What Going Home Does to You Soul

It wasn’t supposed to be a fun trip.  It was supposed to be a trip to support one of my best friends as her brother is gravely ill.  And then the unexpected happen.  All of us, the group that has known each other since we were 12, the group who that has been through everything together, got back together.

And there we all were, laughing, talking, drinking, crying, eating and loving each other.  Ad in that instant I knew that I would never be without family again. These people, who have loved me through all the stupid things, are my people.  And I am theirs.  In that moment I knew that no matter where I am, I will never be alone.

And there is such a beauty and grace in this realization, as the next chapter of life unfolds.

So many times we hear that you cannot go home, but in fact you can.  Many times home, those places you know like the back of your hand, and those people who know you are the ones who become your heart. And there is tremendous comfort in that which is familiar.

And after dinner with my friends, I got up the next morning and went to church in my own home parish. My spiritual home, where I grew up, the first place I found true friends, love and drank communion wine (on a dare).  It was the place where my parents had their memorial services. It is where my Mom worked hard and created beautiful gardens for everyone. And in one of those gardens was my “thinking swing.” I spent countless night in that swing, sometimes all night, swinging and thinking, planning and dreaming about life.

My hometown. Where I grew up, a place where the people know my heart, they are my heart. And isn’t that the thing about life?  We all have a history, we all have a past.  We all have those who know us inside and out, before we became adults and learned about walls and masks and being politically correct.  We all have places where we know the roads, and the roads know us.  We all have those places that make us smile.  We all have a place where we grew up. We all have those places that refill our souls and remind us of who we are.

The Fruition of a Passionate Soul on Fire

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  – Maya Angelou

There are times in life when you just feel the electricity in the  air.  It is the energy of possibilities of the future. There is a shift, and all of the sudden you are sensitive to everything that is within your grasp. And it is exciting. Maybe it happens after a hard time. Or maybe after working hard, and after the dust clears, you see a glimpse of the future. Maybe it is an “ah-ha” moment, when the light comes on in your mind. Who knows, but no matter the source, the energy is undeniable.

There is a fire within me, burns from my soul to and goes where the heart meets the mind. After a few years of sleeping, the passion has awakened and I am excited about all of the possibilities in the future. I have set my intentions – the latest contract, remote freelance, personal business and investment goals.  Fitness goals, travel and fun.

I have more energy than I have had in a long time, even if I have a hard time keeping focused.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela

I am acutely aware that everything for which I have prayed, I have been given.  By the Grace of God go I. There has been a lot of work and a lot of preparation, but in two months, the landscape of life will look completely different. This is extremely exciting.

And what is also exciting is when you see everything lining up with your goals and aspirations. You work hard in this life, dream big, pour your heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears into building the life that you want. And then, you see the light at the end of the tunnel. You see things lining up, you feel those dreams getting closer.  And you cannot wait, excitement brimming from every part of you.

This is where I am. A friend of mine sent me a massage saying that she loved seeing all of my happy posts on social media.  What is even better than seeing them, is posting them. Know that this is my time. But it is more than that.  There is a deeper happiness, a deeper appreciation, a deeper sense of self and satisfaction than ever before.

Patience has never been my strong point, and I am anxious for these changes and the new good to start.  But there are moments here to still savor.  There is so much beauty in where I am, and where I am going, that I do not want to miss a single moment. Every breath, every heartbeat, every second, is a gift filled with all the magic mysteries of life.  And I am beyond grateful for all of them.

Finally, this little life that has been under construction for so long, is about to break free, shiny, new, and glorious. Life is short.  Make it good.

I am Here

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus

We all have those times where we need to be still and quiet and small to heal and become whole again.  We must be hushed sometimes to grow that magic that is contained within us, until it is ready to spill out of every part of us.

There has been a shift recently. A shift deep inside me, deep where the soul meets the mind and the heart joins my breath. A shift that might not be noticeable to the naked eye, or to those who are not close. It is a bit of a re-awakening.   I have been quiet and still for quite a while now, enjoying being it the moment, appreciating the sanctity of this delicate life. But now a part of me has awakened, and I am ready to fully embrace life again.

Look at the world with childlike wonder and you will be amazed at what you see.

