Travel Preparations–the Big Move

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Travel, especially for relocation or a Big Move, can be an act of Life Transformation.  It lifts you out from whatever conditions have become routinized and familiar, offering new potentials for adventure and change. Because this is such a momentous occasion, a successful Big Move is deserving and requires major preparations. Preparations allow time for envisioning the adventure or the new life conditions you aim to manifest, so the more you prepare, the better for all your future prospects!

This past two weeks I have been preparing my house in Colorado to go on the market tomorrow as I will be relocating Back East at the end of July. “Staging” has been a major undertaking. New bathroom sinks, some new furniture for my next location, basically gutting and tilling the back yard, steam cleaning carpets, and cleaning and polishing/ renewing all interior surfaces as with a fine toothed comb, every nook and cranny.  It has been like digging myself out from the comfortable, cluttered space I have created as my haven this past twelve or so years.

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The process of returning my house to its pristine state in preparation for its own new occupants has allowed me to gradually come to better awareness of the reality that I am already now all but retired (officially June 30) and that I truly will be moving to a new location altogether. I will be two and a half hours from one dear sister and maybe six or so from another and eight from my brother and sister-in-law: much closer to family than this past nearly forty years. I return to New York state, which was foundational in my formative years; it will be nice to be able to travel as an adult to places I always wanted to explore more fully in my youth. I bring with me my dear Soul companion, Sophie (Shitzu/Yorkie) and my dear feline Soul companion, Emily.

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images are from pixabay.com

I find that preparing for such a big move benefits from lots of time in contemplation and journalling. Inner preparation is just as important or perhaps even more so than the outer activity.  Moving carries such rich potentials for creating the future you choose to manifest that it is vital to check in with your feelings, thoughts, and goals. Nowadays with the internet it is so easy as well to look ahead at the place and resources to which you will be moving or traveling. This allows your imagination to soar and scout out your destination, even before you arrive.

I welcome YOUR Comments and your own Travel or Big Move Story. If you would like to Guest Blog your story, you can simply email me at lkwatts@uccs.edu.

 

Expanding Horizons

Travel is a common Life Theme people identify with life mapping. Quite often, Travel themes appear as ‘spikes’ in a Life Map–punctuation points, as it were, that usher in new change potentials after the Travel events have occurred.

Travel, whether for planned vacations or for a major relocation, really can bring variety and spice to the adventure of being alive! When we venture forth to experience new environments and encounter new people or forge new relationships, we expand the horizons of our points of view in subtle and sometimes also in dramatic proportions.

Taking the much needed vacation may afford a “time out of time” effect. This is vital for shaking out your routine enough to allow new ideas to take shape for when you return Home.

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

The Road to Sadhana

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The poem I shared last Tuesday I composed in 1978 while on a very memorable road trip across country by bus from Buffalo to Tempe, Arizona. I was traveling with a friend, Grace, to check out Arizona as I would be attending college there the next year. It was a very eventful trip on so many levels. The Greyhound bus broke down in Effingham, Illinois, and about half of us stayed on until Flagstaff, Arizona, where we were rerouted on a Trailways bus through what was one of my and Grace’s primary spiritual destinations anyway: Sedona.

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All through the bus trip, especially after the breakdown and even moreso after an encounter with apparently a murderous pair hightailing it out of Albuquerque (I’ll tell that in a bit), I composed a trip length poetic account of the journey. Part of the coda verse I still recall for the epic poem was:

On the Road to Sedona,

Where all is Sadhana…

Sadhana is an Eastern term designating a state of spiritual enlightenment; a state of calm one achieves from centering deeply.  As our theme this month is the similar or related experience of apotheosis, it feels right for me to revisit this adventure, now 39 years later.

