Let’s Go Crazy

Let’s Go Crazy

Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?

Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress

When recalling a crazy, impulsive thing I have done, what comes to mind are a couple of adventures:

I volunteered to walk with other survivors in a homecoming parade for Lance Armstrong in Austin in 2004.  I was living in Brenham (between Houston and Austin) and answered the call for survivors to walk in the parade.  I took off a day from work and booked a hotel right along the parade route.  Went to my hairdresser; she gave my hair a French Braid and interlaced yellow coloring in the braids.  Ha!

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View from the parade route

I remember thinking to myself, “Is this totally irresponsible to take off work on short notice for this?  Is it silly to spend money on a hotel for this?”  I was a home-based medical transcriptionist at the time and did not get vacation days.  Yes, I could take off time with no problem; I just would not get paid if I was not working.  Well, I did and it was an absolute hoot.  With my hotel so close, I could walk to all the festivities and, man, were there festivities.  Following the parade, Congress Street and that entire section of downtown Austin was one huge block party that went on into the wee hours of the following morning.  I don’t even remember what time it was when I wandered back to my room.  The Steve Miller Band performed; I remember thinking, “Wow, these guys look old!”  Haha!  Of  course, this was long before all the controversy surrounding Lance, but at the time it was a very awesome experience and I would not have missed it for the world. 

The other impulsive thing also involves the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now called LiveStrong).  In 2005, they were calling for volunteers to attend LiveStrong Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Summoning up my courage and fueled by the need to give back as a survivor, I volunteered with no real expectation of being chosen.  Well, you guessed it.  Before long, I was receiving travel arrangements and hotel information. 

Yikes!  What had I done?  This meant I would have to fly to DC from Austin.  By. My. Self.  Alone.  Oh.  My.  God.

You see, I am a bit of a . . . well, not a wussie or “chicken” but somewhat of a timid soul at times. 

Agreeing to make this solo trip – a flying trip, no less – was a huge deal to wee me.  Impulsive.  Crazy.  Yet meant to be.

Underneath that timid surface, at the core of my Being is a Warrior, a kick-butt Sarah Connor (out of the Terminator films) strong Woman. 

As a cancer survivor, there is the drive to give back to others.  I had also been a volunteer for the LAF at various functions and had received support and encouragement directly and indirectly from them.  I felt I “owed” for all the inspiration and lifting up of my spirit during my dark days.

By this time, too, Dave and I were “together,” (in fact, we were engaged – how that came about is a story for another time) even if we were separated by the Atlantic Ocean.  When I told him I would be in DC for a few days, he decided to come over from Scotland and share the Washington time with me.  Having never been to DC before, I planned to go up a couple of days early, rent a bike and explore the Mall and other DC highlights.  Our flight schedules were so we would meet for the very first time at the airport. 

The flight to DC was made easier to bear because I was headed to meet Dave.  Although my flight arrived shortly before his, he would be there.  I was going to be with him.

Amazing the strength Love will give us, eh?

So I summoned up my inner Sarah Connor persona and got on the plane.

awwwwww!

We had a couple of free days before my meetings started and, of course, our evenings together.  We were now “formally” engaged, with the ring Dave brought from Scotland on my finger!

Those few short days flew by, but memories and scenes from that magical time will be with me forever.  I’m not talking just about “our” time but the time spent with LAF personnel, my brothers and sisters in survivorship, the training we received as survivor advocates and meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss issues of cancer survivorship.

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Of course, the time came for Dave to return to Scotland and me to Texas.  We did, however, now have plans in place to go forward with our new life.  There was the flight home – alone again – to be endured.

The plane was not full and I had the row of seats to myself.  I finished up some LAF paperwork as the plane made its way towards Austin.  When that was done and as we flew into a thunderstorm and turbulence, I snuggled up with the small stuff sheep Dave had given me and . . .

. . . I fell asleep.

Egads.  I slept through the “bumps in the road” at high altitude, through the lightning and lashing rain.  I freakin’ slept and awoke as we neared Austin, feeling refreshed.  That hasn’t happened since, not even when returning to Scotland on those long transatlantic flights.

Were both of these experiences impulsive decisions?  Yes, in my book, but with purpose. 

Hmmm . . . guess when I do something impulsive it’s not sometime like buying a new pair of shoes, but an adventure! 

My life is a bit more routine these days, with fewer major events such as the above, and that’s fine.  I do, however, at times look back on my life and think, “Wow.  I’ve done some stuff, ya know it?”