I want to return to life with childlike curiosity. Because as long as we are always curious, we are always learning and growing and experiencing and Living. I have been in hiding and in hibernation long enough, it is time to return, it is time to Live again.

And what precipitated this shift? A combination of new events and time. They say time heals all wounds.  I would say that is close but not true, because some wounds are not meant to be healed, they are meant to be carried. And I will carry them well, as I go through this life.  I will carry them proudly, gracefully, beautifully. For it is the price of love and being loved in return.

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” – Kahlil Gibran

I will do it by enjoying those quiet moments and knowing the beauty in them. I will do it by doing new things and having new experiences.  And what I like, what feels good and wonderful will be done again.  I will spend time with friends, and quiet evenings alone as well. Because as always, the secret of success is in the balance

I went skydiving recently, and then I went on a visit where I did several new experiences and did a few things I had not done in a long time. The combined result has been making me realize that it is time to come back out in the sun. To eat life up, soak up every second like a sponge.  Because life is short, and precious.  I have this one life, and I can love and appreciate with a level and depth was not previously possible.

I made myself a promisewhen I was 19, that I would live a full life, and cry all of my tears, and laugh all of my laughter. I would love until there is nothing left, until God rebuild me again so I do it all again. And here I am.

I am here. I am whole. And I am ready.

A Writer’s World

We all have those moments where the door of humor and smartass-ness is wide open. Moments that make you giggle. And when those moments happen, you have to grab onto them and embrace the humor, embrace the opportunity to be witty and have a but of fun.  As a writer, I love to have fun with language.  It gives me a special kind of happiness.

As a freelance and contract writer, I often look around job boards to see what project I might like to work on next.  I saw a job posting that looked particularly interesting. I filled out the application, and came across this question:

Q: What pronoun(s) do you associate with?

I was immediately torn.  Do I respond properly, and give them the answer for which they are looking (regardless of biology, what do I feel like I am?). Or do I take the opportunity to put my first thought down and fully embrace the opportunity to be a firt class, super witty smartass?

I stared at the question, weighing both options. A job application, give a straight answer.  But I am a writer…and how many times in a lifetime will I get an opportunity like this??  I started to sweat, the temptation to be a witty smart-ass was gaining traction.  I couldn’t breath, the room started to spin…Give a straight answer or be witty??

Finally I took a deep breath and…

and wrote the answer:

Q: What pronoun(s) do you associate with?

A: I don’t associate with Pronouns. I like Verbs though, they get things done.

I smiled with satisfaction as I hit the Next button. I probably won’t get the job, but that is OK. Sometimes you have to take the unexpected opportunities to be witty anyway.  But really, what do you expect when you ask a writer a question like that?

Life is short. Make it fun.

Skydiving: Life is Short Make it Fun

“Life is short, so enjoy it to the fullest.” – John Walters

We have all heard the saying that life is short. And it is.  And I think you realize that more and more the older that you get.  Because as we age we see more and more how delicate life is balanced.

We also understand the need to have fun. Truly all work and no play makes for a very tiring life.  We need things to celebrate, to remind us that there is life past our own noses and jobs. There is life beyond our own little problems.

It was a right of passage in a way.  It was also a way to honor my mother’s memory and her ever adventurous spirit. (https://adalamar.wordpress.com/a-walk-with-mom-series/) And it was an excuse to do something I had always wanted to do. So I did it, and my friend H did it with me.  We went skydiving.

The day started with a quick stop for quick breakfast.  We ended up being serenaded by two older gentlemen who were playing guitar and fiddle, singing old time blue grass music.  What a wonderful way to start the adventure.

Next stop was the municipal airport where the adventure would take place. Two buildings – an airplane hanger and a small shed. And a tiny runway. H and I looked at each other and wondered if we were in the right place. We went in and sure enough, there was a buzz of activity and people getting ready to jump out of a plane. We signed in and signed the very long waiver, which was also being read on video, by a man who looked like he could have led the Branch Davidians – long beard, crazy wild eyes, a dark panel background and very bad lighting.  H and I giggled as we settled in to wait for out turn.

There were four girls in our group and after we were all harnessed up, one of the girls, in her mid 20s,  announced that the contraption which were were all in looked like a sex-swing, and even pointed out where the feet would go.  Again we giggle, and wondered how she knew such things. She blushed after she realized she had made the announcement out loud, in her “outside” voice.

