My IV Drip

valium

I had surgery once where I thought the panic attack would kill me before the surgery did. I clung to the nurse’s arm and squeaked out, “I need a Valium”. Now, let me say that I don’t take valium, nor have I ever. But I saw all the shows on TV for decades where that little pill seemed to be all too friendly with women to help them sleep, manage stress or simply just check out from being a Stepford Wife. My nurse said, “Oh, honey, we’ve got something far better than that for you,” as she hooked me to an IV drip and I was out in LA LA land in four seconds.

Costa Rica is my IV drip.

I arrived here in a hurry.   I arrived here living a hurried, fast paced type A life. I had no clue how to do it otherwise. And pretty much upon landing, setting my toes deep in the hot sand and sipping agua de pipa, I unplugged from a power source that in almost every way, I had become addicted to.

Suddenly, I was drifting off to a deep sleep at 8pm once the blackest curtain of dark was drawn over the jungle, precisely at 6pm. For a girl who had never thought to see 4am, I was up with the first spark of pink light. My gate slowed, my needs of the day thinned out like plucking weeds from an overgrown garden, to reveal the fact that I could get it all done today, or maybe get it done manana. It did not matter.

Now, five months later, I am not only type B, but I am not concerned with moving to any particular destination in my day. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I work, I see a dozen clients a week on Skype, edit a half-dozen books, write my own stories and yet there is no inner coil of tension from the decades of living in urban life and off a grid of energy that never shuts down. I can be in the thick of writing a scene and not lose my place when I pause to watch the scarlet Macaws fly over. I just take the bliss of that moment and pump it all into the next sentence I write.

Here there is no need for Valium, or vodka tonics, or having to read Eckhart Tolle for the hundredth time on how to be here now. I am here now. Nature requires it and her grid of energy is so powerful that unless you let her reboot you, you will simply go back to where you traveled from.

Nature is my drug of choice. Nature never leaves me with a hangover in life. She simply returns me to the rhythm that is innately humane.

Your Bucket List

Follow your heart

As a modern day gypsy living from pillar to post was not on my top ten Bucket List items.  I had the following dreams instead: I had things on my list like getting an Oscar, writing a bestseller, seeing the caves of Damanhur, going to Antarctica, and winning the lottery, of course.  But I won the lottery the minute I said yes to my heart and left normal life, as most of us know it.

I have been having a life on the road that is dotted with awe-inspiring, jaw dropping beauty, kind-hearted people, challenging culture shocks, language barriers and physical limitations. I chronicle how different I feel when I live in the city versus what my body changes into when I live in the jungle here in Costa Rica. Not a day anywhere is the same as the day before.

I have grown to know two certainties in my life: That all you can count on is change. And secondly, that love is the only real human currency. Money can in fact, not matter. When I can focus on these two things then fear can’t take a foothold. If every encounter I have is rooted in love and each moment of change is embraced then there is no way to contract from what life dishes out on a daily basis. Everything becomes a way of learning about self and other, about having and not having, about what the soul truly needs in order to thrive.

This is why I am a gypsy. I value experience far above stability and job security. As a result, my mind cannot become entrenched in the cultural mind, cannot feed on bad news, or really run the show in my life at all. Living and navigating by intuition and a spirit of “Yes” is a heart-based matter. Living in the heart takes courage and is a bit like “spelunking” into caves that are dark and unclear with the full knowledge that you are tethered to a large Universe that has only your wellbeing and growth in mind.

But one of the hidden benefits of living a nomadic life with few possession and estimating real wealth as beauty, spirit, new friends, new opportunity and an adventurous spirit, is it changes your physical chemistry. The body is not a vehicle just to get me from one country to the next, but is completely tuned to the vibration at which I live when I am inspired and challenged. Those experiences raise endorphins, change brain chemistry, metabolism, and virtually every cell in the body.

Living as a modern gypsy insists on total integration of mind, body and heart humming forward as one unit with the life battery being the soul. I don’t know how I could go back to living any other way.

bucket list

The Gypsy off Road

gypsy wagon home

 

My Gypsy Blog was started nearly four years ago when I took a leap out of my life as a therapist (and a closet writer), and decided to discover the story of my life…on the road.

