Hint: Listen to the Icicles

If I was a poet

I’d write about roads

And I’d write about words

 

And warmth and rain

I’d try to capture the sound of sunshine

I’d dream up a new star

 

If I was a poet

I’d know the secrets of blue and gold

And I’d be able to tell you

All the ways life whispers

 

Can you hear it?

I can.

But I’m not a poet.

 

 

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I Visited The Georgia Guidestones Today

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I drove through some gorgeous back highways of South Carolina and Georgia to reach Elberton, GA.

I pulled in and there was a stylish woman there with a camera and a tripod.

I walked over and said Hello.

She said “Hi, I’ve been waiting for you.”

Or waiting for someone… lol

Meredith is a University of Georgia student working on her senior thesis. She’s into exploring Georgia’s oddities. She’d been there an hour and I was the first person to appear.

I’m not going to say much about the Georgia Guidestones except that some people refer to them as America’s Stonehenge, and there’s a bit of controversy about it all. If you are intrigued – google it. There is much of interest to read and consider.

I enjoyed it very much. There’s something special and awesome about the place. I stayed for a few hours hanging out with Meredith, being interviewed, modeling, suggesting shots, watching her interview the few other folks who came by, and helping with her voiceover thoughts and clips.

Perhaps later I’ll have a link to the interview she did with me.

For now – here’s some photos from the day.

IMG_1234 IMG_1236  IMG_1330 IMG_1423 IMG_1427 IMG_1487IMG_1532IMG_1631IMG_1272    IMG_1789IMG_1756

Edit 12-30-2013

I got this link from Meredith and thought I’d share it here –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3nw6_a8ndk

Goin’ Walkabout… or something like that.

This is the rough draft I wrote for a speech I gave the other night.

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Somehow I found my way to the very first MoMonday ever in New Haven. That was back in the spring.

Since then I have become friends with Rich DiGirolamo, who is the driving force behind MoMondays in CT.

My use of the term friend is quirky. I don’t call someone friend unless we actually do things together. Maybe we don’t always, or currently, but to get the friend title, we’ve got to spend some real time.

One of the things I love about Rich is that he makes it happen.

Actually. Makes. It. Happen.

When we met, and looked at each other and said “OMG, I love you! We could be friends!” Rich made the first call and said we had to do lunch. Truth be told, I’m not always so good at that. I meet folks I might love to be friends with but I don’t always find the time to pick up the phone. But he made the call, made the plans, made it happen. Just like he does here at MoMondays. He’s making all this happen with sheer will here in New Haven.

That kind of determination and relentless push to get things done inspires me.

You want something done – you gotta make it happen.  No amount of wishing is going to bring results like a couple of well placed actions will.

And I’ll tell you a little secret; If you move through life, always saying “I want X” or “I want Y” and then the chance for it comes along, you’d better jump on that chance. Otherwise your life is just wishes.

Me?

I’ve been walking around this earth for nearly a decade saying I want to get back out on the road. I want to see different scenery every day, eat different places, sleep different places, drive different roads, meet new people, make new friends, and have long conversations into the night with them if at all possible.

My chance to actually do it is now, so I’m taking it.

I’m packing up my car and driving off on December 8th. That’s just over a week from now.

It’s true I’m the script writer for this play I’m starring in, but I’ve often had trouble with the plot.

I’ve always envisioned my life as somewhat of a Hero’s Journey.

Joseph Campbell says we all want to be the Hero.

The Hero has a decent life. Nothing to complain about. Even a life of happiness and contentment. Then he’s called, often without the desire for such, and  somehow given to see a bit of a different life, a different world. It may not be what he wants, but our Hero doesn’t quite say no. Not really. Because this is the way of it. This is the path of things. This is how it goes. Whether she wants it or not, the Hero heads into the new world.

There are challenges. There are ups and downs in this new world. There are pitfalls and beauty and fun.  Sometimes a dangling carrot brings great rewards. And sometimes it only nets a carrot. And always. Always. There are dragons to slay.

I wanted this story. The excitement. The adventure. But I couldn’t see how this plotline related to my life of late. So much of my life’s excitement, travel,  and adventure happened when I was younger. But it’s always been sort of a dream of mine to have this mythic life.

And then, last week, a close friend of mine with whom I was sharing all this, pointed out something very interesting. It’s all just a matter of flipping the story on its head.

I’ve always been aware that the key to happiness is to constantly readjust what you know, believe and feel, to suit both your reality and your story.

You are the author of your own life. This play is yours to construct.

If you don’t like your story, create a new story.

