Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Carstrophobia and people watching, a study in humanity

I've discovered a new fear.  I've coined it carstrophobia.  It's fear of being trapped in traffic in my car.  It is almost as anxiety provoking to me as my claustrophobia.  But first, answer me this.  Why the hell do people choose to drive every day in crazy Boston traffic?!

A few times a month, I drive to various Boston Hospitals for my job.  I typically leave my relatively traffic free suburb after 'rush' hour time (after 9 am) for the hour drive and leave wherever I am by 2 pm to get the hell out of the city before the evening traffic chaos.  Or so I thought...

Every time I've gone in, it has taken me nearly 2 hours.  It doesn't seem to matter what time, what route I choose, what day or the weather.  It's always something.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Today, it was the Red Sox game at 1:30.  I sat on the exit ramp from the Pike for 30 minutes to go the less than 1/4 mile to Memorial Drive at 10:30 am.  Don't even get me started on the poorly designed ramps and merges in the city...The hospital area traffic is always heavy, but typically moves.  Thankfully.

This was after the 'usual' slow downs for no apparent reason by the 128 off ramp from the Pike and various other places.  Why aren't these people at work already at 10 am?!

Once I finally got to MGH, I sat in the lobby for a while waiting for my colleague.  That place is crazy busy.  More like Penn station than a hospital lobby.  It was fascinating and entertaining to observe the cross section of humanity that passed by me.  People of every age, size, shape, color and heritage.  Healthy people, those who walked with assistive devices, artificial limbs, missing limbs, and wheelchair bound.  Brand new babies and those appearing near the end of life.  Those obviously suffering from illness or disease and likely there to fight for their lives.  Those going home happily and those coming to visit someone with anxiety and fear all over their faces.  I couldn't help but think that one never knows what the story is of the person you pass by or sit next to.  You never know when it will be YOU they are watching pass by.  It gives one pause to take an inventory of what they have and realize no matter how bad it may be, someone else has it worse than you.  A lesson in gratitude.

And then, I had to leave the city.  It took me nearly 45 minutes to get OUT of the city thanks to the same baseball game, because Storrow Drive was a standstill (at 2 pm).  I opted out as soon as I could and went through the city.  I don't know my way around the city by vehicle very well and my *bleeping* GPS kept trying to take me back to Storrow Drive.  I finally found my way back to Memorial Drive and the Pike, but it took freaking forever. 

When I was finally freely driving on the highway, I pondered the day.  The stress the traffic causes for people.  For me.  Why?  I have no control over it.  I'll get there when I get there.  I need to buffer more time and hope for the best.  The entertainment I had watching what other people did while they were stuck in traffic was an unexpected treat.  The gift of being able to soak up the sun and listen to my music a bit longer was appreciated.  The realization that it was out of my control and I might as well make the best of it.  There was surely a lesson in it for me.  

I did realize my greatest stress wasn't from the traffic itself.  It was my poor planning and that I'd be late.  I hate to be late!  But a phone call fixed that.  It was really the underlying fear that IF I needed to get out of the city in a hurry, if one of my kids needed me, if there was a disaster of some kind, that the city would be gridlocked and THAT is what bothers me.  I'd be stuck, against my will, with no where to go. It was a lack of control over the situation, the lack of an 'escape' route that provoked the fear of being trapped only instead of in an elevator or cave, it was in a vehicle.  

I'm not sure how to overcome my carstrophobia.  Avoiding the city would only help to a certain degree. It could happen anywhere.  I have the same anxiety in crowded places like theme parks and concerts.  I seem to always need an escape route.  I wonder why...

Or maybe, the lesson is not to overcome it, but to learn from it.  It's clearly a control issue.  It's fear based.  I try to choose love, not fear, acceptance, not fear.  Yet, it provokes anxiety I've yet to learn to manage.

Don't I have enough lessons to learn already?

How about you?  Do you have carstrophobia?  Any suggestions for coping with it?  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nurturing the soul. Or, today's ah-ha moment

I dare say far too many of us are guilty of it.  Especially as parents, moms or women in general.  We put our own needs on the back burner for the sake of others.  We allow life to become filled with work, chores, tending to our offspring and significant others and we neglect ourselves.  We think somehow, we are less important than others around us. We self-sacrifice to our own detriment.

