Monday, December 28, 2009
I’m not winning this game of Life…because I don’t expect to. There are lots of old beliefs lurking in the back ground waiting to be brought up into the foreground. And there’s nothing like family to help that process. Christmas Eve I found myself sitting in the midst of exactly what had manifested on the board just the night before. My family gathered at my sister and brother-in-law’s beautiful North Shore home. As a bankruptcy attorney, he’s hit a few paydays this year. My sister and I, Irish Twins, grew up in the same environment … how is it that we came away with such varied, drastically different experiences and beliefs regarding money??? Here was my family gifting me with the awareness as to exactly where I needed to clean house! What hit me square on was that my family hasn’t expected me to breeze through the game of Life, because I don’t expect to. Deep down inside, I don’t believe it myself. They were alerting me to some serious flaws in my thinking! Time to get rid of what was no longer serving me regarding my experiences with money; time to reframe the past!
Back down into the dungeon I went and found a lot of deep rooted shame and anxiety surrounding money. When I have money, I’m supposed to share it…give it away… I don’t deserve it, so I should just get rid of it…fear of never having enough money for what I need and never any for what I want…guilt for using it to pay for something I want…fear of not being able to manage it…fear of the work involved in managing it…WOW! Money has been creating some serious pain for me for a long time! Not the association I desire to have with money.
The Universe does provide for all who are open to receive! Carol Tuttle happened to show up in my inbox. Her free video helped me coach myself through these issues I discovered regarding money. It may be worth an hour of your time as well.
Here’s wishing you all a prosperous New Year!!! Life IS a game! Play it!
Monday, December 14, 2009
That Saturday, I took a break from the tree project and set out on my motorcycle in upper 50 degree temps to meet an endearing friend for lunch and a ride. Having never gone for a ride in SE Wisconsin in late November, it was a real treat for the eyes and soul.
Stark naked trees exposing their core - their complex branches revealing everything around them that had been hidden by their summer foliage - had me scanning familiar turf with child-like wonder and amazement. The mysteries and treasures beyond the masks I had been accustomed astonished me! Little lakes, ponds, and streams that had been hidden were now exposing themselves, giving my world an entirely new perspective. How exciting and enticing the familiar becomes when one’s perspective is changed.
I know there are mysteries and treasures beyond my own masks. When I choose to look at my life situations and circumstances from an entirely different perspective, mysteries, magic, and treasures are exposed there as well.
As the hot cup of tea I’m drinking warms my body, the conversation with my friend of 22 years warms my soul. Trying to read something at the coffee shop, we laugh about our fading eyesight. I can see how the years have changed us physically, yet I'm inspired by how the dwindling of our eyesight has coincided with the increased vision of our hearts. It’s really not a matter of what you see, but how you choose to see that’s key.
Two weeks have passed. A 12 inch blanket of snow covering the landscape wass the perfect backdrop for the 11th annual Ladies Christmas Party. The conversation, affection, and laughter gave me the sense of riding by naked trees in late November. There are no masks being worn. All of who we are is comfortably exposed as we enjoy the magic of each other’s friendship.
Christmas Right and Left 2009
Here we are again, right in the same place we were left standing last year. Another year has passed right by and left us graced with the right gifts; one another, once again.
I see this as a year in which many have begun to head down the right path, the road of re-discovering who it is they truly are as an individual, and where the right fit for them is in this world.
Our old ways of living are being left on the wayside as we begin to create a new reality…a life uniquely right for each of us…a life which is created when the job is left to one’s imagination and intuition. So, set yourself free to imagine all that feels right and only wonderful things will be left to happen for you.
Though it may not happen right away, trust that no matter the circumstances and no matter whether you choose the road to the right or to the left, as long as you continue moving forward, you’re on the right road.
Utilize your experiences and friends…those that have come right in, as well as those that have left… as teachers and stepping stones taking you toward a life just right for you. Learn to do what feels right in your heart regardless of what your left brain may be telling you.
As you move forward into another year, hang onto the memories of all that felt right and continue to move forward…the shit can be left behind…it served the right purpose.
Take the wisdom you’ve been left with and share it with someone so they can discover their own right life, the life they were left here to live. You’re still right here and the band is still playing the right tune for you, so put your left foot forward and dance!
Right now, I want you to think back to a happy time this year…a really, really happy time. Go back to a time where you felt so right on…so light, so right you thought you might float. Remember it…remember how right it felt…that feeling has never left you…the joy of that moment…feeling right about yourself and right about life right at that moment. Feel what it feels like when the unfettered thoughts of the future and oblivion of the past have left you…Now, feel that right-on feeling a little bit longer.
And once you have left here tonight, keep feeling that feeling, that right-on feeling all year through because the gift you will be left with is pure joy. And if you feel like you’ve been left in the muck, I know a really good life coach…she’s right here!
Merry Christmas, my dear friends! Abundant happiness and inner peace are yours in the New Year…but only if you believe it!
Expose your Self this year!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The back roads took me into the small town of Fort Atkinson. As I meandered through the curves in route to the main drag, right above me in the crystal blue sky was a spectacular performance. Two eagles, flying high and dancing in the sun. I was right there with them, flying high and dancing my favorite dance in the sun, as well.
Eagles always have a powerful message for me, aside from the fact that seeing them around these parts is almost as common as a 62 degree day in mid-November. The instantaneous halt to any mind chatter and the surge of energy when I see them; followed by an intense calm…inner peace…pure love… is exactly what I experience. Practicing this state of being on my motorcycle, reminds me to practice bringing that feeling into my day to day experiences. I love how nature is always there providing me with these lessons!
A friend just “happened” to send this poem my way November 23rd, describing the Symptoms of Inner Peace. It’s exactly what I strive to experience when I ride, both my motorcycle and my life! It’s an experience available at any given moment; making a connection with nature…with Source Energy.
November 24th, driving north along a major state highway just past the Interstate, passing by an intermingling of farm lands and subdivisions, I was practicing mantras to achieve a state of inner peace. Suddenly, two very large birds swooped across the highway. I immediately knew what they were, so I pulled over. Two bald eagles flew across the road once again, then perched themselves in a tree right next to where I had parked. I watched in absolute amazement, thrilled and filled with a tremendous sense of inner peace!
The eagles have landed and I’m shooting for the moon!
Monday, November 9, 2009
I started the week diligently disciplining myself to practice living as many moments as possible as if they were the last hoorah. As I’m writing this, I realize what caused my derailment mid-week; discipline! I was being way too hard on myself, trying to control rather than shape my thoughts/moods. That led to a string of events, which led to an onslaught of false beliefs pummeling me like a machine gun with infinite rounds of ammunition. I went from joyful, “everything is cool,” “I’m heading in the right direction,” “I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be,” “everything is happening exactly as it should and right on time,” to being absolutely miserable.
The aftermath of a week long antibiotic treatment had me feeling physically miserable. My mind naturally latched onto that misery and created a shitload of drama. It was out to prove that misery loves company. And that’s how the whole snowball effect got started.
I bought into self-pity, having had myself convinced that I was a useless looser, who’d end up broke within 4 months, eligible for food stamps, unable to find work, losing my kids, having to sell my house, being diagnosed with at least three different forms of cancer, a fat, old, ugly maid, blah, blah, blah! Where was all this coming from and why was I believing it??
The knock-down, drag-out, bloody fight between my two boys in the backseat of our Jeep, on the interstate was an inspiration to me. When my kids act up, I ask myself what it is that I am repressing. The answer to that answer was real clear today. I had spent the majority of my day beating the shit out of myself and there they were, expressing my repressions. That incident shifted my perspective and I was able to see the light! If I wanted things to change, I’d have to change what I was thinking. Thus, the transformation began.
