Category Archives: Late Night Musings

The Sunday Night Blues

Sunday BluesIts that time again. The seemingly infinite freedom of the weekend is slowly giving way to the creeping reality that the week has returned. All that remains is to sleep, wake, and then churn through the endless days of the week once again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do during the week. I love school. I love working with some of the greatest chefs and instructors the culinary field has to offer. I love the sizzle of the pan and the beauty and artistry of a well-designed platter. I love the sheer focus that attending class requires and invokes. In short, my weeks aren’t so bad.

But I love the weekends. Partly because recently, I have learned to adapt to a schedule that is subject to change at any moment, and the weekends represent freedom of schedule. We can go anywhere we want, do anything we want, without any obligation to anyone or anything but our own whims. These are also the times that I get to really spend with mrs. muse, the times we get to connect, talk about our week, and enjoy one another at play. During our weekends, we get to rewind the clock a little, become teenagers all over again. Whether its hitting the beach, the clubs, or an art gallery, the weekends seem to hold endless entertainment.

And then there is Sunday night. To blatantly steal a line from Douglas Adams, Sunday nights feel like “The long, dark teatime of the soul.”

And yes, we had a great weekend. And I am looking forward to the week ahead. But, more importantly, I am looking forward to next weekend. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I know the mrs. muse is going to be there, and that’s plenty enough reason.

Sunday night grumpiness invades the home right about 9pm. The jaws of sleep are rapidly closing, and we fight against it. I attempt to do a bit of frantic creative writing, and mrs. muse rushes to create a piece of art, longingly holding on to the last bit of the weekend.

Sigh… So, my question to you is… Do you feel yourself sometimes hit by the Sunday Night Blues? And if you do… What do you personally do to deal with them?

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On the Passing of Time

Sometimes there are brief moments of clarity that hit you in such a way as to indelibly and indescribably transform your way of thinking. The moments of lucidity, epiphany, or whatever you wish to call them can impact you in such a way as to be indescribable. I’ve had one of those moments recently, and I am going to try to describe it. My words may falter and not convey the actual shift in my mind, but I will at least make an effort.

Time has a way of slipping from you. We all try, to some degree or another, slow down and savor important experiences. Of course, practicality suggests that we all know what really happens. Our day-to-day lives sometimes just don’t let that come to pass. There’s work, or school, or a bazillion obligations that keep us running from place to place, pausing maybe to shove some fast food in our faces and catch a few hours of sleep before waking and doing it all over again.

For the past six years, I’ve had a few of moments of clarity.  I’ve attempted to record them somehow, in my own private writings, sketches, or sometimes a poem. But I am finding lately that these moments of clarity are becoming fewer and far between, but also more profound at least, from my reckoning.

For six years, I’ve traveled and navigated through life with my wife. Three years of getting to know one another, and three years as married. (And yes, we are still getting to know one another.) We met in our mid-twenties and both come from very different backgrounds. And through her eyes, I have been able to see the world from a different perspective. We often joke about being Yin and Yang, although we can’t figure out who is which, but slowly I am beginning to see that there are other perspectives than mine, that are just as valid, important, and insightful as my own.

For about a year now, I have been constantly on the go with school, and being a culinary student is extremely demanding, physically, mentally, and with time. I spend at least 40 hours a week at school and when I am not at school I am generally studying or doing some homework. We’ve had little time, really, to slow down and savor the important moments in life, and it was this thought that had been constantly in the back of my mind for awhile now. But this is true for most couples. There are periods in life where the sacrifices in time that you make, which will be worth it later on, simply keep you running on the hamster wheel, without much time for really connecting. Our schedules are so incredibly different, that it makes the time we do spend together very precious.

So I sat down, wishing to write a journal entry about “Time,” my perspective of it, and contemplating how to go about conveying my idea of the concept. I wanted to write some little tidbit of information, my own little “Taoism  thought of the Day” on the meaning of time, slowing down, and taking time to savor life.

We were in mrs. muse’s artist’s loft about a week or so ago, lounging on her plush couch, watching a little television. There was some mindless blather on the boob-tube, but that was okay. We had both had rough days at our respective places of activity and needed a little time to unwind. I was formulating how to go about writing the journal entry on “The importance of slowing down,” tossing the ideas over in my head, allowing specific ideas to bang against one another. After all, I’ve been moving at such a rapid pace this last year, the idea of slowing down seemed rather appealing to me, and sounded like a great post to share with the readers of surrealmuse.com I looked up at my wife, the words of an opening sentence for the entry ready to leave my lips when suddenly, out of the blue, I had one of those moments of clarity. I thought that I had a well formed line of thought in my mind for the post, but it just dropped out of my thoughts. The gears. The machinery of thought veered off in a completely different direction.

