Sunday, April 22, 2012

Colorado or Bust

In the year and half after my divorce, I was a broken woman. My heart ached, my soul lost, I numbly went through my life as a new single struggling to keep her head above water. In addition to a relationship change, I also had a living change (two to be exact) and a job change. Yeah, when I do change, I do it big, or so it seems. Looking back, a lot happened in a short amount of time, climaxing into the biggest change post-divorce at the time: a move to Colorado.

The manner in which I made this decision still amazes and amuses me today knowing all I know about God's divine and intuitive guidance. Early October 1999, over a year after the divorce, I attend a business seminar hosted by Toyota in Georgetown, KY; or so I thought. This gathering actually was a women's conference about, well being a woman in a professional world. Lily Tomlin was guest speaker, and breakout sessions offered tips for well-being and balance. Up until this point since the divorce, I lived life numb. My spirit, heart and I felt no passion or excitement about my life. I simply got up each morning, went to work, and on the weekends, isolated myself in my apartment. I had no goals, no desire, no purpose. Until I attended this women's conference.

One seminar, facilitated by a then-not-so-well-known life coach named Rhonda Britton, stirred my soul, waking me within as if lighting afire dry brush laying brittle inside me. Rhonda challenged our group with one question: “What one thing would you do but haven't because you are afraid?” The moment she asked it, something snapped within my mind as if a vault of ideas opened. One thought escaped and resounded in my head. I want to live in Colorado. A flood of memories downloaded as I recalled a vacation taken years earlier in 1994 in Colorado to visit two cousins; how I fell in love with the mountains and the state, and; how I was fired up and ready to move back right then. I didn't because my ex-husband was rooted in Kentucky with his family business, and truthfully he didn't want to move. So I'd locked away the idea and forgot about it. I also remembered I briefly considered fleeing to Colorado during the divorce process but didn't thanks to a little voice gently guiding: Not now. You need to be close to home, family, support. End of mental discussion.

In that moment at this conference, and every moment thereafter, Colorado weighed on my heart and mind, so much so I immediately began researching the area, the cost of living, job opportunities, etc. The more I thought about it, the more it felt right; however, my head challenged this crazy idea. What? Leave Kentucky? Go where you know no one? (My cousins had since moved elsewhere.) So I grappled, argued with myself about this move. I wanted to go but I was stuck in fear. I knew it, so I asked my Higher Power for guidance. I asked for a clear cut sign that would let me know in no uncertain terms I was suppose to make this move. It felt right, but it was bold, was I ready? Could I do this? I had doubt. In hindsight, I realize I'd lost my fearlessness of taking risks, going for what I wanted. I wasn't trusting my passion.

The first sign bluntly appeared immediately. I started seeing Colorado license plates all over Lexington! Never seeing one before, I suddenly saw several within a week. Hmm. Okay, I said, I think that's my sign, but just to be sure, give me one more so I know for sure this isn't a coincidence. I didn't trust God, my intuition, or my gut, and well, given what all I'd gone through post-divorce, it was understandable. So I waited for my sign: the Dixie Chicks song,Wide Open Spaces. This song suddenly played constantly on the radio, everytime I was in the car! A fairly new song, I never noticed it until one day coming home from work. And upon listening to the words for the first time, I thought, That's me!

I'm still unconvinced despite two requested and granted signs, so I asked for ONE more sign, promising myself if I got this one, I'd know I was suppose to take the plunge. While I knew in my heart I was suppose to go, my head still wasn't on board. Now, it's late October, and I am walking my dogs in my neighborhood. A beautiful fall day in which the air was crisp and cool, reminded me of Colorado's weather during my visit – no humidity, sunshine. As my girls and I walked along, I looked off to the sky and “saw” mountains. The clouds were low on the horizon, and shaped like the mountains, peaks and valleys off into distance, and in that instant, for what felt like minutes, I felt what I call an “out of body” experience in which I was transported to Colorado. I was in Colorado in that moment, walking my dogs. It felt good; it felt real to me, and it was then I decided and knew:  Yes, I'm going to Colorado. And so I began planning, saving money, researching jobs, making professional contacts, etc. Six months later, I loaded most of what I owned into a storage unit, and what I could in my car and headed West, to wide open spaces.

This new journey marked the beginning of my journey to self-discovery and self-healing. At the time, I knew there was something or some reason I was suppose to go to Colorado, but what or why, I did not know. I just followed my heart for the first time in a long, long time at that point in my life. And my life forever changed as I began the long road to healing. Not just from my divorce, but from lack of self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self. Healing of past heartaches, disappointments, and unproductive choices. Healing that led to me finding myself, my life's purpose, and discovering who I really am for the first time in my life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sharing My Mom

I know it's been a while since my last post.  Here's why!