The next morning I hit the tredmill as opposed to the trail due to rain. The only way for me to make it six miles on a treadmill is to crank up my iPod. Inspiration beset me as I listened to Dwight Yoakum’s rendition of an old Buck Owens tune, Loves Gonna Live Here Again. That ended up being my mantra for the day. When my actions and thoughts began to come from a place of love, I became a magnet for joyful experiences and the receptor of inspiring ideas, filling me with energy and life!
The following morning, I startled an eagle while running one of my forest trails. I always know the eagles by the way my body responds to the sightings; every cell feels their magnificence. Driving home, an old Bodeen’s verse in my head, “Everybody wants to be closer to free,” I saw another eagle! The messages of eagle are to love the shadows as well as the light. Follow the joy your heart desires. When you face your fears you will soar.
That evening, while sitting on my deck, I saw two shooting stars! I made my wishes, knowing in my heart that I have the power to make them come true. All it takes is a change of heart. And perhaps a couple of kids to remind me. Who needs Post-it Notes!
***Watch for the release of a new book, Changes of the Heart, being released December 1 and 2. Available at www.amazon.com I’m one of 13 Life Coach co-authors, my chapter title is Motorcycle Medicine.***
Sunday, November 1, 2009
What a difference a week makes! Gusty winds and heavy rains during the past week have left an onslaught of naked trees.
Today I took an incredible hundred mile ride through the nakedness. Knowing it could very well be the last hoorah of the season, I enjoyed every second of it. My excitement had me bouncing off of my seat. At times, I felt as though it were summer even though the temperature struggled to reach 60. The way the sun felt, the calming effect of the blue sky, and the excitement of taking it all in had my appreciation for the present moment escalated. I was tuned in, tapped in, and turned on!
Cruising down the back roads without an agenda had me wondering why I don’t live every day as if it were the last ride of the season. As I studied the landscapes through which I was traveling, observing predominantly naked trees, the wisdom of the trees hit me. The leaves of the trees are gone. There’s nothing left of them other than their core, yet so much more light is now able to shine through.
When we lose all the extensions of who it is we have become, we are left with our core; who it is we truly are. And when we make that discovery, so much more light is free to shine through! The trees relayed a profound message. It’s not what you wear, it’s what’s in your heart. And when you expose your heart, it opens more space for the light.
My intention this week is to choose to live in the state of being like it’s the last ride of the season. In every moment I feel off, I will re-mind myself, with the assistance of a few Post-it Notes, to focus on choosing to feel the way I did when I rode today. I’m going to practice riding every moment like it’s the last hoorah, because truly, every moment is.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Getting ready to take a long ride with the temperature at fifty degrees was a workout! By the time I was ready to put my jacket on over the numerous layers, I had broken out in a sweat. It didn’t take long for the crisp, cool air to let me know I was truly alive…every part of me. I felt areas of my face I haven’t paid much attention to; an experience which was short-lived by the numbness that quickly set in. A good laugh became even funnier when my face didn’t want to move in harmony with my soul.
How vulnerable we are to the elements, be it weather conditions or life circumstances. They can both be paralyzing. It takes a lot of discipline and willpower to crack a smile into a frozen face, but with enough practice and perseverance, you can make it happen.
The sun was shimmering through the vast array of colorful leaves all day long. Vibrant, luminescent yellows, juicy lime greens, fiery reds, playful oranges, tranquil burgundies and plenty of toasty browns…a huge pallet of colors spewed across a brilliant, crisp blue sky, wispy white clouds scattered throughout. Feeling nothing but pure joy, the numbness became irrelevant.
Wicked winds, some weeks back, forced a lot of leaves to fall prematurely this season, giving way to an entirely new view of very familiar roads. Seeing with new eyes, seeing what I couldn’t see before…sometimes blinded by the light….offered a fresh new perspective to what I had been accustomed.
Life is a lot like a fall motorcycle ride. When the conditions change, it’s an opportunity for a change in my perspective and to see an entirely new, beautiful picture illuminated before me. When I discipline my mind to stay out of the way of my heart, I’m filled with joy. I see the beauty in the leaves. Regardless of current conditions, they’re all dancing, even as they’re falling down.
Such is the soul’s mission, to get us to dance regardless of conditions. I have found when I deliberately find joy within myself at any given moment, my soul dances and the subsequent radiance invites wonder and magic in to join me, no matter where I’m at.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I’m feeling like someone just pulled the rug out from underneath me in a very dramatic, quick way. Strong storms with heavy rains and wicked winds swept summer right out of here Sunday night. I’ve been in a funk since.
The clashing of air masses coincided with the clashing of personalities at our house Monday night. It started with him hoping for the mailbox to reveal Pokemon cards I had ordered for him last week. Upon closer inspection, what appeared to be a package for myself was actually the package of cards he had been hoping for. Another lesson from the Universe; what you’re looking for is already here, you just have to open the envelope.
Later that night, I found myself in the midst of a physical battle between my two boys, and a test of wills between myself and my 9 year-old, Wyatt. As I stepped away from the scene, injured hand and bruised self-worth, I realized what my son was screaming into my awareness; I was once again caught up in resisting what is. I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “What is it that you’re doing that he is not shining?”
I was caught up in the fear and dread of an imagined future for myself; my son being the conduit for that message. Children express our repressions! I have proved this to myself on countless occasions. Wyatt was feeling worthless and victimized and wanted to run away and “move some place where there are more trees.”
I thought about how this paralleled to my own thinking. I had been feeling victimized by things I can’t control… the weather…worthless in regard to the endeavors I have been putting energy into with no apparent avail, and feeling like I was needing to be in a forest full of trees to take in nature’s Medicine, creating the space for the voice of my soul to be heard.
I needed to run through the forest in my head to get to the clearing…that still, quiet place beyond all the noise…to clear the space for the miracle amongst the rubble to emerge.
As I sat in a corner of my deck the following day, protected from the wind, letting my body absorb the sun’s gifts, I heard my soul speak; “The wind and the rain come into the life of a tree to make it grow stronger.”
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Over the years, I’ve taken my boys fishing on a lot of area lakes and rivers. The best (meaning biggest) fish ever caught was Schuyler’s 10 inch catfish. Fishing has been pretty much a bum rap for us…we even went to Colorado two years ago to fish; zip, zilch, nada…it was unseasonably hot and the fish weren’t biting for any one.
A little over a week ago, I learned that the hooks, sinkers and bobbers I had on the poles were all the wrong size! No wonder we hadn’t been catching fish!
Monday after school I drove my boys to a trout farm where I knew they’d catch fish for sure. What a gas! They each caught three sizeable trout within 15 minutes! They were reeling them in so fast it was hard to take a picture. Sensing the thrill and excitement of my boys, I thought, every day should be met with the thrill and excitement of catching trout; with child-like wonder and amazement. I began to hear a faint little whisper from my heart; have some fun…go play…let go of your fears, worries, doubts and do what makes you feel like you’re catching your first trout.
RUNNING THROUGH ASPENS
On the forest trail during my morning run, I found myself spinning with incessant thoughts, driving myself deeper into the black hole of fear. I kept trying to go back to the feeling of catching trout but to no avail. As the tears flowed, the painful thoughts I was subjecting myself to, began to dissipate clearing the way for a little self-coaching.
As I ran down the trail, a huge Aspen leaf hit me in the chest; nature was sending me a message.
