Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From elephantjournal.com 2-22-12



Follow Your Intuition. ~ Laura Wells

(Published on elephantjournal.com 2/22/2012)
       

Posted
Your intuition will guide you to who you really are and to who you can become.
I’ve been led down an interesting, unusual path lately. A few years ago (like most everyone else, I’m sure) I began to endure a litany of hardships that nearly broke me in more profound ways than just in my bank account. 

I lost a lucrative job in the tech industry that I loved; then I began working as a massage and Shiatsu therapist which, while I loved it, the job was too physically demanding for me after I had my second child. I was unemployed for a while, and then I finally found another job related to my former field -- then lost that one within six months due to the economy tanking. I ended up moving back to my hometown, where I swore I'd never return, in order to start over in whatever way I could. It was an incredibly frustrating, stressful and depressing time in my life that was filled with anxiety and uncertainty. 

My hardship initially led me to despair. I sought help wherever I could find it. The first sparks came from spiritual books (from authors like Deepak ChopraMike DooleyEckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama) and websites (like elephantjournal.com).

I felt I needed to flood myself with positivity, with the feeling that my life was purposeful and not being wasted. I needed to feel there was a reason for all the suffering I was experiencing.

I asked in a state of openheartedness (not knowing that this was, in fact, meditating). I asked  for the Universe to guide me, to show me what I needed to know, to take me where I was needed most in this world, where I could be fulfilled and truly happy and make a difference and feel like I had enough.
The Universe delivered just in time and I was offered a job that sounded good on paper, but one that I knew was destined to be a failure from day one. However, we needed to eat and there just weren’t any other jobs to be had. I felt a nudge from my intuition: take the job – there won’t be any other offers. So I took it. I worked my ass off there for a year and a half, but it just wasn’t a good fit. I was really unhappy and stressed out.Not to become rich, not idly wealthy, not to receive unearned keep – just to have enough abundance to stop every once in a while and look around and feel the warm glow of satisfaction in my chest before heading off to the next project to make more magic happen.
However, this job led me to other important doors and lessons. I had to do a lot of technical writing in that position so I was able to really hone my writing skills. It was a training ground for me, you could say. Then, upon meeting a distinct new client, I instantly got a gigantic nudge from my intuition again:This lady is important - Listen! I did.
She led me down another path, one that seemed like a huge step for me in creating a life that was more aligned with my true nature: becoming a creative writer. In that profession, even just as a part-time hobby, I felt I was a creative being who was fulfilled and truly happy and making a difference to someone in the world. Even if that “someone” was just myself.
I started writing my first book, slowly, on the side, and in secret from “the job.” And then, one fine Spring day, I lost the job. (Or I quit, or something. I’m still not sure how it all came about.) It was a combination of things that led to the split, but I’ll never forget the HR lady telling me during my exit interview, “I’ve never seen someone so happy during an exit interview before – you are positively glowing!”
Somehow, I’d managed to quit, get let go (yes, it was both), and still walk away with the ability to collect unemployment benefits and high recommendations for future employment. It was the best possible way to get out of a job one hates. And if that isn’t divine intervention I don’t know what is.
I now had the time and opportunity I needed to finish my book – so I did. (I suppose there will eventually be another story about my book and the genre I found myself writing in, which is hardly run-of-the-mill.) I practiced yoga (vinyasa) and when I took long walks/jogs with my dog, I was unconsciously tuning out and turning inward, using the time away from demanding kids and writing (and demanding kids interrupting writing) to do a type of “plugging in” to the Universe.

It felt amazing and rejuvenating to be out in nature and feeling love overwhelm me as I looked up into the sky and the clouds and the beauty all around me. Again, I still was unaware I was actually practicing a form of meditation.

