Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pain Before Gain on The Road Less Traveled

If someone had told me six months ago when I left New York City for parts West that I would be back in Louisiana living with my ex, I would have said they were crazy or just plain mean. But yet that is where I find myself today.

Things have changed I suppose and for the better, but I grow impatient for the Universe to do it's magic in my life and move me to my next destination wherever that might be.

Some have called me irresponsible, crazy and just plain stupid for leaving a stable job. I don't know how stable it actually was when we were being furloughed and told layoffs were eminent, but I digress.

Being patient has never been one of my strong suits. When I want something I want it now. In reading The Road Less Traveled I realize I need to learn to delay gratification. Also not a thing I've quite been able to do well. Doesn't even sound appealing to me, delaying of gratification. Sounds downright painful. But to bring about change and a more consciously-lived life, I must learn this technique. I guess the old saying "no wine before it's time" makes a lot of sense.

The Road Less Traveled also says life is supposed to be painful and one must accept that fact. That isn't exactly what I wanted to hear either. But working at the US Census I found someone that echoed that back to me.

Mr. Charlie, a senior citizen who has been married to the same woman for 47 years, doesn't have to work, but he enjoys getting out of the house and helping out. He happily worked the recruiting phones assisting those interested in working for the Census through the application and testing process. One day when the phones calls let up, I asked him what the key to happiness is and he said simply "Life is full of good days and bad days, and hopefully the good days will out weight the bad ones."

Everyone loved Mr. Charlie who also said "Don't take yourself too seriously," which he didn't. He always smiled and had a good word to say and laughed a lot when the occasion called for it.

When I told Mr. Charlie about not wanting to work for someone I didn't respect, he told me about a former job where he didn't like his boss. "After I thought about it, my opinion didn't really matter," he said. "Unless they ask you to something immoral or illegal, you just have to do the work and forget about the rest."

Mr. Charlie will be missed by many at the Lafayette Census office to be sure. His last day was Friday. He made an impression on my life. I also told about my hip pain and how reluctant I was to have hip replacement.

His reply "Piece of cake, I had one two years ago and I don't regret it." I guess Mr. Charlie is a wiser and braver soul than I am. "You'll get through it kid," he said with a smile, as I gave him a gentle hug goodbye.

I saw my sister go through double hip surgery about five years ago and it tore me apart to see her having to learn to walk again. She too is a braver soul than I.

Pain before gain....yikes does that really have to be the way it is? Geeze that really kinda sucks doesn't it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Emancipated Woman, Looking For The Needle In The Haystack

I have hesitated on writing about the subject of men, but it is now time for this to be said and written about. So here goes.

Right now I am concentrating on my own life and happiness, but eventually I would like to have a healthy long-term relationship with a man around my age. After having been single for the past 12 years after a divorce, I highly suspect that being abducted by aliens would be more likely. I would love to meet a man who respects that I have my own life and is happy and successful in his own right.

The question is where are all the men my age? I have traditionally dated younger men, because they are a heck of a lot more fun and understanding of a strong woman and her needs. However, younger men are wanting marriage and children eventually, something I no longer want or can provide. All I am asking for is a man my age who also wants a relationship that is equal, a co-career relationship. We have all been around women whose husbands define their lives. All they talk about is their husband's life.

I don't need a man to define me or my life. I need a man to compliment my life, to have fun with, to share intimate times with. And yes, women want a fulfilling sex life just as much, if not more than a man. But double standards still exist in today's society. It's a shame, because there are many unsatisfied women waiting for a sea change. It's time.

Women have changed and we require a newly evolved man. However, it seems most men still want an appendage, not a complete person with her own life. They tell you all about their life, rarely do they even ask about yours.

Some men don't listen. They want you to become interested and engaged in their life, but will not do the same for you. Women require someone actively engaged in life, who also is open-minded enough to explore something new outside their own lives.

It's time for a change. It's time we stop defining our lives by men, because I know so many great women who don't have men in their lives right now and they are happier than those who do.

The truth is women are evolving with the times and most men are back in the 1950s wanting a woman to be their helpmate. Somewhere out there is a man, who has evolved enough to put his ego aside and be an equal partner. And as Michale Buble says I just haven't met him yet. I hope I won't have to wait for an alien invasion.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happiness Without Reason

Suddenly I find myself smiling more. You see I was on this fast track to success and decided to get off or was I thrown off. No, I got off on my own. And looking back isn't going to help me anymore, or so I have decided. And for whatever reason for the first time in my life I don't have this fantasy future planned out for myself looming before me that I have to live out or die. Sure I have desires and dreams, but they don't drive me crazy trying to make them happen anymore.

I am here now, happy or so it seems without reason. I am roommates with my ex-husband, a man I couldn't wait to get away from 12 years ago. But we are friends at this point in our lives and both agree we make better friends than marital partners. However, he still says leaving him was the biggest mistake I ever made. But sometimes even mistakes are meant to be.

Anyway, happiness, I don't quite now how to describe it. But it's funny that it doesn't mean making a lot of money, which I don't right now. Funny it doesn't mean having a lot of friends, because I don't right now. Funny it doesn't mean being in total shape and in the best of health, because I am not.