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So the murderer, even more than the breakdown of the bus and rerouting through Sedona, sparked a major change of consciousness for me.  Grace and I were at a bus stop in Albuquerque where Grace met a police woman. She told Grace she was on the lookout for a murderer and his accomplice trying to get away from New Mexico.  Our bus left there at midnight, the last bus for the night. Two men, one recently bald, paid the bus driver directly when he got onto the bus instead of paying as was normal at the ticket booths. Grace and I were sitting second row from the front of the bus to avoid cigarette smoke. The tall, bald man, wearing a serape with a metallic bulge in the pocket which he arranged over the seat to be positioned so the bulge was just behind his head, sat in the front row, with his partner sitting catty-corner behind us across the aisle (carrying only a wrinkled, paper bag). The Bald One, who resembled Lurch from the Addams family to me, pulled out a cigarette (forbidden for the 1st three rows), stared ominously at the bus driver, and chortled: “Goodbye, New Mexico, forever!”

OK, so that sets the scene. My friend Grace immediately figures this is the murderer the police woman is after, so she leaves the bus to tell the woman about him. She returns, telling me the police woman acted frightened to know the men might already be on the bus and asked Grace to be careful and not stir up trouble. So, I got off and told her what I had seen re. the money exchange with the driver. She acted concerned but frightened and told me to get back onto the bus and also to not cause waves.

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The bus wound slowly through the night from Albuquerque to Flagstaff, a very long night for me as I was on high alert. I whispered our suspicions to the woman behind me, Terry, who had been instrumental in getting our passengers to stay after the breakdown and to be rerouted through Sedona so that some of the rest could go directly to LA. Terry was traveling with her grandmother. She started a phone chain whisper throughout the bus, notifying everyone of the possibility we had a murderer aboard. Unfortunately, this whisper also reached the Accomplice across the aisle, who suddenly started coughing and rattling his brown bag to get the attention of the Bald One.

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At a roadside stop in Holbrook, Grace and Terry and her grandmother and I sat huddled together at a diner. The Accomplice shadowed us, being sure to sit within earshot. The Bald One never came into the diner at all, pacing outside and at one point pressing his face and nose up against the window glass to stare in at us.

When we reboarded, the bus driver shot me a frightened glance, as if to say again, ‘Don’t cause waves!’

So, back on the bus for the next few hours I entered into a deep contemplation, the deepest of my life til then. I sang a mantra, HU, which is a sacred name for God known to many religions. I chanted and went into a deep state of repose where I encountered spiritual Masters and agencies giving me instructions on how to be a channel for calm and Light in this situation, to prevent a major catastrophe involving all the passengers.

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Then something really weird occurred on the bus. People who had thought the whispered suspicions were a hoax or funny started joking loudly about who the murderer was going to take to the back of the bus and shoot first! This was surreal to me. I sank deeper and deeper into my contemplation.

At dawn, as we were approaching Flagstaff and the beautiful desert and San Francisco Peaks there, I came out from the contemplation, truly altered. I felt a calm as I had not known before. As I looked out at the desert and the Mountain, I said to Terry and Grace:

“People think that the Desert is barren and dead;

It is not: It is teeming with Life!”

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At this statement from me, Bald Lurch turned his head slowly to stare me down.

“So, how do you feel about YOUR life?” he cooed ominously.

Now, you might think my response would be fearful, but no. Because of the alteration in consciousness I had enjoyed in the deep contemplation, I actually was feeling quite elated. I looked back at him, eye to eye, and smiled broadly:

“How are You!?” were the words that came out of my mouth.

The Bald One merely grunted in disgust and turned his head back to set upon that metallic bulge.

We reached Flagstaff, alive.  The Bald One and the Accomplice were the first to rise from their seats and head for the door. Once again, Lurch uttered mysteriously:

“Goodbye, New Mexico, forever!”

That was the last any of us saw of these two men, now across the border in Arizona.

After a few hours those of us going on to Phoenix boarded the Trailways bus that would take us through Sedona, known to Grace and myself as a very spiritually charged area as our spiritual group had land there at the time.  This part of the journey was like a pilgrimage for us.

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As we rounded the bend from Flagstaff down into the majestic Oak Creek Canyon, the bus stopped at a rest area. I walked across the field and stepped down a bit from the  cliff edge to sit and be immersed in the Canyon overview. It was like an Eagle’s Nest, and I have returned many times since. That is where The Canyon poem emerged:

It is drawing me into Its depths;

It will contain me;

Yet in that instant It shall free me,

Until IS-ness dissolves beyond

Eternity

Where Just Isness IS.

