Home of Birth, Home of Heart

I was born and raised in California although I have lived in other places, it has always been home to me. When I travel, I am happy to leave it and often times happier to return. My siblings are there, my parents and grandparents are laid to rest there and all of my early formidable years, as well as my wild child, rebellious years were spent there. My son was born there and I know just about every nook and cranny of my hometown. So imagine my surprise when I travel 1/3 of the way around the world to a place I’ve never been and as soon as my feet touch ground, I feel as though I have returned home after a long time away. It’s as if my heart knows where it’s home is and recognizes it at once. That was my first trip to Scotland and my second trip, the feeling was even stronger. I don’t know (nor do I wish to know) why those feelings are so deeply felt or why I haven’t felt it before anywhere else; I just know what I feel. This place is so wild, so beautiful and has such history that I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that I’m walking through the Necropolis where hundreds of years ago my ancestors may have walked. It gives me a connection, as if time is folding back slightly, allowing me to peek back and see what it was like. I feel closer to my heritage, I guess. If there are such things as spirits, that is the presence I feel as I walk through the streets, loving the rain, the clouds and the cold winds. My heart is happy and I smile without even realizing it. I just feel good…no added ingredients required. So I will call Scotland the home of my heart, for it truly is. It gives me a connection to the past, a paradise of cool away from the burning, unmerciful heat of California in July (or May, or September) and I just feel so gosh darned happy. 

So 200 or more photos later and with only 4 more nights before I must leave, I’m stocking up on memories and am blessed to have found a friend here; an unexpected blessing that I will be greatful for and value for the treasure he is. I can only hope that this trip will not be my last here, but if it is, I’ll be okay with that. 


Wunderlust Unleashed, Round 2

Jul 22, 2015 Tomorrow’s Horoscope for Sagittarius

Global entry alert! Today the Sun makes its annual trek into Leo and your jet-setting ninth house for the next four weeks. Time to get serious about that getaway you’ve been drooling over. Strike while the iron’s hot and take off before August 23 (After that, the Sun fires up your work house, and you’ll be needed back on site.) You’re happy to fly solo, but if you do bring a sidekick, make sure he or she shares your passion for adventure.

Yep. Great horoscope and so on the money. I am so incredibly excited for this trip, I cannot even being to put it into words, but I’ll try. This is the first trip in a series of travels that I will be making this summer and after Scotland, there are a few more smaller, local trips that I will be taking and one to Mississippi to meet some of my cousins on my father’s side and be there for Val’s send-off on her trip to Germany and Italy. Once I get back from that trip (that will be in September) I will mostly done traveling and school will start up once again, requiring my full attention and time to study in order to get better grades than last time. I faltered a bit at first, trying to decide if I wanted to extend my “vacation” from school or do the responsible thing and just dive right back end and keep on going until I’m done learning, which will be the day after Never. Student of Life, Lifetime Student that I am.
My adventures in travel has made me realize the world is my classroom, the lessons are everything that I experience while I’m gone and the “mistakes” I make are quizzes that I need to remember, as the lesson will be repeated until I heed it. School makes me feel as though I am being proactive and working towards something; something important. I am just as happy to come home from work and sit down to binge watch whatever new (to me) TV series I’m into and do absolutely nothing, but the feel-good feeling only lasts until I turn off the computer and count up the time I had just lost. My father’s voice is in my mind now, repeating his most repeated comment to me “All things in moderation” which is always good advice, no matter what the question. Sitting and doing nothing is a good way to end up tired, unfit and depressed. Trust me, I know. So, the classroom of Life is awaiting me and the classroom of community college awaits me upon my return. Between the two of them and the experiences that will occur as a result of showing up, my education is still very much ongoing and will be further enriched by new friends, new destinations (hello Glasgow!) and days of train rides, tea and conversation.
Until then, I eagerly await this next round of roaming the world and have every intention of making it the most memorable trip (yet). I’ll be posting along the way, as time allows, but I plan on being 100% present for the experience and a good friend reminded me the other day that you cannot be 100% present if you are staring at your phone screen all of the time.
Wish me luck and keep me in your good thoughts and prayers (if you are into that sort of thing) and I’ll (more than likely) be back in a couple of weeks.
Scotland Scenery 2014 Cropped

Fear or Love

 “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

― John Lennon

I love the Beatles, always have and always will. They are, individually and collectively, a rare blend of talent, intelligence and personality that have never grown old. I especially love this quote from John Lennon. It resonates with me, especially now as I am beginning to set aside my previous belief that Love Is Not For Me and while others may meet their soulmates, their significant other, better half, etc., my destiny is to walk alone, never encumbered by the ties of love, commitment and/or marriage.  I spent the majority of my early pre-teen and teenage years falling in love so often I should’ve been covered in bruises and bumps from all of the falling. I loved Tim on Monday but then he would do something that I didn’t agree with (being mean to someone or just being a jerk in general) and BAM! out of love I fell. Tuesday I would fall in love with Tyson because he was brave and courageous and I wasn’t, so I wanted to be near enough to him that I could “soak up” his courage, but then he told me I was clingy (that truth certainly did hurt!) and he didn’t want to go steady with me anymore. BANG! CRASH! I fall out of love again. I won’t bore you with the repetitions, but needless to say, this cycle repeated itself for years and years.

