A Window Into My Life

Right now is a time of transformation for me, and I’m already feeling lonely. The time has come, or so it seems, for me to find a new community of friends, and I don’t know yet where or how I’ll find this community, given that I’m not moving into a new place yet. In August I graduate, though after that I won’t automatically be a nutritionist, so I’ll have to decide if I want to stay in Maryland and get my extra 700 or so hours of supervised clinical time in so that I can become certified in this state, or I can move somewhere else and follow whatever that state’s requirements are. The cost of living here is so ridiculously high, because all the politicians live here, that I can’t imagine staying. I was all gung ho on moving to Arizona, since my best friend expressed a desire to go there, and it seemed like a sign. There’s nowhere else I can think of where I’d have a reason to go. Although now that I think of it, I suppose I could move closer to my sister in New Mexico. I’m not crossing Arizona off the list, but I will say after reading this blog about how it’s 120 degrees and scorpions sleep in your bed with you, I got scared.

Back to the present time, since I do have at least eight more months in this state, and I want to make them the best eight months I can. I broke up with my boyfriend last week, which means I need to find a new community of friends. We’d made friends who I was having a lot of fun with, but it’s the kind of situation in which they’ve known him for longer, and it feels less comfortable asking them to hang out with just me. We only dated for four months, and prior to that I had my own group of friends who’ve since all gone their separate ways, and due to two of them forming their own relationship, and one of those having been interested in me while the feeling wasn’t mutual, there’s no chance of that group getting back together. Oddly, the two who are in a relationship are going to see me as a student nutritionist in clinic, so it’s not like they dislike me, but it’s not like it could go back to the way it was either.

I don’t know that I’d want it to go back to how it was anyway. I’ll have to exercise the law of attraction and manifest a group of like-minded friends who have similar interests, who want to be healthier and more positive, and a desire to live a more spiritual life. The problem is that then I have to take the action, and being in grad school I don’t have much time to develop much of a social life. The easiest thing to do is go to AA meetings, a welcoming environment where it’s easier to find people who like to be social. But if I truly want to meet like-minded people with similar interests, I’m probably going to have to move to a trendier, more expensive part of the city, like Takoma Park in DC, or whatever the hipster part of town is in Baltimore. There are yoga studios everywhere, including one near my house, which I can’t afford, and my former friends go there anyway. There’s meditation in Bethesda which I tried already, and no one ever talks to you, plus the traffic is too much there. Also, it’s Buddhist meditation, and I’m moving away from Buddhism, though I believe in the philosophy of mindfulness, acceptance, and being present.

I can’t say I’ve ever considered myself a full-fledged Buddhist, but I guess I’d say I take beliefs from different traditions, and meld them into my own. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of guided meditation during which I envision my spirit guides and ask them to help me, and I bought crystals and tarot cards to help guide me. It’s uncanny how the right tarot card appears when I ask a question. For example, a few days ago I asked the question: What can I learn from my love life? and I got the card “Caught in Ruins,” a card with a picture of a man and woman inside a prison, which made me laugh out loud and want to cry at the same time. But after reading the card, it turns out that there’s no roof over the prison, that the limiting thoughts and behaviors are self-imposed, that I have the power to change and stop perpetuating my old beliefs and patterns. I’m just not sure exactly how to do that yet, though I’m focused on honesty.

The problem I have with relationships is that so far, about every five years, I go through a transformation, and whoever I’m dating or married to at the time no longer fits my life. I find it hard to grow with this other person in my life. I feel constricted, suffocated, like they’re somehow holding me back, and I feel as though they don’t understand me. The path they’re on seems uninteresting to me especially because it’s often unexplored, dated, conventional. The key is to find someone I can grow with, and I just haven’t found that person yet.

Back to the tarot cards, another good example happened the same night, when I asked the cards what I needed to learn about my career path, and I drew the card, “Wishes Fulfilled,” which was a good feeling. Last night I asked the cards what I needed to learn right now, in this moment, while feeling lonely and wondering where I’ll find a new community, and lo and behold, I drew the card, “Sangha-Community,” which read that I need to find a new community. Too bad the cards don’t tell me where to find this community. I think ultimately the idea around the cards (and meditation for that matter) for me is to use my intuition, to follow my gut and do what I know in my heart is right.