I had to take off my cross, and when I took it to the car I noticed the time on my cell phone – 12:16. Mom passed on 12:18. I smiled at the coinsedence. I then walked back to the area we were we were all waiting, and saw a wonderful, beautiful butterfly flutter across the airplane terminal and across the tarmac.  And smiled again as I took it as a sign from my mother.

Next we met our jump masters and loaded up onto the the plane. My guy was called Dark Side. I took that as another good sign. The plane had two benches and we were crammed in, all of us excited and nervous.  My friend and I exchanged several nervous glances as we went up 14,000 feet.  It’s at this point where things take quite a commical turn. Anyone who knows me knows I wear hard contact lenses, and have had many adventures of loosing them in several strange and inteeresting ways. But this may beat all.

As Dark side adjusted on goggles, one of my contacts popped out as the goggles went tight around my head and eyes.  We were about 20 seconds away from jumping, so there was no time to adjust.  And as we stood at the endge of the plane, the wind of outside roaring in my ears, I figured the lens was gone and quickly realized excitement was turning into a fear. Holy crap, I was about to jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet.

And then we jumped. The roar of the wind was loud, and the experience took my breath away.  Fear quickly turned to thrill as the adenaline rushed through my veins. It was amazing.  The view was amazing.  I took out the envelope that contained my mothers letter, said a prayer and let it go, for the Angels to deliver to her.

After an amazing free fall, Dark Side opened the parachute and we slowed down to a peaceful float.  He took my goggles of and I enjoyed the view. And Then, then I felt something on my cheek.  It was the lost contact lens, somehow sticking on my cheek through the jump, through the free fall and through the chute opening and goggles being taken off.  I quickly got it off my cheek and placed it in my mouth – what else are you going to do with it at 5,000 feet? I just had to laugh dumbfounded at my luck.

We continued to float down, as he spun me around this way and that way until it was time to land. It was an incredible experience. It marked the end of mourning and the start of this new phase of life. Mom has been gone for 2 years and I have served the family well. I honored her, and did something fun and amazing for myself. Everything is lining up for moving forward. And it feels wonderful.

Life is short. Make it fun. Make it spectacular.


A requested repost:

I believe in love (most of the time). I believe faith and hard work can overcome anything, and what they won’t overcome, love will. I believe right always wins over evil (eventually) and men should stand up for what they believe in. I believe in hope, I believe in Astrology, I believe in back rubs. I believe in copious amounts of premarital sex, and I believe you should enjoy it. I also believe you should be very picky about with whom you share such activities, as what you do cannot be undone. I believe in getting drunk sometimes and that it’s good for the soul. I believe in being loyal to your friends and your enemies. I believe in long passionate kisses and conversations that last all night. I believe in passion and dignity, honor and integrity. And I believe if people who said they believed in those things practiced them a lot more the world would be a better place. I believe the Shawshank Redemption is a great movie about the human spirit, and yes, I do believe Andy was innocent. I believe in moonlight and slow dancing. And I believe in karma.

I believe in smoking every now and then, and drinking brandy often. I believe in laughing every day and singing at the top of your lungs. I believe sexy has nothing to do with your looks and more to do with what’s inside of you. I believe scars make us more beautiful and flaws make us endearing. I believe in the word Capricious. I believe in following your passion, where ever takes you. I believe in baseball and the power of family. I believe it takes more than a village, but it starts with the parents. I believe a man is only as good as his word, and his handshake is his bond. I believe in cussing when you are mad and saying I love you only when you mean it.

The Hole Life

These days life is good and complete and wonderful.  This summer is one of re establishing myself, love, passion, fun, and just life in general. And I am thankful for each and every second.  I am ever aware of how delicate this life is, how love connects us all and how the dark and light dance together every day.

This summer is a combination of every thing good.  Lazy days and sleeping late and resting, followed by concerts and explorations.  Going skydiving, taking trips, drinking wine, working out, rehydrating, and building the life I always wanted.  But it is all about balance. Only when we are balanced can we truly enjoy all that life has to offer. And I am thriving.

My mother taught me that life carves out deep spaces within us every time we are hurt.  These deep spaces make us into the amazingly deep works of art that our souls are meant to be.  In that sense we are always evolving. But great depth comes at a great price, so you do have to go through a lot of life to get there.