Money was tight, but we made it. I got the book completed and published. I started reading and studying more and more about spirituality. Suffice it to say that several paths led me to discovering the conscious practice of meditation, instead of my unconscious connection.
You know, sitting still on a cushion or chair and deciding, “I’m going to meditate now for at least 20 minutes.” This was not a new concept to me; I’d known about it all along actually, but the practice of it always seemed out of reach or inconvenient. “I don’t have time to just sit there and not think,” I’d say. “I have too much to do! Too much to think about!” But it kept coming up. It was like I was being assaulted by it (kindly, of course).
Everything I read, every stone I turned over seemed to say, “Do it. Do the practice. Meditate.” More nudges, of course. So I paid attention. I began investigating it. And you know what really got me turned on to it? What really got my attention to try it? Don’t laugh: George Harrison. Yes, that George Harrison
I was turned on to his solo, post-Beatles work by a friend during this time and low and behold, pretty much all he sings about is union with God, meditation, losing your ego and finding the ocean of bliss.
He was a Catholic-turned-Hindu and it was his dharma (divine purpose or path), I believe, while here on earth –– and seemingly, even beyond that brief time, since he reached me ten years after his death from cancer –– to spread the message that everyone, anyone can reach God simply by looking within, by meditating. By turning inward anyone can connect to the Divine and, by doing so, one can do anything, be anything, create anything one needs or desires, because our most basic need and desire will have been fulfilled: we will have remembered what we are here for. His message was that we are all part of the divine the way that a drop of water is part of the ocean. The Universe lives in each of us. The things I learned from George’s songs and interviews basically reinforced all the other stuff I’d been reading for the last few years in my search for peace and relief from suffering. It made it real.
So I researched how he had learned to meditate – the Transcendental Meditation (TM) method, and discovered that, wow, there was a center within a two hour drive of my house! And it was operated by none less than the Prudence of “Dear Prudence”the Beatles song, written while they were in India studying TM with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Things were looking like they were pretty divinely intervened upon. However another problem arose: the TM center charges $1,500.00 to teach their style of meditation. Shit. Easy for a rich rock star to afford, but not lil’ ol’ underemployed me.
So I investigated further. I studied, read, found some methods that worked for me and tried it on my own. Turned out that – you guessed it — I basically already knew how to meditate. I was already doing it! (Albeit sloppily and undisciplined.) I just wasn’t aware of it.
My intuition was my guide to the calm center, to the knowledge, that had resided in my heart all along. I believe we all have this ability; we just have to be willing to listen and follow the nudges. And I didn’t know it during those times of crisis, but I was meditating to gain access to my intuition, or to receive divine guidance. What I learned along the path (and am still learning) is that being still, going within, asking for help, for guidance, for direction, for love and support will get me that guidance, direction and love, simply by asking for it.
Slowly paths have unfolded. Things are becoming abundantly clear. I’ve begun noticing things that before I’d have brushed off as merely coincidence or happenstance, but now realize that everything is divine, and coincidences and happenstances don’t exist for me anymore. Everything can be a message. Everything can be guidance. As long as I keep myself open to receiving that guidance, and am not blocked off from it (fear or ego), I can receive it constantly.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Peace, Love & Tallahassee



Well, we're doing it, we're moving back home to Tallahassee.

I've been "on the outside" now for over 10 years, Brian just over 7. Tallahassee is one of those wierd places with a strong gravitational pull, kind of like a black hole, and once you get in its orbit it's really hard to escape from it. That's why most people who finally do get out swear to holy heaven they will never go back - although most do at some point. They get sucked back in. It's just too easy to live there: low rents, short commute times (compared to Atlanta and most other large metro areas I've worked in or travelled to anyway), lots of family activities and good schools, close to the beaches, etc., etc., - in short, a good, medium-sized Southern-yet-still-in-Florida kind of town. Why is it such a big deal to go back then? Let me count the ways...

1) When you grow up in Tallahassee, and know every inch of the town (and every person in it, it seems) like the back of your hand, well, you just get kinda tired of looking at the back of your own hand after a while.

2) It's HOT. Real hot. And humid. And full of mosquitoes. Did I mention that it's hot?

3) People there drive S L O O O O W w w w w . . . . really slow. Compared to Atlanta, especially, where the speed limit signs may say 55 but even the cops will pass you at 70 (going 90 or more) and look at you like you're crazy for driving so slow.



