Once I surrendered…

“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It’s like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That’s a triumph.”
~Ray Bradbury

 

The most incredible thing happened on Sunday while I was at the beach; I’d gone away for two days for a self-led business retreat. Sunday had been filled with lots of reflection, 2013 assessment, 2014 looking-ahead, some prayer and ritual. I had worked with my tutoring client in the morning from the beach. I’d been attacked by hordes of seagulls who sensed that I was the only human dumb enough to bring breakfast down to the water with me.

I was dressed up in MULTIPLE layers and I had blankets that I huddled into while I read to my client.

I was dressed up in MULTIPLE layers and I had blankets that I huddled into while I read to my client.

You can see a few of the seagulls here, but seriously, there were about 50 more that stalked me as soon as I removed the shiny-wrapper-covered sandwich from my bag. And when I opened the actual sandwich they swooped in on me and I thought I was in "The Birds"

You can see a few of the seagulls here, but seriously, there were about 50 more that stalked me as soon as I removed the shiny-wrapper-covered sandwich from my bag. And when I opened the actual sandwich they swooped in on me and I thought I was in “The Birds”

It was a full day, a lovely day. I felt accomplished. None of those are the incredible thing that happened though.

It was 6 pm:  I was drinking a glass of wine, curled up in the recliner and doing more exercises when I reached around my neck to absently touch my opal pendulum. It was gone.

I leapt from the chair and immediately began scouring the house. I checked the bathroom, I packed and unpacked all my bags, I moved the recliner in case it had fallen beneath it. Nothing.

I looked in the mirror and began to cry. I use the opal in my healing work and it was a gift from a dear friend when I became a Reiki Master. I ask it questions multiple times a day…. and I had lost it.

opal2

I had taken a picture earlier in the day because it was lit up on fire in a way I’d never before seen. Stunning light came from inside it.

In the dark, I searched my car. I drove to the grocery store where I’d been earlier and asked. The woman, after seeing the picture told me, “Nobody’s turned it in, and I don’t think someone would turn it in if they found it.” Awesome.

I sat in the parking lot and cried a little more. I texted two friends (not the friend who’d given it to me) and I wrote “Hey lady, I lost my pendulum…I’m at the beach and I have no idea if it fell off somewhere…it’s a really special opal- was a gift. Could you send some “find it” vibes?”

As I sat, I thought to myself, Maybe it isn’t supposed to stay with me anymore. Maybe it’s time for the opal to have a new home, and it’s been with me as long as I needed it. I’d really love to find you, but if it’s your time to move on, thank you for the gift you’ve been, and bless whomever finds you. 

I drove down toward where I’d parked my car earlier, ready to search the beach with a flashlight and a prayer. As I went to turn and park in the same spot I’d used earlier, THERE, next to a truck, just behind its wheel, was my opal. Here’s a picture.

parking spot

Right behind the wheel, to the left of the line, was my opal pendulum, just chilling.

I didn’t finish pulling my car into the spot; I stopped, halfway turned in, leapt out and picked up my opal. It.was.magic.

I have no idea how my opal ended up behind a truck, nor do I know how it managed to not get driven over, picked up, or otherwise vanish.

It wasn’t quite time for my opal to find a new companion… I believe that I found it because I released it and let go of expecting that it would still be with me. So often, we hold tightly to things and choke them. It’s only when we surrender to what is, to the lost opal, the moment of grief, the waves crashing on the shore, that we actually are in the present, in the now. And it’s in those moments that we find peace and freedom. Peace because we’re not in the future nor in the past. Peace because we’ve chosen surrender. Freedom because we’re practicing non-attachment and freedom because we’ve surrendered and acknowledged our powerlessness. In that very powerlessness, there is immense power. I’m grateful to my opal for reminding me of this. I continue to learn from it, in ways I never imagined.

Here's what my opal normally looks like. You can see that it's a decent sized stone.

Here’s what my opal normally looks like. You can see that it’s a decent sized stone.

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Enemies no more

Christmas Dinner Dessert

The other Monday night I beat a 25-year long enemy.

We fought for years, and I designed my life around it. Choices were made, foods avoided, meals untried.

Creamy food.

Yup, that’s right. Creamy food was my mortal enemy: I’d have panic attacks, go home from work, gag at the smell of creamy food near me.

My aversion to creamy food was tied to childhood trauma and I wasn’t interested in learning to like creamy food. It was easier to tell people it was an allergy.

And then a few years ago I wanted agency. I wanted choice. I wanted to not react. I had grown up and was ready to reclaim power over what I put in my mouth. It all began with a phone call to a friend (Thanks, Alicia!), while I sat in front of a bowl of Greek yogurt and whispered, “One bite isn’t going to kill me, right?”

Once I started trying things, once I took the fear out of the creamy food, I became more open. I was open to life in a new and different way. Things that would have scared me, I was maybe still scared by, but I knew that like the Greek yogurt, if I could just try that first bite, I could then take another and then another and then before I knew it, I’d be finished.

The picture above is the culmination of this journey. Three food items I wouldn’t have ever, in a million lifetimes, tried. Just a few months ago, I’d have still said to myself, “oh, this is creamy… okay, you can try it…just see what it’s like.”

On that night, what I said to myself was “Oh, those look like cool desserts. Wonder what they taste like?”

Pure joy. Agency. Choice. Gratitude for all those who’ve helped along the way.

Here are some pictures of foods I now savor. thai peanut dressing greek yogurt mushroom soup photo 1 soup

cheesecake