We reboarded the bus and headed on down the canyon into the red rock splendor of Sedona. At the bottom we got out for a food stop.

“It’s like love,” Terry said.

“It can never be contained,” I responded.

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images are from pixabay.com

Other than those words, language failed me. I could not speak, identifying one mountain or person or bus or tree; all was an absolute Unity. This utter silence stayed with me until we reached Phoenix. I would later remember it as a brief glimpse of cosmic consciousness, experienced on the Road to Sadhana.

* * * * * *  

This will be the final September post, as I have nothing more to say now on the topic!

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

On the Road Again!

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As this month winds down with its theme of Departure, I am en route for an exciting adventure. I will write this post as a travelogue, to reflect on the experience of Departure.

Before (Wed., Feb 22):

This trip is to be a microcosm of a much bigger departure in my life. It is a preparation for launching both my upcoming book activity and my graduation–er, retirement–in around a year and a half. I am traveling to the location I have chosen to live in for the next major stage of my life as I shift focus from teaching as a primary activity to writing and coaching as primary. As well, I am seeking to live the life of my dreams, just as I am offering to others with my book about Life Path Mapping, to be titled, YOUR LIFE PATH. For me in addition to life as an author and coach, this will allow living by a lake with my pets, nearer to family and located in proximity to a wide array of opportunities for travel as well as for extended career ventures.

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So this is to be a true Departure with full double entrendre: a leaving from one place to arrive at another physical location but more importantly as well, departing from life as I have known it to Now in order to embark upon a life changing Adventure.  I am driving my new car which I selected for this future activity, a Subaru Cross Trek which I have nicknamed Scout. And that is what this journey is set up to be: a scouting trip.

En Route (Monday, Feb. 27)

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In Ohio now, third night of the Road Trip. It has certainly been an adventure already. I was plagued with an attack of blood sucking bugs on my first night out (Saturday)–apparently not exactly bed bugs but possibly chiggers. After ravaging my back, legs and neck, they left a very strange (to me) stain of gloppy orange-blood goo on the bedspread!  What was this about?

Challenging obstacles test our mettle. The process of encountering hardship and overcoming the difficulties is part and parcel of a growth experience.  The bug bite scenario led me to wash all my clothes at the next stop (fortunately at my friend Pam’s home in Iowa) and to throw away my carry on luggage, to divest of potential deterrents. I have also showered twice and bathed my dog Sophie. Is this a cleansing in preparation for the rest of the journey?

Yet to Come (musing Monday night, prior to arrival at the main locations of my travels)

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I like to set goals for a cross-country adventure, and this trip is chock full of purposes and intended outcomes. Quoting from my dear departed Grandmother Rugh (and her from Robert Frost):

“I have promises to keep,

and miles to go before I sleep.”

On this trip I will be conducting a full month’s writing retreat at a rental home in the lakeside community I will retire to not this but next summer. By the end of this stay, I aim to send out the final manuscript to the publisher for my book. I’ll be putting on final touches of format, aiming to deliver this book as a missive, the product of over a decade and a half of development and writing. I am blessed to have publicists to visit during this stay; you may see  evidence at this site of changes reflecting the preparation for eventually launching the book. I love that this has become a more team oriented project over time, since meeting a wonderful, encouraging Agent nearly 5 years ago, to following her inspiration to constantly improve upon the product for the prospective reading public, to securing a contract and procuring a publicizing agency with people as wonderful as my Agent is, to enlisting a great friend who is expert at graphics and another with a professional editing past, and sharing all of this process with friends, colleagues, and family too.

This ends the Departure phase as tomorrow I’ll begin the full encounter with the mythic stuff of the adventure itself. It will begin by visiting my mother at her nursing home tomorrow. Nearly ninety and with late stage Parkinson’s, Mom is one who is forging her Life Path  day by day now, showing all of us that pain and infirmity are less important to her than life itself; perhaps rather I should say, than love itself.  Her endurance is an act of love for all her family and friends. I hope deeply that there is even more than meets the eye to her lingering life experience. I feel she is already in the course of a beautiful inner transformation in ways not obvious to us from the outside. I hope she is preparing spiritually for the best leap forward in Crossing the Threshold to her next life that she possibly can; like the Monarch butterfly gradually emerging from her chrysalis.