Because even as wonderful as life is now, the truth is I still have moments of overwhelming grief.  I will hear something or see something that brings it all back. And there I am, tears streaming down my face. Because I miss my parents and my siblings. I miss having a family.  I miss someone caring where I am at midnight, and someone to tell when I have landed safely from a plane. I miss Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents.  I miss the innocence of not knowing grief and death. I miss calling my parents and sharing exciting news. I miss coffee and talks and listening to the crickets or watching storms with them.  I miss the smell of my mother’s Banana nut bread, and I miss my father’s voice. I miss the million little things you do when you have a family that loves you.

And not having a family leaves a huge hole.  Psychology says that you must look within to fill that hole, that you cannot fill it with anything external.  And I agree.  Except with grief, the hole remains, because the loss of your family leaves a huge empty place that can never truly be filled because they can never be replaced.  But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

What I have found is that if you accept the fact that the hole is there, then you can move past it.  And you can build a beautiful, wonderful life around it.  Because the hole, and missing all of those things, does not mean that you cannot have a complete life. It just means that you recognize and acknowledge that life has changed. It is called acceptance.

I think trouble starts when we try to fill this hole with all that is external instead of accepting it’s existence.  Then it becomes a blackhole, sucking every bit of life out of you and everyone around you.  It is then that people become bitter; angry that they cannot fill the hole no matter what they try.  So stop trying to fill it.  Accept and build around it instead.  I cannot change that I do not have a family, but I can change how how I deal with it.

For me, not only am I building around it, but I am going to make this hole the place from where love comes.  Love comes from God and flows through us. But what if that hole, that big, beautiful hole, that goes down so deep that it makes even the human soul seem shallow, where I miss my loved ones so much, becomes where God’s love flows through me and touches others in my life? What if I turn that hole into that gate, so to speak?  Then it is not just a giant hole, instead it becomes something beautiful and amazing.

And that is the great thing about life – it is your story, and you can change your story at any time. You can write that story if you want. And I am. So it will be the Great Hole of Love (no, scratch that, way too many jokes there). OK, maybe it will just be a new way of life. Because life is what we make it. So make it good.

Going Skydiving

We all have those moments that define us and who we are.  If we are lucky, we have many of those moments in our lives. We also have those things that we have always wanted to do, those things that are on our bucket list.

Next Friday, I mark one of those things off my bucket list.  I am going skydiving, on Friday July 13th.  And I figure it is the perfect day and date for the event. An early morning with a good breakfast, then a shoot two hour drive to Chattanooga.  We will go through training, get suited up and go up in the air.  It is a tandem jump, so I will not have to be the one to jump out of the place – which is good because I would probably freeze on my first jump.  Also, who wants a klutz jumping out of a plane?  Better leave that to the professional…and let me be tied to them.  That way if I do trip and fall, and take them with me, at least they know what to do.

The day is the 2nd anniversary of my Mother’s death.  And instead of moping and being sad, I choose to celebrate her and her adventurous spirit by jumping.  And I have a letter for her, that I will give her on the way down. The first Mother’s day I swam out to the ocean, and the the letter go in a big wave, for the sea to give to her. This year, she will find her letter in the clouds.  And it is a little defiant as well.  She forbid me to skydive while she was alive, so I waited.

And maybe in that adventure is where we will find ourselves. Because maybe we all get a little lost sometimes. And when we are lost we need something to help us remember what matters, what is sacred, what is true. When we are lost, we need to see things from high up, the big picture, to understand how to navigate and how to be unlost. Maybe from high up we can see all of our pieces and know where to go to find them and put ourselves back together.

I am going with this company, Chattanooga Skydiving, Friday July 13th at 11am central time (12 noon ET). If you are reading this come on out and jump with us. The more the merrier. It will be fun, it will be trilling, it will be a moment to remember. A way to celebrate life, love and adventure.

And if skydiving is not your thing, have an adventure somehow.  Do something that scares you, excites you, makes year heart beat faster and makes you remember that you are alive. Have a life that is well lived. Life is what we make it, so make it an adventure, make it good and make it happy, my friends.

To go Big, Love the Small

“There are 100,000 stars in our galaxy, and more galaxies in the universe than there are grains of sand on earth.”

