Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Last Swim

I'm often told that I'm part mermaid because I love to swim. Only problem is that right now I don't live anywhere close to a lake and all the outdoor pools are closed for the season. So...I drove 50 miles yesterday to a place called "Dibrova" my childhood alma mater. I got a late start, got stuck in traffic, and turned on the wrong road on my way to "Dibrova." I almost wanted to give up and turn back but I kept visualizing that spring lake that I've been swimming in since I was five and finally I made it to my destination "Dibrova."

Once there I was so happy to smell the fragrant pines and hang out with a bunch of Ukrainians who were having their annual picnic. I walked down the familiar path to the spring lake and jumped into the refreshing water. There were kids fishing off the dock but all I cared about was swimming in the water. I swam and swam like a fish. People were watching me swim and couldn't believe that I was the only person brave enough to swim in what they thought was cold water.

I swam the entire afternoon on all sides of the lake. I walked the wooded paths and visited all the familiar spots of "Dibrova; the campground, the cabin area, the barn, the fishing holes, the playground, the bonfire pit, the sandy beach, and much more. It was a disadvantage to have a frustrating drive to "Dibrova" with all the traffic and taking the wrong road but in the end the advantage was spending an entire afternoon breathing fresh air, mingling with fun people, and having the last swim of the season in a refreshing spring fed lake where I felt like a mermaid. It was my last swim of Indian summer.

Is there something you wish to do before the warm days melt away?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Fisherman

Having spent most of the day at home doing chores I was glad to take a drive to a nearby town and take a walk along the river. When I arrived to the cozy oasis of nature I saw quite a few fishermen with their rods in the river. I asked a fisherman how the fishing was and he replied "Not too bad today." What started off as a simple question to a young fisherman turned into a very stimulating conversation. We talked for about 45 minutes.

The guys name was Gregory and he told me that he's old fashioned. He rides his bicycle everywhere, doesn't own a phone, and never surfed the internet. He just enjoys living a simple kind of lifestyle.

I enjoyed my time with Gregory so much because I myself like the simple things and being immersed with nature as much as possible. How wonderful it was to connect with someone so much like myself. The greatest lesson I learned from Gregory was to always be kind to others and live a humble life. If only there were more Gregory's in the world.

Moments spent with humble and kind people is something to smile about. Have you met someone who made a difference in your life?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Having Purpose

"Oh how sweet it is to use our skills and talents to make the world a  better place."  Adrianna

Lately I've been using this little quote of mine to encourage people not to get down when times get tough. Sometimes it's hard to keep pressing on when things seem so gloomy. I'm no exception. Getting a job and keeping a job was never difficult for me until about five years ago. Since than I've been losing my self worth from all the rejections I get. It hurts to be rejected and unwanted in the working world. The last I heard "12 million Americans are looking for work." That's a pretty high percentage.

So like those other unemployed 12 million Americans I do my best to get by. I teach yoga part time and even though I don't make much money I get the satisfaction of helping others feel better. Often when I finish my yoga class a student or two approaches me and says:

"Thanks for helping me relax."  "Your classes have helped my body get more flexible." 

"I feel healthier now that I take yoga."  "You're so attentive and caring with your students."

I'll never have the success or fame of Jennifer Aniston. Beyonce, or Oprah Winfrey but as a simple unknown person who exists on this planet it really is sweet to share one of my skills in this big vast world. Don't ever get down because every skill & talent is important in this universe and all of us are part of that puzzle that keeps the world going. This is all part of having purpose.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The boy in the wheelchair!

The other day I was wallowing in self-pity while taking a walk in a park. Next to the park a bunch of boys were playing soccer at a school field. They were having fun but what caught my eye was the young boy who was circling around the field in his wheelchair. The poor little boy was paralyzed and couldn't walk let alone play soccer but he had a smile on his face because his peers encouraged him to be part of the game even though he was in a wheelchair. He circled around the field in his wheelchair feeling like he really was part of the game.

Those few moments really touched my heart. Sometimes we find ourselves complaining about silly things like being stuck in traffic or having a bad day at work.  My self-pity vanished when I saw how a young boy had enthusiasm trying to play soccer even though he was confined to a wheelchair.

Let's be thankful for the blessings we have!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Rejection

Today is the birthday of someone who rejected me. Although rejection hurts, it's part of life. Everyone at some point in their life has to deal with a rejection. Rejection has taught me to have dignity and grace. Eventually the pain of rejection goes away. I'm thankful for all the rejections I've had throughout life because it taught me that I can't have everything I want in life. 

