Transition to Rogers & Aqua Velvet Skies
Tonight I sit here and reflect upon on the transition back home, or I should probably just say Rogers, because I am not sure how I feel about the word home after living out of my Subaru for the past 30 days. I have definitely run the gamut of emotions and poignant psychoanalysis within myself with insightful observations as I entered the outskirts of Rogers, AR late Friday night. After finishing up a great summer teaching gig I had scheduled in Camden, AR I knew that the 6-hour drive back to Rogers would allow me some mental processing time to prepare for pulling up into my driveway. I truly experienced the full spectrum of emotions including my old friend, the monkey, as she fully tried her best to set me up for an unsuccessful landing. However, I used my gentle loving voice while driving by setting up my final approach into Rogers while still giving myself permission to feel a lot of raw emotions.
I prayed and stopped twice for some meditation that helped to set my intentions for not allowing any unnecessary feelings to sabotage my reentry and final landing approach back into daily reality. I can say with no reservations that the 30-day trek across the country greatly benefited me on multiple levels. So much as, I can visualize an entire book on this topic in the future. I acknowledge that I was born to put pen to paper and do this work for some type of greater good. My purpose and passion has been awoken from a deep sleep inside my heart and soul as when I write I feel the Holy Spirit and my Aunt Pauline with me. For me personally, figuring out this affirmation is what I was searching for within myself. I know without a doubt that I am a passionate amazing teacher and educator. I know that I have made the difference in thousands of lives over my 19-year career. Personally from my life experience I can affirm that being an educator is a very important calling and that not all people are meant to work with children. As I reflect upon my service to children and the public education system I realize on a deep level how teaching for me has included a personal sacrifice of giving myself away on many levels. After 19 years of teaching I have danced through all the emotions of an educator including great heartbreaks of loosing kids I could not reach, or at least not in time. The thrills of watching young people grow into successful independent adults who are now raising beautiful families. I adore the years of teaching kids about the importance of taking care of nature and how not to be afraid of water. I am particularly touched when I run into past students at Wal-Mart or receive random Face Book message after 15 years, when they look me up and thank me for caring about them. I remember one very special student that I had the honor to impact many years ago named Diana. Over the years I have watched Diana from afar with her loving husband build a devoted family with 4 gorgeous children. I was front and center with these 2 young people as they beat the odds of making it as a very young teen couple with 2 children before even graduating high school. I will never forget this impactful moment in my teaching career for both Diana and myself, as I clearly remember Diana who was pregnant with her second child during her senior year in high school. I recall watching her over a period of a couple weeks getting pulled into some major girl drama at our high school. I distinctly reminisce pulling Diana into a private area in the hallway where no one could over hear the ass chewing I unleashed on her one day. I can not call to mind the exact words that came out of my mouth, but knowing me it would have sounded something like this, “Diana what the hell are you doing getting involved in high school bullshit when you have so much capacity to make it and graduate this year.” Diana was pregnant with her second child and those are very hard odds for young people to overcome even with the best of family support. This special young lady had all the grit necessary to actually make it even with the high stake pressures of being a teen mom. There were so many deeply invested teachers at my school who saw the capacity in Diana, however I am not sure she believed much in herself. I remember this particular event in the hall with Diana almost 13 years ago like it happened yesterday. I needed Diana to hear these words loud and clear, so she could drown out the voices in her head that were pulling her into situations at school that would eventually sabotage her graduation. I told Diana a version of this story, which included a lot of very inappropriate language that probably could get an educator fired. Nevertheless, I felt that I could not let this young lady fail and she needed to know her true value and future impacts on the world. I knew Diana would do great things if she could just get past this brief shitty moment in time, which could have changed her entire future. I said, “Diana, I love you and 100% believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Stop this shit right now, pick up your head, and walk straight down the hall and get your ass to class like a proud pregnant woman who already has a child depending on you. You can make it out there in this big bad world and grow to be an amazing woman, mother, wife, and leader for other Hispanic women.” I know there was a lot of passion in that conversation in the hall between Diana and I, which included a lot crying, swearing, and hugs. I treasure these memories as an educator as I have had multiple conversations with young people over the years with the, “Come to Jesus Conversations.” So when I recount about how being an educator takes a lot out of you, I am not referring to the physical demands of standing all day teaching on your feet. I am referring to the mental and emotional strain that the type of teaching I do can drain the purpose and often drain passion the out of you. As I continue to dig deeply into my inner most thoughts and feelings on this subject I know that I have hit the nail on the head with refining the future. I will always be a teacher and continue share knowledge of well ironed out strategies that work for students. Nevertheless, I know that I have started the preparation stages for the next step into my new redefined self through writing. I am ready to commit myself to developing this new craft in my own special style and through a lens of my personal experiences. There is plenty of room in a world of 7.28 billion people for another writer who has a few stories worth telling and perhaps worth reading.