May I be so fortunate as to give my All to life and to the Spirit in All; or rather, to immerse as a vehicle for Love Itself!

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

 

 

 

DEPARTURE—The Separation Phase of Your Adventure!

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Every Rites of Passage adventure consists of three phases of ritual activities: Separation, Transition—I like to call this, Transformation—, and Reintegration. The initial SEPARATION phase launches the person or group of ‘ritual passengers’ into their Adventure. It is usually marked in a formal rites of passage cycle by distinguishing the Adventurer in various ways as no longer in her/his ‘old’ state but not yet in the ‘new’ state s/he seeks to attain as the Quest of their adventure.

I love the scene in the very first Star Wars movie (Episode 4: A New Hope) when Luke Skywalker stands on a hill at dusk watching the double sunset and feeling the desire to depart the way of life he has known to embark on a greater adventure. This is the beginning of Luke’s Call to Adventure. His Departure begins shortly thereafter, first when he departs his uncle’s compound to find the renegade R2D2 and encounters his Mage Teacher, the Jedi Knight Obiwan Kenobi. The second stage of the Departure is when Luke leaves his home planet, but perhaps we will come back to that set of scenes as Crossing the Threshold.

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Luke is marked for Departure by his show of restlessness with his uncle and aunt just before his longing gaze into the double sunset.  When he (upon his second departure on the Millennial Falcon) receives his weapon of the Light Saber from his Teacher, this separates Luke from all others as he is from then on in training to become a rare spiritual warrior of the Jedi Order.

Very common ensignia of Separation accompanying the Departure stage of an heroic adventure would be donning a uniform or cutting one’s hair (e.g. for a military boot camp, or Yentl’s shearing of her feminine identity in cutting her hair in order to be able to study as a Hasidic scholar). One sheds their old identity and prepares to confront the ordeals of the transitional/ transformational Passage.

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As I approach retirement in a few months over a year from now, I have already begun the Separation process so as to allow and to prepare well for this Departure.  I am on sabbatical from my professor role this semester, which is a form of semi-retirement (though busy, as my retirement will also be).  I do not hold myself to the same normal schedule of a regular workaday semester. I wear jeans more than not even at the office. I close the office door unless I have a known appointment. All of these mark my intention (to myself and coworkers and students) to shift identities; no longer Chair of my department, now I begin a more liminal, transitional passage.

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images are from pixabay.com

It is helpful and important to MARK yourself as being in Separation from your earlier way of life if you are to step boldly into the next phase of your adventure. The more clearly and distinctively you can separate yourself from your normal routines and activities, the better!  As you mark your Separation you create at least the shell or form of your new identity. You must shed your Old or outmoded way of life in order to move confidently into the New mode you aim to achieve that will bring you Fulfillment of your deep aspirations.

What new Adventure are you aiming to undertake that can help orient and launch you in an appropriate direction to Live Your Dream, Now? How will you MARK your Separation as one ready to Depart?

I invite YOUR comments and stories!

 

Say Yes!

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Lawrence: Say yes!

Linda: Yes. What did I just agree to?

Lawrence: Fencing! There’s a ten week class starting at

the Community Arts Center this Thursday.

So, at 17, began my adventure of becoming a Fencer and of meeting a dynamic, unusually talented person who would become a close mentor and a friend for life, the fencing teacher who taught and opened my eyes and heart to allowing adventure, spirituality and love of Life into my world. Until that opening conversation with Lawrence, my life was sheltered and small.

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images are from pixabay.com

This was my Call to Adventure. It opened opportunities and exposed me to ideas and adventures that have shaped my life’s journey ever since.

 

Say Yes! to YOUR adventure, whatever it may be.

 

“Yes I said Yes I said YES!”

(Molly Bloom, from James Joyce’s Ulyssses)

January 20, 2017: Revolution? A Call to Adventure!

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As an interim post this week, I just want to share about how I am seeing the US political transition as a Call to Adventure on a major scale for America and perhaps the world and all its species. This is no small moment!