By the way, the tarot cards are the Akashic Tarot Cards from Sharon Anne Klinger and Sandra Anne Taylor. Lately I’ve been drawing a lot of cards to do with writing and publishing, which has always been my dream. The problem with my writing is that it doesn’t offer help to anyone else; I’m just offering you a window into my life. Yesterday I listened to a podcast interview that Oprah did with Sue Monk Kidd, and Sue Monk Kidd said something along the lines of—or rather, this is my interpretation of what she said—which was that it took her being vulnerable and honest to put her writing out there. And that is MUCH harder than it may sound, for me. Kidd’s first book was a memoir, decades before she published The Secret Life of Bees… So maybe the ticket for her was to write fiction, which some may say is thinly disguised memoir.

That being said, I’m not going to not become a nutritionist, although I will say I’m already becoming discouraged. When I started, I’d gone to the orientation in which they told us there were all kinds of jobs everywhere, and you could make $95k, etc. But last semester I was sitting at lunch with some of my classmates, one of whom casually mentioned in passing that this wasn’t a career path you follow for the money. Then last night someone posted on our private Facebook page that she talked to an RD (registered dietician) who told her she’d never heard of a CNS (certified nutrition specialist), and that basically it’s much harder to find a job for a CNS than an RD. A lot of comments followed that revealed this is not the easy career path I thought I’d chosen.

So I may end up writing about nutrition at some point. Whatever I do, I find it hard to imagine balancing a relationship, career, social life, and physical exercise all in one life, since I’m imagining myself spending all my free time writing a nutrition blog. But this is not exactly how manifesting the life you want works. Haha!

One thing I’ve learned is that the idea is to follow actions that come smoothly. Not without action or work, but to explore different avenues, and when doors open, they’re meant to be. If I have to force something, it’s probably not meant to be. I just have to remember to take it one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and try not to project into some unknown future. My biggest fear may be coming true: that I’ve chosen the wrong career path, again, and now I’m even deeper in debt than before, six figures this time. It could be that I tried to force something instead of following my passion to become a writer. But on the other hand, if my biggest fear is coming true, it’s because I’m making it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I do love nutrition, and have already been spending way too much time on my first two clients, out of sheer interest, so that’s worth something, right? My deepest interest lies in spiritual matters and finding one’s purpose, so maybe I can somehow tie that in with writing and nutrition… Everything happens for a reason, so it could be that I needed to take this winding path to come back to my origin, and maybe I can somehow tie these things all in together.

I really have no idea how I’m going to do that. But then I guess that’s what life’s all about.

PS: I feel that it would make more sense to separate this into three different posts: one about career, one about relationships, and one about community. In each post I’d explore each topic in more depth. But, I have homework, and then work, so I’m going to publish this meandering post as is.

 

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Wish Upon a Star

As you might have surmised from my previous post, Hawaii wasn’t the utopian paradise I’d hoped for, which proves that we each create our own reality. The mornings were my favorite time, when I was alone in quiet on the balcony, and I only regret not having gotten out to walk on the beach at sunrise. But on the 27th floor of a high rise in Honolulu blocks away from Waikiki Beach, I didn’t want to go out only to return and wake my now ex-boyfriend.

We broke up a few nights ago, at 2am when he came to bed and asked me if I still loved him. How do you break a 65-year-old man’s heart? He’s been single his entire life, and now I can understand why. And it’s not that he’s old, it’s just that he’s too old for me; the age difference is too much. My energy level was much higher than his; he became winded after hikes that were easy for me. No matter how many times I asked him to eat with his mouth closed, to avoid talking while his mouth was full, he did it every single time, and that alone tried my patience. As much as I want to be an all-loving, accepting, tolerant person, I cannot deal with repulsive table manners, let alone the rude way he talks to people. And the thing is, he’s the nicest man with the best intentions, and doesn’t know that it’s rude to yell, “Hey!” or “Yo!” at the ticket person at the gate. Sometimes I’ll be in some other part of the house, and he’ll yell, “Hey!” to ask me a question, and it was little things like that, the ankle biters, that really got to me. And did I mention that he does this thing where he elbows me to get my attention? Yep. In bed, when I’m drifting off to sleep, to ask if I’m awake. And I am like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when someone awakens me from my glorious, much-needed slumber.