 

But one thing I was not prepared for was that if you pack up your life in one tiny car, put your cat on the front seat and open your map and go east, there is no guarantee of getting there. Not when you are open to what happens when you are on the road. There is no promise that you will end up where you think you are going. That seems to be not only true about life in about every way, but true about writing a story. You may decide to go in one direction and end up with a totally different story…writing your life.

 

I have been in almost every state in the U.S. and have wandered my way back to one of my favorite places of all: Colorado. I was on my way north one time and ended up in Oklahoma, I was on my way to NYC and stayed in Asheville NC for a year, I went to visit someone up on the border of Canada and didn’t leave for a year. I decided to settle in Seattle and promptly was called to leave and go back east. I flew to Africa swearing I would never ever leave and landed back in Oklahoma a far cry from Africa. I have set out on so many journeys that my mind had constructed, but in the end, my heart took me places that were unexpected, serendipitous and magical.

 

And then there are the times that are not so magical. Or at least in that sparkly happy-to-be-there kind of way. Travel strips you. It makes it near impossible to be your limited self, to be afraid or get lost. But, in the end, you still get do get afraid and lost and more often than you would like. You run out of money and have to take a job you don’t love. You meet people who are not kind or generous, you make decisions that turn out to be bogus or you stand still at a hundred different crossroads and don’t have one clue which way to go.

That is the story for a writer as well.

 

A good story has all those elements in it: You get lost in the weeds of your own story, you stare at the blank page and have no clue which way to go, you run out of money to pay the electric bill since you never leave your computer long enough to know what time of the month it is, you let someone read your writing and they trash it and you give up at least once a week and you then read the chapter you just wrote and are bored to tears. These are NOT the magical moments for a writer.

 

And I decided to take a new road in my life where that is all I am now doing…I write. I have one magical, fluid, simple ten page day. Then I reread what I wrote and cringe. Rewrite it and smile. I set out to finish some research on a project and it leads me down a new path of thinking. I read a bestseller at noon for a break and realize I am not as good as the author. Then I stumble upon a poem just itching to get out onto the paper and I am hooked on it, I swallow it whole and by 2am I have the making of a great screenplay. This is a writer’s life.

You put all these inevitable experiences for a writer together like a well woven tapestry and you have the landscape that a writer lives in day in and day out. It is just as exciting as going off-road in a four-wheel and getting high into the back-country.

 

I have a new map. It is not the well-worn Road Atlas I have come to depend on when I am on some one lane road in a January snowstorm in North Dakota while I look for Devil’s Tower, it is a map that is born in my heart. I love storytelling and have so many to tell. I love to help others write the story that has been simmering in their psyche for a long time. Writing is just as spectacular an adventure as travel.

 

So I am currently off-road. For the time being the gypsy in me is hunkered down in the snowy mountains of Colorado and I am navigating a new territory. I am mapping my own life in words….I am excited to see where this new road will lead.  Please check often since I will post stories, and gypsy adventures. And hear more about my writing adventures at www.mythotherapy.org.

 

Eddie! Or is it Eddy?

I wish I could say that I had fallen in love with some guy named Eddie.  The only Eddie I know is Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver, and all I really remember about him is his annoying high pitched and grating voice.  A real whiner.  No, here I am referring to the eddy, those spots in a river that, on a long paddle, you look for to catch your breath. At least that is what I remember about canoeing.  My hope was for a calm eddy around the corner so I could get out of the current and take a breather.  Well, this memory of the benevolence of the eddy is being challenged and I am currently having quite a different experience.

For nearly 9 months I have dedicated my life to learning to live in the flow.  To live from a much more aware and intentional place in myself. To give my mind a vacation.  It has been both challenging and magical.  My most valuable compass has become practicing the art of navigating life from the heart, the intuition and that “gut feeling”.  Yet in this practice my heart is always accompanied by my mind trying to get control of the process and of the unknowing. My mind believes it can figure anything out and that it will make me feel better in the face of uncertainty.

So, the river of life I live in right now is moving at a speed that my little boat is having some difficulty navigating.  My mind just wanted to “eddie out” and consider my options.