I graduated high school in 1972, so I was witness to the 1960’s revolution in consciousness that ushered in many positive (to me) values such as inclusiveness and gender equity (post 1970’s) as THEMES that seemed (to me) to be coming closer to fruition with Obama’s 8 years in the presidency.

Now all is shifting. On the surface it appears the direction of shift is AWAY from all those values that began to be addressed in the 1960’s. Are we at another moment of consciousness revolution to arrive at a greater level of positive transformation—or, NOT? My limited viewpoint tells me (for me):

THIS IS A CALL TO ADVENTURE;

A CALL TO ACTION!

Of course, there are many directions of ACTION to take. Protesting is one (I will march in the Denver Women’s March on Saturday.)

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Also DIALOGUE is imperative. We must be able to have a conversation across party lines. We ALL have so much at stake, including the planet and all of its species’s survival. Whether the current climate change is natural/cyclic or human made, it is real and we need to do something about it, Now.

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images are from pixabay.com

Oh well.  For me, it is time to ACT, again. Time to sing, write, share, LISTEN.

The Adventure is Begun!

The Road Ahead

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The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the Door where It began,

Now evermore the Road does lead

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet

Until It joins some larger Way

Where many paths and errands meet,

And whither then?

I cannot say.

–  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I had some difficulty formatting this poem from The Hobbit for my recent post on “Better Beginnings,” yet it is so apt to our monthly theme of “The Call to Adventure” that I repeat it here as I recall the poem from my initial reading of The Hobbit some 43 years ago.

I first memorized and used this poem when I was 19. I was adventuring for the summer of my freshman college year in Yakutat, Alaska.  I worked at a crab and salmon cannery there that summer. I was traveling with a good friend, Barb. One day—which became one of many similar days—we were hiking some five miles along a dirt road through a primeval Ponderosa Pine forest that led to a beach unpeopled for hundreds of miles.

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The Forest was higher, I realized as I walked along that primitive pathway, than the skyscrapers of New York City. In the City I would feel daunted, but in the Forest leading to the Ocean I felt connected with the whole of Nature and Life Itself.

I started reciting “The Road” song that Bilbo Baggins wrote (as I recall the story from way back then) in The Hobbit. It mirrored directly the experience I was having as Barb and I trekked through the primeval Forest.

The ROAD goes Ever ON and ON…

Down from the DOOR where IT Began…

And EVER MORE the ROAD does lead,

And I must FOLLOW, IF I CAN…

PURSUING IT with weary feet

Until it joins SOME LARGER WAY

Where many paths and errands MEET,

And whither then?

I CANNOT SAY.

Reciting “The Road” song from The Hobbit over and over again like a mantra while walking hours through a remote Alaskan pine forest became prophetic for me of my entire lifetime of spiritual adventure and travel. Within a year of returning from this Alaskan odyssey I discovered a spiritual path (Eckankar, which does not necessarily endorse the ideas I express in this blog) which has brought much freedom, love and joy into my life.  I discovered this path first in a dream of returning on a bus from my Alaska adventure, then connected outwardly with my spiritual path less than a week later after encountering a woman who was in my dream! I have followed that Road ever since.

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Here is a creative technique I offer that I have been using myself this week.  Close your eyes as if to daydream (enter a light contemplation state). Imagine THREE ROADS leading off slightly to your left, ahead forward, and slightly to your right (imagine more than three if you choose; this is for you to develop as you please).

Explore each pathway with your imagination; where does each Road lead? If these represent alternate futures (which is how I have been envisioning them this week), which is the Way for you to go forth in your life in order to realize and fulfill your deepest sense of life Purpose and Mission?

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images are from pixabay.com

Maybe one of these pathways is your current best way forward, but the others might hold potentials to integrate into that direction, so your path forward does not have to sacrifice one set of qualities or values in order to embrace a greater Whole.

I welcome your comments and stories!

 

Time Out of Time

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With this month’s theme of the Call to Adventure, I offer you an invitation. Do something amazing this week or even today: take ‘time out of time’ to take or plan for an Adventure!

Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way suggested taking yourself on an “artist’s date” at least once per week. For her that meant do something out of the ordinary that can stimulate your Inner Artist.   Take a different way home from work, go to a movie, or do anything that departs from your normal routine.

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Likewise I invite you to exercise your creative license; to play Hookie, not necessarily once per week but when you hear the Call!

When I was a senior in high school, although I was a good student and enjoyed my classes, about once every couple of weeks I skipped classes and left campus altogether! Usually on these ‘hookie’ excursions I simply hoofed it: I walked 3 miles or so to my home town. There I would loaf about, meandering and most importantly journaling, then later in the day I often visited a special mentor who had taught me fencing and since then talked with me about everything from reading and writing to music, religion and philosophy.

These outings were delightfully self-liberating ‘times out of time.’ They allowed me time to play, to creatively explore my own freedom.  During a formative time of my life this self-liberation was a launching pad for my eventual life career and creativity.

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images are from pixabay.com

So go ahead, play hookie!  Shake up the old routine in any way you can! You might find new answers, new pathways of adventure that can lead you to wondrous new frontiers!

I welcome your comments and stories.

The Road to Sedona– A Transformational Travel Tale

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“A Going and a Return”… such is the ‘heroic adventure journey’ potential in all travel.

I have certainly experienced many times feeling that I am a different person before and after a significant travel adventure has occurred.

Some years ago I took a road trip with a friend, from Buffalo, New York to Arizona. I was scouting out whether I might wish to move to Arizona to continue graduate studies; which, largely from this experience, I did! I travelled with an older lady friend from my spiritual group, Grace. In addition to aiming to visit Arizona State University—where later I attended grad school for 14 years—we wanted to visit Sedona, rather as a metaphorical pilgrimage at the time (1978).

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In Effingham, Illinois, the Greyhound bus we were on broke down. Half the passengers shifted to another bus that would bypass Sedona, but we waited for one that would let us actually switch to a Trailways bus that would go right through the heart of Sedona. I met at this point a woman, Toni, who was on the same bus with her grandmother. We became immediate though temporary friends as kindred souls, our group of four forming a friendly set.

On the road to Sedona,

Where all is Sadhana

(chorus from a song that expanded throughout the cross-country bus trip)

In Albuquerque a major drama began.  After a break stop, we were to be leaving on the last Greyhound out of Albuquerque that night, around midnight. Grace met a woman who introduced herself as a police woman and said she was trying to apprehend a murderer trying to get out of New Mexico! She showed Grace her badge and me too, when Grace introduced me to her. As we went to get back on the bus, two men who had not purchased tickets at the normal ticketing window gave cash to the bus driver and got onto the bus. One of them, with a recently shaved head, sat in the front seat right in front of me and Grace. He draped a serape with a metallic bulge in its pocket over his seat, resting his head on the bulge. Then he slowly pulled out a cigarette (illegal in the 1st several rows of seats then), stared toward the bus driver, and muttered, “Goodbye New Mexico, forever!” The other man sat kitty-corner behind us on the other side of the bus, holding tightly to a paper bag.

This man met the description the police woman had shared with Grace, so she got off the bus to tell the lady about him. She came back saying the police woman was afraid to act because of all the other passengers. I got off and also tried to convince the police woman that this man fit her description. She said,” You’d better just get back on the bus.” As I did so, the bus driver gave me a look of warning, like “Don’t make waves.”

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So the bus got rolling again and I turned around and whispered my suspicions about this man to Toni, who had been our major organizer when the bus had broken down in Illinois. Toni sent the message by relay whispers throughout the entire bus, until it reached the other man across and behind from us. Suddenly he started rustling that brown bag loudly, and coughing, to get the man we suspected’s attention. I was afraid then that I had jeopardized everyone on the bus, so I became very hyper-alert.

At a Winslow, AZ wayside café stop, the man with the bag stayed close to my and Toni’s group, sitting near enough to listen in on our conversation. Meanwhile Lurch (my name by then for the murder-suspect from the frontseat) never came into the café at all. He paced outside and at one point he turned to put his face—nose pressed!—up against the glass window to stare us down. Back onto the bus, and again a–this time–rather scared look of caution from the bus driver.

