Goddess of letting go

Dhumavati is the hindu goddess of letting go.  We are told we can invoke this goddess to help us navigate disappointment, and to discover the freedom in letting go.

Letting go is not something we are taught.  It is a skill we observe in our parents  assuming they are able to let go.

My mother hung onto everything and guarded her belongings.  “Grasping” was a word that comes to mind.

My father was interesting, he was a collector who had 3 of everything just in case.  He grew up in the depression.  He would swing between hording, and letting go of everything.

One day I came home and my mother was furious.  My father had given away the silverware, so we had nothing to eat dinner with.

As a child growing up in the British Air Force, we were forced to let go of the idea of home.  We moved countries every 2 years.  As a kid I intuitively knew not to get too attached to friends, objects, or placse as it would be gone when we moved.

Deep inside me I know I yearned to attach to something.  I had no idea that I could build a “home” inside myself.

Now I find myself in a state of relinquishment, choosing to let go-for love.

How much would you give up for love?

Would you leave your country?

Would you leave your work?

Would you leave your friends?

Would you leave the familiar?

I have a good friend who is now 58, and is seriously seeking love.  His criterion is that a women lives within 30 mintues drive of him.  He is not willing to drive beyond that for love.  Does that not limit his options?  What if his perfect match lived 2 hours away?

How often do we get attached to a fixed outcome, and cling to it.   Then we get angry when something else shows up that does not match our vision.

How do we surrender to the life that is right in front of us?

 

 

swimming upstream

Today we sat by the Breckenridge river, at the french bakery here in town. As the days of september get shorter and cooler brook trout and brown trout attempt to go upstream to spawn.

We sat and watched the brown trout in the stream, as the water rushed downhill.  There were two culverts dumping water into lower lying land.  We watched fish trying to jump up to higher ground, going against the rushing water.  They attempted to leap the 5 ft gap.

Their jumps seemed like futile attempts, but they kept trying. These fish were my teachers today…I asked myself:

How much energy do I put into futile endeavours?

How much energy do I put into swimming upstream?   For example trying to do it my way rather than surrender and trust the universe.

Everything flows downstream….I have been swimming upstream all my life, resisting the flow, resisting life.  Letting my mind and ego run the show until it no longer works.

Now is the time to let go and flow.

Waking up to a new landspace in your life 

Do you ever find you look back and think how did I get here?  I am 53 and just starting to pay attention to my body.  Just starting to honour myself.  Not putting everyone else first, and forgetting about myself.  Including myself on the list of things to care for, rather than leaving myself out.

Yesterday I was on top of a 14,000 ft mountain in Colorado.  I saw these beautiful mountain goats, way up high on the top of a pyramid of rocks looking down at us.    I followed a 10-year-old boy up the rocks, trying to keep up with his nibble hopping from rock to rock.   I asked the 10-year-old boy for his technique for climbing.  He said “hold onto the rocks with your hands, and don’t put much weight on your feet”.  What a difference that made, I climbed nimbly up the mountain and saw this mountain goat family at the top of the world.  Just me and the boy.  Everyone else was on the ground yelling cautions to us to “be safe”, or “watch out for the charging mother  with her babies”.

Later that night before we fell asleep in each others arms, my husband asked me what was the highlight of my day?  I said “being 53 and just starting to feel fit, and strong for the first time in my life”.  I was proud I was able to climb by myself.  I was nervous but I called on my ancestors, who have been climbing mountains for years.   I could almost see my grandfather shaking his fist in the air as if to say “we shall overcome”!

Having been physically ill for 8 years, I am just starting to feel strong and somewhat healthy.  I think this is partly because of a greater compassion for myself, and being more patient with myself, rather than punishing myself to change.   As Dr. Barbara D’Angelis says “loving myself forward instead”.

In spite of my imperfection I am shinning even at this late stage in my life……

It’s not over till it’s over.

The selfie culture

We took a break from the mountains and flew to Kona Hawaii the big island.  We stayed at the Hapuna beach hotel.   The sand and water were so soft, like gorgeous well water. Even the shower and drinking water tasted soft.

As I walked on the beach I noticed that people were posing for themselves.  Practicing smiling, fluffing their hair and adjusting to get the best selfie.

Have we become a culture of self oriented navel gazers.  Clinging to our devices in paradise?  Most people on the beach were staring at their screens rather than the ocean.   In a place that offer sublime beauty and smells have we lost the ability to just be?

If we don’t take a selfie does the moment exist?

