Scotland -Part III

The day after Christmas 2015 found me at the airport, excited, tired and ready to be on my way back to Scotland. I had arrived at the airport at an unreasonably early hour (per my request) and had thoughts of my previous two visits and wondered what this visit would bring. I’d been there all alone, with eyes wide and full of wonderment for my birthday in December 2014, met someone in July that multiplied the happiness, the pleasure of traveling and exploring, not only Scotland, but our personalities, our experiences, hopes and dreams, fears and flights of fancy. I didn’t think I could be happier than I was on my first visit, but the second visit changed all that. What would the third visit bring? Would it be even better or would I have raised my expectations so high that they couldn’t help but fall short? These questions swirled around in my mind as I walked the airport, burning nervous energy and trying to fill my mind with something other than those unanswerable questions.

Well, it’s now almost the end of January and I’ve been back about 3 weeks and I have to say, this time was such an incredible experience. I couldn’t have scripted a better visit, traveling and exploring again, but this time, with hours in the car, talking about nothing and everything at once; taking photos like a mad tourist while speeding down the highways and two-lane roads. Sometimes the only car as far as the eye could see, with endless stretches of gorgeous landscapes, skies full of strange clouds I’d never seen back at home; sunsets and sunrises so beautiful, it takes my breath away each and every day. Being so far away from everything and everyone I know, I found myself. I found the calm I’d always prayed for, the serenity I didn’t think existed and the ability to live fully in the moment, not looking back in regret and not looking forward with fear and anxiety. This couldn’t have been possible without the company I was keeping; I have been a solitary creature by choice most of my life but this was comfortable, effortless and I had the feeling that all was right with the world.

That being said, returning to reality is rarely effortless or comfortable and this time was no exception; the higher you are, the harder you fall. The dizzying heights I had occupied while in Scotland gave way to the deepest depths and dark days (and nights) while my spirit tried to break free of the shackles of everyday life and return to the freedom and wide-open spaces I’d flown; now seemingly a dream I had dreamt. Remembering the calm and trying to get that thought to translate to feeling isn’t the easiest or most natural thing for me to do; I am more prone to go worst case scenario and lock the memory away, for the pain of being away from such bliss is too much to delve into. But this is a new year and the time for change is always, so I am embracing my pain, along with the pleasure the memory holds. Bittersweet is a flavor we’re all familiar with and while it’s not something I’d want to taste at every meal, it’s one of the flavors of life, so it will make an appearance from time to time. Every piece of pain contains a lesson, something learned or experienced that will last far longer than the original discomfort that bore it. It’s easy to say and hard to remember when it happens, but it is a choice. I choose to take the bitter with the sweet, the pain with the pleasure and the heart break with the bliss.

I choose to get up and try again. I choose to belief this, too shall pass. I choose to believe that I will return to Scotland, hopefully again and again, until I am an old lady tottering along with a cane, telling my grandchildren about my time in Scotland over and over again, until they can tell the stories themselves, word for word.

 

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Bookmark Friends and Rainbows

  
Do you have a friend that you see infrequently, but when you do see each other, it’s like you’ve placed a bookmark in the place in time you last were together and once reunited, the time wraps around you and you pick up right where you left off? These are the friends that you may have had in your life for decades or days, but your bond is just as strong no matter how long the passage of time. I am fortunate to have more than a few friends like this from various times and places in my life thus far. These friends often come into our worlds like rainbows; absolutely gorgeous but fleeting and impossible to capture, save for a perfectly timed photo in a perfectly framed shot, such as the one I was fortunate enough to witness and capture. That beautiful moment in time, missed by many who went blissfully unaware past the window while looking at their phones or just rushing to get to the next thing…taxi, connecting flight, bathroom, bar, restaurant…you get the idea. 

Back to the bookmark friend; so if you have one of these friends and you hesitate to call because it’s been so long since you last spoke. Just call.

Family of Choice

Many of you know that my parents both have passed years ago and while I miss them terribly, I have found a group of people a third of the way around the world who have opened their arms, their hearts and homes to me. These amazing and loving people have given me a father, a mother, an auntie and uncle who know very little of me, yet have given me unconditional love from the minute we met. My dear friend Jim has the bearer of so many good and positive events in my life as of late and they are his family of birth, yet has been generous enough to share these incredibly wonderful souls with me; for that and many more reasons I won’t go into now, I owe a debt I shall never be able to repay.