The next three hours I will never forget. It was around 2-5:30 AM on the bus. For fear that I had possibly endangered the passengers, I entered into one of the deepest contemplation/meditative experiences of my life. I sang a spiritual word and focused inwardly on connecting with inner guidance and illuminating the situation. Then something weird occurred. Around 5 or so, other passengers apparently started perceiving the possible threat as a joke. There was audible talk around the bus about “who was going to be the 1st person taken to the back lavatory on the bus and shot!” This was surreal conversation to me, as I continued to contemplate deeply. Something then changed in me; my state of consciousness shifted. I opened my eyes around 5:30 and looked out at the desert as we were approaching Flagstaff, with the sacred San Franscisco Peaks just ahead to our West. I said to Toni, “You know, people think that the Desert is dead and barren, but it isn’t. Look! It is teeming with Life!”

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Lurch then audibly groaned. He turned his head slowly around and locked his sallow eyes onto mine; then he uttered slowly, “So, … how do you feel … about YOUR Life?”

Because my deep contemplation had brought me to a heightened level of consciousness, I simply beamed back at Lurch, held his gaze and answered brightly, “Hi! How Are You!” Lurch groaned again and turned to place his head back onto that metallic bulge in his serape pocket.

When we reached the Flagstaff bus station, Lurch and his friend got off, Lurch saying once again, “Goodbye, New Mexico, Forever!” I was ready to propel myself out ahead of him to get security if he would have tried anything on his way out. But we never saw him again.

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We switched to a Trailways bus that took us for a touring route through Sedona. Once we rounded the bend opening onto the Red Rock majesty of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon, Language left me. I couldn’t speak, as if to utter a word to categorize a ‘mountain’ or ‘red sand’ would be to sever it from the WHOLE that this space and everything within it and around it, IS. Later I would understand this was a cosmic consciousness experience.  Toni said, “It’s like Love; It cannot be contained.” She got it; I was speechless.

Here’s the poem from that day when I discovered a special Eagles’ Nest spot (as I call it) overlooking the canyon:

The Canyon

It is drawing me into Its depths

and will contain me,

Yet in that instant It shall free me

until me-ness dissolves beyond

eternity,

Where Just IS-ness

is

******   ******

Have you had a transformational travel experience? I invite you to share your insights and stories!

The Allure of Travel–Promptings

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It is Prompts Tuesday at Better Endings for the weekly topic of Travel. How does travel help you to attain Better Endings or how have you used travel to facilitate Better Endings in your life? I was sharing yesterday about how I usually try to think of a trip away from the usual routine as a Vision Quest. Do you do that too? I find that setting up my trip focused around answering a significant question in my life helps me to frame the trip as a spiritual quest or adventure.

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Here are some prompts you can use to focus on Travel Better Endings:

  • Travel as a means to jump-start your focus
  • Travel to ‘shake out the cobwebs’
  • Travel for the sake of travel and Adventure
  • Travel to consider future relocation
  • Travel because of longtime association with a place (like to check out a reincarnation feeling)
  • Business travel
  • Family travel
  • Relationship partner travel
  • Newlywed travel stories
  • Road trip stories
  • Travel as a pilgrimage
  • Travel to relocate
  • Driving vs plane or train travel
  • Travelling inward
  • Hiking/ camping travels
  • Travel with your pet(s)

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I invite you to write or talk about or contemplate/meditate about or artistically represent your own reflections on one or more (or another) of the above themes. I welcome your insights, comments and stories!

 

Friends, For Ever!

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In Pennsylvania, between 2nd grade and 7th, my very best friend was Karin Moody. We learned and played violin together, played outside as being horses, cowboys & Indians, WWII Germans & Americans, Barbie & Ken. We would use ‘golden books’ as walls to build a mansion for our Ken and Barbie dolls on top of and beneath our family’s ping-pong table, then we would play-fantasy in that space for weeks. I was Ken: a secret agent like Napoleon Solo, a millionaire horse rancher, world adventurer, astronaut, teacher, or soldier. Barbie and Ken were best buds. We had plastic horses to ride, and ceramic dogs and cats that turned out to look just like several pet friends I have had in my life later on.