As we walked along the beach a woman stands in her dress, her young child building a sandcastle while she primps for her own picture.  What is she missing?  the moment with her child, touching the sand, interacting with the earth, listening to the ocean.

I believe when someone is interacting with a device their others senses are dulled.  We cannot multitask the moment, and be in the moment.

Try having a meaningful conversation with your partner while they are texting.  It does not work, they are not present with either the device or you.  I believe our brain can only process one thing at a time.

“The short answer to whether people can really multitask is no. Multitasking is a myth. The human brain cannot perform two tasks that require high-level brain function at once” thoughtco.com   

So next time when your partner is talking to you and you are texting.  STOP. Listen.

Be present.

Next time you are in paradise, just be.

Pick up a shell,  touch the sand,  let yourself get wet.

Aloha

Healthcare in the US is like a Rodeo

Living in the USA without proper health coverage is an ongoing stress.  I have some travel coverage, but it only covers emergencies.  Recently I was having pain down my right side and feeling nausea and diarrhea after eating.  I also had severe shooting pain and was in bed for 5 days.

I took myself to the herbalist who told me it could be a bile blockage or gallstones. She treated me with anti-inflamatory herbs such as turmeric, black pepper, calunda flowers, milk thistle and cleavers.  I also found a remedy on the internet of Apple cider vinegar and organic apple cider.

Then I took myself to the accupuncturist who treated the gallbladder. I also found a chart of foods to illuminate when you are having a gallbladder attack, so I have eliminated my favourites, coffee, chocolate, beer, all pickled things, beef, bread, mayonnaise, egg yolks.  Whoever invented liquid egg whites in a carton needs to be spanked.  I could hardly eat the fried egg whites, even my two dogs picked at them and left them on the kitchen floor.

After this lifestyle adjustment my symptoms have subsided. My accupuncturist strongly encouraged me to see a doctor and get an ultrasound.  Sounds like solid advice.  The challenge is getting to see a doctor, when you have no health insurance.

My fiance found a doctor who will see me, his office is at the King Soper grocery store?  Ok unusual for me to see a doctor where you pick up your vegetables and meat.  But why not.  They have a variety of prices for the same service.  Ok so I check the box for no insurance, and the cost is $100.  If you do have insurance the cost is $250.  Strange system.

Then I need to find imaging centres.  It was recommended  not to go to the hospital up here in the mountain as everything is triple the cost-geared towards wealthy tourists who are in ski accidents.   I start an internet search for stand alone imaging centres in Denver two hours away, as they are the cheapest. I find a company online called health images, I fill in the online form.  I am told that all the health images centres in and around Denver will contact me within 24 hours with their bid.   Now I feel like I am at an auction, with my body as the item to be bid on.  True enough I get a series of competitive bids, on my phone with a quote on what an ultrasound will cost at their centre.

The Vegas of healthcare; go see the doctor, get a doctor’s order for the ultrasound, drive 2 hours down the mountain, pick the lowest bidder, get the ultrasound, and then hope the doctor two hours away gets the results, Giddyup!

What a crazy ass piecemeal system.  I miss Canada.  You may have to wait to see your doctor, but they will know you personally.   They will send you to an imaging centre in their building, and the results are sent back to your doctor the same day.

No Bidding or auctioning on the service, no driving for 2 hours…..Yes the Canadian system is slow and steady, predictable and reliable.  Good Ole Canada, bring it home!

Let go of the oars *

I saw on a bulletin board the phrase “Let go of the Oars, everything you want is downstream….”

When I was 16 I immigrated to Canada from England.  15 years later I went back to visit England with my new Canadian husband in tow.  I always felt British in my blood, and that England was my home.  When I went back in my 30’s I had changed so much, I no longer fit into the British way of life.  Most Brits thought I was American.  I was shocked, I did not realise how much I had changed until I went back to visit.

I had a similar experience recently when I had a single friend visit me here in the Colorado mountains.  He was interested in the nightlife in the mountains.  I really have not been out in the bars late at night, as my fiance does not drink. I wondered if I was missing out on the live music and the dancing scene by staying home every night.

