a heat wave, can it be reversed by a change of mind?

That day, I told the story of my elevator meeting to each person I met.  I asked everyone that I encountered to “Think San Diego weather,” and to imagine a balmy, sunny, clear- blue-sky, low-humidity sort of a day that brings joy to the heart and puts a spring into the step.  It was amazing how spirits lifted at the very thought.

Even more amazing was the fact that the next morning I awoke to a day of San Diego weather.

Coincidence? I’ll never know.  But it certainly does give one pause to wonder, doesn’t it?  Think about what we might be able to do if we change our minds about the climate of our government, of our country, of the planet?  What might happen if we all shifted from a negative attitude to a positive one?  If we see light instead of darkness?  Is it possible to change the world one mind at a time?

Is there just one little thing that you might like to change your mind about today?  If so, how about starting with something small, like the weather?  Today the weather.  Tomorrow the world.

It couldn’t hurt, right?  After all, what have we got to lose?  We’ll never know unless we try.

Okay, so are you in?  If so, leave me a comment and let me know.  The more the merrier! Together we can change the world.  We’ve gotta start somewhere, right?  Okay, enough with the platitudes.  How about we move on to Weather Changing one Mind at a Time?

Seriously.  Let me know.

PS:  Quite possibly there may be either a gaping hole in the middle of this post, or a photo of a fiery blaze stuck sideways in a place where a photo ought not be.  Just overlook it and chalk it up to computer ineptitude.  🙂  I know it’s broken, but I don’t know how to fix it.  But then again, maybe it isn’t broken at all.  Maybe I just think it is.  And maybe by some miracle it will fix itself and be just fine.  I won’t know till I push the publish button.  So good luck and here goes . . .

 

 

Where’s the Easy Button?

legs-window-car-dirt-road-51397.jpegWhen I was a kid my family used to accuse me of getting up earlier so that I could loaf longer. Back then I was insulted by their accusations, but now I see that they were dead right. If you want to get something done quickly and efficiently, ask a lazy person because they’ll always find a way to finish the job in a hurry so they can default back to lazy mode and loaf longer.

I was born the youngest in a family with three girls, one who claimed me as her very own personal adorable little baby doll. There was nothing that I was required to do for myself because she anticipated my every need and met each one before it appeared, haircuts included. I picked the perfect environment to nurture my lackawannado nature. My loving sister-mother exacerbated my slothful ways by playing right into my lazy little hands. Bless her heart.

I’m never overwhelmingly thrilled about staring at myself and my shortcomings eyeball to eyeball, but sometimes they just pop up out of nowhere and knock me off center by making me realize that I still have a lot of work to do on myself.   Rats. I want to get it over with fast so I can get out of here, whip through the pearly gates, find myself a comfy lazygirl where I can plop down, put the feet up, relax, push a few buttons, and have the world at my beck and call to fulfill my every need.

The lazy in me always wants it all to be easy.   I have probably been a queen in a past lifetime or two, living a peel-me-a-grape sort of existence, surrounded by servants and handmaidens scurrying around me like bees in a hive providing for my every need while I sat popping peeled grapes and bon bons into my greedy mouth.

Wouldn’t it be a fabulous life if we didn’t have to struggle? Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to work ourselves stupid just to get by? Shouldn’t it all be easy? And fun? Now that would make life really worth living. But alas, such is not always the case.

Take blogging for example. Sometimes I sit down and just start writing and in the space of an hour or less a beginning, middle, and end have emerged onto paper and I can call myself finished. On other days it’s a real struggle with writing, rewriting, guessing, second-guessing, and—well you get the idea.

Yesterday was a slogging blogging sort of a day. No matter how many attempts I made to get it right, it always seemed to come out wrong.   I ended the day with yet another unfinished blog, frustrated and exhausted from the effort of trying to write through a weary mind and blurry eyes. I learned long ago that if I find obstacles hurled on my path every other step of the way that I’m going in the wrong direction. The harder I try to get where I want to go, the more mired in quicksand I become until finally I sink into an abyss of failure and quit fighting the good fight.  Going against gravity sends me reeling backwards every time. When will I learn to listen?

My friends refuse to believe me when they hear me call myself lazy. They point out my organizational skills and neat freak ways and tell me that there is no way that I am lazy. Well—maybe they are right. On the other hand, their perspective is vastly different from mine. They see only the outside, while I am on the inside looking out.

Perhaps after a lifetime of procrastination and claiming that I do my best work under pressure, I’ve come to my senses and realize that it’s easier to do it now rather than later, and that if I continue to stumble over obstacles strewn across the path to my end game,, something is amiss. If I don’t slide gracefully into my destination I am on the wrong path.

What is classroom earth but an opportunity to give us free will to decide what we want, set out upon a journey toward our dreams, choose our path, watch our step, and make in-flight corrections when necessary?

Yep. I want it to be easy. If it isn’t, something is amiss. It behooves me to figure out what that is and fix it while I still have the chance. I’m on a mission to earn my right to that comfy lazygirl in the sky.  Oh but wait—I’ll probably be so busy doing whatever it is that folks do in up there that I won’t have time to sit down and enjoy it. Well, perhaps the joy is in the doing.  Or the journey.  Or maybe both.  If the bottom line of doing is joy, then I’ll take whatever I can get!

Hallelujah!  This blog showed up with a beginning and an end with a middle somewhere in between.  And it all happened before my second cup of coffee. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  At least for today.

May all of your doings be filled with joy this day.

 

 

Oops – There’s a Hole in My Head

pexels-photo-262488.jpeg I ask for creative inspiration and my front tooth falls out. Ha ha, very funny oh Great Cosmic Clown.