My home base for the better part of a year has been a room in my daughters apartment in Asheville North Carolina, where a few of my things and my cats live when I am not here.  She and I have busted the illusion that mothers and daughters cannot co-habitate as adults and it has been a great time.  But, the lease is up here and Jessie is leaving for the Virgin Islands on her adventure and I am packing my few things, my cats and heading….hmmm….well that’s not clear.

I have many options but no one of them turns that inner light of knowing on or makes me feel inspired and certain.  Every choice that comes up on the radar sounds great:  More time with Film School in Seattle, going to the coastal town of Point Roberts and writing, Findhorn in Scotland, setting down some roots here in Asheville, creating community with new friends.  All these ideas of what is next for me seem great from my mind’s point of view, but my heart is quiet. I have lost my compass.

So, I did the most familiar thing I could do in the face of packing boxes and moving out in  five days from now.  Yep 5 days.  I decided to let my mind take over and make a solution.  Big mistake.  My lack of patience to wait for the answer kicked in my most primitive response.  Just figure it out.  You can do it Maya.  Just get that pad of paper and get those pro’s and con’s down and it will be clear what you should do next.  Big, very big mistake.  It was at this moment I began to eddy out of the river of my inspired life and discovered that an eddy if far more complicated than I had remembered.

An eddy is a place in a river where the water is “moving in a different direction or different speed” than the main current. Eddies are made by rocks in the river, outcroppings along the side, behind logs, bridge pilings, and also on the inside of bends or along the side of the river.  An “eddy line” is the part of the river that separates an eddy from the main current. Eddy lines can range from gentle changes of current, to violent, whirl-pool-causing obstacles. The speed, volume, and motion of the current will decide what type of eddy line is formed.

The eddy that was created, the moment my mind jumped into the front seat of my life was nothing short of a violent whirlpool of thinking.  I began to chew on every detail of why this and not that.  My pros and cons list graduated to a full sized dry erase board in my living room where I could move around all the factors in my life like on a chess board.  This process of “figuring it all out” became exhausting and took me just deeper down the rabbit hole of indecision.  All the while I am being churned around in the washing machine of my own thoughts, the river is just moving past me in it’s predictable and constant flow and always going somewhere.  In the end, I made myself sleepless, anxious and stuck.  I had forgotten my compass.

Right when I hit my breaking point I stumbled on a post on Facebook.  There was a black and white cartoon of a man in the darkness without a flashlight.  All you could see were his blinking eyes.  That was me!  The quote went something like this: “They say when one door closes, another door opens.  But these hallways are a bitch!”.  I was in the dark corridor between leaving something and beginning something and I did not like it.

So, with a week before I had to fill a car full of cats and belongings, find storage for my few other things and go to AAA to get a new set of maps and trip books, I came to a grinding halt in my process of efforting to discern the right thing to do.  I just stopped thinking. I gave up trying. What a relief.  My little boat broke loose of all the debris and obstacles that the mind had created and just silently drifted back into the rushing current of uncertainty.  I was allowing myself to simply not know.  Chop wood, carry water was for me “pack one box at a time” and not know where it was going.  Sleep returned and anxiety stopped. I allowed the vast knowing universe back into my process.

And I now spend time every day reminding myself of the joy of the journey, even if I do not know the destination.  And that is the key.  Letting go of the destination.

When most of us take trips we have a map or a tour guide.  Without the map we do what?  We drive down the road and if we get lost we ask directions (or at least I do).  But like most I had become dependent on knowing where I am going and getting the map out when I felt lost.  The map shows you what is ahead, when to turn, the distance and the constructions zones to avoid, all in the service of me getting from point A to point B.  I have a point A but no point B.  I wanted a map and my mind was going to make one. But in reality that is delusional.  How can anyone get a map from point A to nowhere?  This process of needing to know and have a destination stripped me of the very things I have been learning:  That I do not always know what is next and if I allow that unknowing to just “be” then, without exception, something breaks into my life that is new and magical.  My heart and my intuition know that but my mind had forgotten.