We are wrong if we operate with that assumption.

The thing is, if we don't take care of our selves, mind, body and soul, we can't really effectively take care of anyone else.  Stress builds and will take it's toll, slowly eating away at our energy, our productivity and our vitality.

Figuring out how to balance this earthly existence with my spirit has been, shall we say, a challenge.  As is the way of the Universe, signs are everywhere, if we are willing and able to recognize them.  I shall illustrate this point by sharing my experience of yesterday with you.

If you know me, you know I'm 'busy'.  I work full time, thankfully at a relatively flexible yet unpredictable sort of job.  I have a sizable house to manage.  I have a teen and a 'tween boy to feed and parent.  They are attending summer camp with hours that are not exactly ideal for my working schedule.  I am planning a wedding and learning to ballroom dance (that's for ME!).  Those aforementioned boys both play premier soccer, and we just finished two weeks of every night of the week try outs.  The practice and game schedule is insane. Then there are countless appointments for the three of us to manage during our already over-scheduled and crazy busy days.  This past week, just to add to the chaos, I also taught a CPR class for my own re-certification.  When I can, I try to advance the mission of Meghan's Hope and Katie's Foundation for Child Safety so that no other child die the way my daughter did.  Oh, yes, I also parent an angel... I go non-stop.  I eat on the go and poorly at that.  I squeeze in exercise with little consistency.  I try to get a massage or body work monthly, but even scheduling that is stressful.  My spirit is neglected.   I am crazy busy.  Sometimes, I feel just plain crazy!

As a result, I do not tend to take time for myself.  I have realized that is not healthy.  Physically, emotionally or spiritually.  I forget to use my own gifts on myself or my family sometimes.

Yesterday was one of those 'ah-ha' moments.  I found out the Reiki-share that I try to attend monthly had moved to Monday evenings.  I wanted to attend.  It wasn't in my calendar.  I had a huge looming list of tasks to attend to yesterday evening, not the least of which was work that had not yet been finished for the day for work-work and a slew of things that are over-due on my personal to do list and really need to be accomplished.  I was torn on what to do.

As I drove around, I saw hearts.  In the sky, in pictures, in my mind's eye.  They have been abundant the past few days.  I know that is a spiritual sign for me.  The Universe was screaming at me! I've also seen rainbows and beauty in the sky day and night that called to me on a subtle, energetic level.  I received an email from a reporter in California who wanted to interview me later in the day for a story on furniture tip-over and safety (oh, hello Meghan!).  I came home from work, sat down at my computer and *knew* I had to go to Reiki Share. Just like that.  It was crystal clear.  Not a moment's hesitation at that point.  I was going.  I was so glad I did, for it was exactly what I needed.

Reiki share is a place where Reiki or other holistic/alternative medicine practitioners and like-minded students of spirit gather to nurture ourselves.  We do a brief meditation and offer each other brief treatment sessions.  It's called nurturing the nurturer and energy and light workers need that as much as those we offer it to!  Those who get message, share it.  Those who need healing, receive it.

Last night's focus was energy and sound healing.  I walked in and immediately knew I was exactly where I needed to be.  Though I only knew two of the attendees, energetically, I recognized at least one other from another time and place.  After meditation, some keen observers determined I needed to be the one on the Reiki table first.  It was such a gift!  If you've ever had energy work, you know that one set of hands on you can be such a gift.  To have 3-4 people working together, using their own gifts of energy healing was nothing short of amazing.  The love that surrounded me was palpable.  The space was sacred, safe and full of healing energy.  I don't know where I went, but it was just what I needed.  I received a note with message from the other side.  I received feedback that validated what I already knew to be true, but complete strangers in this life were able to energetically identify it easily.

We all took turns giving and receiving until everyone had their turn.  The love, light and vibration in that room had changed and was such an amazing thing to see and feel.