When was there a time you acted on impulse and “went crazy?”

“Among the Indians there have been no written laws.  Customs handed down from generation to generation have been the only laws to guide them.  Every one might act different from what was considered right, did he choose to do so, but such acts would bring upon him the censure of the Nation . . . This fear of the Nation’s censure acted as a mighty band, binding all in one social, honorable compact.”

– George Copway, Ojibway chief, 1818-1863

365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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Oasis

Oasis

A sanctuary is a place you can escape to, to catch your breath and remember who you are. Write about the place you go to when everything is a bit too much.

Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress

My oasis once was a physical place and I lived in it.  This was my home in Brenham, Texas as it became following my breast cancer and subsequent dissolution of my marriage in 2002.  Previously having been really just a structure I inhabited, it transformed into my oasis during the healing process that followed those two major life events.  Although I moved from there in 2005 and sold the property, it remains the sanctuary I visit in my mind and soul during meditation or times of needing to reconnect with who I am.

313 W Main front

Exterior of the front.  The living room looked out of those floor-to-ceiling windows and was where I held Reiki classes.  The entire front of the home was devoted to Reiki work.

I envision myself in the living room, standing barefoot on the cool concrete floor in my power spot facing those big windows, doing a standing meditation; this was my ritual which I performed prior to the arrival of students or clients in preparing the space.  Other times I will visualize one of the many evenings I spent snuggled in the Papasan Chair meditating by candlelight . . . quite possibly with my dog Baby in my lap and Snookums, my cat, on my shoulder.  It was one of the few scenarios when those two would be that close to one another in tolerance and tranquility.

313 W Main LR

Living room which became my Reiki studio.  Blankets and pillows would be spread on the floor in front of the windows for classes.

There were times of personal struggle, sorrow and physical pain in this home; however, what blossomed out of that was a sanctuary as I healed, grew, became empowered and found peace and ultimately joy.  There was a lot of me in that structure, too, as I gave it a “facelift” in tearing out carpets, refinishing floors, painting the interior, performing minor repairs and performing ongoing yard maintenance. 

In nurturing my home, it nurtured me.

That is my Oasis, where my Spirit returns in times of needing strengthening and reconnection to who I am.

Where is your Oasis?

“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission.  This is the Indian theory of existence.”

– Mourning Dove (Christine Quintasket), Salish, 1888-1936

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Work? Optional!

Work? Optional!

If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress

Would I still work if money were out of the equation?  No.  I have been in the workforce since age 16.  I could exit with no separation anxiety whatsoever.

Well, wait.  I would more than likely still be a full-time RVer, so I could workamp  for the RV site in a campground.  We would definitely be traveling with the seasons and taking in parts of this beautiful country we have not yet experienced.

On second thought . . . money is out of the equation completely?  Let me rethink this, then.

Why not pay for the site and support campgrounds financially?  Okay, that sounds reasonable.  We  would then be absolutely free to stay wherever we wanted, not choosing a location due to employment.

What would I do with my days?

I would explore whatever area we happened to be in and do so leisurely, not being on any daily timetable.  I would rise from slumber when my body had enough snoozing and hit the blankets when I was ready, not regimented by alarm clocks.  I would probably write more and read more.  Gee, who knows?  I might even cook more!  I might cook less!

We would definitely rack up a lot of miles on our rig, which might just change from a truck/5th wheel combo to a smallish Class A or B motorhome.  Hmmm . . . perhaps a new 5th wheel with automatic leveling and a dually truck?  Newer 5ers have a full-sized tub instead of a “garden tub.”  Yeah, baby.

We are dreaming here, right?  

Although I have seen much of the United States throughout my life, there are so many places I have not yet been and others I want to visit again in order to share them with my husband.  This doesn’t mean we’d be on the road constantly, rather sitting in one spot for a few weeks in order to truly experience an area.  Or having the option to vamoose lickety-split from a location if it did not suit us.

One of the things on my bucket list is to spend a Winter on the Texas Gulf Coast in Rockport or some other like quaint destination, or even in The Valley.  Yep, that would happen.  Oh heck, why not throw Arizona in there, too?  Winter in Arizona?  Yeah, I’d try that. 

I’d bite the bullet and even try Florida one Winter, as long as it was at one of the fancy-schmancy resorts with a covered BBQ cabana and huge concrete patio overlooking a bay.  I would make the supreme sacrifice and try that.

Although I am not keen on flying again and definitely not transatlantic jaunts, but . . .