Aspen’s yellow leaves in fall are a reminder that there is still color and sunshine even though the light is diminishing daily…there is always light to shine in the dark areas of your life where fears and doubts hide. Aspen is relatively short- lived (as most of our fears and doubts are when faced) it is one of those trees that quickly takes root in soil and habitats that are harsh and even burned out…it produces itself quickly…its essence helps us face out fears and doubts…calming to anxieties about changes within our life.
The trout, the Aspen leaf…it’s time to let go of my fears and allow the light to shine on the dark areas I have brought into my experience.
Last Thursday, Lucy needed to go see a specialist. Her engine was requiring some re-mapping to stop her back firing; coincidentally, so was I. She spent the morning with one of my favorite mechanics, (whose expertise is Speed) while I spent the time on his (very fast) V-Rod. Being familiar with what he “does” to motors, I was feeling a bit intimidated about riding his bike; my confidence bolstered a bit when he said, “You look hot on that bike!”
My mind started telling me all kinds of stories! “I’ll just take the bike home, do some work, then jump on the interstate when it’s time to pick mine up. I don’t think I’ll be comfortable on this. I’ll just take the side roads home; go nice and slow.” Then the heart voice started coaching…”Feel the fear and do it any way. F.E.A.R. …Future Events Appearing Real. Fear is your imagination getting you to think about what it is you don’t want and what you think about, you bring about. Ride through your fears, one slow small step at a time. You’ve been conjuring up and believing all kinds of fears for the past week about all kinds of things in your life that aren’t even true; change the thoughts to better feeling thoughts! You’ve been writing a book in your head about all the what-ifs and driving yourself into the black hole of despair! Now, drive this black motorcycle right out of that black hole…What would you do if you weren’t afraid? You have an opportunity here, take it! Remember the message of the Aspen leaf and the lesson from trout fishing.”
So, I did. One block at a time, I fed my fears to the wind regarding the bike, my worries and doubts about Life, and I had a blast! I rode for three hours and enjoyed the shit out of it! I was re-mapped, Lucy was re-mapped and we both stopped back firing! That set the tone for the weekend ahead.
ROLLER COASTING OUT OF THE BLACK HOLE
The weather this September has made for some awesome riding; three straight weeks of 70’s and 80’s without rain, this past weekend was no exception. I woke up Friday morning with the intention of having fun, determined to feel like I just caught my first trout.
With no plan in mind, I set out on the back roads and just let the bike take me in the direction it wanted to go. In and out, over and about, up and down, again and again and again. Feeling like I was on a roller coaster was no coincidence, the message was now louder and clearer; “Have fun! Do what feels good!”
Hey, what’s going on here??? My kids, the trout, the V-rod, Lucy, the roads…there’s a theme running here…they’re all sending the same message! Have fun! Delight in what ever makes your heart sing! So, I did.
Saturday morning I jumped on the Interstate to make a fast track to the mid-west section of the state to investigate some new roads and continue my own re-mapping. When I choose to feel good and have fun the energy is intoxicating and contagious; I can feel myself vibrating and it resonates off of everything and everyone around me.
Every road I hit was fabulous! Every person I met was friendly. The twists, turns, hills, valleys, autumn colors all had me feeling like I was living on a Candyland game board. Roller coaster road, after roller coaster road…a thrill a minute adventure…over Cooper’s Hill, down Pickle Road, then through the town of Dilly…around Santa’s Loop into (Sugar) Plum Valley, through gooey cow shit, and a little dirt and gravel…down Boot Jack through Pine Valley, Maple Valley, Sleepy Hollow, Happy Hollow, Trippville, Hustler, Ridgeville, Ridge Point, Sky View, and Skyline Drive…I had a freakin’ blast! 400 miles of absolute total bliss! I love catching trout!
The last day of my weekend, I took a little run in the woods before throwing a leg over the saddle. On the trail, I saw a feather; a message that my thoughts, words, and/or actions are on track; the road to freedom. I stopped and picked up the black feather. When I turned it over, the left segment was bright blue and I knew there was an extended message with this feather. The qualities of blue are happy, calm and truth. The flip side or negative aspects are depression and loneliness. The message of the feather affirmed what I had re-learned and lived during the course of the past week; life presents a much brighter picture when you turn over the darkness and look on the other side.
I fired up Lucy and flew off into the wild blue yonder, just to have fun! I love taking roads with unusual names, there’s just something very inviting to me about it. So, when I saw Argue Road, I had to take it. Not a place to be arguing much of anything, particularly your limitations. The road is about an eight mile, narrow stretch of constant curves, coupled with high peaks and low valleys ending at Tunnel Road. How apropos; Argue ends in Tunnel. I love what the road teaches me. I’m choosing to live my life outside of the tunnel; no argument there.
Exeter Crossing caught my eye next, so I took it. OMG! It was the best roller coaster all weekend. I was laughing the entire way up and down. My kids would tell you that road makes their “privates” tickle. The hills were outrageous! Sure would have been a blast on that V-rod…may have made a little more of me tickle!
Up top of those peaks, I could see rain clouds slowly moving in. I meandered through back roads all the way home, with enough time to make dinner on the grill before the rain started. It was the first time I smelled rain in three weeks. The gentleness of the consistent, steady rain lulled me into relaxation and gratitude for the beautiful transformations I witnessed over the course of the past week. Mother Nature is a wonderful teacher when I choose to pay attention in school.
Friday, September 11, 2009
49 on 9-9-09…there’s something magical about that! Perhaps 29 0n 9-9-09 would sound even more magical, but I wouldn’t be as smart as I am right now. Perhaps I’d be a lot quicker on the keyboard using ten digits as opposed to two and I’d probably be far more savvy on this computer…but hell, here I am at 49 with the same life mission I’ve had since I can remember; wanting my voice to be heard. I shut that voice up for a LONG time because I believed what other people thought and choked the voice of my own heart.
At 49, I see every day as a birth-day; I experience the birth of something daily…lately it’s been something else I need to learn on the computer. (I think we’ll start to see a significant decline in the coming years, of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s nearly impossible to have an idle mind in the world today.) There’s so much to learn and take in. Some I want to, some I have to in order to thrive. I find myself needing to schedule time to have an idle mind. That’s when I get out on my motorcycle, or the forest running trail to connect with my natural environment and weed out the “should’s”, giving my heart the space to speak. And without fail, giving my self that experience always gives birth to something new, along with the desire to let the voice of my heart be heard.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Riding down the back roads, meeting up with the fire of a maple tree, already turning brilliant red, takes my breath away. I love the Medicine it gives me; the site of it automatically eases the throttle and effortlessly forces my mind to take a break from its incessant chatter. The timing is always perfect!
There was a rally in Milwaukee this weekend, thus a shit load of motorcycles buzzing constantly; parties every where. I wonder how many of the thousands of motorcyclists on the road never even took delight in the magic of the maple trees or the beauty that surrounded them as they traveled from party to party. Motorcycling is such a perfect way to connect with nature and your soul and I guess, a lot of riders are missing that.
When I first started riding 19 years ago, I thought the party scene was where “it” was at. The more I got out in the big wide open, the untouched wilderness, the more my soul resonated with the experience…and the further I drifted away from the crowds. I discovered “it” was somewhere a lot of people never go…clueless…afraid to go where the crowd doesn’t…I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is when you let go of what you think you’re supposed to be doing, and let your heart lead you to what your soul truly desires, you find maple tress around every corner and you begin to see life with child-like wonder and amazement…even at 49.
Friday, September 4, 2009
A good day for some Motorcycle Medicine! A perfect September day! I just let my intuition be my GPS and soaked up the energy the trees and sunlight were sending me.