I could list dozens of positive things about him, but the negatives are even deeper than what I’ve mentioned. The biggest being that he doesn’t listen to me. He wears hearing aids, so he couldn’t hear me unless I didn’t want him to, like when I was trying not to awaken him in our tiny studio apartment when I’d wake before sunrise—so I know it’s not like I’m a picnic to be with. Most people, being night owls, would not want to room with someone who got up that early every day.

But back to the listening issue. When we’d talk, he’d say something, I’d start to reply, but then he’d railroad right over whatever I was saying to add to his own conversation. After a while I just continued talking, not stopping during his interruption, but it didn’t matter, because he also refused to stop. And it wasn’t because he didn’t know I was talking—he can lip-read, so he could see that I was talking, in case he couldn’t hear. It was maddening.

One night we went to an AA meeting, and they asked me to lead the meeting because their speaker didn’t show up. So I had to speak about the second step: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Having had a lot of experience with surrendering to a higher power when things don’t go my way, I spoke from the heart, and people responded. I thought he might say something about it afterwards, but he didn’t say a word.

The thing is, it felt like we’d been married for years, and not in a good way.

There’s more, but it’s not worth continuing on about it. Suffice it to say it was a tense, uncomfortable vacation. He had two friends who lived there, who we visited: one of whom became wheelchair-bound two years ago, and the other whose son committed suicide four months ago. The air was heavy, the energy dark. So I prayed and meditated every morning for my own peace and for the sad souls around me.

Meanwhile back home my dad’s wife went off her rocker, and every day has been like an episode of Jerry Springer. The short version of the story is that she was diagnosed with a mental illness a year or so ago, and appears to be addicted to drugs. I already knew she had a pain pill and/or sleeping pill problem, but my dad was alcoholic, and they both were pretty quiet about their issues that were none of my business anyway. My dad quit drinking due to the fact that alcohol no longer worked for him while on his diabetes medication, much to his disappointment and frustration, and I tried to convince him to try AA or church or anything besides being alone and white-knuckling it, but that conversation went nowhere.

The latest with my dad’s wife is that she left him for another man, after she and her family led him to believe she’d disappeared (they let him file a missing persons report, without letting him know she was safe and alive), and after my dad tried to get her put in the psychiatric hospital (she’d been thrown in jail, and her psychiatrist said she’s a danger to herself). She owns four guns, that she took with her. I can only pray that this ends safely, peacefully, and soon for my dad, who doesn’t deserve this at this stage of his life. No one does, at any time, but he’s 72 years old, and not in good health.

But I will say that Hawaii wasn’t all bad. The boyfriend and I did the best we could. We both tried hard to be nice, and we succeeded for the most part. It was just an underlying tension, a knowing that this wasn’t right. The thing about Honolulu is that it’s a big city, with lots of people, traffic, buildings, and tourists everywhere. We drove out to more secluded areas and most of them were crowded with tourists. But we got to see the Missouri at Pearl Harbor which was far more interesting than I had expected, and I got to see my stepdad’s uncles’ memorial marker from where he’d died on the Oklahoma, which will mean a lot to my stepdad. Plus we found some truly secluded areas, in particular, a path in a rainforest that led to a waterfall, which we gratefully stumbled upon. The scenery outside the city was breathtakingly gorgeous, and even some parts of the city were beautiful too.

And one morning, out on the balcony, just around sunrise, I looked up during my meditation, hearing the sudden rainfall, and there was a rainbow.

And I knew it was a sign of good things to come.

honolulu rainbow

Surfing and Crying

If anyone can be in a bad mood while on vacation in Hawaii, it’s me.