Lest you think me totally irreverent here, let me just say that I have a profound love and respect for the grand mysterious workings of the Universe and the power that lies behind it, whatever It is called. I also have a great appreciation of the gargantuan sense of humor inherent within it. Would that all of life’s tricky little life lessons were given with the ingredient of such wonderful humor. Perhaps they are, if one seeks to find it.

My six companions and I seek and find a Thai restaurant across the street from a theater on the upper west side in New York City.   We are on a two-hour dinner break from a riveting woo-woo workshop by Tom Kenyon. Those interested in checking out the woo-woo can go to tomkenyon.com. Yes, I’m finally willing to own up publically to my woo-woo leanings. It’s all a part of my recent decision to be authentic and true to myself—a risky move involving extreme vulnerability and definitely not for the faint of heart. If you haven’t tried it, and if you can muster up the courage, I highly recommend it.

Three of my dinner companions are eating with gusto, enjoying each morsel with that oooh-uahhh glazed-eyed look that overtakes one while in a fit of a divine dining delirium. Unbeknownst to the glazed-eye set, the rest of us are trying to choke down what might possibly qualify as the worst meal of our lives. But no matter – we aren’t really that hungry anyway after our tasty but frenetic lunch at a deli where we are rendered half deaf courtesy of fellow diners intent upon outshouting one another, and sound bouncing back and forth from a bare floor to a ceiling that suffers a serious lack of acoustic tiles.

Waiters whiz by our table at break-neck speed taking and delivering orders, while beleaguered busboys swoop away dishes from tables and send them crashing into huge plastic tubs just behind our booth. We are so intimidated by the pace of it all that we are reluctant to ask for the things that one would hope for in a deli, like straws, lemon, and mayo. Oy. Ulcer Gulch Deli.

Meanwhile, back at the dinner table, I bite into a soft summer roll dipped in peanut sauce and encounter something that clearly is not on the ingredient list. I discreetly sift through the ingredients that actually belong there, and while no one is looking, pick the unidentified object out of my mouth, and place it on my plate. It wasn’t very long before I discover that said mystery object is the fallen tooth responsible for a new gaping hole between two front teeth. I am now compelled to not to smile and talk simultaneously. Rats. I should have ordered soup.

Dinner ends and we return ourselves to the care and keeping woo-woo Tom who describes for us the upcoming meditation that will focus on clearing out the obstacles that prevent us from self love—obstacles of all manner and size, and sometimes brought on by seemingly insignificant things, such as a bad hair day, a pimple on a nose, or . . .

At this point it is all I can do not to jump out of my seat and shout, “Or a gaping hole in the middle of your smile!” but I manage to restrain myself.

It’s a very interesting exercise to rate oneself on a vanity scale from one to ten. A bad hair day might put me at about a six or seven depending upon the degree of badness. A nose pimple (I don’t even like that word) could be a four. But a toothless grin? That could well rate a minus something.   I’m mildly embarrassed to confess that the toothless experience explodes my awareness into the realization that appearance means more to me that I’d like to admit.   Bad hair days, pimples, and a toothless grin make mighty good grist for the self-image mill. Happily, I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in this one. What a great opportunity to get a good up-close-and-personal bird’s eye view of vanity and the role it plays in my life. Did I mention that I’m also working on willingness to allow myself to be vulnerable? What? Confess my shortcomings in public and own up to my own vanity? Horrors!

Day is done, and Amtrak whips us southward through the black of night toward home. A 2:30 a.m. arrival time seems forever away. I fidget in my seat in search of a wee modicum of comfort and try to settle in to review the experience du jour.   I find myself rehearsing my response to friends who will surely ask me about the day.   “Well,” I’ll say, “the weather was cold, windy, and miserable and mealtimes waffled between bad and worse.  One traveling companion suffered from an ailing shoulder, another was barely able to walk due to extremely painful knees and back, and I lost a front tooth and my dignity, all in one innocent little bite.” Well, so other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play? It was amazing. My years of travel in the wonderful world of woo-woo made it all worthwhile and bearable, and allowed good humor and acceptance of what-is to make it a deliciously savory experience.

Joy of joy, my dentist responds to my frantic texts for a fix-it plan before I reach Wilmington. As I drive to my appointment the next day, my mind unleashes a flood of appreciation and I feel suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for the extra hole in the head, along with its attending vanity crush. It reminds me about how grateful I am that my teeth have remained faithful and in tact in spite of decades of wear and tear. I am grateful for my dentist, God bless him, who was willing and able to make time on his Sunday during a beautiful Memorial Day weekend to do damage repair and plug up the hole where a tooth should be. While I was at it, I gave thanks for my trusty and reliable little Honda and the gas in its tank, and the money to pay for damage repair, and for everything else in my world that came to mind as I wheeled my way around a traffic-jam free beltway. I gave thanks for that too. I just love the random bouts of unexplained joy brought about by an abundance of gratitude! Come to think of it, at moments like these, I love just about everything.

When I told Dr. Fixit of these newly minted insights, he said simply, “You made lemonade.”

I did. I made lemonade. The ingredients are a sweet, delicious blend of authenticity, vulnerability, and gratitude with a pinch humor mixed in for a bit of comic relief.

And speaking of sweet, in closing, I’d like to offer a special thanks to the Great Cosmic Clown for answering my request for inspiration in such a creative, humorous, and holy way (yes, pun intended). It’s so easy to love the lovable. The trick is to love it all—the good, the bad, the ugly—the bad hair days, the pimples, the holes in places where holes are not meant to be, and most especially, the self—and all those other selves out there in the world that some days seem so utterly unlovable. Right now, this minute, I love it all.  Right now, this minute is all I have. I’d better get busy then and make the most of it while I’m still a grateful guest of our beautiful planet earth, courtesy of the grand cosmic plan.