I rode through a small little town, Hubbleton, and much to my amazement, I passed a handmade sign, WEED 4 SALE...I kid you not! (I forgot my camera!) What kind of WEED?Now, either generations way before mine have a completely different definition for "weed" than my own, or some stoner actually put the sign out there. The print and paint job had me convinced of the later. I may need to go back there to satisfy my curiosity. Perhaps I should bring along reinforcements! Care to join me??
Fell asleep last night with my bedroom illuminated by the full moon. I figured the moon would be bright enough at 5AM to run down the road onto the golf course before the grounds crew started at 6:00. Success! The pictures posted are from my run! So surreal. What country was I in anyway?? Sir Lanka came to mind...no idea why. I felt like I was living a dream. Oh, wait...I am!
Running in the dark was an illuminating experience. I found it amazing how my body instinctively slowed its pace in conjunction with the darkness handicapping the full function of my eyes. My depth perception was nearly absent; constantly challenged. What seemed like easy terrain to run in low light two days ago, became very challenging in the dark, diminishing my confidence.
Sometimes life's a lot like running in the dark . I get into terrain that's difficult to navigate, becomes extremely challenging, and results in waining confidence. Hmmm...the computer issue from yesterday..."Just go to your Happy Place, Mom." I was already in a happy place phsically, so I connected with the feelings I was experiencing with my surroundings. Running along slowly, one step at a time, the rising sun in tune with my pace, began to share its light making my trek easier and easier; my pace and momentum increasing with every step. Nature is a marvelous teacher! No matter how dark it gets, I am assured I will always see the return of light. After all, one cannot exist without the other.
Slow down and enjoy the ride! The light appears exactly when it's supposed to appear...right on time...perfectly.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The last few days of summer vacation have been very fall-like; a definitive chill in the air. Lightness in the morning skies appears much later, reminding me that summer is basically over. Prepping my boy’s bags of school supplies (Do they really use all that shit?), while I buff up my armor for the battle ahead…HOMEWORK!
I’ve dreaded this day as long as I can remember; the last day of summer vacation. I dreaded it …as a kid, as a teacher, as a mom. A schedule I must abide to by the forces that be; my freedom, swept away the instant my clock/radio gives me my wake-up call; my gut, feeling like it just took a hit from a cannon ball.
Schools tend to force limitations upon kids (and parents), often keeping them from soaring as fast as they want to for where they want to be. So, when the dismissal gates open and my wards have been released, I do my best to sweep them up into an environment that supports their desires and gifts.
On the first day back to school, rather than dwell on what it is we don’t like, and all the possibilities we may imagine it to be (or not be), we’ll spend as much time in our Happy Place as possible and report back on the outcome.
Going to your Happy Place is simply revisiting, in your mind’s eye, all the places and experiences that have filled every cell of your being with joy. Every time an uncomfortable thought or experience comes up, that’s cue to go directly to your Happy Place.
Give it try! I know you’ll feel a difference!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
From motorcycle saddle to the home-life saddle has been a shock to my system. The roar of my engine and the wind in my ears has turned into the dryer buzzing, phone ringing, kids fighting, and then screaming for a referee. There’s always some sort of “jet lag” to process when you return home from any trip (there’s a life metaphor for you!). Change/adapt, change/adapt…such is life!
This road trip was unusual for me; it was truly a metaphor for the dark sides of life I’m certain we all encounter…relentless storms you can’t seem to get away from, conditions that keep you from where you want to go or detain you from getting there when you want to be there. Knowing at the core of my being that the sun will shine again and the road I need to get to where I want to be will rise up to meet me, is still a big bite to swallow when your face down in the shit. As I write this, it’s another gloomy wet day…and I know, it won’t last forever and I trust that the sun will shine again and the next road I need to travel will become evident once the clouds and haze dissipate. Life situations, like the weather, are also NOT permanent and the sun will shine once again.
Relentless dead ends…can’t go that way; road construction…not that way; bridge out; definitely not that way; lightening! “You can’t get there from here” was the message that kept repeating itself in my head. Surrendering to what is…giving up the fight. The resistance I put forth when I want what’s on the other side so bad, is an exhausting trip!
The weather was fucking with me on this trip…actually my mind was…the weather is the weather. It took 11 hours to get from Milwaukee to St. Louis…probably a record, at least for me. All was well and good until we crossed the Wisconsin state line. It started to sprinkle as we headed to Rockford to travel IL 2 along the Rock River. The sprinkles gradually turned to downpours, hampering my vision and soaking the scarf around my neck. Frequent stops became the order of the day. All the rerouting due to construction as well storm dodging, felt like I was riding in circles. Wrong turns, poor choices for alternative routes…where the fuck is St. Louis??? You can’t get there from here!
The rain cleared, gifting us a two hour smooth sail to our destination. As I crossed the Mississippi into Missouri, a beautiful eagle perched on a branch welcomed me, assuring me I did indeed get there. I felt the same sense of comfort when I stopped for the night at the home of a dear friend. Seeing a familiar face on the road is just like being home…than again, it is.
We were delayed in leaving St. Louis to wait out a thunderstorm, which gave way to a beautiful day…things aren’t always what they seem! Shortly out of St. Louis, ended up rerouting toward Lake of the Ozarks to avoid a storm coming in from the west…You can’t there from here! In route, a bug hit my upper lip, felling like I had been nailed by a pea shooter…later, one on the finger that left two digits completely numb, all aiding me in keeping focused on the present moment…snapping me out of the relentless chatter in my head. Thank you very much!
Skies slowly began to darken in the west, changed the plan again, and headed toward Springfield…You can’t get there from here! Tried to outrun it, but ended up in a driveway frantically wrestling with my rain suit. A woman ran across her front lawn motioning us to come over, yelling for us to get our bikes under their carport.
As I sat waiting out yet another storm, I pondered the life metaphor before me; no matter how bad the storms get, I have the knowledge and tools to continue my journey. And when my own resources whither or become ineffective, someone always shows up to support me….perhaps even with a towel, a cold glass of water and a freshly picked tomato…with salt!
The storm passed within an hour or so, intended destination…Wichita. Thirty miles outside of Wichita, the skies darkened once again, cranking up my adrenaline…I cranked up my throttle. My determination to make it into town dry (not to be confused with a dry town), proved futile. The rain started out light and steady. Hotel row was in sight. With no restaurants within walking distance from the hotels, we set back out down the highway, grateful to see a Holiday Inn on the opposite side of the highway with a restaurant connected to it…perfect! The rain increased as my visibility decreased…road construction kept me from making the left turn to the hotel…lightening moving in…we had to head a mile north before I could make a u-turn to head back south to get to the driveway of the Holiday Inn. A torrential downpour began as we sat waiting at the red light keeping us from the Inn. You can’t get there from here! Oh, shit…here we go again…reality and my plan once again, part ways.
The downpour I woke up to became a mere drizzle by the time we were ready to leave; first stop, air for the tires. I headed for a car dealership just off the frontage road…could not find the way to the service department…road construction, coupled with user unfriendly roads…You can’t there from here! Fuck it! We hit the road, bound for the open prairie. More rain…heavy rain…combined with gusty crosswinds, gifted me with Mother Nature’s facial and microderm abrasion. There was no way there could be any dirt left in my pores, let alone skin on my face!
A stop for gas and a much needed reprieve from the rain, I checked my oil. Needing to top it off, I went into the station to purchase a quart (of oil), only to be directed across the street to Wal-Mart. All the gear went back on. Fifteen minutes later, I threw my leg over the saddle and crossed the road in the incessant downpour…pulled in the drive next to Wally World to expedite my mission…You can’t get there from here! Back onto the highway and down to the NEXT driveway.