4) FSU football. Now don't go gettin' all crazy on me, all you Tallahassee FSU die-hards, I like football just fine and I went to FSU myself so it's not like I'm a Gator or anything - just, come on, you have to admit, life in Tallahassee seriously revolves around this university's football team whether it is Fall or not. And the majority of the fans never went to the school anyway. Just a little overboard is all I'm saying. Now, "Go 'Noles. "

5) Very little in the way of big-time shopping experience. Again, coming from Atlanta, the shopping mecca of the South, Tallahassee is sure gonna hurt in that department. Goodbye Whole Foods Market! ;-( Goodbye discount outlet malls! ;-( Goodbye Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Lenox and Phipps, White House/Black Market... I'll miss you all terribly.

*******************************
Ok now I'm over the kvetching and I'm going to look to the positives.

The Lovely Things About Tallahassee That I'm Actually Looking Forward to:

1) Fall. *Sigh.* Fall in Tallahassee is beautiful... The leaves change, but it doesn't get cold-cold until after Thanksgiving. The monarch butterflies migrate to St. Marks, the air gets dry (bye-bye humidity!), you can still enjoy the beach and you won't sweat to death, you can mow the lawn without sweating to death. Spring is glorious too of course. And the winters will be warmer than up here near the mountains as well. All good!

2) All the cool outdoorsy-type stuff there is to do like biking down the St. Marks bike trails, horseback riding, going to the beach, walking around Lake Ella, canoeing down a spring-fed river, the "Shakespeare In the Park" plays on moonlit evenings, and more.

3) Oysters. Fresh ones, at a reasonable price. You can't beat that.

4) There's actually a decent amount - it's small, to be sure - but still decent amount of good restaurants in town when a good meal out is called for. Some favorites are Osaka, Food Glorious Food and San Miguel. I'm sure we'll uncover some more as we get nested.

5) We're going to run into people we know practically everywhere we go. We might even get a little tired of explaining to people why we're back.

6) Family. We both have a solid family base here, and that sure is nice when you have kids to share that with. And grandparents to share the kids with (especially when you need a night to go out to a good restaurant, alone).

7) FSU - and not just the football because I do think that's fun, but the university as a whole. Because of FSU being in Tallahassee I've seen a gamelan concert and countless other wonderful music recitals ranging from violins to classical guitar, art fairs and galleries, operas, ballet and modern dance performances, soccer matches, bodybuilding competitions, lacrosse games, track and field events, baseball games, volleyball matches, and so much more.

8) New Leaf Market. What a cool, home-grown organization (ha - get it? I didn't even do that on purpose). I fully intend to join the co-op when we get there and shop there regularly. It will help with my Whole Foods withdrawals tremendously. http://www.newleafmarket.coop/

9) Funky music and arts scene - Tallahassee has always been a cool place to go see or hear (or both) an interesting, talented, up-and-coming artist or performer. All my old Tallahassee friends are musicians and artists of some kind, which makes for a very open-minded kind of vibe all around. I like that.

10) Peace of mind. I like knowing what to expect in terms of my kids' education, what neighborhoods are where, where everything is, how to navigate the best shortcuts in traffic, how long it takes to get from a to b and where to find the best deals. That means a lot.

******************************

My "pros" outweigh my "cons" by double - that's a good indicator that we're doing the right thing, I think. We'll adjust to the slower pace and smaller stomping grounds in due time too. Besides, we'll have our little bebes to think about this time around and as anyone with kids can tell you, they're kind of demanding on the old time and attention factors.


So I'm looking forward to it. :-) There are a lot of people I want to contact and hang out with. And as far as shopping goes, there's always the internet!
And who knows - going back home could be the best thing that ever happened to us. I'm open to the possibility that it can be just that.

Friday, April 25, 2008

AJ is almost 1 year old!





Mister Bubs, gettin' all big and stuff... I can't believe it's almost been a full year since he was born. It seems like a couple of months ago. Maybe that's because I only started working full time 3 months ago and when you're home with children, the time just becomes a blur, every day is the same.
I love babies this age - not completely dependent on you for every little thing, but still need Mama to cuddle them and do the big stuff. Perfect age to me really - it's when they turn 2 that all hell breaks loose.

Check out AJ with his new walker toy:




videoSo Big!