I've discovered happiness just is. I wake up and am not driven like I was before to change my whole life. I always woke up thinking I had to do something, had to change something, make something, plan something, because wherever I was wasn't good enough.

Now, this moment is good enough. The sun isn't shining. I don't have a permanent job or a man in my life. And so what, who the hell cares. Life isn't about having things. It's about having peace of mind.

I know now that wherever I finally end up living, whatever I end up doing, it's going to be okay. Life is going to be okay.

I suppose one could say I am drama free. I am more conscious of what is going on around me that's for sure. Talk at work, or should I say gossip doesn't bother me. I realize what people say to me is really about them, not me.

I realize that everyone's expectations of me is about them, not me. And I don't care anymore what others expect me to do. I am more aligned with Spirit and where life is leading me day by day. But am in no hurry to get there. Because "there" has been my source of unhappiness. There is no "there." Right here is where it is at and truly all there is. If our thoughts are somewhere in the past or somewhere thinking of a grand future or fearing what is to come, we aren't going to be happy.

I have read about this concept several times in new age books and understood it, but until I actually lived it, I couldn't apply it in my own life. I was constantly looking for something out there in which to pin my happiness, when all along it was in the now moment. And in the now moment whatever is happening one must be happy. For happiness brings more happiness. Thinking that happiness is somewhere else in some other time that lies ahead, we say to ourselves "I am not happy now."

Well, I am not saying that anymore. I am happy. Life is good right now and that's all I need to know.

Peace and happiness to all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Busy Enjoying Life...Happy Easter!

It's Easter today and I am preparing a very nontraditional Easter dinner, BBQ ribs and potato salad. I didn't attend church today, haven't joined a church here, because my stay here is merely temporary. Although, it has proved a longer stay then I originally had planned. But sometimes you just have to let life be what it is in the now moment. And right now I don't have to make any major decisions.

I am still actively looking for a permanent job, but have a temporary job with the US Census that is allowing me to enjoy life in South Louisiana. I had boiled crawfish last week...and it sure was tasty!

Still there is no permanency in my life, but I am finally able to accept that and be happy. Although, my friends and family probably do not totally understand that. Sometimes not making a decision is the best decision someone can make.

While in Albuquerque, NM late last year, I decided to try acupuncture. I went to three sessions and it wasn't really making much of difference in my hip pain, so I stopped going. But the experience did make a difference in my life. The acupuncturist had taken a similar path as mine years earlier and imparted his knowledge of his mid-life change onto me.

Rolando, originally from Jamaica, had dark skin, beautiful dread locks that hung to his shoulders and an engaging enough smile that made me feel at ease with him sticking needles into my skin for the first time. He had a calming, gentle way about him. Even when he had patients backed up in the waiting room, he never rushed anyone.

Working in a non-for-profit clinic, primarily serving those who could not afford medical care, he welcomed each of his patients with handshake and intense eye contact. I wasn't sure if that was part of his diagnostic technique or just his way of greeting people.

He told all his patients, if they couldn't afford the procedure he would still treat them, saying "pay what you feel you can afford." He proceeded with his examine. Apparently the tongue tells a tale into a person's health, because I found myself sticking my tongue out quite a bit for Rolando to examine.

Talking with an island accent he told me he could tell from the condition of my tongue and energy level that I was completely exhausted. He asked what was going on and I told him I left New York City, my career, my life and my friends to find my truth.

"Ah, I see," as if that told him everything he needed to know about me.

Before becoming a certified acupuncturist, Rolando was an engineering professor at Columbia University in New York City. He said he found himself not liking city life and wondering why the career he had chosen didn't make him happy. So like me, he moved to Albuquerque, without a clue what life was to bring.

"You aren't going to find the answers right away," he said. "I dropped out of life for over a year, played in a Reggae band. My friends all thought I was crazy."

He told me that sometimes what was needed was getting lost, before you could actually be found. He said the more you try to figure it out, the less likely the answers will come. He said sit with the emptiness for awhile and don't worry what everyone else thinks about you.

For someone who was always planning, scheming and doing something, sitting empty has not been easy. Being in a temporary situation isn't that easy either. But I believe it's better than taking a job that isn't right for me.

I've looked into going back to graduate school to get my master's in creative writing, but I want to study abroad. However, it seems getting a student Visa these days isn't as easy as it used to be. You have to convince a foreign government that you won't become a financial burden while attending school there. In the UK, the new Tier 4 Visa restrictions only allow students to work 10 hours a week while attending full-time school, which isn't enough to support oneself. However, the good thing is grad school is only a year in the UK and European Union countries. Whereas in the United States it takes two years of study. So I am still doing research.

Many possibilities are floating out there in the Universe and where I end up come Fall is going to be a roll of the dice. Sure I have a plans and ultimate desires. But in wanting something, one has to let go of the outcome and let the Universe provide "the way."

Patiently planning and awaiting the magic and being happy in the meantime that's what I am doing. And like John Lennon said "Life is what happens, when we are busy making other plans." Boy he sure did know what he was talking about. Life is in the now moment and we can't be so focused on the outcome that we miss the moments in between!

Just another day in paradise. I think I will go make myself a margarita and start making the potato salad.

Happy Easter everyone!