And if you saw me the last time I spoke here you know I wasn’t much liking my story. After traveling the country in a van for nearly a decade I came home for family reasons and to be with my mom during a rough time and I ended up starting a cafe. It was a very successful business for a while and I loved it for 13 or 15 years. But the sameness of my days began to wear on me until I felt like my life had been reduced to ordering large cups.

I was pretty unhappy deep down. I wasn’t living the Hero’s Journey I felt I needed and wanted.

And if you were here before, you know that I began to make the changes that would bring my life back in line with this blueprint I’d always had for myself. A life of excitement, adventure, new people and new scenery.

I got rid of the majority of my material possessions. I sold the Coffeehouse and stumbled blindly around doing little bits of things that helped other people free themselves from clutter and objects that add little value to their lives, because for the moment, that was something I could understand. Though for a few years now I’ve been unable to move myself past that stage.

And with a simple flick of the wrist, my friend last week, flipped my whole story around and I’ve seen it all in a new light that I find exciting and exhilarating.

I know now that this sojourn in Connecticut was my long dark night of the soul. Okay that sounds a bit dramatic, because truthfully it was fun and fulfilling for a damn long time. But it became tedious. A burden.

And there were dragons to slay.

I lost my mom, to cancer. I miss her every day. Selling the business I’d poured my heart and soul into for 17 years. Getting rid of my possessions. Selling, just recently, my childhood home. Dealing with releasing old loves that no longer suit me.

But I’ve done it.

I’ve killed those dragons.

I’ve completed all the quests and like a video game, I get to move on to a new level .

And like the Hero on her journey, I get to return home now.

I get to go back on the road.

My chance is here and I’ve said I wanted it for so long, that I have to take it.

I’d be full of horse hockey if I said I knew what the road holds for me now. I haven’t a clue.

I’m going alone, if you’re wondering.

And one of the things that pushed me over the edge into actually doing this…

I have a friend on facebook. We knew each other in grade school and I haven’t seen her in 35 years. Last month she took a solo trip to Italy for 3 weeks. I was so impressed. I asked her what prompted this and she said “Because I always promised myself I’d go to Italy before I turned 50, and since I’m turning 50 next year I decided to get on it.”

That echoed in my head for a couple of weeks and I knew I was about to get on it.

I’m terrified. Of course I am. This is HUGE.

But I’m also open. Completely open. And ready.

And I’m going back out on the road.

In ten days.

I don’t want any of this to sound like I’m tooting my own horn or like I think I’m better than anyone else – “Hey look at what I get to do.”

But it’s the people who get out there and get going on what they want, the one who get things done and make things happen who inspire me.

So I hope to inspire you.

To never give up on the dreams you have.

To always keep your eyes open for the opportunities.

To make a new story if you have to.

And to remain open to the world and all the beautiful souls who inhabit it.

And if you do all that, and if you’re really lucky…

You just might meet a new friend who’ll give you the opportunity to stand on the stage at MoMondays and tell your story.

Thanks Rich.

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P.S. Yes. I’ll be blogging about my journey here on this blog.

What Not To Wear

What’s in your closet? Do you even know?

I’m trying to get a handle on the process I went through – after the fact.

Having determined that I was weighed down by entirely too much of everything I set about to remedy this. I took the first step with books. At around the same time I took steps in the clothing department – an area I believe most of us Americans (especially women) experience extreme excess.

I decided that the best way to get a handle on what clothes I owned vs. what clothes I wear was to stop doing laundry. Seriously.

The goal was to wear everything in my closet and drawers. Obviously when one stops doing laundry the favorite clothes are gone in 10 days or two weeks. Then we move into the second level of clothes one likes. After 5 weeks or so it begins to get a little desperate (and I must point out that there IS a need to do a little load here and there of essentials – read: bras and towels in my case.) After a couple more days (or weeks) one gets down to only the clothes one wouldn’t be caught dead actually wearing. Best just to let those go – face it, you’re REALLY not going to wear any of it. That was kind of easy – this stuff was garbage.

It’s hard for me to find clothes I actually like, ergo it’s hard for me to get rid of clothes once I own them. After the no-laundry experiment, once I’d washed everything and put it all back in an impressively organized manner, I looked at it all again. There’s some stuff I might be able to do without. So I took some things and I removed them – at least temporarily; put them in a big plastic crate and hid them away. I figured that if I don’t go looking for them, don’t miss them, then I don’t REALLY need them. It was late winter, so I focused on spring and summer clothes. I filled a crate and stashed it in the back of my closet.

