Thursday, June 30, 2016

When the student is ready...

How does a girl find herself on the opposite coast sitting in the middle of a street festival crying her eyes out as she listens to a very strange old woman?

Well, let me tell you....














First she hops on a plane and flies across the country.


The story goes like this.

I recently found myself wandering a street festival on the West Coast, third in line to talk to a gray haired old woman dressed in purple named Maria. I watched her intently as a line began to form. I decided the weathered paper sign covered in the plastic sleeve of a trapper keeper hanging on her tent gave her a certain credibility.

No pretense. Clearly she's been doing this awhile, I told myself.

"Maria has been a reader for over 20 years. She can accurately tell you your future or past lives. Her readings are gentle & done with empathy as she holds your hands and guides you...."

Yip I'm in.

As soon as I sat down she held my hands, looked up in my eyes and among several other things I'm not going to share, she said this..... "You. You, young lady have a very big choice to make. It's weighing on you. You need to stop being afraid of it. You know what you have to do. Don't waste another minute, another hour, another month. Another year. Stop wasting your life. Stop mourning the past & the dead. Be happy. Get out of your mind and go with your heart."

Say whaa? 

Walking around aimlessly afterward I rationalized the whole thing.

Those things could apply to anyone. It was all a lucky guess.

I brought her messages back to NY with me and filed them safely away and slipped back into business as usual. There were business orders to fill, pitches to write, little girls needing attention, a house to clean, mail to open.... And the list goes on.

But I'm sure you know what it's like when something just hits you and keeps nagging at you....

"Get out of your mind and go with your heart."

I found myself thinking on this during my runs. I usually live in my mind. Running is one of the only things that can force me out of my mind and into my heart. It connects me to something so much bigger than myself. I so often find myself wondering how it is I've gotten to 44 years old before ever naming & pursuing my passions. I'm so easily distracted. 

I see things in pictures. Weird, right? Looking back I started to envision it like this..

I'm pretty sure I've always desired a full happy life. I've always wanted more. To go further. To see what's just around the bend. I have an insatiable curiosity about all things I don't know. The problem? I wasn't always able to define what brought me happiness. I see my life as a big basket. I've always searched and reached for those things that fill me up to plop in the basket like tokens. One by one, through trial and error, I'd begin the process only to get distracted by a multitude of interruptions....my mother's cancer, my father's stroke, their eventual deaths, grief, sibling drama, a cancer scare, relationship drama. I could go on and on.

When any of these things happened I always took the focus off myself & my goals. I would become enmeshed in the person or situation presenting itself or needing me.

Over involved. 
Boundary-less. 
Without focus.

Eventually when I looked at my basket, it was empty.

I'd start to fill it again only to repeat the cycle.

No bueno. 

What is it they say? 

"If you always do what you always did, you always get, what you always got."

I'm learning it's the steady constant act of putting in your basket piece by piece day after day that eventually fills it. Ironically, this all comes to me simultaneously with a new challenging situation presenting itself, perhaps the most challenging yet; just when I've gotten on course, just when I've grabbed the reins and started betting on myself.

All this reminded me of something a close friend once shared with me.

"Lift up the self by the self and for the self, for the self is the self's only friend and the self is the self's only foe." I have some very wise friends ;)

You can't give what you don't have. Maybe it's not selfish to do only what you can do without interrupting your own basket filling? Maybe kindness doesn't have to hurt? Maybe kindness starts with being kind to yourself? After all, life is short.

And then I suddenly remembered the wise old woman at the street festival.... "Don't waste another minute, another hour, another month. Another year. Stop wasting your life. Stop mourning the past & the dead. Be happy."

It matters less and less to me if this lady could really see my future or was merely using her keen sense of people to make a buck.

"When the student is ready the teacher appears." 

I'm so grateful for the strange little old lady dressed in purple that showed up at just the right time to become one of my most memorable teachers.