Thailand, Chiang Mai and Days 3 and 4

952AI love this photo both because of the solemnity of the pose as well as the tactile nature of the piece from all of the gold leaf that Buddhists have rubbed onto the icon. The application of the gold leaf was another way to send your wishes out into the Universe. And if I had to guess, my wish at the time I took this photo was perhaps more time to take photos and a little less time with the group.

I have been struggling with whether or not to express how I really felt on parts of this trip because it might hurt someone’s feelings. But in the end, I think I have a readership of five on a good day and my blog has never really been about anything more than writing, preserving some things for my son and processing how I feel about certain situations. And so the gloves come off and away I go. As I have previously mentioned, the group I traveled with was extraordinary but that does not mean all things were perfect all the time. As with all group dynamics, there were moments and exchanges that I could have handled better – and not to finger point, but there were times when some folks in the group were just rude.

From my perspective, I tried very hard to keep up with the group and to never make them wait on me because I wanted to take one more photo. I could have visited a dozen more temples and taken a thousand more photos. But by the time we hit days three and four in Chiang Mai, the majority of the group was “templed out”. Each new location brought eye rolls and sighs of dismay that we were seeing yet another gold Buddha. And while many in the group may have thought I did not hear or didn’t care if I did, the temples were the main reason I was there. As a result, I started to get a little resentful that while I was acting responsibly, being prompt and deferential at their activities, they were beginning to get a little fed up with what I wanted to do. Continue reading “Thailand, Chiang Mai and Days 3 and 4”

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Moving from Fear to Faith

Adams 069On Monday evening, I finished a ten week class called Beyond Limits. The exercise in the lecture portion of this last class was about moving from fear to faith and in light of my previous blog post, I thought this was serendipitous. The exercise involved articulating a specific fear and then identifying how we behave as a result of this fear.

Without a doubt, my greatest fear, when it is all said and done, is financial security. This is a whopper of a concern in my life, (which is a surprise to me considering how much I have worried about having a relationship in previous blog posts).  According to  Iyanla  ,  we’re not living the lives we hope for but rather the lives we expect (I think I recently heard this in church as well). And when I take a really honest look at my beliefs, I can see that I have always thought I would struggle financially.  Now that I think about it, it probably started as a result of my entering the Air Force after high school rather than heading straight to college. From the minute I enlisted, I felt “behind”.

By the time I finished college, because of my enlistment in the Air Force, my friends were already out in the real world and lighting that same world on fire with all their brilliance.  Why was that such a big deal? I don’t know.  I guess I thought my military service would significantly retard my earning potential and progress up the proverbial ladder.  Looking back, which is what we do at 50, I can see now that it should have been a small concern. I might have been a rung or two behind, but over the past 30 years, I’ve changed careers more than a few times. For better or worse though, my military service really changed how I looked at myself and how I defined success.

In the exercise Monday night, I distilled the phrase “financial security” down to simply “lack”.  My behavior, in order to address the fear of “lack” has been to control – whether that is spending because I can, sort of a thumbing of the nose at my itty bitty bank balance,  or denying myself because I’ve hit the wall and see no other way – it’s some form of control.  The mantra and visualization from the exercise then became, “I release my fear of lack. I release my need to control. I am grateful God is the abundance and financial security that I am.”

My week progressed with an additional insight and another lesson from Iyanla. I tell you – that woman has a way of distilling down all the noise and esoteric philosophies into very simple truths. Her message from the show I was listening to, was that I needed to release again, certain behaviors or experiences and then proclaim my willingness to experience something different. So, pen in hand, I attacked my assignment and did as I was directed.

This week I have also made a conscious effort to give more. Admittedly, these have been very small gestures but considering the size of my very small bank account, I’ve done what I can. After paying my bills this month, and leaving myself with too little for groceries and frankly nothing left for my mortgage, giving was probably one of the last things I should be doing, but I did it anyway.

On Thursday evening, a mere three days later, after a 12 hour day at work and a performance review that was less than flattering, I came across an envelope from my new insurer. I thought it was going to be a late notice or some other form of bad news. But it was a check, made out to me, that would cover almost half of my mortgage payment this month.

I could not have been more surprised or more thankful. Does this solve all of my problems or move me all the way from paralyzing fear to total faith? Maybe not, but it sure puts a chink in the enormous brick wall I have built to “protect” myself and more than anything else, it gives me hope. Hope that the work is, well, working.

To my friends from small group – I may not be a lost cause after all.

Namaste.

My day yesterday in as few words as possible.

Body sore, skipped yoga.

Guilt.

Spontaneous decision to be outdoors and hike.

Mild stretching of truth to get participation of son.

Bacon cooked as a bribe.

Clothes gathered for potential snow.

48F

Fifty minute drive with his music.

46F

Bobble-headed movements to his music.

15 miles out and 38F.

Mileage reached but is this the right road?

Reverse. Running start to get over the snow.

Fork in the road.

Undercarriage “cleaned” by dragging through the snow.

Potholes as large as the car.

“Alex, can you move that boulder please?”

Tentative driving.

“Sorry Alex. Can you get that one too?”

Shit. Wrong turn taken.

“Mom, can we get off this road or at least drive on the other side – it’s a long way down.”

One mile driven on the wrong road.

34F.

Main road reached and route continued.

Parking lot found.

Expired park pass. Shit.

Rain and snow.

Hike begun.

Thunder and lightening – cool!

Trekkers passed coming out – pleasantries exchanged.

Hike continued.

Two hours later, idea for minimal blog shared with son.

“Mom, why can’t you just use one word?”

Curious.

“What word should I use Alex?”

“Good.”

Heart warmed.

Hike completed and feet sore.

Snoring from passenger seat on the way home.

Evening ended with hot chocolate and Bailey’s.

Heaven.