I left Colorado because my heart wasn't there anymore. My heart wasn't in my marriage. It wasn't in my work. It wasn't in the mountains majesty or the fruited plains. I didn't know where my heart was when I left, but I had a pretty good idea it might be in a magical place called California.
My trip to Colorado was eye-opening for many reasons. I expected it to be, seeing as how it was my first trip back since my move to California. Since my divorce. Since Brain Tumor.
First time since being diagnosed I've gone a whole day without thinking, "I have a brain tumor."
First time I've traveled by myself since I've moved to California.
First time I've gone on a trip by myself and MISSED MISSED MISSED my partner.
First time I've gone on a trip by myself, had a great time, and could HARDLY WAIT to get home.
First time I've visited friends in another state and not wanted to move closer to them. Or convince them to move closer to me.
First time I've understood that different people live in different places for a reason.
I'm pretty sure I've found my heart, and it's home now.
Where does your heart live?
I sat on the airplane during my first flight yesterday, uncomfortably shifting in my seat, inwardly cringing at the conversations around me, and slowly coming to the conclusion that I might strangle the mother of the screaming child in the seat behind me. I kept thinking, I just want to get home.
Suddenly I remembered the old saying, "Life is about the journey, not the destination."
Oops. I guess I still need to learn to enjoy the ride.
So on the second leg of my trip, I promised myself I would make an effort to be more mellow, less judgemental, and go with the flow. And do you know what happened? The flight was delayed. We boarded the plane, then we deplaned. We waited. We boarded again, then unboarded again. The airplane was broken. We waited. Then the airline found us another plane, and we boarded again. Despite the two-hour delay, I didn't mind. The airline was apologetic, the crew was pleasant, and my fellow passengers understanding and patient. And because of all the boarding, waiting unboarding and waiting some more, I ended up having enough time to really get into a fascinating conversation with a stranger, and made a new friend. (Nice to meet you, Anna.)
Birthdays are about commemorating a life as it crosses an anniversary into another year. A reflection of past accomplishments and a celebration of things to come. Today is my dear friend Jenny's birthday.
Jenny and I began our relationship as friends of a friend. After she moved to Colorado to begin her equine rehabilitation center out of Dark Star just over two years ago, our friendship grew into one of lifelong proportions. She was there for me throughout the pain of my divorce. She held me up when I couldn't hold it together anymore. She and my friend Deb moved me, my horses, and all of my belongings out to California in January of 2008. And when many of my friends abandoned me, confused and hurt over my divorce and subsequent relationship with Boyfriend, she continued to cheer me on. She trusted my instincts and understood that no one could know what was better for me than myself.
Since I've been in California, Jenny has built her business into a thriving equine rehabilitation operation, utilizing western medicine, metaphysics, and holistic therapies. She has established amazing relationships with veterinarians, healers, and shamans from all over the country. She is coming into her own as a healer, incorporating medicine, mind, body and spirit. And I'm amazed at her ability to accomplish anything she puts her mind to, but not surprised.
I've been aware of her ability to heal others for a while now.
I would never have imagined that I would need to come back to Colorado to regroup. Despite the fact that I have some very dear friends in Colorado, I haven't missed being here. A smattering of dread, barely recognizable, even began to seep to the surface as I prepared for my trip. I wondered if my trip might stir up some memories I wasn't anxious to revisit.
But as soon as the plane touched down in Denver, I knew I was to receive a very powerful message during my stay, because it was raining and the skies had become increasingly ominous throughout our descent. I called Jenny, my friend, driver, and hostess, as soon as I landed and she said, "Thank goodness your flight was on schedule - it's raining and hailing buckets in Franktown." For those of you who aren't familiar, the weather in Colorado is unpredictable, but usually the Denver suburbs are dried to a crisp by June - I was expecting similiar fire conditions that I left in California!
We drove straight to Dark Star Farm, owned by my dear friend Deb, where I trained horses, gave riding lessons and developed some lifelong friendships for 6 years. I needed a quick hello with my 29-year-old lesson horse, Reggie. He was the anchor of my riding school for over 8 years, and while I miss him terribly, it would have been selfish to move him 1200 miles to California, taking him from the farm at which he's comfortable and has received specialized "senior" care for so many years. Deb and Jenny agreed to look after him after I left Colorado. Jenny also runs Acadia Equine Rehab out of Dark Star and she and Deb have determined that Reggie is one of the farm's anchor horses, too. My eyes are watering and my heart is about to burst as I type, just thinking about how lucky I am to have been blessed with a horse who has touched so many people. Reggie and I had a good snuggle in the rain for a few minutes, and we told him we'd be back the next day.
My first three days here really drove home the "flow like water" theme - it rained buckets. I met Jenny's cat, suitably named Rayne, for the first time since she got him, and he's made himself my fill-in boyfriend while I'm here. I listened to Lauryn Hill's "Water" over and over. I was saturated to the core. The scenery is surprisingly green and blue - much different than the brown grass and foggy skies typical of Santa Barbara's "June Gloom" I left nearly a week ago.
Jenny has been amazing - driving me all over, allowing me to see many old friends and introducing me to some remarkable new contacts. In fact it was Jenny who put me in touch with the shaman I've been working with on my flow like water lesson. I spoke with him again last week, and his new advice was geared toward the study of plants: "You can watch plants for hours and not see anything happening, but you come back the next day, and there's new growth. It's proof that there's always something happening, even when you can't see it. So remember that, and don't be discouraged when you have a bad day."
The very next day, I finally got to meet a good friend of Jenny's, Frances Fitzgerald Cleveland, an herbalist, aromatherapist, healer and the owner of Frogworks/Kaeru Studio in Littleton, Colorado. After hearing so much about her healing abilities, I was anxious to pick her brain for some herbs and oils that might help me with my current physical and mental health. I was not disappointed. Frances is one of those people that just knocks you over with her aura the moment you meet her. And she was so willing to help, she offered to do some research for me, just as long as I would help her plant flowers and get some yardwork finished while we talked. Wait, did she just say plant flowers? Working with plants? Huh.
The energy of Frogworks and Kaeru Studio is tremendous - my visit was soothing and uplifting at the same time. I'm going to go back tomorrow for some more herb and oil therapy, and I'm sure my body will welcome another dose of healing energy after resting today.
A friend recently referred me to this broadcast about spirituality and healing on NPR. The discussion involves whether spirituality is a valid method of healing and whether it can be proven. Several case studies are presented, the most profound being a woman, despite being diagnosed with the HIV virus over 15 years ago, remains healthy and clear of AIDS. She has never pursued conventional medication, relying only on prayer and meditation to keep herself healthy. Confounding? Not really.
While I'm always pleased to see this topic up for discussion in mainstream media, I've always found it intriguing that there is so much research done to prove the validity of spirituality. Because if it resonates with you, it works for you, and you don't need any proof. I KNOW what works for and makes sense to me, because the "proof is in the pudding," as they say. And the people who need scientific evidence will remain skeptical, possibly at the risk of losing sight of what makes sense to them anyway.
This quote from the article sums it up nicely, "It's good to be open-minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out." Really? Could there be any such thing? Putting a limit on open-mindedness doesn't sound open-minded at all.