Brave. Adventurous. Creative. Miracles. Friends. Magnificent. Delicious. Fun. Healing. Comfy. Decadent. Welcoming. Love.
These words are the essence of my recent 5 day road trip to the North. On my way to my first destination, I meet Sandra Ahten, creator of The Reasonable Diet. I was running late, partly due to road construction and partly because I forgot how long the state of Illinois is, but we just rolled with it. She's every bit as authentic and awesome as she is appears online. We talked like old friends, and I got some insight and education about how to apply the Law of Attraction to my desire to reach a healthy weight. She hit a spiritual nerve so right on in that topic that I cried spontaneously.
Onto Chicago- as in the city part of the city, not the burbs. I've never stayed in a big city apartment before, but my friend Rae made me feel very welcomed and right at home. Her apartment/loft is above stores and has a very funky cool sleek industrial yet homey feel. And she has the same couch I had when I lived in Florida. She's a graphic artist and web designer- as well as a musician. We worked on her huge screen computer in our jammies on shirt designs for the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Foundations' new Zazzle store.
|One of my favorite from the new line!|
I met with 2 Facebook friends later that night in the 'burbs. Traffic was crazy. And the tollway was expensive. Though it was a bit irritating, I didn't mind much because I was so excited to meet my friends! Laura and I connected immediately and share many of the same Spiritual experiences and way of thinking... we talked for hours and are old friends now! I have a feeling that we're going to be connected for a long time, and in a really cool way one day. Then Nancy joined us, after a long day of work. We've been friends for a long time thanks to Facebook and it was wonderful to make a real life connection. I got some good advice from this awesome seasoned runner and fellow Cathlete... and made some plans for running a half marathon next December.
Then it was time for me to visit the city where I did most of my growing up.... that holds hundreds of thousands of happy memories of family and friends... and some very dark scary memories of abuse. That abuse held me prisoner on many levels for over 2 decades, and kept me away from that city. I've been through years of therapy, hypnosis, and journaling to heal and cope but have avoided going to that old home city for 21 years. Then I rekindled friendships with some very special friends that still live there... and even made a couple new ones there thanks to Facebook. I wanted to spend time with them, meet them all over again and crush the fear that I attributed to that place.
The city didn't cause the abuse. It's just a place, a city like many others. I've grown spiritually so much these past few months that it felt so good and right to go there again. I was determined not to let old fears reign over my joy in the now. I needed to go back to complete the circle of healing for myself.
I paused on the outskirts of the city to collect my thoughts, breathe, meditate and remind myself that it's just a place and no one can hurt me there anymore. I reminded myself that I'm a grown up now and have control over my body and mind. I also told those dark memories that they were not welcome, and asked God to open my mind to any good memories. I also gave myself permission to leave if it didn't feel good or right in any way.
Cities go through big changes in 21 years. Though I came in on what I thought would be an old familiar highway, I recognized very little which was good because it made things easier. A couple of those good memories popped in... the place where I took the only dance class of my life that I completely forgotten about... my old nursery school which looks exactly the same... learning to drive my Mom's old Renault stick shift in my old high school parking lot...
And one of my family's favorite restaurants. I met my friend Rocky there even though I was staying at his house that night, to take the whole 'going home again' thing slowly. Again, I paused in my car gathering my thoughts and courage. He saw me first, busted! ha! We hugged like dear old friends and I felt welcomed, loved and safe. The restaurant, also, has changed a lot... the food wasn't nearly as good as I remembered but I ate one of my Grandpa's favorite meals- lake perch.
Rocky patiently drove me around the city, avoiding spots with bad memories, and we reminisced and laughed so hard. There's now a big beautiful lake beach there now!! It was crazy... if you didn't know it was a lake you'd swear it was an ocean. Seriously.
|Rocky, Me and Margol|
|Me, Brenda and BF|
That night Rocky threw a party for me and my Racine friends complete with a nacho bar and great wines! I was deeply moved by how many people came to visit with me... felt like a rockstar!! It's truly a miracle to have such lovely Light-filled friends... My brain still can't comprehend it all, and I am humbled by the Love that surrounds my life in so many ways. And my soul is grateful. My friend Margol said something very wise- 'you never have friends like the ones you had in high school'. So true, and after hearing her say that and experiencing the joy of reconnecting I'm so glad I choose to be brave.
|Me and Lisa|
I have conquered and kicked out all the negative energy and bad memories from that city I grew up in, and replaced it with new friends, rekindled friendships, laughter and Love. I'll definitely be going back someday.
The next morning...which came too early after all our celebrating the night before... I headed even further North to my Great Aunt & Uncle's home. After all, it was their 65th Wedding Anniversary- and my Great Uncle's 90th birthday- that sparked this whole amazing trip. Their house is so cozy... I relaxed and enjoying being with my extended family. Catching up...sharing memories... looking at pictures... connecting in a fresh way now that I'm 'grown up'. (I don't feel grown up.)
I also watched how the 4 sisters- my Great Aunt and Uncle's daughters- interacted and learned a lot. Their age range is wide, their lives are very different but the love and care they have for each other is strong and beautiful. They know each other well despite not all living geographically close or getting to spend a lot of time together. It was quite obvious to me that the sister relationships they have came from effort, desire and work but mostly Love and acceptance. I asked 2 of the sisters, my second cousins who feel more like Aunts to me, if they had a secret to sisterhood. They both said- listen to each other and don't try to fix things for the others. That seems simple enough, doesn't it? Very powerful and profound, too.
I truly hope that my 2 sisters and I can create relationships that strong to last for our lifetimes. We feel distant lately... busy with our own passions and lives... which is understandable at this early and mid 30's part of our lives ... but I truly hope that this simple but deep lesson I learned from my cousins stays with me and passes onto my sisters.
There was a big party that evening and I got to meet some second and third cousins for the first time, played some beer pong (which was bizarre and wonderful fun), shared my special memories of my Great Aunt & Uncle, and created new memories and fresh connections to the only extended family I have left now...
|My Great Auntie Jo, me and Great Uncle Harvey|
This 5 day road trip is quite possibly the most fun, adventuresome, powerful, free-ing and profound trip of my life- so far, at least. I can't wait to see what the next trip brings!!