I gave my car a little love tap. Thank you. We made it: the 8 hour cruise down to Washington D.C. I had bought my car just a few months prior... so this was our first big ordeal together. I booked the trip about 24 hours after I heard about the conference. It was a National American Massage Therapy Association convention and I would have the opportunity to earn CE credits, learn new skills from the top of the field, network and be with other like minded people on my career path. The location was stellar. But, did I have the money to do so? That was the question. On Tuesday I opened up my email to see the invitation to the event. On Wednesday I got an email from my children's school saying I had overpaid their yearly tuition and that I had money coming back to me (probably the exact amount of what I would be spending on the trip).
You gotta listen to that kind of stuff.
So here I was in D.C. a day early in a fancy hotel I booked on Hotwire (awesome, btw!) I arrived early to enjoy the city and get re-acquainted with the Still Small Voice. I drove around the city in search of my hotel in utter amazement! This place was entirely new to me! The trees were different! The blades of grass! People looked mysterious! Every corner was an event and surprise. The hotel was the fanciest I've ever stayed at, in the most intimate-boutique-style way. The first hour I spent sighing softly, breathing deeply and inwardly squealing in delight. "We have a complimentary wine tasting in the lobby at 5" they told me at the front desk. Hallelujah.
I napped off my 2 am wake up that morning in a king sized bed with fluffy white sheets, 13 poofy pillows and arose refreshed. I put on the plush hotel robe, lit a candle, turned on music, sat in the middle of the bed and held my new book. At pivotal places throughout the years, these authors came into my life as beacons of light, path blazers and forerunners. The wisdom it held, I could tangibly feel touching the fibers of my being. I would be changed by it. Like fireflys lighting up the night... the sparks of change going off in my very cells.
I recently came into the world of "the selfie". For the past year, I've been taking them with my sons, perfecting the art, "This is a moment! We've made it to here! Everyone smile!" I've been coming into my own taking an "every-now-and-then" lone-selfie. This time I lay back in this fancy bed and tried to capture just how I was feeling on the inside (although sort of impossible to do). Yet looking at it...I smile remembering the thick sense of joy, the peace, the fresh-newness in the air, the excitement of a beautiful journey ahead. Alive in the deepest sense.
And then I had a good cry. "Child. You're just beginning to know how loved you are."
I woke the next morning after an evening sitting beside the roof top pool and bar with my journal in hand and the breeze in my hair, and headed off to the Convention. Again, feeling like a queen in the new hotel provided. I had no expectations. I knew not the caliber of expertise I was going to be able to rub up against... the inspiration, the skill! Day two, my brain actually felt like ... well... like this:
I took notes as if I was the mad scientist on the brink of discovery. These peoples' life work... boiled down into 4 hour classes... and although we were getting the mere tip of the iceberg... we were studying with and learning from THEM... face to face... asking questions, exchanging memories and ideas, theories and practice. Their wisdom was being passed like a baton to us. I was so confident in the career path I had chosen, so inspired of its depth and breadth. And I sat thinking, "I want to be humble and confident like they are." "I want to be that passionate and wise."
Each fellow therapist I sat next to, felt hand picked for me, saying things that I scrambled off back to my hotel room to jot down in my journal. Vessels of encouragement. Now before this sounds altogether cutsie and "off in the clouds" positive... I have to admit... I myself had a hard time accepting it. That's part of the reason why those tears came that night laying in that fancy hotel bed.
If we only knew.
The flood gates of Well-Being and Loving-Kindness are opened to us. But we so often resist it. I could actually FEEL it that night... our predicament as human beings. As if i got a birds eye view of myself curled up in a ball holding onto nothing while the All that IS of Joy and Goodness was raining from the sky.
Gone would be the voice inside myself that says failure. Failure of my marriage. Failure to my parents. Failure to my children. "You deserved the pain, abandonment, anger, and sadness." Gone would be the voice of doubt and fear: "How am I ever going to make it alone?"
And in would come full appreciation of these killer experiences. So full of ease and grace. I teetered this past week in between blissful contentment and disbelief and shock. But on Friday night I crushed it. I put on a dress and deep blue earrings, brushed my hair and my teeth. :) I sat at a bar Downtown ordering dinner and reading my book. "Are you expecting another?" the Bartender asked. "Nope. Just me." I smiled. By the end of the night, the waiters were taking pictures of the book I was reading. "You look so content," one of them said, "that I simply must read the book you are reading."
Saturday's classes came and went. Again, I was Betty hitting that artery hard... this time, hands on, on the massage table. I remember the lighting in the auditorium classroom... the projection screens, the Instructor's expertise, and the biology/pathology that was blowing my mind and yet I was grasping it. So vivid was that experience of learning and pleasure in learning, that I will come back to it again and again.
I hit the road about 2:00pm and came up to the parking meter ticket booth to pay an ungodly fee for three days of city parking. "Ticket Jam" it read. "Huh". I pushed the call button. The attendant hollered at me from afar and came over, opened the gate and said, "you have good luck! free today!"
You gotta be shitting me.
I grew up in a Christian home, where I learned a language that included words like "God" "Heaven" "Grace" and many others. Some words I don't use so much anymore, they've been overused and abused by some. Words carry meaning very different to each and every person. And sometimes, maybe even most times, stories speak with a language easier to understand than blanket terms... truer to what is.
I hit Interstate 95 and it began to rain, hot-August-steamy-pavement rain. There were two faint rainbows in the sky and I giggled aloud at the goodness of it all.