We could book first-class tickets and travel to Scotland for extended stays.  A wee stone cottage in the Highlands?  Book a flat at The Knight Residence in Edinburgh again?  We’re talking at least six months at a time, folks.   Definitely a possibility. 

I could return to trusted physicians in New Jersey for my annual cancer check-ups.  That would be a huge bonus.

May 22 Dolphin Watch front

Oh my gosh!  It just dawned on me that we could rent Dolphin Watch in Cape May and spend some time there each year.  Woot!

You see, though, my life right now is a lot of these things.  With this particular assignment we’re on, we don’t awaken to alarm clocks.  When off duty, our time is our own.  I have time to read, write, cook, nap and hang out with my husband and our wee Maggie.  There are not a lot of hours between arising and going on duty to go out exploring but, you know what?

We aren’t the types who are into heavy-duty sightseeing.  We do not have to be constantly entertained.

We get off on simply “be-ing.”

The only things missing from my current existence, really, is the freedom to travel at whim.  If we’re lucky, we might just live long enough to be able to travel more.

Travel and the shiny new rig, but our truck and 5th wheel are just fine for now.

As I tell folks, I feel I have the best of both worlds.  I live the full-time RV life and have employment that I actually enjoy.

It is fun to fantasize a bit about a life where money is no object, eh? 

What about you?  Would you still work? 

“Often in the stillness of the night when all nature seems asleep about me there comes a gentle rapping at the door of my heart.  I open it and a voice inquires, “Pokagon, what of your people?  What will their future be?”  My answer is:  “Mortal man has not the power to draw aside the veil of unborn time to tell the future of his race.  That gift belongs of the Divine alone.  But it is given to him to closely judge  the future by the present, and the past.”

–  Simon Pokagon,  Potawatomi, 1830-1899

365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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Say Your Name

The title of today’s post is the assignment from Blogging 101 over at WordPress’ Blogging U.  Specifically, the task is to edit the title and tagline of one’s blog.  Having done this not too long ago prior to the beginning of the course, I am going to stick with what I have.

I will share with you a bit about my name . . . or what it might have been.

My mom apparently wanted to name me “Mary Catherine,” but my dad thought it sounded “too Catholic.”  My parents were Methodist; my mom more into church attendance than my dad.

So . . . I ended up being christened with a completely different moniker after a cousin of my mother.

Up until the summer between first and second grades, we lived in an area where we passed by a Dominican Convent/College quite routinely.  I remember being fascinated by the sight of nuns strolling the grounds in their flowing, black-and-white habits and stating to my parents that “I want to be a nun.”

In the early 1960s there were probably a lot of little girls who wanted to be ballerinas and nurses but me?  I wanted to be a nun.

We moved from that area of Houston and time passed.  As I grew physically and spiritually, I found myself more drawn to the Catholic Church and began attending Mass on a regular basis.  Yes, I had “gone to church” as a Methodist to that point in my teens, but never found anything that resonated with me during those Sunday sessions.

I was fortunate to have tolerant and open-minded parents, who allowed me to explore my spirituality and supported me in those explorations.  I attended Methodist, Baptist and Catholic services, all the while being drawn back to the Catholic Church. 

In my teens, I began attending catechism classes in preparation for joining the Church, and converted to Catholicism during my early high school years.

My spiritual path has become a patchwork quilt of sorts over the decades since then.

I have always liked the flow of “Mary Catherine.”  Who knows?  Perhaps in a prior life or in a future one?  It also sounds rather Scottish to me and, of course, we all know how that turned out.

I’m married to a Scotsman!

Foreshadowing?

Ah well.  What’s in a name, eh?

“The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love.”

– Hunkesni (Sitting Bull), Hunkpapa Sioux, 1831-1890

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Quote Me

January 4

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again?  What is it, and why does it move you?

WordPress Ebook:  365 Days of Writing Prompts

“The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing.  The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior’s last battle on earth.  Thus the outcome matters very little to him.  In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear.  And as he wages his battle, knowing that his intent is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.”

–  Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality

There it is.  The one passage I return to again and again. 

Simply put, it resonates with me.

Meanwhile, in other news . . . what’s been going on around here?

Not a whole heck of a lot.  I think that is the norm at this site for us.  Our lives seem to revolve around our work schedule these days.

