In mid May, when I began my “Grand Adventure,” I was excited, slightly terrified, but also frustrated. There were delays in getting my inventory, some issues with the bank, and then literally an hour from leaving home, the lock on the door to the “house” of my RV snapped off. This, on top of having just discovered there was another leak in the overhead cab, and water had soaked the flooring there. I didn’t want to wait anymore! I would deal with it later. I wanted to hit the road! Mid May in Florida is also about the time you start to feel the shift into summer, when it gets hot and muggy, - and stays that way. I was determined to get away from that. So I pulled the rip cord, and I got out!
I slowly made my way up to Virginia, stopping to get the door handle replaced, and then several times in Georgia to visit with friends. After arriving in Virginia, I met up with some old college friends, Laura and David, at their beautiful home on a lake. It’s funny how I ended up there. About two months earlier I had received a message from Laura inviting me to stay with them if I was planning on going to our college re-union. All four years in school, Laura and I had lived in the same dorm, apartment, or house together, and David was also in school with us. (They were high school sweethearts!) I said that I would love to, but I didn’t think that I would fit in their driveway, and I explained my new life style. “No problem!” Laura says, and she sends me pictures of an RV pad with the RV hook-ups on the property they had moved into last year! Are you kidding me? What were the chances of having friends in Virginia, - who had moved to an area that I was planning to go to, - who would have a place where I could stay in my RV?
I love the way the Universe works, and I love these two people! They are delightful, funny, intelligent, down-to-earth folks who graciously opened their home to me, and said, “Come hang out with us!” As if that weren’t enough, they also have a yellow lab named Nelle, who even in her aging years, still lopes towards you to give you kisses and have her ears rubbed. Heaven!
Staying with David and Laura not only gave me a safe and happy place to stay for awhile, but it provided me with the opportunity to go see some of my family in nearby Richmond, (also home to my old stomping grounds after college,) and I was able to fix the leak in the overhead cab.But wait! There’s more! The faucet on the kitchen sink broke! (Oh yay, I got to learn how to be a plumber!)
Then I discovered another massive leak in one of the under carriage compartments, which saturated much of my festival inventory stored in there. Ugh! I hauled it all to my brother’s house and did loads and loads of laundry, (thank you Bryan and Shelly!) I might as well have left if wet though, because it poured rain at the festival I was vending at two days later, where there was severe wind, and half of my inventory got blown into the water puddles.
Needless to say, sales were terrible at this event, and as I was packing up at the end, (yes, I stayed!) a homeless man came up and kept talking at me. Not to me, but at me. I was not in the mood. It was still raining, I was soaked, and just trying to get out and go home so I could go fetal and lick my wounds in private. And then it occurred to me….. this man must surely be having a much worse day than me, and maybe I wasn’t in such a hurry that I couldn’t at least have a conversation with him while I was loading up. You don’t know a person’s story, and maybe this person was actually there to teach me something. Here was another soul, having a human experience, and as I believe that we are all connected through Divine Spirit, then his experience was also my experience, and vice versa. So we talked, or rather, he talked and I asked questions, and he told me a lot about his life, about once living in the woods, and about being a preacher, things about his family, and his philosophy of life. And then he just walked away. He never asked me for anything. Maybe all he wanted was to be acknowledged, and to connect to someone. To be seen, and heard. Let’s face it, who of us wants to be invisible? Who of us at some point in our lives have not felt dismissed, rejected, or unseen, for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it does not feel good. And what matters is that we become more conscious so that we do not to do this to others. The essence of God is within each of us, and when we greet another person, and look them in the eye, we are wise to be mindful of that Divine presence, to acknowledge it, and to honor it. How many people say “Namaste” at the end of a yoga class and think it’s just some cool yoga word, and all they are saying is hello or good-bye? Next time you say “Namaste” to another person, think about the real meaning behind that Sanskrit word, “I see the Divine within you, and I honor and respect that.”
So how does all of this tie in with broken plumbing and leaking walls? They are minor obstacles in this human experience, and they can detract us from the bigger picture. We can either get lost in the maya of the world, or we can move through these experiences, be observers to our own reactions and responses, and mindfully continue the journey with equilibrium, and we can pay more attention to the beautiful moments, like when our friends and family help us along the path. I love my brother and his family, and I am very grateful that we were able to have time together this summer.
We all have our wounds from friends and family, more than we care to remember, or perhaps we have experienced deep anger or disappointment from someone’s behavior or thoughtlessness. Maybe we have been challenged by a situation that was more than we thought we could bear. I fully admit that sometimes seeing that Divine spark in some people has been a great trial. I am not perfect at it, but knowing that the spark is there helps me to get to that place of forgiveness. It may not happen right away, and quite frankly it usually doesn’t, but knowing I can, and will get there is the guidance I need, and gratefully accept.
Small steps are better than no steps. So whether a challenge comes from a person, or a situation, it is our job to be mindful of how we respond.
Never forget, what goes around, comes around. Namaste!