On the road in the rain, once again…intended destination; Manitou Springs, CO. The rain slowly dissipated as we headed west. I was elated when we finally crossed the state line into CO. I was filled with anticipation of seeing and feeling the mountains by day’s end. That was a short-lived fantasy. As we meandered through Las Animas and set out on US 50 for La Junta, blackness filled the distant canvas, the kind of darkness that has my stomach swallowing my heart. We turned back to Las Animas; my instincts telling me to wait this one out. You can’t get there from here!
I’m uncertain as to how long we waited for that storm to hit, but it was long enough to entertain thoughts of walking to the drive through liquor store just down the ally. With the lightening now behind us, we suited up once again. As I gave my rain suit zipper its final snug up tug, a pick-up pulled into the lot in which we had taken refuge and asked which way we were headed. When I replied, “west,” he urged us to stay put due to a tornado warning in effect; there were sightings just to our south. So, wait we did. You can’t get there from here!
As soon as we caught glimpse of the slightest clearing, we headed west…intended destination…the next town, La Junta, 19 miles west. Meandering through town…a left here a right there…over a bridge and onto the open road… then, bug-eyed by the blackest sky I’d ever seen! A short distance away, I saw my welcome home sign; Hampton Inn…exit, stage left! The storm hit within 15 minutes of our disembarking. Howling, wicked winds with heavy rains as their companions. I surrender! Whatever I think I should be doing, or the way I think I should be going, is not the way it is…damn it! I reached my “saturation” point. Perhaps I can’t get there from here, but I will get there when and how I’m supposed to get there!
As I walked through the lobby, the desk clerk threw her commentary at me; “We sure must have done something to piss Mother Nature off. This weather is crazy and unusual for this area, this time of year.” She informed us that three tornadoes touched down just to the south of us, a hail storm to the north requiring the plows to come out, and a small earthquake within the same area.
OK, so maybe I am on the right path after all!
Set out in the morning on dampened roads with clearing skies; the beauty of surrender... destination; Manitou Springs…a cute little cottage on the river to dump all our baggage, while we hit the back roads, under sunny skies for the rest of the day, returning for a delightful dinner. And that’s just the way it went.
The following afternoon we took a slow, scenic ride into Keystone after spending the morning dealing with a front flat tire. You can’t get there from here! Keystone was a rather quiet, subdued environment, particularly with a motorcycle conference in town. The scenery was worth the trip…the ride up Loveland pass rejuvenated my soul as the energy of the mountains restored my trust in the workings of the Universe. I no longer needed to figure out why things went the way they did. I was home and I CAN get there from here.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
August 10th, 2009
The trip to Door County started with the Toilet Busters getting into a knock down, drag out slapping fight in the backseat merely 20 minutes outside of Milwaukee, over some “unfair” move during a video game competition. I pulled off the highway to wait for the fighting to stop then, I confiscated the games. How is it, when shit hits the fan, I forget my own Medicine; lose complete knowledge of everything I’ve learned, practiced, and preached? And I find myself in a knock down, drag out fight…with reality, desperately scanning my mind for the antidote!
I’m driving along in my Wrangler, watching motorcyclists cruise down the road solo, fantasizing that it’s me. I had a flash of a Hal’s Harley-Davidson billboard on I-94, showing a woman driving in a car, lusting at the motorcyclists passing by; a look of envy in her eyes and a yearning to be riding one herself…a bike that is. I decided the real marketing ploy is to have two kids fighting in the back of her car while she’s doing that! Gone are the days of “Calgon take me away”; let me take my own ass far away, by myself, on a motorcycle with one seat…mine!
The first stop we hit on the lower portion of the peninsula, in Luxemburg, was Otto’s Meat Market for fresh homemade beef jerky, brats, bacon, and salami. From there it was Ron’s cheese shop for fresh cheese curds that squeaked so loud it hurt our ears; not quite as much as the screaming fight an hour earlier. If you’re not familiar with cheese curds, the sqeakier they are, the tastier! Before leaving Luxemburg, we made a quick stop at Salmon Brothers Meat Market for “the best hotdogs in the world.” The Jeep smelled like a smoked sausage rolling down the road. Even dogs were chasing us.
Finally arriving in Sturgeon Bay, indicating our arrival into The Door, we rolled through the downtown area and I noticed an awning I hoped my children wouldn’t see. Suddenly Wyatt exclaims; “Now, that’s the place to go; toys, chocolate, candy, and ice cream!” I kept driving. Down the road, we spied a farmer’s market and stopped for fresh produce, then headed over to the grocery store for a few things to accompany the food we’ve already gathered…like cold beer and a lime! The grocery store was like a nightmare I couldn’t wake myself from. It started with a chase scene through the isles; myself pretending I didn’t know whose children those were, continued with a “poopy fart” and emergency run to the restroom, followed by an explosive…no, thank God…cherry Dr. Pepper. The white shirt Schuyler was wearing…now an original work of art.
As we made our trek up the northwestern side of the peninsula, we found the spot for “the best caramel corn in the world.” No one told us they had the best gelato in the world! http://www.doubledelites.com/
Door County is infamous for cherries. So…we had to stop at Hyline Orchard for cherries, cherry pie, cherry jam, cherry syrup, and pure organic, made right there, maple syrup. I’ll be making blueberry pancakes with fresh berries from the farm market for breakfast! As I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “Oh, shit,” literally…that last run is a recipe for disaster!
So, it took us four hours to get to Ellison Bay from Otto’s in Luxemburg. Most people get to Ellison from Milwaukee in less than four hours!
There may be some toilet bustin’ on this trip after all!
Tuesday, August 11th
We started the day with fresh blueberry, malted pancakes http://www.goldenmalted.com/ with 100% pure maple syrup, and a side of Otto’s awesome bacon…heavenly!
We then headed down the road to Fish Creek and rented bicycles to go into Peninsula State Park. Being that it’s been 12 years since I’ve ridden a bike without a motor, I was hoping the boys would decide they weren’t up for the trek…no such luck. We were set up with the appropriate bikes; mine with a big seat to cushion my spoiled ass being used to a leather Corbin http://www.corbin.com/ , though I still think I may need to sit on the ice packs instead of leaving them in the cooler. Unfortunately, there were no bikes with a throttle or clutch. I set out wobbling down the trail freaking out over the mass of people coming towards me on the narrow trail. Bike riders were EVERYWHERE! I envisioned myself being attacked by bicyclists like the swarms of grasshoppers I once experienced on my motorcycle in South Dakota.
Though my mind feared my ability to ride a bicycle again with ease, my body remembered everything it was supposed to do to keep me upright and on the trail. A great metaphor for life; “Let go of the steering wheel!” I suddenly envisioned myself as the Wicked Witch of the West, riding her bike through the sky during the tornado, with that jaunty “do, doot, doo, do, doo, doot, do, doo,” tune in my head; I started laughing my head off…humor is the best Medicine!
Now, feeling rather comfortable, I cruised down a small hill at a pretty good clip, approaching the curve, I grab the lever on the left handgrip to downshift! Following a quick fishtail maneuver and a mild stroke, my body quickly flooded with memories, reminding my mind that the left lever on a bicycle is for the front brake! I managed to remain upright and on track. Good thing, I needed to be physically and emotionally available for the two children who simultaneously crashed half way through the trip. Far be it for me to tell them how to ride up a steep grade in first gear as opposed to sixth. Then again, why bother? They just figured it out for themselves. Sometimes it takes a tremendous amount of willpower not to laugh hysterically; like being inchurch whn someone in the pew ahead of you farted.