Living in Pennsylvania, we didn’t only have to imagine. There were horse farms all around that we would ride our bikes to. Two ranchers let us kids from the neighborhood clean out stalls, pitch hay, and brush & water the horses. In return we could ride–often bareback–especially the young colts that needed us ‘wee’ riders to break them in for riding.

And there were WOODS–amazing woods, deep woods, with huge boulders, trails and creeks winding through them. In summers we kids nearly lived in those woods. We would pack bag lunches and hike off to our favorite boulders by the creek, clambering on top to have our picnic, then play. We played Star Trek and all sorts of adventure roles. We knew the trees, the plants, how and where to ford the raging creek. We discovered our freedom there, and created a space for childhood solace. Pennsylvania–Penn’s Woods–was a great place to be a kid.

Karin moved to Florida while we were in 6th grade. After 7th grade, I moved with my family to near Niagara Falls. I saved babysitting money all year in 8th grade so I could visit Karin in Ft. Lauderdale, the summer that Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon! Karin visited me once in Niagara Falls, too, but after that, we lost contact and drifted into late teen years and after.

I remember Karin–and her wonderfully supportive, also adventuresome mother, Doris–AS my Childhood. Our friendship was a time for play, a space for dreaming, with limitless hope and imagining. We experienced and envisioned so much together: took trains to downtown movies or to go to the Philadelphia Philharmonic together, just us. We learned to be responsible travelers that way, and stoked our love of freedom and adventure that has never left me, ever since.

No matter what else might have been happening around us while we were ‘growing up’, Karin and I had each other to rely on. I’ll never forget being in my family’s kitchen on the phone with Karin when she had to tell me her father had committed suicide that day; he turned on the exhaust in the garage. He had lost his job and couldn’t bear to tell his wife, Karin’s mom. But we endured. Then a neighbor woman, next door to my family, also committed suicide, with a rifle her son had taught her how to use. Obviously, the adult world was fraught with tensions and hardship. But, at that time, as long as we had our friendship–and, for me, my sisters and brother; Karin herself was an only child–life would go on with relative surety into a future when we would eventually need to become adults, ourselves. But we would hold onto our childhood awareness, creativity, appreciation of Nature and animals and friendship itself, always.

Even now at 59, when I come home from work to contemplate or to walk my dog and be with my cats, and write, I am “Little Linda” still; Karin’s–and since then, also some other buddies’–Friend.

Your Origin Story — “I Am Who I Am Today, Because…”

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All Peoples, as well as individual persons, have an Origin Story. How you answer the journaling prompt, “I am who I am today, because…” frames your construction of meaningful shaping factors; the most significant people, places and situations influencing the person you have become. Just as a stimulus so that YOU will start journaling on this topic, here is a brief response of my own:

I am who I am today because…I both feared and loved a father who both inspired me and fostered in me deep inhibitions. My complex relationship with him led to relationships with complex individuals ever since. Yet there is more. I am who I am today because of the spiritual essence of who I AM as Soul, independently of this specific lifetime or personality. I believe the outer circumstances mirror the inner ambitions and lessons I am here to learn and apply as a Soul with potentials both within and beyond this lifetime. 

You are, of course, so much more than merely the product of your early or major influences. Yet, as you embark on your own adventure in Life Mapping it is helpful to recall where you have come from in order to better reflect upon where it is you would like to arrive. For that is the aim of Life Mapping; ultimately it is to chart a clearer course so you can Live Your Dream, Now!

Wherever you are in relation to your deepest values and goals, Life Mapping can help you to clarify your Vision and to embrace your highest potentials. As you set out upon your Heroic Adventure, consider this beautiful poem from Cavafy, “Ithaca”, which you may take along with you on your Journey:

Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

                              — Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

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Feel free to share, publicly or privately if you wish, insights you gain from writing or contemplating this Origin Story prompt, Step I of your Life Mapping adventure at betterendingsnow.com. And always, if you enjoy this site, you may Follow to receive daily Better Endings by email, and I hope that you will Share with your Friends.