Friday, March 19, 2010

“Oh, Atlanta, I hear you calling. I’m coming back to you, one fine day…”

The last leg of my east coast excursion took me to Atlanta, where my brother Ryan and his wife Sarah live. Driving into Atlanta was so stimulating and exciting! It is a beautiful city with a multitude of things to look at and do. It sure felt good to be in a city again after being in quiet towns for so long! Despite it’s population of 5 million, the insane amount of traffic and sprawl, and it’s lack of curbside recycling, Atlanta reminded me in many other ways of Portland. Great restaurants, quality coffee and espresso, pretty city parks, and a funky young population.

Atlanta and it’s people showed me a wonderful time: Ryan’s fabulous meal from Restaurant Eugene, a day with Sarah’s family, and after my parents departed for their home in PA, more unending fun-times…

....eating so much good food including a Bangladeshi meal, exploring the Little Five Point area, drinking good beers and creative cocktails (most notably from The Brick Store (, Leon’s Full Service (, and Holeman & Finch (,

sharing an evening of food, wine, and laughter with some old Portland friends Jenn and Winston and their kids,

and of course spending great quality time with Ryan and Sarah. I absolutely had a blast with my family and friends, in this big beautiful city. I was sad to have this spontaneous and sweet family-time side-trip come to an end. (And I wish this trip could have included a visit with Mike, Chris, and Teagan!!) But, honestly, I was ready to go back to the country life of Texas and to Lucas! Yes, I am feeling more and more grateful that I finally listened to my need to no longer live in the city. For me, cities are fun to visit, but, also for me, they provide enough fun distractions that I easily stray from spending my time and money in ways that are most beneficial to me, in the ways that I really want to be spending them. The simple, quiet, healthy life is for me.

Lucas and I had a sweet reunion and have been having lots of fun adventures back in Kerrville. We took his new inflatable kayak out on the turtle-populated Guadalupe River,

planted the first spring seeds in the garden on the New Moon, started to plan our trip south a little bit more, and went to see some great music (a post dedicated to music is up and coming…). And the weather has been amazing! Sunny days in the 70’s and 80’s intermingled with thunder and lightning storms. (There is a saying in this part of Texas: If you don’t like the weather, wait an hour.) One night, on the way to rent a movie a thunderstorm started to roll in. Lucas and I decided to forego the movie and go somewhere to watch a REAL show. We tromped through the white mud and rain at the Kerrville Folkfest site to one of the stages perched up on a hill. From there we had shelter from the rain and were able to enjoy the brilliant lightning flares, with the sound of the rain and the huge, deep chimes hanging in a nearby tree as the show’s soundtrack. So fabulous!

As I wait for the perfect time to travel south, I am so grateful to have these moments in my life. By having these days free of job-related work, I am able to refabricate how I spend my time, what the tapestry of my days looks like. Because of this, my inner being is being nurtured and revitalized! I am reconnecting to parts of myself that have long been neglected and am returning to that wonderful feeling of really knowing myself deeply. I am realizing that the way I was living in Portland, spending so much time being distracted by the enticing elements of city-life, was helping me to avoid doing the things that help me grow and learn and maintain my pace on my spiritual path. I am returning to my path. The path of personal growth isn’t the easiest, but it is how I find meaning and how I source my purpose. One foot in front of the next, one step at a time. I am remembering how I want to be growing, how I want to be contributing, ways I can overcome my weaknesses and enliven my strengths. I am remembering that all of this is up to me. The motivation to grow has to come from within. I can’t expect leaving Portland to change me, nor a trip to Mexico. I can hope that these things will provide me with opportunities for growth, but without the inner motivation and the will of the spirit, these external opportunities are nothing. Most importantly, I am reminded that I can’t run away from those issues I would like to ignore. They will follow me wherever I wander to. They will continue to confront me until I look them in the eye, look directly at myself, and learn to shift what needs to be shifted…be it my attitude, my way of thinking, my assumptions, my reactions, or anything else.

"It is the loss of a living spiritual experience in daily life that, more than anything, breeds the alienation and anxiety that plague modern life. Since we have no means of transcending them (nor even the belief that it is possible to do so), we feel pressured by time, restless in space, trapped in ego. Our preoccupation with material possessions and material achievements both reflects and perpetuates our sense of spiritual emptiness. Without an experience of transcendence, the world is, as Wordsworth put it, "too much with us." In a life of getting and spending, we don't just "lay waste our powers"; we miss the wonder and bliss of what it is to be alive." ~ from 'The Tao of Abundance' by Laurence G. Boldt

Ah, yes, life IS a gift. I am grateful for every new day that gives me opportunities to love, live, and learn. I am grateful for the inner will to take advantage of these opportunities. I am grateful for the love, support, and enjoyableness of my family, friends, Lucas, and his family.

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