It was evening, the lights were low, the half-moon visible through the window. The volume of the television was low, and the light from the screen played across her face as she sat, a sleepy, contented smile on her lips and her dreamy, half-closed eyes watching the program. And an odd thought struck me. That somehow all those years, six years, had caught up with us. I found myself looking at my wife and realizing that somehow, she had grown and aged into something wonderful right under my nose, regardless of how busy we have been. And now, here we are. Still young, but undeniably growing older. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

Six years isn’t really that long. And thirty really isn’t that old. But I was awe struck to realize that we have both, over the six years, aged a little, and for the better. Of course, like anyone who has ever lived, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve weathered the uncertainties that life has thrown at us, sometimes coping better than others. Don’t get me wrong here, I have absolutely no complaints. Hardship, struggle, and the like are just things that all of us have to deal with at one point or another.

But in that moment, that absolute clear moment, I realized that every day of life is a gift. We, just like everyone else, are growing older each day. I used to look at time, and think of it as a resource that was constantly running out, and that the clock was ticking, and that there was only so much time we had to accomplish things. And in that brief, powerful moment, I felt the value of time. I felt the importance of slowing down, to appreciate what blessings are in our life. Each day is a gift, and I no longer feel the clock ticking down. Instead, I am feeling the essence of living for the moment, and attempting to make each second that ticks by a sweet memory. Time isn’t running out, really. Time is simply there for us to remember how wonderful each moment can and should be.

I thought about telling my wife this, but there really is no way to say “Hey, we’re getting older,” without getting smacked upside the head or offending a beautiful woman, without any pretext or long-winded preamble, such as I have done here. Your fault, dear reader. But I now think I am just beginning to understand that yes, we are getting older. And I know that every day we age is an opportunity to make ourselves better, and to appreciate each moment for what its worth. I am someone that never expected to live to see 25, let alone 30. And I am excited at what the next 10 years may bring, and what memories that are waiting for us to create.

Later that week, I was lying in bed, waiting for Natalie to finish her nightly bed-time ritual of getting her clothes ready for the next day. She passed by the mirror, and mussed with her hair. She peered long and carefully, studying her face.

“I’m getting old,” she announced. She didn’t look too pleased, pushing her face closer to the mirror.

She said it in a way in which I should have just pretended to be asleep, but this announcement, considering the thoughts that have been bubbling away in my mind, brought about this unseen connection that echoed my own sentiments, albeit with a very different tone. Yup. We’re both getting older. And that’s perfectly okay.

“I know,” I said. Of course, this earned me a dirty look, but I couldn’t help but smile.

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Looking into the mirror without running away in terror

It was 5:30 this morning. As a culinary student, I am used to getting up early now, each and every day. My tasks are to shower, shave, brush my teeth, throw on my chef uniform, kiss the sleeping mrs. muse goodbye, grab my knife kit and head out the door as fast as possible.

Sounds like a relatively normal morning for most people, I guess, with the exception of the knife kit and the big floppy hat. Its a routine that, at some point, we all experience. But I went and have done something absolutely nutty. I added a little step to the routine. Before showering, I now step on the (drumroll please) scale. *Gulp.*

About a year ago, I was trying to find purpose and direction with what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve been lucky enough to have some interesting careers, but I had somehow found myself in cubicle hell. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately, in the big picture) my evil cubicle farm decided to downsize. Long story short:

They downsized, I upsized. As my self esteem diminished, my weight went up. I put on enough weight that I could have played Buddha in a California Multi Cultural Holiday Season (But not Christmas) pageant. After some soul searching, I found myself in culinary school. Probably not the best place for a guy with a little weight problem. However, I found myself performing well, and suddenly I found myself doing so well in school that I was developing a new self esteem. And when that happened, I found myself finally able to look in the mirror, and realize that I had a problem to solve. I decided to use my newfound food knowledge, regarding everything from calories to portioning, to help me lose weight. I was probably about 236 at my heaviest. And just from changing my diet, I brought it back down to 200, just from sheer diet alone. It took me about six months to drop this much, and just one week ago, I weighed 200.

I then brought out my weights, started using my treadmill, and am struggling to do situps in the morning and evening.

Today, the scale read 192.

Okay, so yeah, I am getting into shape, physically. I have more energy, I am stronger, and I feel that I am making positive changes for my life and for my own self esteem. This is actually less than what I weighed when I met the lovely mrs. muse.