As I drove into Rogers late Friday night I suddenly felt faint relapse of the mental suck hole drain of early December 2016 when I knew that things had to change in my life or I was done. Speaking of change I have found over the years that mixing it up is a great thing for educators who spend years in the trenches, as the burn out can sneak up on you and catch you off guard. I experienced this type of reflective slap in the face back in March when I was teaching my 7th hour archery class at my high school and made a very off candor stupid comment to a young man who was in my class. I have no idea what in the hell was going through my mind and where this comment came from, but what I said was completely not my teaching style. For the first time in my teaching career I threw a kid under the bus in front of his peers. I felt like a complete jerk for days after the event and had to make a mends with this young man immediately. I recall sitting on the boardwalk on the Santa Monica Pier over spring break and wrote a long apology email to Noah for my lapse in judgment as a professional educator. When I returned to school the Monday after spring break I searched for Noah first thing in the morning, as I was very worried that my comment may have sent him into a depression spiral. Noah already had several suicide red flags and was at all times battling depression, as are so many young people these days. The most heartbreaking issue that bothered me was the fact that this young man really liked my PE class and we had a great rapport. One of my gold standards when teaching is creating wellness recreation units to reach all the kids who normally do not enjoy general PE classes. Unfortunately in many settings PE classes cater to rough aggressive ball orientated games, athletes, and do not even reach most of kids in the middle. For my entire career I never have taught a PE class that left kids out who are clumsy, girls who hate to sweat, obese nerds, pregnant girls, or struggling LBGTQ kids. On a side note who the hell is still playing competitive football, basketball, soccer, or dodge ball at my age?
The emotions that are surfacing during my return back off the road give me an excellent tool to evaluate my present situation. I am listening to my inner voice and allowing feelings to surface as I continue to ask myself these questions, “Deb what about this situation makes you uncomfortable? What do you need to do to just let those feelings go and move on? Why do you question yourself? Today is here and that is all you have. Deb, remain present in your path and be kind to yourself. If you don’t feel like doing something, then don’t. This is your life and all you have to do is be wholehearted with your intentions and let the rest go.” There are no coincidences in this life and I know everything happens for a purpose. It is up to me to continue to listen and remain open to the unknown with a gracious full and happy heart. As I write tonight the song from the movie Titanic is playing in my ear buds, which brings me to a moment of pause as the song, is appropriately, “My Heart Will Go On.” In James Cameron’s movie Titanic, this was the song that was playing when Kate Winslet let go of Leonardo DiCaprio’s hand as he slipped beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic. As I sit here tonight and write about these feelings I am thoroughly listening to the subconscious messages I am blessed to be gifted at this moment. I feel grateful that I was saved in December 2016 on that wooden door to be rescued by myself when I decided to pick myself off the floor and say, “Deb, just let go you can’t save this one.” My life has forever been changed by a series of events that were not predictable, just as the sinking of the Titanic completely caught so many people off guard. In 1912 when the Titanic sank she took the lives of 1517 souls to a watery grave forever lost in time. Yet many people survived this horrific event in history and had the opportunity to continue living of which many became famous during their lives. A few of the famous survivors from the Titanic were of course the, “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, The Countess of Rodes, Stoker Leader Barret, Harold Bride, Charles Lightoller, and Bruce Ismay. None of these names really matter in the big scheme of things, however I am inclined to write about this today because I feel as though I am a Titanic survivor in my own rite. Over the years I have read multiple stories of people involved in aviation accidents who burned in their seats with the emergency escape hatch only feet from their location. The only thing these passengers needed to do was unbuckle their seat belts and move towards an escape window. In spite of this, they allowed their fear during the situation to paralyze good judgment and common sense to just unbuckle their ass and save their own life. Over the years I have flown hundreds of times and one of the first things I do when I sit in my seat is find 2 escape hatches. There is no way I would sit in my seat and pass out with a smoke filled cabin when I could hold my breathe and crawl over, under, around and out and escape hatch for a chance to live. When I reflect upon my emotions today I know why I think like a survivor in many situations in my life. I believe my third career in this life has a calling much larger than I at this time have the capacity to understand today and perhaps tomorrow. My responsibility is to take the daily information being gifted to me, not ask too many questions, and lean into the discomfort of not knowing. Included in this responsibility of allowing myself to say, “Deb, why not?” and drop by Encampment, WY population 425 for an adventure sparked by an Instant Message invite to paddle the Platte river with an another adventurous spirited soul, all while I keep writing this blog.