 

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Early morning January 1

We are on Day 3 of another three-day rain episode.  So far this morning (yes, it really is still morning and I am up early for me these days) we have had rain and sunshine.  Currently it is breezy and 73F with overcast skies.  A cold front with possible severe storms is supposed to pass through later, and I am soooo ready for more seasonable, cooler temperatures.   We may break a record for the high today and then possibly again later in the week for lows. 

Weather in The South is bizarre and will take some getting used after being up North for a few seasons.

Meal preparation is a bit tricky these days.  By the time we get up and get breakfast (around 1 PM), we usually just are not hungry enough later in the day for a “proper” meal.  I try to fix a dinner at least once a week, something that will carry us for a couple of days.  We rarely eat together these days just because of our work schedule.  I guess I don’t mind not having to plan meals for every evening, but it still feels bizarre and I confess I at times feel a bit guilty.  Oh well, screw it.  Doing our own thing seems to work for us and I do still cook; we’re just having to go with the flow these days.

We have pretty much been on our own here this week with the New Year’s holiday and staff being on vacation.  Even when the crew is here, we are still pretty much on our own, having minimal interaction with them.

 Maggie bedtime 01022015

 These covers were well neatly pulled over the pillows when I went to brush my teeth.  Upon return, I saw that Maggie had performed her “turndown service” and was warming the bed for me.  See the foot in the air?  Her way of saying, “Yes, Momma, I did it, but aren’t I cute?”  “Yes, dear Maggie-Mae, you are beyond cuteness.  Where exactly am I supposed to sleep?”

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This is essentially the same shot as the photo up top, taken this morning around 2 AM.  It was the foggiest I have seen here.  Really zero visibility.

Wish I had more to report, but the days and nights here are pretty much the same.  Thank goodness Dave has his cycling and I have my writing and virtual assistant job.  Crazy life, this, but we’re hanging in.

 

“Kindness is to use one’s will to guard one’s speech and conduct so as not to injure anyone.”

– Oral traditional teaching of the Omaha

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Be the Change

Be the Change

What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?

January 3 Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress

 

Sherry over at In the Direction of Our Dreams left a comment on my Blogger version of this blog.  (I post concurrently on both Blogger and WP, having just recently begun exploring WP as an alternative to Blogger.)   Sherry, perhaps you could visit a drum circle now and then in your travels?  I have never attended a circle where there were not rhythm instruments and perhaps even a spare drum or two for visitors to use.   Yoga and Tai Chi are somewhat challenging in an RV, eh?  For several years in Brenham, I attended yoga class once or twice a week.  We were a like-spirited group, we had this awesome energy groove thing going and classes were often filled with laughter.  I miss “my people.”  About the journal, yes, the cover is distressed leather; hence, the comfy and welcoming feel of it.  I have drums and a bag of rhythm instruments; if you and I ever hook up on the road, we’ll get a groovy beat going!

Alrighty. 

What change would I like to make in the world with this blog?

  • For even just one person walking the cancer path will realize and understand that they are not alone. 
  • For even just one person to see by reading my ramblings about our lifestyle that they, too, can accomplish their dreams.

Yes, only the cancer patient will undergo treatment and possibly face their mortality.  No one can take your place in the surgical theater or the chemo chair.  No one will be thinking your thoughts of leaving this Earth.  Family and friends may have similar thoughts (and in fact will have their own struggles with your diagnosis), but those are not your thoughts.  It’s your body and your soul, not theirs.  Others can provide support and caregiving, but unless they have walked the path, they simply cannot truly comprehend the physical discomforts and emotional/spiritual processes which come with a diagnosis of cancer.

That being said, you are not alone.  Uncomfortable or unwilling to talk to your extended circle of family and friends?  Get thee to a support group. (Yeah, me too.  I sort of cringe at the term “support group.”)  There is probably one at your hospital or cancer center.  You don’t want to talk to strangers?

Let me tell you that from what I have experienced, survivors have an instinctive feeling of brother/sisterhood with other survivors.  It is sort of like we share this terrible yet beautiful knowingness about Life and Death. 

Who knows?  Perhaps what you have to say may instill hope in someone else walking the path. 

Long and short of it is that you are not alone. There are so many of us out here who “get it.”

Oh yeah, and the from the moment you hear the words, “You have cancer,” you are a Survivor.

About the accomplishment of dreams . . . living the full-time RV lifestyle was my dream starting in about 2003.  Single again, I had my life pretty much mapped out.  When the time came that I would no longer be responsible for the care of my elderly mother, I intended (oh look! another intention!) to sell my property in Texas, buy a dually truck and big 5th wheel and hit the road.  It’s in my genes, you see.