I heard this quote recently and had to stop and think about it for a moment.  When I heard it, it occurred to me just how small we are, just how small our experiences are in the grand scheme of things.  It would be easy to say that it all means nothing, because we are so small that we have no impact at all.

So, what does it all mean? And how do we find meaning i anything at all, when our existence is so small? Before there is an existential crisis, I think life is very meaningful, but it depends on how you look at it. And I think we have to find meaning in the small

I think we find meaning in the small. Because we are small, in the grand scheme of things. I have long said that life is made of the small moments, the tiny, perfect happenings that happen in between planning and living.

And if you think about it, it’s true.  The big moments in life – weddings, funerals, babies, engagements, long vacations, beg promotions, they don’t happen that often.  So if we are just waiting for the big moments to make us happy, we will be waiting for quite a long while.  So we must find appreciation in the perfection of the small.  Life is found in the space between seconds, the air between the raindrops and the breath before the kiss. Life is found when we notice how wonderful it feels when our love holds our l=hands or touches our face.

Life is what happens while we wait in line and hear our favorite songs, or when we are driving and it is the perfect day.  It is a lazy Sunday morning with those we love, it is our favorite movie, and extra buttered popcorn.  It is the sound of the waves and a good book.  It is working hard and the satisfaction of a job well done.  Life is a great concert, a glass of wine over catching up with a good friend.

We may be small, but our lives, our hearts are are big as infinity.  Because we hold an infinite ability to love and appreciate. And entire world can be held in a single smile, and a universe contained in the eyes of your lover.

These are the moments that we remember. These little wonders are what feeds the soul and fill our hearts with all that matters.

Want to make your life big? You heart big?  Your love big? Then notice and love the small

July Celebration

This year, this July 4th, there are many reasons to celebrate.  This is the year of freedom and happiness.  Last year at this time I celebrated in a treehouse in the middle of the woods and it was wonderful. But I was still dealing with the loss of both parents and 3 siblings, and the crazy ex still acting crazy.  So even there was a lot of emotional baggage. The year before that I was in a hospital room, praying that my mother would survive, because I had o idea just how sick she was or how long or how bad she had suffered.

They say that time heals, and it does.  And isn’t that the way it is in life?  Sometimes you have to have time and distance, you must allow yourself the space to deal with heavy issues.  Losing family members or any loved one, is one of the worst things anyone can go through.  So it is natural to need time to grieve and to figure life out in the new normal. To get perspective, to get your feet back under you, to replant your roots.

This year, life is better, clearer and so much better. I am in a much better place emotionally. Having given myself the time and space needed. After making sure that my life is a sacred space of Peace.  I have long said that which gives you peace will bring you happiness.  You cannot be happy if there is no peace. And now my life has peace.

Yes, there are still moments of anger, especially at my full sister for still causing drama, and at the crazy ex for all the drama he caused when I was at my most vulnerable. But even those are fading as I get more comfortable in my new life.

So this July 4th is all about the fireworks, all about the fun, all about the love and all about the Peace.  Can Peace be exciting and thrilling?  Absolutely.  Peace never means boring, at least not to me, because only when you have peace can you truly enjoy life to the fullest.

Happy July4th. Happy birthday to this country, the best country in the world.  Not only am I thankful for the privilege of being born here, but I am thankful for this life, those in it, and the peace I have in my heart.

Continued Prayers

If you have a moment today, please take a moment and pray. Cancer is very hard, and going through treatments is grueling. I saw both of my parents go through it with Chemo, not immunotherapy, but there is no treatment that is easy. Pray for her, and her family please.

The Concert

All work and no play, makes life no fun.

We all need a little bit of fun in life.  No matter who we are, or what we do, or how much we love what we do, we still have to have some fun.  We have to play. we need to step away from work and laugh, smile, enjoy.

And so Sunday was for me.  A concert. Three of my favorite all times bands.  And I loved it. It was loud, we were rained on, and it was fabulous. And there is another lined up for this Saturday. I have been so run down and exhausted, but fun gives me energy for more.

I enjoyed the music, I sang the lyrics as loud as I could, I danced to the music. I ate questionable food that was delicious and enjoyed the feeling of the rain on my skin.  It was fabulous.

So go out, have some fun, and let your hair down.  It’s summer, time to enjoy life.  You won’t regret it.