Three miles to go and two injured riders who have no other choice than to buck up and ride back. Time to focus on the gorgeous setting…”Let the trees hug you!”
A quick game of mini-golf and chess on the way back, a stop at the Door County Confectionery http://www.doorcountyconfectionery.com/ (I love their licorice caramels!), and a shot at Go Karting in Sister Bay…a real bust, as Wyatt is 54 inches tall and regulations say you must be over that. They both went in the mini-karts…mini is an understatement! They basically sucked; I was bored watching. A three year-old may have thought it was a gas, but not a 9 and 11 year old. The look on their faces was classic, only too brief to capture on film.
Back at the ranch, Salmon Brother’s hot dogs in swine intestines. My boys don’t like casings on their wieners! Great! Raising two boys who don’t like casings on their wieners…I’ll let their dad handle that subject.
The day ended at the drive-in outdoor theater http://www.doorcountydrive-in.com/ to see G-Force from the back end of the Wrangler. I converted the back of the Jeep into a loveseat recliner…now that was the cat’s ass! The experience was not only deluxe and memorable, but a flash-back; the ads were the same ones they showed the last time I was at the drive-in…probably 40 years ago!
Returning to base, a fight erupted on the recliner which I chose to walk away from, forgetting the back doors were inaccessible from the inside and it was pitch black out there. I was summoned back to the vehicle by screams. Hopefully there are no nightmares involving cased wieners coming out of the woods attacking small children.
Wednesday, August 12th
I threw in a load of laundry this morning in order to soften my duties when we return home. The scent of strawberry wafted through the air as I opened the dryer door. That old familiar scent was NOT from fabric softener; someone left gum in their pocket! It was apparent we weren’t the first to wash and dry gum. S.O.S. to the rescue! So, we got off to a late start today due to a dryer cleaning delay.
Starting the day with something gooey and sweet was a precursor for most of the day’s events. Our first stop was at White Dunes State Park. Naturally, the first thing I had to do was use the restroom. Oh, yeah; the smell of something gooey alright, but not so sweet…the ‘ol outhouse. Oh, how I loved my scout camp days. Funny how a disgusting smell can bring about sweet memories! Such is life; lots of times the things we think to be so horrible, bring about the greatest treasures.
We staked out our territory on the sandy beach where I sat watching my children frolic in the waves of Lake Michigan; feeling more like I was at the ocean up than a Great Lake. My soul was instantly filled with delight. The worries I let plague me earlier in the morning simply vanished, and I was truly able to bask in the beauty of the moment as well as the sun.
A couple of hours at the beach had us screaming for something gooey, cold, and sweet, so we drove over to Ephraim to the famous Wilson’s, for homemade ice cream…delicious! Snarfed those scoops right down and set out on another adventure.
Off we drove to check out the towns on the other side of the peninsula. In route, we HAD to stop at The Door County Bakery http://www.doorcountybakery.com/ for one of their famous Dooey-Gooey Peanut Butter Cookies; a glob of peanut butter baked between two peanut butter cookies. There were a lot more tantalizing items in there besides big-ass cookies…OMG! The breads made my mouth water and my eyes nearly popped from their sockets as I scanned the cases… macaroons…triple chocolate brownies…spice cake bars, frosted…I looked up at the double wide doors in that joint and thought, “how appropriate!” Then, the crème de la crème, Corsica bread sticks. Big, fat slices of Corsica Bread, drenched in olive oil and butter, smothered in toasted sesame seeds…to die for! The oil dripped down my chin and fingers as it oozed from the bread with every crunchy bite. It’s been a long time since I felt that way. In fact, it was probably the day I discovered Gail Ambrosius Chocolates in Madison, WI http://www.gailambrosius.com/ four or five years ago.
My children looked out of the car like something was seriously wrong with me; and trust me; it’s not the first time. A couple actually pulled into the lot and watched me finish my delight, inquiring as to what it was I was eating with such ecstasy. They told me I should go ahead and have another, so I took their advice and ate two pieces right away.
One last town to check out, Rowley’s Bay…a real sleeper. Nothing much there but a resort housing Grandma’s Bakery, aptly named as that end of the peninsula appeared to be heavily populated with grandmas and grandpas. A Swiss bakery no less; hadn’t been to one of those yet, so naturally, we stopped. By then, I was ready to purge but the bakery still looked good. We walked out of there with a cherry turnover and gooey cinnamon roll (for Schuyler) and a bag of this funky, really tasty treat called Skorpa. All I can tell you is it’s a Swedish coffee dunking treat; sweet, crunchy, and habit-forming.
The kids were now screaming for dinner; mind you, they hadn’t been eating any of the bakeries we’d purchased thus far. I, on the other hand, needed to go for a 20 mile run, though a walk would have sufficed. I’m sure you can imagine how well that bowled over. We made it about 4 blocks before heading to “Al” Johnson’s in Sister Bay. They have grass growing on the roof tops with goats grazing around up there. Dinner on the other hand was nothing to write home about.
Within about five minutes of returning to base, you needed a number to get into the bathroom. Gooey-dooey was the name of that tune. As you may know, there’s little ventilation in older cottages. I am, however, grateful for indoor plumbing and that I didn’t have to live with THAT cooking in the pot for the next few days.
Woke up to a perfect summer day; in the low 70’s under crisp blue skies, along with the sweet smell of summer coasting along the gentle breeze. I started my day with an 8 mile run; a small percentage of what needed to be done to counteract the prior day’s lack of moderation. There was a t-shirt in the Door County Bakery boasting, “Everything in moderation…even moderation.” I took that advice, no prob.
The day’s events unfolded as if moderation were the plague; “Avoid it at all costs and go full-bore! Life’s an adventure; live it!” And so we did.
I ate those words and inhaled a whole host of others. If my ass could talk, you’d get an earful right now. Actually, my kids would tell you my ass does talk, so let me be more specific; the bones in my ass were killing me! And this is how it all started…
I overheard a woman on the ferry say it was 5 miles to the beach; roundtrip…you do the math. OK, I just won’t say anything and the kids will never know.
We hopped on the bikes and headed down the road to Main Road…love the creativity there…which will take us to the road to School House Beach on other side of the island. I was really feeling like the Wicked Witch of The West on that classic set of wheels, and was certain Schuyler was convinced of it. My cheerleading was constantly interrupted by groans coming from behind me. Wyatt on the other hand was jamming down the road, totally digging the adventure. Two miles into it, it became real clear to me why so many people wear spandex shorts with pads in the butt, though personally, pillows and balm seemed better than pads at that point.
Schuyler, a bit of a distance behind, began yelling something I couldn’t quite make out, though I sensed the flavor of concern. I slowed to hear that we were being followed in the bike lane, by a car. I know he’s just dying for an excuse to get out of this activity, so I have little concern. Schuyler now picks up the pace to get closer to me, freaking out about this car behind us. He quickly turns his head once more, starts laughing and yells, “We’re being chased by the mail car in hot pursuit!” That was the only humor he experienced throughout the entire adventure. Who could blame him?
Now, getting lost on a motorcycle is one of my favorite pastimes…getting lost on an island with two kids, one who is particularly NOT happy with the experience in the first place…not good. In the midst of wallowing in my own misery, I had missed the cutoff for the beach. About a mile into it, I realized why there was no bicycle lane on this road! When Schuyler heard that news, I thought you’d be reading about me in the paper! The groaning that persisted started to sound like that of a low budget porn film (I think that was a redundant statement). Back down the road, and all the way up the big hill we had moments earlier enjoyed coasting down, we arrived at the road taking us to the beach. Two minutes later, we were there.