With my single friend visiting we went out on the town in Breckenridge.  We first went to a bar called Apres where they serve craft beers. It was fun, I had a dark beer from a Fort Collins Brewery.  We met people from Miami who grew up skiing in Breckenridge.  We met lots of young folks from Florida who grew up in the heat, hate the heat, and love the snow and mountains.   Then we went to the Gold Pan Saloon which was loud and we left. We Finally ended up in the back room of another bar called the Motherloade tavern.  We sat and watched attractive 30 somethings hooking up around us.  One couple had just met three days ago, she was from Denver and he was from Miami, they were on their third date and they were very cute. I kept encouraging my friend John to go and talk to women.    He went up to ask a woman to dance and she said no.  I mean really? it’s just a dance.  Everywhere people were doing shots of Fireball whiskey.  The band started at 9pm and people were dancing on the tables, with pint glasses smashing on the floor.  We were standing on the ramp to the back room, and within 15 minutes the place filled up.   We were  pressed up against two other rows of people on the ramp hanging onto our pint glasses.  People were screaming in your ear to talk to you.  One guy beside me got up and sang with the band and did the Rolling Stones song Ssympathy with the Devil.  He rocked the house.

The energy of the place was drunken hook up energy, or as they say here “hitting the mountain”.  I said to my friend John “if I was a cougar I would have easy pickings here” as everyone was in the 20s or 30s and pounding back shot after shot.  I realised that this was no longer a place that I fit in.  I missed my fiancée who was home in bed, and I could not relate to the drunken hookup artists around me.   I just wanted to go home.  I waited  until my friend was ready to go.   I was relieved to be home.  I realised I had emigrated from the country of singleton to the country of relationship, and I was not missing a thing.

*Image credit:  By Motmit – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

 Time famine

It seems the mountain energy seeps into your soul.  The ability to see awe all around you through every window in your home has a way into your heart.  Recently we took a vacation from the mountain and we went to Hollywood Beach Florida.   A mountain friend said to me Hollywood beach is a place where old people go to die.  Nothing to do but sun and surf, it seemed so flat so bland. I think of it as Margarittaville culture. While I was in a t-shirt store in Florida  the worker hanging the new shipment of shirts said  “I need a vacation, my soul is slowly dying, I don’t have enough time to do everything”. He needed a vacation from the vacation spot.

I read recently that North American people are experiencing a time famine.  “Time might be the scariest commodity for many people in modern life. A recent poll of more than 1,000 Americans found that nearly half (47%) felt they lacked enough time in daily life (Carroll, 2008). This feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it—or “time famine” (Perlow, 1999)—has been linked to undesirable side effects, including trouble sleeping, stress, difficulty delaying gratification, and postponing seeing a doctor when ill (Lehto, 1998; Vuckovic, 1999; C.-B. Zhong & DeVoe, 2010).”

Is it true we need more time? Or can we adopt practices that help us shift  our perception of how much time is available.  Awe researchers tell us we can shift our perception of time.  It seems that experiencing awe expands time.  Especially when we experience awe on a vast scale, like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.   Researchers says it jogs our brain to update our mental schema, which is like restarting the computer after software updates. It is amazing that awe has that ability to reboot us.  Even reading a description of someone climbing to the top of a mountain or viewing  an inspiring image of nature can fire the pathways for awe.

It is worth considering putting ourselves on a steady awe diet, especially if we are feeling low or stressed.  Taking in images of awe or focusing on a description of awe can shift our perception of time, and reboot our energy with just three minutes a day.

I want to encourage you to give yourself a daily dose of awe, via physical experience or through an image.

 

Having a guest up in the mountains

My brother from another mother came down to visit me in Breckenridge.  After a sushi dinner I wanted him to see the town at night.  My fiance goes to bed about 9:30 and gave us his blessing to go out and party.  We went to one bar and had a half pint of local brew then ended up at the Motherlode Tavern for a full band Karaoke night.

We ended up standing on a ramp to the backroom listening to the band.  We had an eagle eye view of the room where we were able to watch all the people on vacation doing shots of fireball whiskey. It was hilarious as we watched them getting ready to stand on the tables and dance.

We surveyed the room together.  I suggested he ask this one woman to dance who looked fun and was grooving to the music. She had tight jeans on and a black and white spider top that had silver glitter across the chest.

Even though my brother from another mother is very shy he still asked her to dance. Much to my chagrin she said no. Wow, how hard is it to be a guy these days?  I felt sad for him and somewhat responsible as I suggested he dance with her.   As she walked by I asked her why she did not dance with my brother. She barked a drunken answer at me but then stood by him and rubbed up against him not talking.

Strange.

I struck up  a conversation with a guy named Paul who was very shy. He surprised everyone when he got up and sang a kick ass version of Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones. I must say, he had the place rocking. It turns out he used to be a professional singer  He said he lived in Massachusetts and was a retiring tool and die maker. He is now training to be a ski instructor and wants to retire here.  I said DO IT.  “I live here and don’t ski, you love skiing and live for it,  you should live here instead of me.”