Well, Life joyfully happens and the Dream all but faded on the back burner until 2010.  Remarried in 2006 and having camped with pop-up and then bumper-pull trailers as a couple, the Dream came alive again in 2009.  We were resident managers of a self-storage facility.  Thinking it would be a good idea to have a home not dependent upon our employment, we traded our Tahoe for a big truck and our travel trailer for a big 5th wheel.  In 2010, realizing our line of work was increasingly stressful and essentially precluded a life outside of that work, we hit the road after agreeing to try the full-time life for a year.

Now 4.5 years later, we are still full-timers with no regrets.

The Dream is alive, well and flourishing.

Point to this story? 

Dreams may be born, simmer through a period of years in dormancy and undergo modification before fruition.  They can blossom with patience, belief in them, planning and visualization of the end result.  When the time is right, it can happen.  Don’t give up.  Keep the Dream alive!

 

“We never did the white man any harm; we don’t intend to . . . we are willing to be friends with the white man . . . “ 

–  Hotoakhihoois (Tall Bull), to General Winfield Scott Hancock, March 1867

January 3 – 365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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Resolved

Resolved
Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?

WordPress Ebook:  365 Days of Writing Prompts

 

The first thing I want to do is give a shout out to Jerry over at Waggin Tails RV for turning me on to The Daily Post at WordPress and unknowingly giving me a bit of a kick in the pants to write more.  Thanks, my friend!

So . . . I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, per se.  I do put forth intentions (oh my!  there’s that word again!) to the Universe.

Is a “resolution” the same as an “intention”?   Hmmm . . . yes and no?

Here is a definition of “resolution” = a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Okay.

How about “intention” = 1)  a thing intended; an aim or plan, and 2) (in medicine) the healing process of a wound.

A “firm decision” sounds rather inflexible when it relates to goals I would  like to accomplish during a year.  I know from personal experience that Life can throw humdinger curveballs, disrupting the firmest-laid plans.

I much prefer going with the flow, if you will.  My intentions are tossed out there and, while the basic concepts are firm, they are able to bend in the breezes of Life.

So, no, I do not make New Year’s resolutions.

I have to say the second definition of “intention” resonates with me as a Reiki Master. 

The very word “resolution” sounds more concrete, unyielding and stern versus the word “intention,” which brings to mind of coming from one’s soul or Spirit.  Perhaps it is my Reiki background, but when I put forth an intention, I am asking the Great Spirit and the Universe for support, guidance and assistance in accomplishing my goal.

Intentions for this year?  I am participating in one this very moment in visiting with you here, and it touches on both writing more and nurturing my spiritual being. 

Thanks also to my wonderful and supportive husband for this totally awesome Christmas present  . . .

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Being 5” x 7” in size, this journal now goes with me everywhere

There have been times when I have had a thoughts to be blogged or incorporated into a writing project but, alas, by the time I have gotten back to my laptop whoosh! the thoughts had disappeared.  My new little journal buddy accompanies me to the office, back to the rig and is on my nightstand when I snuggle into bed.  The pages inside are lined, making writing (and reading) easier, there are two pen slots inside the cover and I love the feel of the journal.  Although it is brand new, it has the comfortable feel of that favorite sweater . . . you know what I mean.  Yes, we’re good buddies already.

Another treat in my stocking this Christmas was an iTunes gift card, part of which went to the download of a shamanic drumming CD.  It is Shamanic Drum by Miroslaw Miniszewski.  In prior  years, I had the luxury of participating in drum circles and gatherings and having the privilege to be in the presence of Elders and wise folks combined with solitary nurturing of my spirit.  Currently  I am not in a position to actually be with people; therefore, I am working on returning to the practice of self-nurturing of the spirit.  This CD is exactly a tool I was seeking. 

So!  To return to the original question above, just shy of the second day of 2015, I am on a path of keeping my intentions alive and well. 

Of course, it’s early days.

Have you set resolutions or intentions for 2015?  If so, how are you doing so far?

 

“I love a people who have always made me welcome to the best they had . . . who are honest without laws, who have no jails and no poor-houses . . . who never take the name of God in vain . . . who worship God without a Bible, and I believe God loves them also . . . who are free from religious animosities . . . who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, where there is no law to punish either . . . who never fought a battle with white men except on their own ground . . . and Oh, how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money!”

– George Catlin, an American non-Native artist of the 1930s, speaking about the Native people he had encountered

January 2 – 365 Days of Walking the Red Road

 

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