Ok and just so I won't look like I'm choosing favorites, here's Tyler doing her Hannah Montana impression :-)


video Too funny!! :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Long Road Out of Atlanta

I love Atlanta. I really do. I lived near midtown about six years ago and had a blast. I could walk to Whole Foods or Kroger for groceries, walk to a dozen restaurants or coffee shops in five minutes or less, or enjoy a nice jog down a suburban, wooded, hilly street all in the same neighborhood. The only thing that sucked about Atlanta - and I swore then that it couldn't possibly get any worse - was the traffic.

If traffic were a four-letter word, then it would be H-E-L-L. And we lived through a little bit of that hell yesterday on our way to Tallahassee.

Now that I'm back in north Atlanta/Alpharetta, which is WAY different than midtown Atlanta, fo-sho, we're living the family lifestyle this time around. Which while it does still include trips to Whole Foods and Kroger of course --the restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, not so much. We do still, however, have to navigate the traffic like everyone else in this megalopolis. (Not sure if that is a word or not... but it seems to fit the Atlanta Metro area pretty well.) OK, so yesterday, Friday afternoon, we planned to set off for Tallahassee on an early Thanksgiving, weekend visit. We thought we planned this pretty thoroughly - leave by 2pm at the latest on the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving to beat Atlanta rush-hour traffic - and packed and actually left the house by 2:22pm, which is a pretty good accomplishment for us, considering all the crap we have to haul with us wherever we go for the kids.

OK, so -- 2:22pm -- we leave the house. No big deal. Car has 1/8 tank of gas. The dialog went something like this:
Should we stop here at the corner and get gas before we hit the highway? No... we should blaze through town and get gas on the south side. Uh huh. Are you sure we'll have enough gas to get that far? You know this car goes through gas a lot faster than your diesel truck does... Ok, whatever you say. Honey, I promise I won't let this car run out of gas, ok? Don't worry about it, we'll be fine. Oh crap, look at all that backed up traffic right where 400 meets 285... we should stop and get gas soon. Oh I like this exit, they have Chic-Fil-A. I never ate lunch. That sign says Chick-Fil-A is to the left - yeah, but there's no gas that way. You have to go right to find some gas, near Roswell Road. Hey there's nothing but office buildings this way - yeah, that's because you have to go all the way to Roswell Road to find a gas station. Did I just see a Starbucks? OH! And a Publix- we need to go to the ATM to get some cash, we don't have any cash. OK, turn left on Roswell Rd. There's a gas station. Oh crap, the baby's hungry. I'll just feed him while we're here getting gas. OK, that took longer than I thought. Should I steal a case of that Red Stripe off that beer truck? The guy's not looking... NO, come on let's go. Turn left - 285 is right down that way. Wha - oh crap! I didn't want to turn left!?! Why did you make me do that? I didn't know you didn't want to go to the highway!! I'm turning around - I gotta go to Publix and get some cash and find that Starbucks. Here it is - Will you go get cash for me? OK, here's Starbucks - will you go get me some coffee? Ok, NOW we can get back on the highway. Which way is the highway? We have to go BACK the same way? Traffic is getting horrible. Oh crap we can't go that way, let's go straight and maybe I can find that Chick-Fil-A near the mall. Maybe the sign meant the Chick-Fil-A that's IN the mall.... man - I bet it did. Crappy sign! Oh man, look at this mall traffic. We're not moving at all! The highway is right there and we have moved 2 car lengths in 10 minutes. We're going to have to turn around. This is unbelievable. How did we get behind this slow-ass woman in the Mercedes? Where does she think she's going?! Grrrrr! OK, turn left here and go back to where we came from again. Wow, look at the traffic. What time is it? GOD it's 3:25. OK, just get in the left lane here to turn with all the other people trying to go south on 400. What time is it now? 3:40. Should we go through town or get on 285? Let's go through town, it can't get any worse than this. I can't believe it is this bad. Well, it is Friday afternoon, in Atlanta, the weekend before a big holiday. Should we turn around and go home? No, it would take us another hour and a half just to get home and then we'd have to start all over again tomorrow. Let's just keep going. I can't believe the connector traffic is backed up this far this early - is there a game or something downtown? Nope. I'm feeling carsick. Ugh, I can't believe this is this bad! Well look, honey, we're finally downtown. What time is it? 4:00. We left almost 2 hours ago. This sucks! {HONK HONK!!} Move it lady! Geesh this is ridiculous. La la la, I'm fine, this is fine, we're all fine, .. let's spend this quality time together in a positive way, honey... let's talk about our feelings, our dreams... I think I'm gonna be sick. Good grief, that took forever to get through town, maybe now it won't be so baaa... wait here we go again. Oh crap, the sign says there a wreck 3.5 miles ahead and one lane is closed. Is that what all this traffic is from? You mean we have 3.5 miles of this 5 mile an hour stop and go traffic to endure? I'm really feeling sick. If I tell you to pull over, do it quick. Stop yelling, sweetheart, Mommy's feeling ill. Are we in Tallahassee yet Daddy? When will we be there? We're still in Atlanta? WHYYYY????... Oh that traffic was for the 675 merge. We haven't even hit the wreck traffic yet. Oh, there's the wreck. What time is it? 4:49. Oh my God I'm feeling sick.. I'll be ok. Stop weaving like that unless you want me to hurl! Ugh. Finally - 5:10pm and we're out of the traffic. WAAAAAAAA!!!! Baby's hungry. Mommy I'm hungry... Ok the kids are ready for dinner now - we'd better find someplace to eat. Yeah and I need to get out of this puke machine for a little while. What time is it? 5:25pm. OK let's get off by the Tanger Outlet mall here, there's got to be something. BBQ ok? Sure. Oh but there's a Mexican restaurant, Ty likes the chips and salsa. Fine. Well which do you want? I don't care - you like BBQ, go there. OK I'm going there but I have to turn around first. Fine. Ok we're at the BBQ place, you sure this is ok? I don't care, you like BBQ. But I only did it because you told me to! Well then go to the Mexican place, I don't care! God! Now I have to turn around again! Mommy I'm hungry! WAAAAAAA! Mommy, I want to eat at Papa's house! Well fine! You eat at Papa's house, we're eating here! Don't tell her that, she has no idea how long it's really going to take to get to his house... ok, honey, I'm sorry. We're going to get some chips and salsa, ok? Ok.... ok we're here. Let's eat!
__________________