Beautiful beach, covered with perfectly smooth, white stones. The boys enjoyed a swim and lengthy rock throwing session. Schuyler was probably contemplating throwing rocks at me!
Back on the road, motivated by the incentive of juicy burgers and thick quart sized custard shakes at the Albatross, about 4 miles away. The ride back always seems faster, especially when you know how to get there and there’s food involved.
Waiting for the 2PM ferry, I concluded; Washington Island is for seasoned cyclists or at least bikes with gears and…a V-Twin engine. Next time, we’re taking the car ferry.
Island Ferry Tickets; $22.50
Getting lost on rental bikes; $36.00
Island lunch; $23.50
Cold Corona back on the mainland; PRICELESS!
Operating in slow-mo this morning; feeling parts of my body I had not realized existed. Somebody get my oil can! Feeling rusty was in part, my body’s response to not really wanting to go home; we didn’t want the fun to end. The scattered thunderstorms helped in that regard. Spent a few hours cleaning up the house and packing up our “stuff”; I swear, half the load was food!
Speaking of food, we had to make one last stop at The Door County Bakery; yep, that was WE. $38.00 later…I had food stuffed into a make-shift frige I created on the floor in front of the passengers seat. I had it packed a foot above the seat with frozen foods and refrigerated goods, right under the AC vent, then covered the loot in blankets…worked like a charm!
I won’t even begin to tell you about the pastry I had at the bakery today. I’ll just suffice it to say, my arteries need flushing in a bad way.
Nearing Sturgeon Bay, I had to fulfill one last request before leaving The Door; a stop at the “fudge, candy, ice cream, toy store.” Good thing I had to pee badly; got them out of that store within eight minutes and only a $16.00 deficit, knocking off three out of the four. Ice cream wasn’t desired much after that last bakery run.
Somewhere south of Algoma, on some back road, Wyatt needed a restroom. As I was looking for an inconspicuous spot to pull over, he opened an empty soda bottle; you can deduce the rest of the story. Coincidentally, we were, at the very same time, passing Schweiner Road. I announced for Wyatt to make sure that he keep his schweiner in that bottle. I, on the other hand, was wishing I had a schweiner and a bottle, but I had to hold it until I found a gas station. I practically pissed my pants walking to the door.
We made it home in 5 1/2 hours. I unpacked while managing a few loads of laundry and a new pile of “stuff” to pack up for my motorcycle trip to Colorado on Sunday.
As I looked into those sweet little eyes of my boys this evening, I said, “I love you guys. I really had a lot of fun with you on this trip.” They, of course, felt the same, then Wyatt interjected, “That’s because you made it fun, Mom.”
I’ll miss those inspiring little cherubs next week, though the homecomings are always the best part of the trip!
More BLOG entries below this huge space I don't know how to get rid of!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
As I stroll from living room to bedroom, I observe the mass of “stuff” needing to go on this 5 day trip with my kids…their stuff, my stuff, and our stuff…stuff we need to survive …Legos, card games, sketch pads and markers, blankies and pillows. Then I walk into my closet and in the corner is another pile of stuff…this stuff will all go into the bags on my motorcycle. A relatively small heap in comparison, because I can only pack what I need and not what I might need. I love the simplicity of it…and the fact that I’m ecstatic about leaving home and all my “stuff” for 8 straight days. Aside from the bangles I wear…my trademark I guess…I’m attached to nothing I bring on this trip. I have what I need to protect myself from the sun, and comfort myself in rain, and cold…a few pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, bathroom bag, nutritious snacks and herbal supplements; my Premium Fuel…and I love it. I love living out of three small bags for a week. I have a great set of saddlebags, made in Eau Claire, WI by Iron Max. I look like Mary Poppins with her magic carpet bag as I load and unload these bags. These bad boys have 85,000miles on them!
Speaking of bags…something I have a fascination with…I don’t carry Wal-mart around on my shoulder; pockets on my jackets and jeans are my preferred purse…but I do love large bags for holding my stuff for an away from home adventure. I also like small bags for holding a few necessary items; camera, wallet, room key, phone, for when I don’t feel like dragging my jacket around. Check out this hand crafted bag! Hooks right on to the belt loops of my jeans! If I have no belt loops, a strap can quickly be attached for throwing over my head. These awesome bags come in a variety of colors and some varying styles at The Lakes Gallery in North Lake, WI http://www.lakesfineart.com/
While in CO, I’ll be spending a day in Keystone checking out the National Women’s Motorcycling Conference. http://www.womenandmotorcycling.com/ doing a bit of networking and spreading the word about Motorcycle Medicine. I’m looking forward to the stories I’ll have to tell from the road!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I’ve spent portions of the last week getting ready to take my boys, fondly referred to by my sister as, The Toilet Busters, (that’s a good tale or this winter) on a 5 day trip to Door County, WI…way up at the top of the “Thumb”, Wisconsin’s peninsula though, the Interstate may be in order for the return trip. Funny how I can fit everything I need for a two week motorcycle trip into two saddle bags and a T-Bag, but I’m hard pressed to fit what the 3 of us need into the back of a 4-Door wrangler!
We’ll be taking the “Scenic Route”, words I dreaded to hear from my father’s mouth when I was a kid …funny how it’s become my favorite pastime. We have a few stops planned along the way…a few unplanned as well…you never know what may intrigue their wonder eyes and curious minds as we travel north. A must stop is Otto’s Meat Market in Luxemberg for the finest fresh beef jerky known to the toilet busters, as well as an inquiry while there for Salmon Bros. hotdogs…we’re told they’re the best.
I am often perplexed by the tremendous focus and references toward food. When someone mentions a place they are going, someone automatically makes reference to a restaurant, bakery, candy store and the like. I do it, too. What's up with that? I was told by a friend to stop at the Popcorn Store because they have the best caramel corn in the world and my sister told me we HAD to stop at the Swiss bakery North of Ellison Bay for the “bestest” damn peanut butter cookie she’s ever tasted in her life! Someone also suggested the traditional Fish Boil, however the thought of any food boiled, aside from an egg just doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, it reminds me that I have a gag reflex.
To balance eating all the best of as we go, I plan to try to reintroduce my kids to the joys of hiking. WI has beautiful state parks and there are 5 on the peninsula; Potawatomi, Peninsula , Whitefish Dunes, Newport, and Rock Island. A ferry takes you from the mainland to Washington Island, then another to Rock Island. Sounds like a great adventure to me, however…
…coupled with the sounds of nature will be incessant whining from my 11 year-old, Schuyler He’s a rather sedentary bloke…video games, building Legos and jamming on the computer. When something involves physical exercise he instantly develops a whole host of ailments like leg cramps, foot pain, and hot flashes…oops, I own that one. He might as well record his gripes to save his energy because he’ll tell me 100 times that he doesn’t want to walk, "it’s too far, how far is it anyway, how long is this going to take, my legs hurt, my back hurts"…and I walk along 10 stps ahaead saying, “Ommmm”, even though I really just want to scream!
My 9 year-old, Wyatt, is his polar opposite; one is my Yin, the other my Yan. Wyatt loves to run, and discover new things by foot…he loves the adventure of a new path to explore. Wonder where he gets that from? He’s full of surprises, usually in the resounding form of bellowing tantrums for the world to hear…gotta love his persistence and panache…from a distant future.