My next love affair was with alcohol but not because I loved it; I missed the touch and the “buzz” that only good company of someone you really, really like brings about. The conversation, the debate, the dance; slowly but surely, building up to the time when you first hold hands and you get that shock of electricity when your skin finally touches; the getting to know you phase where you start finding out that they are not perfect (thank God!) and you have some differences but none that are so great you throw in the towel or walk away. While the endorphin river is flooding the brain, the tattered and torn heart is slowly coming out of its slumber and ever so slowly, the brick wall around it begins to topple. Well, alcohol is a poor substitute for human touch, intellect and emotion, but it took me years of drinking my body weight before I realized that I really didn’t know a thing about love. I knew what I thought love was, what I had learned love was NOT, but I still didn’t love myself as much as I was hoping some anonymous knight in shining armor or modern day superhero would, which made me ask the question, What is wrong with this picture??

That question was the beginning of my journey to learn who I was and to love that person, warts and all. Along the way, I discovered things about myself that I really didn’t like, but they weren’t simple things to change; I am incredibly insecure, which can be changed (I believe) but it’s not a quick wave of the wand & PRESTO! Confident and fearless! I noticed that I focused a great deal on other people and made a conscious effort to shift that focus inward and let everyone else go judgement-free for a little while, at least by me. There are so many things we cannot change in this world, but to love oneself is a choice; will your choice based out of fear or love?

Pack It Up, Pack It In…(then Re-Pack Again)

Let me begin (credit to House of Pain – Jump Around)

Well, friends and readers, my packing, unpacking and re-packing is almost at an end; only a couple more days before I can finally get on the plane and start my much anticipated return trip to Scotland. I have been planning this trip since the day I got on the plane to return home last December. This time will be a longer stay, 4 days of unlimited rail travel and a host of different sights, sounds and hopefully a few more friends met along the way. I’m sending an email to the Fraser ladies from last trip to see if either will be available for a cup of coffee or maybe brunch and/or shopping. They made my visit so much more memorable for their kindness, advice and overall enlightening conversation. Real people, who are really nice. I love that no matter where I am.

So, this time I am going to try to find out more information about my dad’s family and work with some of the genealogy centers that I had found online. As always, no matter where I go, secondhand and charity shops are a must (this is why so much packing, repacking, etc., as I know I want to take home at least one Fair Isle sweater, if not more).

One of the things that I promised myself when I quit drinking and started actively working towards making my life better was that I would reward myself for the hard work done and the hard work that I will continue to have to do. This trip will more than likely be the last time I’ll be doing overseas travel for a while, as school will be starting back up next month and there’s always the Almighty Dollar that is essential to travel, anywhere. Plus, I think it’d be far too easy for me to just keep running off every few days/weeks or so and avoiding or at least delaying some of the hard work that needs to continue. As Dad used to say, “All things can be abused in one of two ways; by omission and by excess” which could just as easily have been “Michelle will abuse all things in one or two ways – by omission and by excess” because that’s pretty much been my M.O. for the greater part of my life. At any rate, this trip is important to me for a multitude of reasons but the biggest reason is one I just feel, I don’t have any real basis for believing what I believe, just that I need to go there and the sooner the better.

Until then, I’ll just be counting down the days, planning and looking forward to it all.

On Second Thought

My last post was a whole lot of wishful thinking with a healthy dose of fantasy thrown in; I could quit my job but it would be a move borne out of desperation and depression, which usually are not not wise decisions. So I am going to take a radically different approach and try to change the way I think, what my expectations are and how I react to situations that are less than desirable and bring up unpleasant feelings. It’s not so much the situation itself or even the people involved; it’s more about the feelings that I don’t want to feel because they are like tsunamis, burying me with their weight, suffocating me with the intensity of the feeling and the darkness that accompanies them. This is my life’s struggle in 30 words or less: my feelings and how to live with them in a hopefully productive, full life.

Until I can master my emotions, I will take a few days away from work, life and my current reality and head to Scotland, where everything is better simply because I’m on vacation and traveling; two of my favorite things. I know that it won’t change anything back home but maybe the key is to changing within so that no matter where I am geographically, I am ok. That’s really what I wish for before I blow out the candles on the cake – just to be ok. I think I’m not alone in that wish and while it sounds overly simple, I have come to the understanding that sometimes the answers to our deepest, most soul-bearing questions are so simple we are astounded when we get the answer. Depressed? Talk to someone, share your thoughts, your burdens and get another person’s point of view. Anxious? Grab a coloring book and entertain your inner child and lose yourself to the beauty of the colors, the designs and the calmness brought about by play time. These are simple answers but not cures. They are only ways to cope with things we cannot change or conquer. I have avoided exercising all my life and even flunked Physical Education in grade school because I didn’t want to wear shorts (my legs are so white it’s like a Super Nova when they are exposed) and I didn’t want to sweat. That philosophy has followed me into my adult life and helped to encourage depression, weight gain and overall lack of energy and interest in life. It’s time to make that change, too. Habits and philosophies from our younger years don’t always transfer well into our adult lives and I’m realizing that is another change I am capable of making and just being conscious of it is helpful.

Well, I hope all of you are doing well and taking care of yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually (if you’re into that sort of thing)….

Thanks for stopping by.

Motto - Nemo me impune lacessit

Motto – Nemo me impune lacessit