To close the evening, two of the guests played the didgeridoo, gongs and Tibetan bowls along with other instruments.  What an absolutely amazing experience.  Such a gift.  It took me a while to get grounded again. I had a wonderful conversation with the facilitator and left feeling more energetically balanced than I've been in a long time and with a renewed commitment to take better care of me.  Driving home, the rain had stopped, there was an absolutely gorgeous bright crescent moon and the stars shone brightly.  I was filled with peace and gratitude. I slept better than I have in a long time.

It's so easy to get lost in the everyday tasks.  To allow the lessons of this journey to be ignored or to stuff the 'work' that needs to be done to heal one's mind, body and soul under the rug because it's hard work.  I encourage you to take time for yourself today.  Even if it's 3 minutes of meditation or sitting quietly expressing gratitude for the gifts of this day.  Focus on the positive, learn from the negative.  Move forward.

I should have known how my day and evening would unfold when I posted this quote on Facebook yesterday, "God doesn't give you the people you want, he gives you the people you need.  To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you the person you were meant to be".  THAT in and of itself, was a *sign*.

Wayne Dyer says we are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Regardless of what you believe on a spiritual or religious plain, I encourage you to take the time to take care of you.  Eat well.  Exercise, even if it's just walking.  Laugh.  Have fun.  Nurture your soul and spirit.  Seek body and energy work if for no other reason than to give yourself the gift of being taken care of for an hour.  Give thanks for all that you have and do what you can for those who have not.  Let go of the past, of what no longer serves you and move forward.

I am grateful for this life, this day and for the lessons along the way.  If you are reading this, you are part of my journey and I am grateful for your place in my path.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Thanks for stopping by.  Grab a glass of wine and some chocolate and take a walk with me.  Or at least entertain me by reading my blog.  It is sure to entertain you, at least that is my hope.  I encourage you to read  it with an open mind and an open heart.  

I am a woman walking my chosen path of life.  It has been a long and winding journey thus far.  Certainly not at all what I expected or envisioned when I was younger.  There have been beautiful vistas, numerous rocky, muddy and miserable sections of the path, steep hills and a crevasse I thought I would never find my way across.  It has led me to and through love, loss, learning and eventually to a path of light and love.  There has been a long, cold, gray winter that I feared would last forever that has finally evolved into the new growth of spring.  The color has returned to my world.  The warmth and light has returned.  Love, light and laughter fill my days.    I seek truth, wisdom and peace.  I'm learning to have more fun!  Chocolate of course, is my drug of choice because as a working mom of two growing boys and an angel, I have a *wee* bit of stress.  I invite you to share my journey in the  hopes my experiences may help someone else along their path.  

My intent is to share my journey and my experiences in the name of personal and spiritual growth and learning.  It's called Love, Light, Laughter and Chocolate because in my 42 years on this planet, I've learned I need all of those things to live!  As simple as it sounds, it was a long, painful journey to discover that.

I've been itching to write again.  I've never blogged before and I've been in a, shall we say, experimental phase lately.  I've been journaling for years, albeit intermittently.  I've written a few articles for publication, mostly about birth, safety or spiritually related subjects.  I have presented at conferences on the same. I have several books in my head and even a few begun on paper, mostly of a spiritual nature and all incomplete.  I have no time to pursue any of it.  Life keeps getting in the way.  

So why this and why now you ask?  Excellent question!  Perhaps it's because I clearly don't have enough to do already!   It's clear that Facebook is not the vehicle that leans itself to what I need or want to write.  Because if I write, I don't have to deal with the pile of laundry on my bed.  At least not right now! Ah, joyous procrastination!  

In all seriousness, it's because it's simply time.  This is right.  This is what I need to do now.  It hit me last night like the proverbial ton of bricks.  Several friends have begun to blog and it has inspired me to join the party.  To be heard.  To have a place to get all these random musings out of my head and down somewhere where maybe, just maybe, someone will happen upon it, read it and find it to be exactly what they needed at this point in their own journey.  At a minimum, perhaps it will help me along in my journey.

Thus, I write for me, but also for you.

I do hope you will stop by now and again and let me know what you think of my musings.

May love, light and peace be with you today and always.