Last night I looked up my favorite local band, Route 358 and found them to be playing at a lovely local venue and outdoor restaurant called, The Forge in Bentonville, AR. I have watched the incredible Mears family chase their dream and evolve into a legitimate real deal band with remarkable harmony, off the chart original songs, soul driven chemistry, humor, and passion to play for crowds of 10 or 100. One of the most endearing aspects with this little family band is that they are all educators, chasing their dreams on the side. However, it would not surprise me in the least if Derrick’s incredible song writing skills landed Route 358 an eventual full time livelihood in the music industry. Check out one of my favorite songs, “Watch it Burn,” by Route 358. This song has an unbelievable story behind the scenes. I was thrilled that my dear friend Janice could join me last night for some great music, wine, dancing, and excellent conversation. Janice forever provides me with immense insight and just enough information over the years assisting me to process the bigger lessons. Janice sent me this text this morning, as she knew I had recently read a book about Happiness and Joy by the Dalai Lama. Janice said in her text, “Deb this is pertinent to our conversation last night.” When the Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered, “Man.” Why? “Because,” said His Holiness, “he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never to die, and then dies having never really lived.” I snapped this picture last night as Janice and I watched a beautiful evening sky fill the table canopies above our head with the most unusual colors I have even seen. I mentioned to Janice, “Look the sky tonight it is the color of aqua velvet.
Janice is that even a color?” I know that information is being presented to me in just the perfect dose, so I can stay present in my daily actions and tenderly feel my way through the day. I have an intuition and fervent yearning to continue my traveling the US throughout the month of July. I am planning to head up into CO and WY next week in the search of some beautiful flat water to paddle, secret mountain streams, and continue to visit more of our national parks. Early in the year I purchased the National Park pass for $80.00, which admits my passage into all National Parks for free. I have already paid for the pass 3x this summer and I have numerous CO and WY National Parks highlighted on my atlas ready to explore.
I will spend the next week with my mom taking her to dearly loved Adult Wellness Center in Rogers where she attended water aerobics for at least 15 years. Unfortunately my mom has not been able to attend the Silver Slippers water aerobics classes since the recent move in March into her new assisted living residence. I am going to make this happen for her this week, as I know she will enjoy seeing a few old friends and might remember a few extra things along the way. Dementia is such a cruel disease as it steals the mind of your loved ones and all their memories. An additional observation that I have been processing over the last couple of weeks is that I am finally at 100% peace within my heart with the great decision my sister and I made to move our mother into a full time assisted living facility. This was just one more situation in my life that I had to completely let go of. I fully realize that living with my mother full time had eroded my relationship to a terribly unhealthy situation. I am not beating myself up for what is the past, however I now know I waited at least 1 year too long to take a firm stance on separating our households. Three years of living with my mother, my mothers 40 hour a week caretaker, and Susan’s injury all in the same house my mother murdered my father in was an unbelievably complex situation that deserves an entire novel on its own merits. Every now and then I joke with my friends that my life is a complete Lifetime Special Mini Series or at least an Opera “OWN” segment. Perhaps that is why I am compelled to write and share my story through a transparent lens of now living my life whole heartily with passion and purpose that will continue to be defined within me as the travel writer in me continues to call upon my soul.
I have immensely enjoyed hot showers, a nice bed, my beloved NWA Hot Yoga Studio, some excellent music from my favorite band Route 358, and many late night soft loving licks from my sweet Journey girl. However, I feel unsettled back here in Rogers and especially trying to live in the house with Susan. Her new lake forest home will not be ready till sometime at end of August. I know it is a healthy decision for me to pack up the Outback and continue my summer travels north for a few weeks before I head west again in late July for CA beach time including toasting my best friend Holly’s 48th birthday. I am honing my travel skills of living by the seat of my pants in the back of a Subaru and will travel much lighter during this next segment out on the road. I love my new Outback freestyler’s attitude of traveling with no expectations, agendas, no schedule, cheap as hell, and writing about unknown surprises and experiences that pop up along the way.
On a side note, I finished this incredible book, which was very insightful for me. A dear friend gifted this book to me, as I believe she knew it would speak directly to me about walking my own personal journey. The book is called, “A Return to Love,” by Marianne Williamson. As Barbara Streisand says in her beautiful song, “Lessons to Be Learned, They say there is a universal plan for every woman for everyman. I do believe there is a higher power, but in our darkest hour it’s hard to understand. So we start to question, start to doubt, we loose faith in what life is all about, why did the right road take the wrong turn, why did our heart break, why did we get burned, just like the seasons there are reasons for the path we take, there are no mistakes just lessons to be learned.” Barbara wrote this song just for me as I walk my own path to find a happy, peaceful life filled with adventures, and joy, while allowing myself to be vulnerable along the way. Tonight I truly appreciated my quiet reflection time in lovely bubble bath with Barbara, and a glass of Vino in my favorite Riddell glass.
May the Journey Begin Within You