Ok - this was 5:30 at this point and we were only 20 miles south of Atlanta, I was carsick, the kids and Brian were starving and it was just as well we had to stop because if I had kept going I would have thrown up all over the car.

It was a much better ride after that - I started driving after Macon because I couldn't shake the heeby-jeebies - and we arrived at Dad's house at 10:15pm. It's never taken me 8 hours to drive from ATL to TLH before and we have sworn off Friday afternoon trips out of Atlanta FOREVER.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Weekend at the Races

If any of you are like me you probably just skip through the t.v. channels that show things like motorcycle racing, fishing, extreme fighting, etc., but not Brian. He is into all that stuff - especially if it requires focus, skill and danger. It's kinda sexy, actually. ;-) Well, Mr. B. has been racing motorcycles all year and, I gotta tell ya, it's really cool. The final race of this season was at Barber Motorsports Raceway in Birmingham (Al-uh-BAM-uh!) and it is probably one of the finest raceways in the country. They have a huge motorcycle museum, giant animal sculptures all over the park - indeed, one of the tightest curves on the track lies next to a giant spider sculpture and is therefore called "The Spider" - but more on that later. The track park is very lovely, nice rolling hills all around, beautiful landscaping, very professional looking place that would indeed be television quality. And another thing I gotta tell ya - I really had no idea there was such an audience for this kind of thing, the place was packed with racers and spectators alike. Guess I've been living under a rock.

Anyhoo, like I mentioned in the previous post, Brian had a practice day on Friday, nothing special. Practice day is the day all the racers get to preview the track, practice their lines (not like acting lines - the lines they visualize on the track for the optimum speed and control of curves) and see who they'll be up against on race day. This is the day I took the kids to the zoo.