There was a time or two when I wanted a particular shirt or pair of pants, couldn’t find them, and went into the crate. There they were, so they went back into rotation. While I might paw through the crate looking for a particular something, I made great efforts to pay no attention to what else was in there.

Six months later I looked in the crate, this time to SEE what was there. Any of those spring and summer clothes I’d not needed or gone hunting for should be considered unnecessary. But I was realistic too. If there was something in there that I’d buy right this minute if I saw it on a rack at the consignment store, I let that slip back into the closet. Everything else went to the consignment store if they’d take it and to Goodwill if they didn’t.

I refilled the crate with things I might not miss and that currently sits in the back of my closet again. The whole thing is a process – anyone who tells you it can be done in a weekend or a month is full of it.

After the great no-laundry experiment and after ditching at least 2 plastic bags full of clothes, in February this is what was in my closet –

3 scarves

2 fringe jackets (when was the last time I even wanted to wear these?)

17 skirts

28 button down shirts

1 long sleeve shirt

2 turtlenecks

2 cat suits

19 sleeveless shirts on hangers

2 winter coats

2 fall/spring coats

4 costume dresses

4 dressy dresses – mid-length

5 dressy jackets

13 casual dresses (7 long, 6 short)

2 robes

36 pairs of pants – hanging

9 pairs of pants – folded

11 bath sized towels

39 tank tops – folded

7 sleeping shorts

13 sleeping shirts

14 leggings

12 tights

32 pairs of socks

42 pair of underwear

17 bras

2 lounge pants

3 swimsuits

11 tee shirts – historical personal value – not for wearing

That’s still an awful lot of clothes. Perhaps you can see how easy it was for me to go something like 10 weeks without doing laundry. Aren’t I lucky to be American? I do not say this facetiously. How many women in this world get by on 2 ratty bras and 10 old pair of underwear? Or less? How many women in the world own 2 or 3 dresses only?

I’ve heard of women who have in their closets something like – 3 skirts, 2 dresses, 4 or 5 pair of pants, 8 shirts and 3 jackets. And they live fine with this! They don’t feel a lack of clothes. They mix and match and appear well dressed! I’m not there yet. I still have too many clothes – many more clothes than I ought to need.

Every week I try to whittle it down somewhat, somehow. The process is not glamorous.

When I take off my underwear at the end of the day – if it’s a pair that was loose, or tight, or uncomfortable in any way – I throw them in the trash – not the laundry basket. Same with bras. I’m trying now with the theory – Do Not Keep Anything That Isn’t Top Quality.

I am certain I have not gotten rid of nearly enough clothing yet, still, but when it’s so hard to find what I like it is truly hard to let it go.

I’m gonna do a quick experiment – I’m gonna copy off that list above (from 8 months ago) and compare it to what’s in my closets and drawers right now… (Wish me luck.)

Same – 3 scarves

Gone – 2 fringe jackets

13 skirts – 17 skirts

25 now – 28 button down shirts

Same – 1 long sleeve shirt

Gone – 2 turtlenecks

Gone – 2 cat suits

Same (I wear them all – I made sure of it!) – 19 sleeveless shirts on hangers

Same – 2 winter coats

Same – 2 fall/spring coats

Same – 4 costume dresses

Same – 4 dressy dresses – mid-length

2 now – 5 dressy jackets

16 now (crap! I went shopping!) – 13 casual dresses (7 long, 6 short)

Same – 2 robes

29 now (this includes some inadvertent shopping.) – 36 pairs of pants – hanging

7 now – 9 pairs of pants – folded

Same – 11 bath sized towels

Same (there was some shopping and change-out. I love tank tops.) – 39 tank tops – folded

Same – 7 sleeping shorts

8 now – 13 sleeping shirts

Same – 14 leggings

9 now – 12 tights

34 now??? – 32 pairs of socks

35 now  – 42 pair of underwear

Same (there has been some change-out, call it upgrading.) – 17 bras

Same – 2 lounge pants

2 now – 3 swimsuits

Same – 11 tee shirts – historical personal value – not for wearing

Tally = Minus 40 things, plus 5.

I suppose that’s better than plus 10 or 20 over 8 months time – right?

Obviously I could do more here, though I have made a good system for rotation and making sure I wear everything I own – for if I won’t/don’t wear it, what’s the point of keeping it? The list would have more impressive cutbacks if I’d counted before the great no-laundry experiment but I didn’t and so it goes.

Now – I ask again – do you really know what’s in your closet?

I dare you to make a list…