The world is in slow motion. It is very humid. An orange sun almost sizzles on the water as it rises against the white blue sky promising another hot August day. Perfect for water sports on the bay or a game of tennis or golf at the club. The sound of my sneakers on the pavement is amplified against the quiet morning air as my faithful dog Sparky matches my stride. His panting is a comforting primal sound against the backdrop of the unreal suburban world of dew dropped lawns and perfectly symmetrical hedge rows. I walk past large houses and I notice every blade of grass expertly groomed, like the French manicures and requisite Botox on the Mrs. who live there. I realize eerily nothing is allowed out of place here. There are no broken shutters or fences that need mending. As I pass each house and think about the familiar faces of my neighbors who live in them I wonder if it’s the same inside.
In my mind I hear the thwak! of a baseball and kids voices raised in play against the chimes of an ice cream truck. But this sound of home, of youth and carefree abandon only exists in my memory. You never hear that in this place. I come from a place of squeaky broken garden gates and duct taped storm doors. Mom would ball us out on the front lawn in front of our friends if we stampeded the flower bed or didn’t do our homework. Sometimes she’d throw a shoe at us. Here they call the children inside and close all the windows before yelling. Emotion is unacceptable and kept corked in a fancy crystal bottle. You’re only allowed to take it out at funerals and wakes. We had hand me down bikes with mismatched handle bars. Here kids ride the latest cyclery with shiny helmets and cell phones propped against their ears. There is no one sitting in a lawn chair drinking a Black Label beer or can of Schmidt’s on the front lawn while watching the kids play Spud and Tag. Nope, the kids around here never hit a ball in the street or play on the front lawn. They are in the backyard in the built in pools with the waterfalls and slides. We had to go to an amusement park to do that. It was called vacation. The children here carry back packs with bottled water. We drank out of the hose when Mom wouldn’t let our muddy feet in the back door. Whatever didn’t fit in our pants pocket for the day was left home. Backpacks were what your brother took to Boy Scout Camp.
There are no cars with mismatched fenders jacked up in the driveways or rambler station wagons with cardboard underneath to catch the oil drips in these driveways. No just lots of sleek Mercedes and BMWs and Cadillac SUV’s parked on brick or stone, some behind black wrought iron driveway gates. Where I come from nobody had gates across their driveway and we mostly parked in the street. When someone got a new car all the neighbors came over to see it. And Dad would not let us eat our Sunday afternoon Carvel ice cream cones in the backseat of the new Buick. We had to eat them standing outside by the car until the last drip was accounted for. Moms station wagon didn’t haul around our soccer or hockey equipment, the boys walked up to the “big” park for little league games. The back of the Rambler was reserved for groceries in brown bags and us kids when we went to the Drive- In movies wearing pajamas. And we never needed a big plastic pod on the roof of the car. What the heck is in those anyway? Grandma? The stuff Mom won’t let Dad put in the garage? Who knows….
I somehow made this place my destination. I have been proud to live here with my own stone detailed driveway with the requisite BMW and the perfect lawn. There are perfect dishes and crystal in the cupboards and designer clothes in the cedar lined closet. Expensive vacation photos have lined the mantle beside the posed pictures with politicians and friends at charity formals. My home is a reflection of an absolutely fabulous successful life… but I’ve slept walked through most of it. Somewhere between choosing the perfect paint color and deciding what Island to spend 2 weeks on in January, I anesthetized the kid who drank out of the hose, giggled with abandon and cried with dramatic sobs. I Stepfordized her into being “appropriate” in a privileged and much too complicated world. I worked hard and I am grateful for all I achieved. But how much is enough? And while I commend myself on all that mind boggling determination it took to get here… I just wish I had worked as hard on my being … on my little old soul as I did on my career and houses all those years!
Someone said “The key to having it “ALL” is knowing that you already do”. Hmmm.
I remember a January day spent water skiing on Antigua and laughing in a boat speeding across a turquoise bay under a beautiful sunset. As we headed back to the resort for a hot tub dip, and 4 star steak dinner my husband and I would say to each other “We have a great life”. A friend of mine recently referenced a similar shared sentiment after a dinner with co workers at Blackstone’s when over a $300 bottle of Port they had said “We have nothing to complain about”. Yup, doesn’t suck, that’s for sure!
Yet, behind this beautiful life lurked a terrifying question. “Is this ALL?” The question often flashed in my brain causing so much anxiety that I could never let it reach my heart. I guess some part of me knew if I let those thoughts in, my life would be over. Once examined, I wouldn’t be able to stomach it so much. The fabulousity of my life would be exposed for the shallow sham of protection it all was. And then what would I do? I wasn’t giving up my stuff, my security, my friends…my life. This life was my protection from everything I came from. We all know people who dress for dinner don’t beat their kids. I was safe here in “this” world.
But once the age old question “Why aren’t I happy ?” creeps in … it’s gonna get you. You can run, but you can’t hide from it. It starts to wake you up and it’s a sledgehammer! It breaks apart every illusion you based your life on. Your feet start to feel uneven on the earth and everything you thought was real falls away. Its horrible to go through that time ... But after the dust settles what is left is the real good stuff that will make you happy. I know I lived through the purging and the letting go!
