Had another delightfully whirlwind weekend that began with a thai massage offered by a new friend Neil from Chicago who was visiting Philadelphia. Two hours and change after I rose from the mat, I felt reconstructed, like pieces had moved back into place, as I have experienced following a chiro adjustment. Since he was newbie to the city, I took him to one of my favorite places on the planet…where “all the hippies meet”…South Street. We ambled down the blocks, had Middle Eastern lunch at South Street Souvlaki and decadent Haagen Dazs treats afterward and then into Garland of Letters; an icon in the metaphysical/transformational community since the 1970’s.
The second leg of the trip saw me heading 100 plus miles south down 95 to Columbia, MD (a suburb of Baltimore) to speak at the On Purpose Woman Conference organized by the dyamo known as Ginny Robertson. The night before, I stayed with my friend Nancy who greeted me with hugs, delcious dinner and a soak in her under the stars hot tub that eased me into peaceful sleep.
My workshop was called Abundant Self Love. Because we teach what we need to learn, it was the perfect topic for this recovering co-dependent caregiver chameleon who has the ability to fit in, change color, adapt to her surroundings in a heartbeat. Some of that is functional and part of what enables me to succeed in many areas of my life and some totally dysfunctional and not much fun at all. I was excited at the prospect of meeting new networking buddies and immerse in the energy of powerful women, many who are heart centered, conscious entrepreneuers who are doing what I would like to do. My favorite was the keynote presenter Spiritual Life Coach Maq Ele’ who refers to her biz as G-String Living. Just like the title of my business By Divine Design, hers was divinely inspired. Gracefully Standing True Receiving InNer Guidance. The title raises eyebrows and interest. This funny, dynamic and come from the heart speaker called her talk Put Your Big Girl Panties On. She encouraged us to live fully and purposefully. What I admired most of all was that this statuesque 5’11” woman dared to wear silver sparkly heels that elevated her to a striking 6’4″….and she bought them on sale! Does it get much better than that? Although I wouldn’t wear them myself (the closer I am to the ground, the better I feel) and I wore flats yesterday, I saw in this woman who was at least 20 years my junior, daring to do what my mother adivised throughout my life and “walking in like she owned the joint.” Would that I always be able to carry myself that boldly!
I had the joy of connecting with many kind hearts and as I was planning my drive back north, I was asked by a young woman if I would take her to a bus station en route. I was glad to do so and even more so, when a conversation arose that had me shaking my head in wonder at her wisdom. She told me that she believed that giving birth to a child which is something she and her husband would like to do, is more than just bringing a child into the world. It is about giving birth to an adult that this baby will someday become. As parents we are responsible to offering the best of who we are, so they can be their best. As the parent of a 25 year old (and I’m guessing that my passenger isn’t much older than that), I can tell you that we do what we can, plant the seeds and then surrender. There is the illusion of control with no gurantee of outcome. I am also giving birth to myself each day.
Within two hours of dropping her off at her interim destination, I walked in, rather breathlessly to my 35th high school reunion, (Willingboro High School, class of 1977) that I had planned on attending for the past few months and trepiditiously anticipating (such a juxtaposition, huh?) for years before that. I knew I needed to go and face my gremlins. You see, the woman who now wears an air of confidence, used to wear that ‘coat of many colors, stripes and chameleon skin’ described a few paragraphs above. She was frequently second guessing herself. She both admired and resented the ease with which it appeared that many of her class mates navigated through their lives, little realizing that perhaps they too were competent actors on the stage of life. As I entered the catering hall with twinkling lights glowing on the ceiling floor and faces of eternally youthful old friends, I felt a sense of relief, as if I had slipped off that coat and could just be for a few hours. Squeals of recognition and joyous pointing of fingers….”It’s you!” Name tags really helped when when I wasn’t quite sure who folks were and after awhile, in the midst of hugs, they fell off. What was funny was that so many of the women looked the same and so many of the men didn’t. Some of the women had more hair and some of the men had decidely less and in some cases; none. Laugh lines, grey hair, bald heads, reading glasses… What’s really sobering is that many of us have kids older than we were back then. Laughter, hugs, sharing of stories, passing around our yearbooks with ‘remember when’ pictures, dancing to 70’s music. I found myself enjoying hearing tales about life in the interim. It seemed like the years just melted away and all that was left was shared history and connection. I wondered how many of them did the internal inquiry I did then and I do now. I imagine that aging, illness, loss, divorce, death and other major life changes, give rise to deeper exploration for everyone in the room. I feel like I have finally made peace with the awkward teenager who felt like she never quite fit in. I felt welcomed home.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YXPJOUD7G0 Thank You by Sly and The Family Stone