Saturday was the first race day and the park was packed! Brian and his crew were lined up to race near the end of the day so I took Tyler & AJ to a bounce house in the morning and we came out to the track right after lunch, after picking up our friend Lea from the hotel parking lot. She came down from Columbus to see Brian race and hang out with us. Daddy was psyched up for his race and we all walked down to the viewing area to watch the show. AJ tried really hard to sleep in the Snugli pack but the motorcycles were so loud it was really impossible. We watched Brian go around the loops one time and then on his second run he crashed on The Spider - scared the crap out of me. But it was a low-side crash, meaning the bike just slid out from under him and he spun like a turtle on his back right into the grass. As soon as he stopped spinning he was able to jump up and give the OK sign and I knew he was fine. That's when I was able to breathe again. I think it only took about 30 seconds but it seemed like an eternity. Here's some pictures:





He wasn't hurt in this last picture, he was just looking at all the broken parts on his bike and grumbling to himself.

So because of the crash he was out of the race and had to wait on the side of the track for the race to finish and get picked up by the tow trailer and ride back on the "Ride of Shame." Way better than the "Ride of Pain" in the ambulance though, and we saw a few of those over the weekend as well. In fact, one rider actually died on the track on Sunday - he was an older rider in his 70s and he just lost control of his bike and his helmet came off, pretty much killing him instantly. They didn't announce it at the track but the news spread through the pits pretty quickly. Everybody said "At least he died doing what he loved..." - God I hope I never have to say those words about Brian - but you know what, I just want Brian to be happy and if driving like a maniac on a motorcycle around a racetrack makes him happy, then, by God, I'll let him do it. Anyone who has lived with Brian knows life is much better when Brian is happy than when he's not. ;-)

So Saturday was a wash for Brian but his teammates placed second and third in their races that day so all was not lost. Sunday was a better day for him - he placed second in his race and we watched the whole thing. Every time Tyler saw her daddy go by on his motorcycle she did the "Daddy Dance" which Lea was able to capture on her cell phone and I'll post it here when she sends me a copy.

The trophies they made for this event are the ugliest things I have ever seen in my life. They are these rusty looking greek urns lying sideways on top of a little crinkled gold colored ball of aluminum foil, planted on top of a plaque. Completely hideous and I can't figure out what they have to do with motorcycle racing. The other trophies he's won this year at least have statues of motorcycle racers on top or an etching or something - this is just godawful. But at least he won one!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Birmingham Zoo and Motorcycle Racing

Ok so we just got back from a long weekend in Birmingham, Alabama (or as Brian insists on saying it, every single time he says it, ala Forrest Gump: Al-uh-BAM-uh!) where Brian competed in a weekend vintage motorcycle racing event (http://www.barbermotorsports.com/) and the kids and I hung out and amused ourselves in various ways. We left on Thursday afternoon and basically went straight to the track, checking in and getting our weekend passes, etc., and met up with the other guys from the bike shop before going to eat dinner & check in at the hotel. Friday Brian had to get up early for a practice day at the track - well, he had to get up early every day there to be at the track by 7am for tech checks, etc. - but the kids and I went down to the Birmingham Zoo for the better part of the day instead of watching them practice all day. We saw hippos, giraffes, zebras, gorillas, orangutans, pygmy marmosets, lions, tigers, monkeys, you name it. All good fun and even got to ride a carousel - backwards, for Halloween, they said - and a train that went through a spooked-up forest for Halloween as well.
I took a very funny picture of Tyler, right after I told her that this tiger-
would eat us all up if he was given the chance...

and this was her reaction: -Gulp.


Some of the animals were lively and photogenic.. ..others were just plain tuckered out.


The kids had fun:
and it was a good day.

I have to say, though, I feel awfully guilty and sad looking at all the animals in zoos who really should be out roaming their natural habitats and not locked up in a small zoo pen where people ogle and irritate them day in and day out, but, as Scott would probably say, those animals just shouldn't have left home that day they got captured by the zoo people. Ah, Scott, thy middle name is Sardonic Sarcasm.


Anyway, I only have a couple of pics right now of the race so I'll post them now & more on the races next blog.