Therefore I accept the moments I must have of:

R  E  J  E  C  T  I  O N

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goodbye to Summer

Although summer doesn't end until the 21st of September on the calendar for most people it ends on Labor Day. The days begin to shorten and cool down, children go back to school, the public beaches and swimming pools no longer have lifeguards on duty and the ice cream shops close earlier. 

I'm so thankful for a handful of idyllic summer days that came my way this past summer of 2013. It's the simple things that make summer so special like swimming in the lake, hiking a mountain, attending a free outdoor concert, having a picnic in a park, taking a bicycle ride or making some fresh squeezed lemonade.

Although we have to bid summer goodbye  it's nice to have a few memories of those summer moments that stand out in our mind. I hope everyone has had some sweet summer memories.

Goodbye to Summer!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A trip down memory lane

Stowe, Vermont                   
I'll never forget that summer in Stowe, Vermont that still leaves me with vivid memories. It was my dream to see the Trapp Family Lodge and hike Mount Mansfield so one June day I got on the train with just a bag of clothes and headed to Stowe. What I thought would only be a three day visit turned out to be two months of the best summer of my life.

I was staying at a hostel near Stowe and the managers girlfriend told me about a job opening at a bed & breakfast in Stowe. I called the innkeeper to inquire about a position. To my surprise she met me in town and had a quick interview with me in a restaurant parking lot. I was hired on the spot and the following day I arrived at "The Siebeness Country Inn" to begin my job on a Sunday afternoon. I had a multitude of everyday tasks; serving breakfast, washing dishes, cleaning rooms, taking care of reservations, giving tours of the inn, mingling with the guests, baking homemade cookies, cleaning the swimming pool, walking the dog  and so on. 

The innkeepers were kind to me and treated me like a daughter. I even had my own private room which made me really feel at home especially since I was needed at the inn at all hours of the day. I didn't have a car but that was fine because biking and walking around Stowe was enjoyable. I had a friend who had a car and he often took me on all kinds of adventures in and around Stowe. He was the coolest guy I ever knew and he taught me that life is meant to be enjoyed.

After I left Stowe that summer to return back to college I was very sad to leave behind such a special place as Stowe, Vermont where I had felt accepted by others and was happy. But all things come to an end and it was time to press forward so I thought.

A few years later I returned to Stowe, Vermont where I appeared in several plays with the local playhouse. I was cast in my favorite role of Maria Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and I returned to "The Siebeness" for a visit with the innkeepers who had come to see me as Maria in "The Sound of Music."

An inner voice told me long ago that I had to go to Stowe, Vermont and I'm so glad I listened to that inner voice because I was blessed with an unforgettable summer. It's been many years since that idyllic summer long ago at "The Siebeness" but in some ways time does stand still. I returned to Stowe, Vermont this August for a couple of days and felt like I had returned home. Not much had changed and Stowe was still as beautiful as ever. When I climbed to the top of my beloved Mount Mansfield I sang a few songs from "The Sound of Music." I also thought about the scene in the movie in which the Reverend Mother asks Maria "What is the most important thing you've learned here at the abbey?" and Maria replies "to do the will of GOD and to do it wholeheartedly." That was it that's all I needed to repeat over and over again "Please show me your will GOD and let me do it wholeheartedly." As I stood on top of Mount Mansfield I asked for a sign or an angel to appear in my life by the end of the day to let me know what to do. My answer came that evening when a complete stranger at a cafe started to talk to me about Stowe and said "No matter where you've been or where you've lived in the past or present; California, New York, Colorado, Wyoming etc you know in the end you'll come back to where you truly belong Stowe, Vermont.

It's beautiful to know that all of us have that place in the world where we belong and even though we may face some setbacks and disappointments in that place there's nothing more satisfying than the feeling of belonging someplace in this world. For me that place is Stowe, Vermont.

Is there a place that feels like home to you? Are there memories of a place that brought happiness to you when you were there? I think we all have that place somewhere in the world where we belong and feel accepted. Sometimes you have to take those moments to take a trip down memory lane and find the answer.

Afterthought: In 2012 and 2011 I spent several months on staff at a yoga retreat house in Kitzbuhel, Austria. My tasks were very similar to what they were in Stowe, Vermont years earlier except that in Austria I also taught yoga and led hikes through the Austrian Alps. It was a lifelong dream to spend time living and working in Austria. My love for Austria and "The Sound of Music" was what drew me to Stowe, Vermont in the first place. Two places; one in Europe the other in the United States and yet both share similarities; bicycle trails, cows grazing in the meadow, goats on the hilltop, glorious mountains for hiking and skiing, lakes for swimming and lots of lodging options. Reverend Mother was right "Climb Every Mountain till you find your Dream!

          A U S T R I A