A month after my mom died, I received marching orders from Pop to clear her things. At the time, this meant to both of us her clothes and personal belongings. And so I did, and believed we'd cleared her things.

Fast forward to the beginning of this year and my “in your face” revelation we'd not even scratched the surface of “clearing” her things. Closets full of floral arrangements, luggage, prints, Santa Claus and snowman collectibles, chotzies and other things. Shelves filled with plastic bins of sewing threads, tools, fabrics, craft supplies for crocheting, cross-stitching, ceramic painting, Christmas ornaments. Walls covered in beautiful decorative wreaths she designed herself. Plastic bins filled with grapes, silk flowers, and floral arranging materials, more fabric, and seashells. Department 56 houses and every accessory imaginable on shelves. Cabinets filled with votive holders, potpourri, and home décor items. Canning jars, freezer containers, lids, canning pots and cookers and tools, oh my! I chuckled at my and my dad's naivete in believing we'd “taken care of all her belongings” after her transition!
I'm not sure Dad is completely ready to sell their place yet, but when he is, I realized I didn't all these beautiful things of my mom's to be insensitively handled in an Estate Auction. These things, her belongings, she gave great care and concern before purchasing; much time, energy and consideration was invested by mom before before buying something. I knew mom wouldn't want these beautiful, high-end things (she had some excellent taste) to collect dust, sit hidden in closets, and be randomly thrown into a box to be sold at a chaotic Estate Auction. I knew Dad wouldn't get a fair price on these things this way, so I decided needed to do right by mom and hold an Estate sale.

My dad calls my mom a “collector.” My brother calls her an “organized hoarder.” I believe my mom had ambitious dreams of being Martha Stewart. Mom had big plans for her time in retirement but cancer stole that time from her. Mom didn't collect just to have it; she collected because these things touched her soul, resonated with a poor little girl who admired from afar pretty things. She also had big plans to decorate the house in great style. Mom did collect Dickens and New England villages, Santas and snowmen. And my brother was right; she was very organized. My dad shook his head repeatedly in disbelief at all I pulled out for the Estate Sale.

You think you know someone, but go through their belongings, and you get to know someone a little deeper. I knew mom loved shopping, but only until I begin organizing her things for the sale did I realize how big her dreams were, and what incredible tastes she had. In hindsight, I realize I took for granted her excitement about her plans and many interests. Despite the fact we talked every single day by phone for several years, I didn't understand this facet of her. What didn't I know?

I didn't know she practiced crocheting or she was teaching herself. I didn't know she was nostalgic as I perused newspapers and magazines saved about Hurricane Betsy that we were in, or Mardi Gras she attended in 1965, or when Elvis, JFK, and Reagan died, the flood of Daviess County in 1997, the tornado that hit Owensboro, or 9/11 happened. I found a tub full of my baby clothes, including the onesies, little dresses I wore as a toddler and even into the first few years of elementary school, and the baby clothing hangers. I didn't know mom had done so much floral work, twenty arrangements in all not counting the wreaths.

Mom was poor growing up and when she had the money in later years, she spent it on nice things she enjoyed. She loved shopping for it, having it, and displaying it. Mom loved to learn new things, a trait of hers which I take after, and she had a creative side that was expressed in her home decorating, the holidays, and her flower gardens.

As I pulled things out, organized, and priced items over a two month period, I experienced another level of grief. I ached for her, so I could enjoy those things with her. Everything I touched held her energy; I felt her constantly throughout this process. She talked to me as I contemplated prices; she giggled when I cursed her each time I found more stuff. And I cried several times as the Estate Sale approached. I fretted I'd no longer feel mom without these things in the house, but realized my mom wasn't these things; they simply reflected who she was. I felt grateful I got to know this part of her through this process.

In the days leading up to the Sale, I felt concern I would lose it as people walked out with mom's things. I meditated around this and realized mom wouldn't want her beautiful creations and things sitting in a closet collecting dust! She enjoyed them, and she'd want others to enjoy them too! I took great comfort in this knowledge, and as the Sale took place, my heart comforted as everyone demonstrated awe over the beautiful things. People who bought floral arrangements, Dept. 56 houses, her collectibles, etc. showed respect and admiration for them, which warmed my heart a part of mom's energy was bringing joy to others. I know my mom felt full of pride somewhere above that this facet of who she was, her legacy, would carry on bringing joy to others lives.