We’ll have fun, no matter what. I love watching my children see and experience things for the first time. That’s the experience I look forward to…priceless! I trust we’ll return renewed and refreshed with sound minds, sound bodies, and no busted toilets.
We’ll take lots of pictures so when we return we can share the beauty of Wisconsin for those of you who have never seen it, or need a refresher course. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=door+county+WI+map&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7ADBS&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&ei=Tdx9SsehEtORtgeGiNj3AQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I woke up today entertaining a lot of negative thoughts. When I started to buy into them, I could feel myself getting dragged down. That was my internal compass alerting me to the fact that I was resisting my natural state of being; pure joy.
Choosing which thoughts I want to think, and changing the ones that don’t serve me isn’t as easy as it sounds. The shitty thoughts are stubborn and persistent; they’ll hound me and escalate as long as I let them. Today my thoughts needed a dose of Motorcycle Medicine. I knew the state of mind I was in was not going to produce any meaningful or inspired actions on my part, so I set out on my motorcycle knowing I had to get myself back to joy… sitting around telling myself I needed to do that was not working. I kept hearing what I have so often said to others, “Tap into joy…do something that feels good and takes you to joy…take whatever action necessary to change your thoughts to happy, feeling good thoughts.” So, I jumped on my Harley to rack up one-hundred miles and re-evaluate my condition upon my return.
I drove back down to Lake Geneva to re-experience something I stumbled upon while riding last Friday…
…a sea of tulips, thousands of them, at the peak of their springtime performance. And I knew, that to get to my peak performance, I had to first experience joy within myself. So, there I was, again gawking at, and absorbing the joyous energy of the tulip beds. Nature has such a beautiful, subtle way of communicating with us and helping us find our way back to our true nature. The tulips aren’t working their asses off to look or act beautiful, they just are beautiful being exactly what nature intended them to be; tulips!
Earlier this morning I was running a nearby trail through the Kettle Moraine Forest. A particular plant caught my attention, so I stopped to take a closer look and listen for my heart to reveal the message the plant had to offer. I observed the way each delicate red pods of the plant elegantly unfolded to expose several ornate, young leaves wanting to blossom and grow. As I stood in awe of this plant, the message for me became very clear; “Everything is unfolding beautifully.”
As I made my way back home from my Medicine Ride, I felt a deep sense of trust that everything truly is unfolding beautifully. Sometimes all it takes is 100 miles of asphalt on two wheels and a few hawks flying overhead, letting me know I’m on course, guiding myself back into my own nature…pure joy.
Joy is our natural state of being, inherently we know this, and have since birth. When we experience it amidst the programming, conditioning, or incessant voices in our heads; synchronicities become commonplace and life unfolds beautifully and effortlessly.
I read an article in Harley-Davison’s new HOG Magazine in which the following quote intrigued me; “I’m basing my prediction on a simple, time-tested medical fact: Biking is an addiction. Once motorcycling is in your blood, it never leaves. Studies show it’s a more powerful addiction than caffeine and nicotine combined. If I could distill it, bottle it, and sell it on eBay, I could take over the whole world.” The Medicine really isn’t the motorcycling, it is JOY and it has always been in your blood, it has never left, and it’s free! The definition of addiction is to surrender or give over. Motorcycling is a vehicle for surrendering or giving over to the Self, who and what I truly am; joy expressing. It’s my soul calling for me to return to my Self, I just happen to love using my motorcycle as a quick, easy way to get back there. It’s a heart-felt desire; a deep yearning, not just a craving that needs a quick fix. It’s an ongoing process, my evolution back home to my heart.
Just as our bodies heal physical wounds by generating new cells to repair the damage and bring it back to its natural state, the soul has us reaching out for ways to experience joy in our lives to repair the damage of self-inflicted or circumstantial wounds to bring it back to its natural state.
You really don’t need a motorcycle to take you there, but if a 100 mile motorcycle ride is the Medicine it takes to get you there, do it! You will come back a much freer, peaceful, productive human, and the people around you will respond accordingly. And when you keep practicing going to that place/space within yourself via the open road, you will begin to take that practice into your off-road experiences as well.
If I can’t ride when I feel the yearning, I get outside or just look outside. Getting closer to nature is the way I get closer to my own nature. It’s a matter of stepping out of wherever I’m at and being still, even if only for a moment or two. If I can’t physically get outside, I simply look out a window and connect.
Life, like a motorcycle ride, is an adventure and it’s calling us to participate. Join it, full throttle!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today, I decided to head north. As I pulled out of the driveway, I could see dark clouds gathering northwest…looks like rain to me…even though the meteorologists said “sprinkles only”. I’ve been on the road long enough to know the difference between sprinkle clouds and rain clouds, so I headed southwest where the sun was shining and blue painted the sky. My internal GPS nudged me into heading for the sun. I didn’t want clouds and rain, I wanted sun and warmth…so that is the direction I headed…and that is the direction I continually work on choosing in my life; move toward what feels good!
The incessant thoughts creep in, as they always do, letting me know I had some work to do on this ride. What do I need to do to feel good? It was now time to change the direction of my thoughts…I start by observing nature, because for me, that’s the easiest way to slow down the mind chatter. I look at the trees…at first glance, they look shriveled and dead, but upon closer observation, I see they have small buds ready to burst into new life once again…evolving, constantly growing…just like me. I love the birds…so carefree…singing their song, flying around, just living in the moment…and for this moment, I sense that I am, too.
The hawks are my main spirit guides…they show up constantly for me, sending messages my heart always hears…sometime immediately…sometimes down the road a way or even later in the day…but there’s always a message. A lot of times they show up just to interrupt my thoughts and get me to change my focus and pay attention. Usually I just feel a sense of peace when I see them, which causes me to slow down…many times when needed. Today I was behind a semi which was behind a slow vehicle. What I didn’t see was the vehicle directly in front of the semi, behind that slow vehicle. Now traveling 20 miles under the limit, I thought it was a good time to pass. The moment I decided to pass, a hawk flew right overhead and I paused to acknowledge it. Good thing, because the car in front of the truck that I couldn’t see, was turning left! Had it not been for that hawk, I may be telling a different story right now.
The Turkey Vultures were making frequent appearances as well today. Not the most attractive creatures out there; in fact, a close up view gives me the same bodily response as the tabloid photos of celebrity cellulite asses on the beach. Regardless, I know the vulture has shown up to remind me that my current situation is temporary and necessary for a higher purpose at work…rescue is imminent…time to stop the “what if’s”, trust, and enjoy the ride.
With a little help from nature and my own coaching tools, I clear my head and open my heart…now I’m in my element; getting lost and enjoying the ride. I cross a major state highway into an unfamiliar town…I’m literally 20 minutes away from “civilization and the first thing I see as I pull into the town… As I roll through town, I begin to wonder what year it is. I thought perhaps I had I traveled into a different time space? Did I forget to take my supplements this morning? Then I happened upon this…
The landscapers had to be squirrels! And if they were, why did the residents leave the tree there??? Perhaps they were the town drunks! Then again…
…there wasn’t room in that garage for another speck of dirt…I didn’t take a picture of the house…I was a bit skeptical considering Ed’s was just down the road!
As I rode away,I let myself get lost in all the possibilities of that town until I realized I needed gas and that was one thing I had yet to stumble upon. Back onto a main drag, back to April 24th, 2009, and to a town with a gas station, I fill up and head back home in sunshine and warmth, not only physically but spiritually as well. A little wind in my hair, a little dirt on my face, and a little change in perspective…just what I needed. I love the road and my Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. Best damn teachers out there!
Roads like this show up for good reason! The Universe talks to us; we just have to pay attention!