Traveling Light

“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go-purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything-whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”

-Tina Turner

This summer I took a trip to a far off place with my sweetheart. As with any trip, I fretted about how much to pack. And it was not because I needed to have fancy clothes and the shoes to match each outfit.  As a runner and a yogi, there will always be the extra clothes and the mat factored in for my trips. Still, it was important to me that I not have the luggage be a burden in my travels.

I am sure some of my thinking was due to the fact that I was once the mother of young children ( ooh the items necessary for survival!) and the fact that in my profession, lugging a bag and a laptop-along with my lunch-is part and parcel (ha!) of my daily existence.

But I am weary of the burden of carrying things with me all of the time. I want to feel light and move quickly- in spite of my age!

Since the trip, I have decided that the one thing that I did bring is one of the metaphors for how I have begun to live my life. I absolutely adore my tiny, tri-colored shoulder purse! It is just the right size for my small wallet (how many plastic cards does one really need anyway?), my reading glasses and cell phone. I have been using it for just 5 weeks and it has proven to be all that I need in my everyday travels.

So, this small item has really gotten thinking about how my life in the last five years has been made lighter as well. I am no longer married. Therefore, the person and his large amount of  accompanying accessories left the house.(Listen to Miranda Lambert’s song “Baggage Claim” if you want to catch my drift!) Truthfully, when this happened, I think that I not only exhaled for the first time in years but the house did as well.

I am sure that this major event caused a seismic shift in my outlook on life. I began to realize that there was space between things: thoughts, actions, relationships. Life was moving towards a easier path. Not challenge-free by any means, but one that opened up my heart and home to new people and experiences.

Even though money was very tight, I began to give things away. As a result, the house underwent a karmic shift. Among the few new things I got was a new bed (of course) and, in turn, I  gave the old one to my youngest son. Suddenly, it seemed that my small house became the place for all sorts of social interactions. My sons’ friends spent regular time here and they didn’t mind my company! We ate, talked, and watched movies together. My sons threw me birthday parties. My graduate school friends made this the place to work on our projects. We never laughed and swore so much during that process! And we all got  A+s to boot!

Love came back into my life in a way that I never expected.

So I guess you could say that my little purse is about letting go and letting in. Just as I have the three necessary things for my purse, so in turn I have what is necessary for my life: family, friends and love.

When the things in your life don’t allow you to move, think clearly, or to even breath, you have to unpack them!  Then you have to either give them away or throw them away. When this happens, newer, more positive experiences can occur if you let them in your heart.

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Do You Have Strong Woman Syndrome?

Do you ever get tired of those ads or commercials which promote the latest pill or cream that supposedly will fix your disease, dysfunction or defect?  Besides insulting our intelligence, these so called “cures” run the risk of making it appear that our own human uniqueness is somehow weak.

While I certainly have had times in my life when I have  been challenged, pushed to the edge and most definitely suffered,  I would never ever ever say that I have been weak!  In fact, it was five years ago that I was “diagnosed” with Strong Woman Syndrome (SWS).

This syndrome presented itself while I was experiencing what was at the time, a devastating personal loss (more on that in a future entry, perhaps!). The term was coined by my then 16 year old son whom I am sure was worried that I might fall apart.

One thing that is true about SWS is that it is not something that you can quickly figure out. It is a condition that has a tendency to build up over time. First, you must be willing to take a deep, long look inside yourself ( a good therapist helps!) and then begin the process of deciding how your new life will be shaped.

The first sign that you have SWS is knowing how to take care of yourself first before you even consider taking care of others. You are no good to anyone if self-care is not your number one  priority.  I am part of that generation that bought the line “you can have it all”.  Truly, what a bunch of hooey!  What has gotten lost in the translation is our own identity.

The second sign of course, builds upon the first one. Simply put, you gain the ability to speak up for yourself.  This is not easy! Depending upon your life situation, it may be the riskiest thing to do! Start with the smallest of steps. Because when you learn ” Yes indeed I do have my own voice!” , you start to make your own decisions wisely and in your own time and for your own future (Sign #3).

Independent decision making helps you to control your own destiny and most importantly, create a life full of dignity and grace (#4).

This my friends, is a legacy you can create for yourself, your friends and your family.  I try every day to stay strong and resolute in what I believe in and how I live my life. Truthfully, it is not easy but it is empowering!

Strong Woman Syndrome has helped me move those rocks that get put in my road and most significantly, stay true to myself.

Hello world!

“Writing is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong.”-Anne LaMott

Many people have asked me why I wanted to enter the world of blogging. I suppose Anne LaMott’s quote sums it up for me.
As my father says: “There are a million stories out there.”  And it is true!  Real life is stranger than fiction and more true than those banal “reality” shows that dominate the airwaves these days. One of the positive aspects about where I live has been just that-sharing our stories with one another. Sometimes the conversation can last just 2 minutes; sometimes 2 hours. But they are all very deep and very moving.

I also suppose that turning fifty a year ago gave me the experience and wisdom that comes with reaching that age. You certainly get reflective as you begin to  think about your own mortality and the mark that you have so far left upon the world. For some reason, I felt the pull to tell stories, share my views and satisfy this creative urge that I am sure was buried for a long time!

I believe that this new decade of my life is a cause for a daily celebration! I love not worrying whether I am liked or not. I don’t feel the need for approval anymore. I no longer identify myself with another or others. I am ME!!

Happy Reading!