Road Trip Yummy

Crossing the GW bridge.

Crossing the GW bridge.

On the road.

I can do anything. Stop at every Starbucks on 95, even when the latte I got at Vince Lombardi’s rest area is still half full. I can take a pee break every 45 miles with no one making wise cracks about how much water (and coffee) I drink.  I can get off the highway in favor of local roads and less convenient conveniences. Listen to Classic Vinyl on Sirius for three hours straight. Pull over at a rest area to take a nap or write something down I happen to be thinking about. Randomly decide to stop halfway to my destination at a funky motel with lavender shutters and no wifi. Change my plans! Make new plans! ANYTHING.

As Ms. GPS ticks down, reminding me when I’ll arrive at my “final destination” (at least for this leg of my trip), I might throw the little minx a curve ball. Ask her to find a nearby Apple Store. The glitches I’ve been living with on my phone are suddenly two exits away from being solved. While I’m strolling across the strange parking lot, I think about what living in this city would be like. “Wow, this mall has an Anthropolgie. I can see living here.”

I like to drive past university campuses. Work, read, or write in local coffee shops. Type local coffee shop passwords into my computer and tell it to “log in automatically.” I could be back here one day, after all.

Friendly barista.

Friendly barista.

I imagine that, instead of driving south into the lowering sun, I head to the lecture tonight about the “emergence of eco-critical art history.” I ask the barista for directions to Mitchell Hall. As I walk out with my tall black decaf he says, “Enjoy the lecture!” I get back in my car and head for the highway.

The sun falling low in the sky is almost as thrilling as the sun on the rise, glamouring the horizon at dawn when I launched this trip. Long, long ago this morning, or yesterday…. Or last week. Long shadows make me sad, but mostly happy.

IMG_6012

When I am on a road trip by myself, I pull over often to get out of the car and take pictures. The trip I’m on as I write this, spring emerged before me as I headed south. Any roadside bush with its branches fuzzy with baby leafbuds is worthy of my attention and immortalization via iPhone. The sun falling slantwise on a clump of crocuses or the green-gray of an awakening field. Sometimes these small moments feel like a fist slamming into my chest to awaken my heart.

The gift of crocus.

The gift of crocus.

Getting there might be the best part. But being there—that is wonderful too. When I am there, I am elsewhere. Mysterious and new, or familiar—a place from my past, perhaps, elsewhere excites me. Later on, when I head home again, elsewhere will whisper in my ear, “There is noplace like home.” By then, I’ll be tired of my road trip and ready again to believe that truism.

But while I’m in the sexy arms of another city, another state, or another stretch of road, I’m damned fickle.

Oxymorons for a New Age

This is my now.

This is my now.

Living in the now has become a buzz-phrase lately. A standard bearer for logic and linear time might wonder, “If we are alive, and unable to time travel, what other damned moment would we be living in?” To someone so tapped into “the flow,” even “now” might be too fluid a concept to pin down and actually live in.

But let’s not overthink this. The point I’m trying to make is that buzz-phrase or not, there are plenty of helpful bits of advice being turned into memes and tweets and book blurbs all over the place these days. There are driven people out there who actually think that being busy equals being important or being stressed is somehow cool, but who want to be up on all the latest trends (like “living in the now”). They have heard stress will kill you, and they get that. But the killing part comes later, after they have retired from being stressed and thus can stop death in its tracks by hiring a meditation guru or learning Qi Gong. They’ll live in the “now”… later.

A strange conflict emerges as smart people try to put relaxation and now-ness on their to-do list.

I’m trying to play more.

It seems to me that play just sort of happens, or should. I mean sure. We can head to the gym for that weekly pick-up game of b-ball and play our guts out. Or we can put “game night” on the calendar and invite our most irreverent and funny friends over for a rip-roaring round of “Screw Your Neighbor” but play is so much more than that. Play is a state of mind. You can play in your mind, with yourself, as you re-wonder about things you’ve already wondered about. I think that laughing out loud at your own clumsiness is playful, or turning spilled coffee into a game to see who can get to the floor first, you or the drips. Play is by definition impractical and gives pleasure. I need more of it, that’s for sure. Here’s what I think: don’t try. Just play.

I’m struggling to let go.

