I believe that if we can pay attention and plug into our lives; there are messages everywhere! Some messages are subtle, but then there are those that smack you up the side of the head.
During May of '96, I was forced to plan a three week vacation for myself. It was a first for me, and probably only happened because I had leave that I would lose if I didn't take it. The first week was spent in Paris with Mom and then I headed off on the midnight train to Barcelona for a few days. Then, it was on to my first visit with Wendy in Tour de Faure, a few days in Venice, and back to Paris before returning to the states.
Well, at least that was the plan anyway!
After leaving Barcelona on my way to Cahors, the train stopped at La Tour de Carol in the Pyrennes. It was quite beautiful, but not part of the plan. Everything was thrown up into the air. A Norwegian cyclist befriended me and we were off on a different adventure than either of us had planned; that took us to Tarascon sur Ariege and the Hotel Confort there.
Our rooms were on the very top floor of the hotel. Imagine crawling up the stairs to the top floor, to be greeted by the clock tower that opened this post through my skylight window!
NOT So Subtle! And,
it sounded regularly!
I was finally able to get in touch with Wendy who was waiting for me at the train station in Cahors. Not knowing how long the strike would last; we canceled Venice and tentatively revised our plans together so that I would eventually meet her in Toulouse and spend more time with her. In the meantime, what to do with these "empty" days?
My friend and I would meet up for coffee and meals and then go our separate ways. I explored and found myself up at an overlook near the tower at the top of the village every day. Every morning I would walk over to the train station to see if the trains were running yet-and, return to my perch. I wrote in my travel journal:
"I am practicing being here-in the here and now. I am not too good at relaxing-sometimes I think it is work for me."
Frankly, it was TORTURE!
To help me keep my sanity, I also kept some free writing pages. There is a theme here, that continues on beyond this step:
"Maybe I'm missing something-Is there a whole part of life and living that I have managed to put somewhere that I can't reach?"
Here I was, for the first time in my life being forced to practice living in the moment...
"To walk down the street, to smell the flowers, to hear the birds sing, to feel the wind rustle the tendrills of my hair, to hear the French voices behind me, to hear the leaves crackle across the pavement, to hear the cars as they make the turn to descend the cliff behind me, to see the sun cast a shadow over the mountains, to feel the cool wind against my skin, to see the layers of white clouds encircle the mountain tops, to hear the ladies voices behind me become more distant and to be here-to be alive."
I was beginning to learn to live in my own life.
Why should it be so difficult?