The time that I look forward to is early morning when the sun’s rising, and I sit alone on the balcony of the 27th floor of this time share right in Honolulu, in Waikiki Beach, and I look out at the vast city buildings, and the even more vast sea and sky beyond that, and I do my meditation to connect with my spirit guides, and I close my eyes and pretend that it’s a crystal city, that light’s pouring into my crown chakra from the outer reaches of the atmosphere, and orangey-red lighted roots extending up from the core of the earth into my root chakra, and that my arms are outstretched, creating electric static lights to the outer reaches of the universe, like one of those old glass spheres that makes squiggly lights run through it while simultaneously running along the outside of the sphere. I imagine I’m flying out over the city and to the sea, and I pretend that there’s not the occasional ambulance siren going off, no motors from city buses, no buzzing from the window unit behind me, and that I’m okay with not going back to the north shore, which is where I’d rather be.

The only people at the north shore are rich hippies, or well-to-do people with more interesting taste, judging by the minimal and quaint cottage-y local shops and art studios, and best of all, the beach is bare. The water is too rough this time of year, and I don’t swim anyway, so I’d rather be walking there. Waikiki, where I’m staying, is lined with shops ranging from Forever 21 to Rolex, and so many people on the beach you can barely walk. I have never seen so many people on one beach.

This morning when I woke up, I decided I will look into surfing lessons. My boyfriend mentioned it last night, and I immediately said no, because the truth is, I’m scared of the water. He’s more of an adventurer, which I admire, but I’m also fearful. Water over my head just scares me. I don’t like it in my ears and eyes, and especially not in my nose.

Last night we met a surfing instructor, a guy at an AA meeting we decided to check out. Last night I had a dream about this (good-looking, dark-haired, ex-military) guy, that he was my boyfriend, and I was being unfaithful to him, with another surfer who I know from Maryland, a tall and beautiful dreadlocked, half-white, half-black young musician who moved to the Outer Banks, but not before giving me a beaded bracelet and ring that he made, which have an eye on the center beads, and I wear them all the time.

That’s what I like about my current boyfriend. He’s fun and he likes people, and people like him. But being alone with him for this long of a time period is driving me nuts.

Every little thing he does lately annoys me, and when I find myself internally criticizing, trying so hard and unsuccessfully oftentimes, I don’t like myself for it. Why can’t I just let someone be themselves? Do I not love myself enough to let other people have their own journey? But the way he chews and talks with his mouth open, or loudly exclaims at the price of something while shopping, or beams at the Starbucks across the street, or complains that the moderate hike is too hard for him, I want to scream. I feel like a teenager, and he’s my embarrassing parent, hindering my personal growth and freedom of self-expression.

Being with the same person 24/7 is not easy, especially in a studio apartment without the personal time and space that I crave so much. The thing is, I’m going through another stage of spiritual growth, and history has shown that I don’t stay in relationships when that happens. Which means I may never be able to stay in a relationship… but I won’t worry about forever and never today. What I will say is that my beliefs are changing, and I have yet to find a way to stay with the same person when that happens, when the beliefs are fundamentally different, and I find it intolerable to stay with someone whose beliefs are radically different from my own, or who’s on a different path. The thing is, how often do we find those who are on our same path? For me it has been rare, though I wonder if it’s just because I simply haven’t been in an area among people whose views are more aligned with my own. On the other hand, everyone has their own journey, and it’s impossible to be on the same one with someone else, at least all of the time… isn’t it? There are only two people I can think of in my life who I’ve been on a similar journey with, and that’s just a similar journey and not the exact same path at the same time.

I want to write so much more but my laptop battery is dying and I don’t want to wake my boyfriend, who’s pretending to sleep in the bedroom so I can have space out here on the balcony where there’s no outlet to plug in the laptop. The good news is that we’ve decided to relax on the beach today, a beach we found where there are hardly any people further north from here though not quite at the north shore where the waters are too rough. So far we’ve been running around trying to fit everything in and we are exhausted.

Maybe today I’ll gather the courage to try surfing, and allow my boyfriend to be his own Southern, dad-like self, and I’ll… well, I’ll just try to be nice.