Believe me, letting go is often not easy. Whether it is letting go of lost love or a bad habit, easier said than done. But it seems to me that the struggling and striving we do to let go causes us to hold on harder than ever, without meaning to. I picture someone (like me, many times) straining under the burden of …letting go, so that nothing at all is released and implosion is the only natural outcome. I’d prefer to lie down on the sand inside my mind and open my palms to the sun, until whatever I am holding onto just drifts off on the wind. No struggle necessary.

I’m straining to understand.

Strain and strife are antithetical to understanding in many ways. Most of my “aha” moments come when I am open, mind, body, and heart, to the messages available to all of us. Believe me, I’m as guilty as anyone of squinching up my face in an effort to make a round thought make sense in my triangle brain. If I just wait till my brain gets a little rounder, it all makes sense. Suddenly and completely with no squinching. I’ve decided that instead of “trying to understand,” I’ll just allow understanding to fill me.

So much of life today intrudes on the very concept of today. I want today to be itself, a whole 24 hour moment of now that fits nicely with yesterday’s now, and tomorrow’s now. I’m working on it.

 

 

Big Rambling Houses, Cliffs to Jump Off, and the Power of Flight

After more than a decade during which I almost got used to the fact that access to my sleeping mind had been cut off, I’m remembering my dreams again. There is more than one way to tap the unconscious, but dreams were always my fallback. The membrane was reliably soft and easy when I awoke, and I could ease back through it, take a look, and know what my message for myself was that day.

Well, it is all there for me again. Over the years, I had invited my dreams back now and then with not a lot of success. They say you can train yourself, but I think there is more to it than that. I guess I’m ready for them again. Ready to hear what they have to say and see what they want to show me. (In other words, ready for what my higher self needs to teach me.)

Lately, my dreams have had three common threads. Aside from a series of dreams in which I see someone I badly miss, I’m dreaming about rambling houses, edges off which I jump, and the power of flight.

As a child, my dreams of flying were so constant and so real to me that I spent a few years around the ages of 6 or 7 secretly believing I really could fly. I just though I wasn’t good at controlling it while I was awake the way I could when I was asleep. I have not flown like that in my dreams for over 30 years and I have missed it very much.

flight

Flight. In childhood, I usually flew to save myself, in an often-narrow escape from someone or something. And sometimes I flew just for the joy of it. Now that I’m flying again, the frequency is reversed. The occasional “good thing I know how to fly so I can get out of this freefall” but with a lot of “damn, I can FLY” kinds of dreams that I wake from feeling good and filled with a glorious POWER.

staircase

Big rambling houses. In one recent dream sequence, the staircase to the basement was made of empty wine crates. (Hard to navigate but begging the question: where did all that wine go?) I made my way down that scary staircase, without fear. My cats are occasionally with me, familiars even as I sleep, and they often do a good deed or exhibit impressive supercat skills, sort of the way I superhumanly fly all over the place. Not to be sidetracked by the props and minor characters  — these dreams are about dank basements, endless hallways, doors…and me, always faced with a CHOICE.

cliff two

Precipices. In one badass dream lately I took a bad guy (faceless, nameless, but menacing) by the hand and jumped with him off a cliff. Even though it looked like the edge of a porch, it was indeed a very intense cliff, and we ended up plummeting through dark bottomlessness until I conveniently let go of his hand and flew to safety. Though I made the choice to exert my power and avoid termination at the bottom of that particular precipice, cliffs are about risk and facing fears and, in my mind, they are about MAJOR CHANGE.

moon

The recent full moon (which was ruled by Virgo, as it happens) still holds sway over us all. And over me, telling me that change is inevitable, that it is time to live truthfully if I’m not already, that everything I’m going through inside and outside of me is prepping the stage for my future. Sure, I know that every act and thought and feeling is, in a sense, doing that. But we all know when the shit that’s going down is BIG and when it’s not. This feels big.

So I look at the dreams (and so much more) and conclude that I have the power to fly. I can fly away, I can fly up, down, or in. I can save myself, and I can let go of what is not serving me. And I can fly just to fly, for the joy of being weightless and free. And I have choices and they are forcing themselves into my consciousness so I’ll make them. Not all of the choices are easy, not all of them are safe. Just like the big houses. Scary basement or door number three? And I am on the brink—of something. The very knife-sharp edge of whatever it is, I can make the leap… and be okay.

goddess power