I had forced myself out of the flow of my own knowing and put myself purposefully into a place that was “moving in a different direction or different speed” than the main current.  Why?  Because I was afraid to not know.  I was afraid to make the “wrong” decision.  I was simply uncomfortable in limbo and unwilling to live with the discomfort. Fears were my “eddie line” separated me from the main current of life.

So, you might be waiting to hear what I have finally discovered that I will do come May 29th.  Me too!  I still have no idea.  I rededicated myself to the path that this entire year is about for me and I am waiting for the direction to emerge.  I am waiting and floating on the river with my heart as the rudder.  And until that feeling of joy and inspiration floods my very being, I am packing one box at a time, I am getting my oil changed, I am putting out requests, I am meditating on the very vision of why I am on this road in the first place:  To discover what makes me happy.  So stay tuned for the next chapter.

Surprised by Life

I have been on the road for six months now.  And most of those Road Trips taken were without being able to drive my car.  My legal rights to a driver’s license buried in some endless bureaucracy.  At first, I felt like the inability to legally drive would become a boulder sitting right in the middle of my life and block my deep intentions to follow the flow of where the river would take me.  For a month or more I reacted and resisted this interruption in my perceived plan.  Once the likelihood of driving wherever my heart led, was challenged, I relaxed into the “interruption” and began to relate to it as a gift.  “What might this unwanted experience provide for me that I could not have known or perceived without it?”  And the answer was: “Surprise?”  The answer was,”The unexpected”.

What I am coming to understand is that MY “plans” are only one possible future.  And my attachment to the outcome of those plans can limit my life.  If I could have driven, my two week stay with my daughter with an intention to drive North to Maine would have me leaving Asheville.  But, because I had to pause for a moment, breath, let go of my attachment to any outcome, I stumbled into my own desire to create a website while waiting for what I thought would be a few weeks before the debacle of my driver’s license was behind me.

I interviewed two people for the job and hired one.   Mary Long brought love, joy and creativity to my creating a clearer identity and I hired her.  Richard Gannaway was equally as gifted, but somehow in our interview we never truly discussed my budding website, but fell into a mutual love for music, for his work as a composer, singer and musician with AO Music.  Richard sent me home that day with his newest album and my life changed forever.

The music did what music only can.  It opened a part of me long-buried and reminded me of a part of myself that had forgotten a core inspiration in my life which lead me to aligning my self with AO Music and it’s care for changing hearts and helping children.  My life ignited. If I had driven away as planned I would have missed Joy breaking into my life.

 “The Law of Attraction is responding to your thought, not to your current reality. When you change the thought, your reality must follow suit. If things are going well for you, then focusing upon what is happening now will cause the well-being to continue, but if there are things happening now that are not pleasing, you must find a way of taking your attention away from those unwanted things. You have the ability to quickly change your patterns of thought, and eventually… your life experience.”  Abraham

I stayed much longer in Asheville than had been planned.  I had time to sit inside of my own dreaming, my own inspiration and my deepest wants and desires and could not “drive away from them”.  The minute I claimed these hopes and dreams my energy changed, my happiness increased and as the law of attraction is trying to teach us, suddenly and immediately people, ideas, opportunities and gifts that MATCHED those dreams and inspirations began to flood into my life. I was offered the chance to write a screenplay and then to attend The Film School in Seattle.

Tom Skerritt, The Film School

I did not chase my dreams in my car. I couldn’t.  I did not make a ten point list of goals for the year to tick off one by one. I waited, I practiced deep self inquiry and I listened to promptings that had been drowned out by my assumptions about my life and what I should be doing.  And in return, the Universe was given room and space to spill into my life with opportunity that I could not have seen.

Since “having my wings clipped”, so to speak by unforeseen circumstances, I have found that in fact, I do not need a car.  That I do not need to spend all that money and gas for something that I have done just fine without.  I can stop polluting the planet.  I can create a slower pace instead of knowing that my car is right outside my front door so I can dash anywhere.  That has been another surprise.  The cost of a periodic taxi, taking the bus when I am in an urban area, being a passenger with a friend who I get a chance to chat with, and generally limiting how many places I need to be in a day has slowed me down to a rhythm that I am liking. That is healthier and more centering.