What is wrong with me?  I live here and don’t ski?

Today I tried to cross-country ski and loved it. I did fall down twice but laughed and enjoyed myself.  I also love that my thighs burn in such a good way.

I tend to be a winter hermit. Perhaps I need to reform my ways, now that the weather is hitting 40 degrees during the day.  Maybe I could try venturing out.

 

Coming down

Coming down the mountain for a spring vacation.

Rick and I came down the mountain for an “all-inclusive vacation”.  Since the Trump travel ban we have decided to avoid the airport chaos and just drive down the mountain to Boulder instead of flying to a beach area like Florida.  We have found our favourite hotel called the St Julien in Boulder.  We joke that it is our own “all-inclusive resort”.  Anyway, my good friend John flew down from Canada to visit.  We walked through Boulder on a Friday night trying to find a restaurant. We were told the wait time was about 2 hours without a reservation.  We walked up and down the Pearl Street Mall looking for live music.

The only restaurant with live music on their patio was a 1.5 hour wait.  We ended up at our hotel St. Julien  in Jill’s restaurant.  We had an amazing meal, and my fiance bought the butter dish from the hotel as it was very french.  My fiance has a love affair with butter dishes from all over the world, he tends to buy  one whenever we visit a new place.

We went into the lobby of our hotel and there was this great band playing called the “Pamlico sound”.  They had a horn section, saxophone player,  a female trumpet player, french horn, electric organ, guitarist, drummer and a gorgeous soul filled singer.  The hotel was turned upside down.  People were dancing everywhere; by the concierge desk and around luggage racks.  Groups of women and kids were dancing in the lounge while the kids played tambourines handed out by the band.  This five-star hotel was turned into a dance hall with everyone standing, everyone moving, everyone grooving. It was amazing.  I got to dance with my fiance and practice our Rumba. It was so amazing to move together in love, and feel the room disappear, only us smiling and moving together.

I asked the front man in the band, who is pictured above about the origins of the band name.  He told me about this series of lagoons and inlets in North Carolina.  One of them is called Pamlico sound.  He spent his summers there as a kid on the shore of the outer banks of this barrier island in North Carolina.  Across the water was a live band venue that had bands that played funk and the sound floated through his cottage window into his bed as a child. He said he was forever affected by the funk sound.  He told me “he was baptized in the sound of funk”.

You never know what you will get in life, but for us it was a perfect evening, great food, great music, and turn down service with an organic chocolate on our pillow.

What more could you ask from a day?

Cuba or Iceland?

 

Last night I went for a pint at Murphy’s Irish Pub.  They have a beautiful open fire on their deck that overlooks the mountains.   I went outside to look at the lights on the mountain and be close to the fire.  A real treat on a warm winter night.  Around the fire were a group of four women in their 20’s who were on vacation.  They were drinking “mind errasers” handed out free from the Kahlua girls that were dressed in pink and white snow pants, with Kahlua printed their hats.  I had a conversation with one of them.  They said their job is to go to happy hours and promote the new “mind eraser “drink.  I asked her what was in them she said Absolute Vodka, Kahlua and club soda, and it is ment to be sucked fast through the thick red and white straw.

I told her in Canada that this kind of promotion would not be allowed, also that we have no happy hour.  Her jaw dropped, she had a hard time believing me.  She asked if it was because of our health care?

Back to the fire the four young women were planning their next vacation while on their current vacation, here in Breckenridge.

Cuba or Iceland?  was the discussion of where to go to next.  One guy chimed in that Iceland is amazing and remote and really beautiful.

I said “go to Cuba!” They all stopped and looked at me.  You have been there?  I said “yes I am Canadian, I have been going there for 20 years.  I said go now before it is ruined by Americans taking over”.

It struck me as odd that young travelers are debating Cuba or Iceland.

What happened to getting into the back of a van with your dog and driving across your own country?

Breckenridge does attract all kinds of people, from average to over the top wealthy people who have “the aspen walk”.  The aspen walk describes well healed women and men in their 5,000 dollar furs and high heels that tiptoe delicately along the heated sidewalks.

The beauty of this town is that all walks of life are here.  Young people working and living in their car as there is no housing, ragged mountain characters who have been here for 40 years, europeans, and the nouveau rich from Texas.

Where else can you and have a pint across the street from your house, stand by an open fire, look out at the lights on the mountains, talk to travelers from all over the globe, and then trot off home across the street to your cozy bed.