So it is with tears in my eyes and love in my heart that I say goodbye to my beloved Scotland and my new family of choice.

My love to you all, you carry a piece of my heart with you and yours with mine.

You Say/I Hear

You Say “everyone goes through that/experiences that”

I Hear “your feelings aren’t important and I’ve completely minimized their existence to a mere generalization”

You Say “you shouldn’t feel that way”

I Hear “you are wrong to have the feelings that you have”

You Say “you just want to hide from the world”

I Hear “your depression and isolation is weird and makes me uncomfortable; you should be like everyone else and crave interaction with others. What is your problem?”

You Say “I’m sorry you’re going through this, but I’m here for you if you need me”

I Hear “I may not feel what you feel or think what you’re thinking, but I believe you are in pain and I love you and want to support you during this tough time”

You Say “I don’t know what you’re going through but I want to; please help me understand”

I Hear “I love you, I’m here for you; please talk to me”

  
  

Love the One You’re With

“…and if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with…” -Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash)

Growing up in the 70’s I loved listening to music that wasn’t Lawrence Welk or Patty Page (Dad’s favorites) and I remember hearing this song and trying to figure out what the lyrics really meant. I came to the conclusion that they were basically saying if you can’t be with your true love, just hook up with whoever happens to be with you. I thought maybe that was just a grown up thing, but never gave it another thought after that.

Fast forward a couple (few) decades and I’m listening to the radio and the song comes on and a completely different interpretation comes to mind; the one person that will always be with you and will never leave your side for the entirety of your life is you. So, what if the message is just that you should love yourself, always? I prefer these interpretations to what I had thought as a child and whether they are correct or not isn’t really relevant to me; I prefer to believe my interpretation, mostly because it is in line with my personal philosophy and belief system. Loving ourselves is often far more difficult than loving others because it requires an honesty that is crucial to understanding who you are, warts and all, and loving yourself in spite of or even because of those warts. What we see as warts others may see as beauty marks because they are a part of the person they love. We should be as kind, loving and patient with ourselves as we are to those we hold dear, for we deserve no less.

So, if time and troubles find you alone and feeling unloved, just remember to love the one you’re with; you. You’ll not be disappointed.

     

         

  

New Year, Same Old Me

  
    
I’m sure by now you all have already said your good byes to 2015 and welcomed in 2016. This is the season of new beginnings that starts with the end of the season of excess, which I believe starts in October, Halloween and those tiny little candy bars, continues to the ultimate Extreme Eating Event we call Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes drowning in brown sugar and marshmallows, pies of every type and size and anything else that can be called food. Along comes Christmas with its sugar cookies, Almond Roca, boxes and boxes of chocolates, sweets of every kind and of course, egg nog (if you’re into that sort of thing) which is just the warm up for the Main Event – New Year’s Eve. Whatever you didn’t eat or drink during this three month time of celebration will more than likely be consumed during the course of this one night. Naturally with the understanding that this is the “last chance” to really practice the art of excess before the Resolutions begin.

I have tried the New Year Resolution route and it paid off in a huge way – about 15 pounds of extra weight and an unmeasurable amount of distress, self disgust and depression when my resolution dissolved after only a week, a month or often one day. This is because I set myself up to fail; eating my weight in food (and drink, back in the day) for three months set me up for the weight gain, the unreasonable expectation that I would exercise it all away (any of you who know me understand I wouldn’t run if someone stole my purse) within a week or a month was absolute folly. Having no real plan, just the idea that I would start eating better, exercising regularly and my road rage would magically disappear is a fantastic way to fail in an epic manner.

So this year and some years before this one, I have made the decision to focus not on what I don’t like about myself or what society tells me I shouldn’t like about myself, but celebrate me; the good, the bad and the unmentionable. My intentions (as I prefer to call them) are ideas and thoughts without all the pressure of pass/fail. So long as I’m aware and working to make changes, that’s good enough for me.

Happy New Year to you all! Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and still love me, faults and shortcomings and all. It means the world to me and it’s a gift I’ll never tire of receiving.

This year (and every year after) celebrate your victories, your failures (or lessons learned) and above all else, love yourself. After all, you are the only person you can’t break up with, divorce, or simply get away from. Invest and invest wisely; you and everyone else will reap the rewards of that investment. Don’t take my word for it, though; see for yourself.

Happy New Year and wishes for only the best and brightest days for you.