I have spent time on the ocean in Washington with Icelandic Ponies, I have lived in a hotel for a month while going to The Film School here is Seattle, I have aligned my life and heart with a cause to open the heart through music. I am nearly done with the first draft of the screenplay I have been asked to write.  And my website reflects the constant unfolding of me as I move toward being the most authentic expression of myself.  And come the end of May, one year after the death of my mother, my daughter, who I have been staying with in Asheville will be moving.  The lease is up.  And the question that comes back round is:  What’s next.  Where will my next stop be?  I cannot wait to be surprised!

I was directed in a scene by Tom Skerritt as the infamous “Mrs. Robinson” from the movie The Graduate.  Acting is NOT my forte so I will stick to being a writer!

Punch Lines!!

Traffic sign alerting drivers for Amish Buggie...

Image via Wikipedia

As the Saga unfolds I have heard from many some amazing ideas for the punchline to the Joke…”What is a Gypsy without a car?”  (See post for Oct. 17th)  I wanted to include some of what has been sent to me for all our consideration.  Thanks to everyone for your support and humor.

1.      “What does a gypsy without a car do? Hitchhike.”
2.      “What do you call a gypsy without a car? Homeless”
3        “Have you ever considered being an outlaw gypsy and just driving anyway?”
4.       “What’s a gypsy without a car”–someone who is discovering the joys of cycling, walking and/or being chauffeured.
5.        “Have you looked into an Amish carriage (surely one doesn’t need a license to drive a buggy…?) and have you traveled by train lately???  My family and I used to take the train between southern California and Louisiana at least twice
each year…always an adventure, always so enlightening.

A Gypsy Joke

One of my friends and I were staring at each other in bewilderment over a steaming cup of tea while sitting in a nearby cafe as she burst out laughing. “Ok, there is a joke in this!”, She said. “What is a gypsy without a car?”.  We both howled.

So, what IS a gypsy without a car in our 21st century?  Well, I am finding out the myriad of answers to that odd question since at this moment the Universe has orchestrated a challenge for me of not having a valid drivers license which does curtail ones travel plans.

Let me back up briefly.  Gypsies are nomadic and mobile at heart.  They need to pack up and relocate or wander at any given moment and carry with them simple and transportable belongings.   They need to be ready to go the direction the wind is calling.

In another century, if someone came into a Gypsy camp and said, “Well, we are not only taking your gypsy wagons away from you, but we are taking your horses too!”, I think there would have been a mild uprising at the very least.  So, in this moment of history, not having a driver’s license, when everything I have packed for travel is in my car is, at the very least, is just a tad inconvenient.

In short, here is how it happened and much like Julie, in the movie “Julie and Julia” who had to confess to her public when one of her recipes simply failed or she could not dress a proper chicken, there is a twinge of embarrassment.  But, it is just part of the journey.  My oddly difficult driver’s license renewal sage to date goes like this:

I moved my few things to North Carolina.  I needed a new drivers license.  I stood in lines forever.  I was first asked if I wanted to donate vital organs after a car crash and then they checked whether I do in fact have hazel eyes and am 5’5”, which I had to correct since it seems as I am shrinking and am now 5’4”.  And then they asked a question that 10 years ago I was not asked:  “What is your social security number?”  Happily I gave it to them.  Instantly, they said I could not have a driver’s license since somehow my name on my social security card did not match my current license.  Really?  Can you explain that please?

So, I started on the road to OZ, winding my way through what has become the most convoluted justice system I could ever have imagined.  First, there were small-minded people who did not know answers and did not know who had the answers and then I got lost down the rabbit hole of our Social Security system.  I didn’t think I was going to get out of the building alive and for a split second I thought I was on this year’s new TV series The Walking Dead.

The glitch seems to be one that no one in either civil or national governing positions has the answer to solving.  It was even suggested that I just become 16 years young again and start over….after 40 years of driving…and take a written driving test and then a physical driving test so I could get my PERMIT and drive with some “responsible” 21 year old in the car of choice.  So while I was in Colorado, the state my last official driver’s license was from, I did just that.

