Reckless writer

I stood there in the shower, the water cascading over my head, pondering how I’d say what I needed to say. My thoughts flowed, and I imagined my words flowing as easily and as perfectly.

I considered waiting until the next day instead of getting it over with. It was, after all, something I was uncomfortable doing because I’d never done it. I wondered what they’d think of me, but then decided it didn’t matter. I was going to do it and let the chips fall where they may.

When I entered the kitchen, they both were sitting at the table as though waiting for me. I asked if they had time to talk and took a seat when they indicated that they did.

I took a deep breath, looked toward the refrigerator, then cleared my throat.

“You know, it seems that everything is fine with me,” I said, “but the truth is that it isn’t. My funds are low, and I feel lost. I don’t know what to do or where to go. All I know is that I must leave the farm.”

I said those words, yes, but not nearly as composed as I imagined I would. I managed to choke them out between sobs. It’s a wonder they understood me at all!

When I finished, he leaned toward me and related his impression of me as one floating, anchor-less. He said, too, that I should stop going here and there, that I…

I wrote the above on June 23, 2013, as my “Reckless Writer” exercise from Elizabeth Berg’s Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True. Her instructions were to “think of some event that happened in your life that made a real emotional impact on you. It can be any emotion— anger, fear, sadness, nostalgia— but let yourself remember the event fully, so that you can feel the emotion all over again. Now set a timer for ten minutes and write— very, very quickly— from that place of feeling…Do not chew on your pen and ponder what to say after the first sentence. Keep that pen moving the whole time.”

What you just read is as far as I got in my allotted ten minutes. The story was about my first experience being vulnerable, after which I felt totally and uncomfortably exposed. But it’s gotten easier.

Fast forward now to October 12, 2015.

I spent the evening trying to catch up on a backlog of email, many of which were articles I’d emailed to myself to read later. Interestingly enough, ‘awakening intuition’ and the ‘art of stillness’ were recurring themes throughout the articles and when I sat to read this morning’s devotional, the very first line was “TAKE TIME TO BE STILL in My Presence.” His message clear, I resolved to spend the day being still and listening for what She had to say. Perhaps She’d have the answer to the question I’d posed to the Universe last night about my need for adventure.

My phone and tablet off, I ran up upstairs to retrieve the charging cable for my laptop. While there, the journal I use for my writing exercises caught my eye as did Dancing with the Universe: A Journey from Spiritual Resistance to Spiritual Release by Dianne Rosena Jones—a book I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, retrieved just a few weeks ago, but hadn’t picked up again until today. (Spirit’s synchronicity is amazing!!) I grabbed both and headed back downstairs.

As I leafed through the journal pages, I saw letters I’d written to God and several pages of my first attempts at automatic writing—my efforts to connect with Rachel, my paternal great-grandmother whose story I want to tell. I never met Rachel; she left North Carolina for Georgia when slavery ended, and was dead long before I was born. What little I do about her I learned from the memorial author Brainard Cheney published upon the death of my grandfather “Pa Robin” Bess, Rachel’s son, and Cheney’s “Adam” in This is Adam.

Then I came across the reckless writer exercise. What I’d been feeling as I wrote it back then was all too familiar because, despite the years since, there I was feeling the same thing again! Spirit’s message was clear: “It’s time to do the work, Daughter” [for real this time].

With help from Dancing with the Universe, I began the work, acknowledging that my spiritual practice needs improvement, that instead of awaking each morning to check text messages, emails, and Facebook, and Twitter (yes, that’s my truth!), I must devote that part of my day to Spirit.

I acknowledged, too, that inherent in my “need” for adventure was the need to not only explore but to escape a reality that often feels directionless, a reality that I, because of my perceived lack of resources, often feel powerless to change.

It’s true that when I’m in one spot for a while, I get stir-crazy and start planning my next adventure; there’s nothing like the exhilaration I feel while traveling, exploring, experiencing new things, and meeting new people!! Admittedly, it’s a high but that can’t be a bad thing, can it? After all, Spirit has been instrumental in getting me where I want to go and where She needs me to be. And aside from my trip to Abu Dhabi in February, I’ve managed to log several thousand miles around Georgia and up the east coast since my car was stolen in January. That fact alone confirms that there’s definite purpose to my travels. That fact should also have reminded me that I’m in very capable hands. Our tendency, though, is to focus on the burden of our season (what we don’t have) rather than on the blessings of it.

I can’t say yet that I’ve totally overcome the part of my sojourn that’s been hiding in the shadows, the “secret shame” as it were. What I can say, however, is that I’m determined to shine some light on it, change what I can, and make peace with what I can’t. And if I’m to continue this sojourn empowered and worry-free, I must spend more time with Spirit and less time distracted by the phone, computer, social media, and TV.


Dancing to Anna Maria Island

Many thanks to Dianne Rosena Jones, my friend, sister, and author of ‘Tragic Treasures’ and ‘Dancing with the Universe’ for the opportunity to dance with the Universe a few days ago on Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Anna Maria Island City PierThe invitation came late Thursday and by Saturday afternoon, I was on the island. It felt good being on the road again, driving through towns I’d never visited, and seeing sights I’d never seen. I had no idea that olives grew in Georgia until I passed Georgia Olive Farms in Lakeland.

But it was during a chance encounter Sunday morning that I experienced firsthand the importance of being in the moment and open to dancing with the Universe. Dianne and I were out on the pier for the express purpose of capturing the sunrise. With the sun on the horizon, however, Geri, Bob and pup Maxmillian III approached and asked if I’d photograph them. Geri was so engaging that I was concerned I’d miss my shots. I clearly recall the moment, though, when I let go and became one with it. As a result, I captured an amazing sunrise and the added bonus of a most inspiring encounter.

Geri shared her “love at first sight” moment with the man she married ten years later and to whom she remained married for 54 years. Widowed just over a year ago, she was continuing the tradition they started over ten years ago: visiting Anna Maria Island every year. She was truly inspiring!

Later, we brunched with Marsha and Norman. It was our first time meeting them, but it felt more like being with old friends. They recently relocated to Florida after sixty plus years in Illinois without prior plans to do so. Having decided to dance, however, “things just fell into place” and they’re loving where the dance has led them.

At their suggestion, Dianne and I decided to view the manatees at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. The manatees must’ve been dancing elsewhere that afternoon because we didn’t see any. We then followed the dance to Tampa where we had dinner at Bella’s Italian in Hyde Park. It was there that we experienced the best ginger beer and ‘Pazzo Pazzo’ pizza ever!

We left the island Tuesday afternoon after breakfasting at Peach’s where they serve peach cobbler in mason jars. They were out of cobbler that morning, though. I visited family in Jacksonville and Savannah before heading home Thursday.

It was a fantastic six days but I can recall the time when I would’ve found an excuse not to accept such a spontaneous invitation. Thanks to the power of release, though, I can now embrace the dance and experience how grand life really is.

Sunset on Anna Maria Island

Sunset on Anna Maria Island

Sunrise on Anna Maria Island

Heron on Anna Maria Island

Pelican on Anna Maria Island City Pier