The dreaded question started to be heard and change my perspective about 5 years ago. Cancer woke up. I started to craved simplicity. I used to think those “things” were the “all”. That the cars, the houses, the events, the right people and places made me relevant and respected. I was protected from a childhood of shame and abuse by living in a world where that was not part of anyone's reality. No one in this place ever had cops at their house or holes punched in the sheet rock. I needed to be here in this safe place. I never realized that "safe place" wasn't my protection but my restriction. It was built on fear not freedom.
I put the part of me who knew better and had larger appetites to sleep so I could endorse my life and feast on its deliciously limited shallow taste. I evaluated everything based on externals and by outer appearance. Was I really enjoying my life? Well, it didn’t suck. But, what was truly meaningful to me? Would it have been the same if Blackstone’s was the front lawn laced with Dandelions and the Port was a can of beer?
Our own individuality and hearts determine that not our piers, or family or circumstances. Only your heart knows what is real. Sooner or later it all comes in to question. Cancer woke me up because I realized I wasn't safe anywhere. That feeling had to come from inside me. Cancer shattered my illusion of safety and when I really stopped to look at that illusion I saw it went far beyond what I thought. In fact, my whole life was an illusion. Happiness is relative. When you realize yours is not as deep as it should be - suddenly nothing makes you happy anymore.
When your body stops cooperating with your fabulous life you are forced to stop and look at it. Inevitably as often happens with passionate people we can’t stay asleep for long and so the dormant part of me woke up from a long winter nap. And I changed…
I started to focus on my feelings from my experiences, not the environment and its things. It was a deep dark place to go to at first. Realizing you don’t have a meaningful life and facing the shame of that and committing to change is daunting. The creation of a meaningful existence is a huge undertaking, but I knew I loved myself enough to do it . When I found the spark of my God energy...Spirit inside me I knew I was safe in that space. And in time.. suddenly… I started to enjoy my life more than ever… armed with an open heart and clear vision I began to live, truly live! I feel things deeply, passionately in the way that matters now. In this way I honor myself and the source that created me. Being awake gives me an intensity that I enjoy although admittedly few understand. And I don’t care because I can’t be anything but my authentic self. I am intense. I am emotional. Without apology I love fiercely, live deeply, play madly.
And I learn daily. What makes me happy. What is real. Who is real. The lessons may be joyful or painful but I feel safer in this place than the other. I enjoy the world.
I love driving my BMW, not because of how it looks but because I love the top down the “free” sensation of the wind in my face, it makes my heart smile. These days it’s usually parked outside the yoga studio not a formal charity ball. And I would rather have the wind in my face on the back of a Harley when it is offered. I buy Poland Spring but when I’m gardening I still drink out of the hose and it makes me feel naughty. My lawn has dandelions, the neighbor knocked on the door annoyed I told him … I think they’re pretty. I don’t always get manicures, my nails are on working hands and I don’t Botox. I consider my crow’s feet and sun damage my badges of honor. My face reflects a woman who has lived life as I think it is supposed to at my age. I love my beautiful clothes and designer wardrobe because of the feel of them on my body and the confidence they give me, and the memories of where I wore them. I don’t care if anyone else likes the dress. I don’t write checks to charities,and pose for pics while doing so. I roll up my shirt sleeves and serve soup at the kitchen and pitch in to deliver turkey dinners to hungry people usually while no one is noticing. When I speed across the bay I don’t think of the fancy boat or any hot tub or steaks waiting at home, I feel the sun on my face, I watch it rise and set and I smell the water. I don’t need an awning with my name in big letters in the middle of Main Street to feel successful. I live in my own skin and reach around and pat my own back now for a job I know is well done usually after a great yoga class. The posed photos are down off of my mantle, replaced with a little wooden sign that says “giggle, it keeps you young” alongside my birth announcement. "Georgia on My Mind" it reads with a stork with a baby in its beak. It’s a reminder to never put that little girl who played “spud” to sleep ever again. To honor the source of the universe inside her by shining her light. She is my heart, my authentic self! And I live for her and love from her beautiful heart.
My ALL is simple. It is a life well lived because I am thankful God created me.. and you.
Spiritual Healer, Energetic Medium
This Blog is the story of the miracles, challenges and lessons of my life journey. Years ago when I hit a personal "rock bottom" my despair led me to seek answers and my quest for truth began. Amazing events propelled me on a spiritual journey of transformation.. Miraculously, through these experiences my life has become my teacher and my friend.... I hope my words connect us and allow us to walk together for a time as teacher and friend to each other. The most valuable thing we have during this human experience is our connection to love. The love in our soul for a higher power and others is the only thing that is real. I honor these connections through my writing. Theses words are my gift inspired through the heart of Spirit for you. I hope by sharing my journey it will enlighten, inspire and ease yours as it does mine >> ... Peace... Georgia Rose