I went to get in line to be given the written test.  I picked a number and the ocean of difference between the number I was given and the number flashing on the wall was….three hours worth of unhappy people.  I sat.  I waited.  And then I thought I could go shopping for the next two hours and not sit here.  So, I stepped outside.  Across the street I saw “A-1 Driving School”.

I went in and shared my plight and they said that they gave written drivers tests and I could take one with them for $20.  Then I could take it back over to the DMV and get in the front of the line.  That was a no brainer.  But, the wonderful woman took one look at me and asked me when the last time I took a test was, sensing that I might be just a wee bit behind on knowing driving laws or information, which of course, every pimply faced new driver has to know.  Like is it a right or a privilege or an honor to drive a car?  Now that is certainly debatable in my mind.

I was seated in an empty drivers education classroom right next to the woman’s eight-year-old daughter doing homework on her laptop and…5 rescue dogs.  Fabulous dogs, each suffering from some unadoptable malady; One leg, one eye, too old, no fur.  They were precious and each sat at my feet while I discovered what I was up against on the test.  By the third question I was in trouble.  When was the last time I even thought that I needed to treat a motorcyclist who is merging onto the interstate from an on-ramp any differently than any other moving vehicle?

I flunked.  The woman was sad for me.

She said I could take the test again and mentioned some cautions and some of the new air bag regulations that she whispered in my ear just before going back in the room with the dogs.  By the third question I was in trouble again.  So, I broke out my secret weapon, my pendulum, just in case the testing rule of “when in doubt it is always choice “C”, did not seem just right.

So, here I am with a child asking me if I had ever driven a car before since I so obviously knew nothing about driving, with the one-legged pointer named Brownie licking my toes through my sandals and me knowing that they might be calling my number over at the DMV and I would loose my place in line.  I stared at the last question.  “How many feet back from the crosswalk at a stop sign do you need to stop your car with or without any people in it?”  Ugh!

I did not flunk.  I thanked the pendulum, grabbed my test that had “passed” on it and ran back to get to the front of the line at the DMV.  Same questions about my organs, but looking good again and then the assistants face dropped.  “It seems you need to deal with the Social Security problem you have miss.  May I suggest you get a lawyer?”   Sigh.  I felt like Brownie the one legged dog.

I drove back to my friend’s house in her car, certain that every cop on the road knew who I was and would then be throwing me in the Poky.

So, I am now back in Asheville, looking online for a good Social Security lawyer and allowing my 28-year-old daughter to chauffeur me, which I must admit, is not so bad really.  But, what is the lesson here?  Lessons abound every day, but THE BIG LESSON is forming itself over time.  I have had ample opportunity to practice a new kind of patience, with a bureaucratic process that is like holding a difficult yoga posture with people who don’t like their jobs and are short, befuddled and down right rude.  I imagine I will be Gandhi by the end of this legal process.

I get to practice being happy while standing in line for hours only to be told I need slightly different paperwork and a new set of fingerprints since I could be a uni-bomber. I close my eyes often while in the waiting places and find gratitude that I was not in the salon when the angry father shot and killed eight people this week, but simply acknowledge that I am only waiting for the “privilege” to drive a car in the United States.  Then the entire process becomes easy.

But, I have learned the most about patience and understanding with myself.  Self love in the midst of floods of thoughts about how I could have known this before or done a dozen things differently.  I become happy for the simple truth that I do my best and sometimes there are surprises in life that give me the opportunity to align just a little more with the truth of who I am…with or without a driver’s license…with or without a car.

I am certain this will be solved by Christmas and I will have the choice to be back on the road.  I now have the creative opportunity to drive with friends, maybe find a traveling companion who wants to explore my next stops with me, stay put and write, which is a great idea or fly where I need to go, which is most likely not going to be my choice.  I know that whatever changes I need to make to accommodate this tiny inconvenience will be part of the flow too and will lead to something I had not expected; a new friend, or a surprise that could not have happened unless I had had this little bump in my road.

So, I will let you know my creative solutions as the story unfolds. And I will share the punch line to “What does a Gypsy do without a car?”  Any ideas?