So, what is this post about? Looking for a pat on the back about losing the weight. No. Not really. Er, well, maybe just a little. (Hooray me!)

But as your situation improves, and you start putting positive values in place, you may start to recognize things about yourself that could use a little maintenance or changing. Its part of growing up, I think. Looking into the mirror and seeing the obvious Buddha belly was one thing… But what about the stuff that you can’t see?
Buddha
As my self worth, self esteem, and self value increases, I find that I am able to look at myself more critically without feeling my pride has been injured or hurt. I am able to look at my shortcomings, not only in relation to my body, but in relation to my mind and my behaviors. Suddenly, I am recognizing behaviors that I don’t find desirable, and that I want to change. Of course, some of them are not earth shattering, and yet others are a really big challenge for me. Without going in to detail too much, its simple enough to say that we all, whether grown ups or adolescents, get comfortable with routines or desires that can be injurious to ourselves or others.But, just like you can lose the weight, you can change the behavior. The key, I think, is having the right knowledge and the right tools. For me, losing the weight was a matter of taking what I was learning about nutrition in the classroom and applying it to my everyday eating habits.

So how do you change behaviors? How do you even know if you have a behavior that needs changing? Again, it comes down to having the right tools and the right knowledge.

And sometimes the right knowledge and tools come from odd sources. Right now, journaling is suddenly becoming a very important part of my life. Its allowing me to see things from a different perspective. Writing something down, and then re-reading it even as soon as the next day can have an impact far beyond what I had imagined. I find myself already killing little bad habits, and slowly modifying the big nasty ones.

For some, the answer may be a therapist, a good friend to talk to, or a spiritual organization such as church or a spiritual group of some sort. You do, of course, have to be very careful in choosing your resources.

But throughout all of the changes I am going through, which I feel are positive, I am finding that the only way to truly deal with something is to be honest with yourself, and know that change is possible, and that if you truly want to change you have to get out there and do the work that makes it possible. You have to do your research, educate yourself about your situation, and then make things happen. No one else can do it for you. Its your body, and its your mind. Its your responsibility to make them both into what you want them to be.

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Love in the Prozac Generation

A surrealmuse.com supplemental by techmuse, the adoring husband of themuse.

Sigh. Its late. About 1:30 am. Valentine’s day is, I suppose, officially over in our time zone.

So its over. The day to express to your loved one how you feel. And right now I am looking for divine inspiration to help me in this post.

I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day. With a passion. I’ve never had one turn out well. There was always something wrong with them. The earliest Valentine’s Day that come to memory was me, in third grade.

The most popular girl in the class was Sandy. She was sweet, nice, and always wore a pin with a smiley face on it, and didn’t mind playing Transformers with us boys. Valentine’s day suddenly came into my awareness that year as something a boy is supposed to something to prove his adoration to the object of his affection. Namely, the girl scout named Sandy.

My family was at the grocery store for a grand old shopping outing. We spent some time in the jungle of produce and made our way past the gigantic Coca Cola displays and suddenly, there is was. An enormous, shining, red, pink and balloon-adorned display of Valentine’s Day Chocolates. Mom and Dad let me choose one, and I couldn’t wait to give it to Sandy the next day. I was absolutely sure that chocolates would make her like me more than anyone else. I don’t know if I had any idea why this was important or not, but it seemed important at the time, to me. It was the first time I actively had a crush. And it had hit hard. I mean, after all, Its not everyday you find a girl who can transform Optimus Prime from truck mode to full on robot mode with laser cannon in under 3 seconds.

Of course, as an activity, we made hearts out of construction paper and glue. When recess came, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I took my bookbag out to the playground and, after about 20 minutes of working up the courage, presented Sandy with the chocolates.

On her face was a look of sheer and outright terror. And then, the tears. Ah, nothing like the high pitched squeal of a third grader to ruin a romantic moment. And then, the horrible, terrible, laughter from all of the other kids.

Sandy threw the heart on the ground and stepped on it once, and then the teachers came over to see what was wrong… They thought it all very cute.

I was mortified. And, for the rest of the school year, Sandy wouldn’t play with me. Heck, she wouldn’t even look at me. I guess, for a third grader, she had the appropriate action. She was confused, scared, and a little intimidated. Laughing children throwing pine cones and singing “Brian and Sandy, sitting in a tree…” could be a little traumatic to both parties.

But that was my first Valentine’s day, and ever since, they have been pretty much the same. Sure, they didn’t all involve pine cones, and the grades changed, and I got older and more awkward for a bit, but every Valentine’s day pretty much ended up in rejection. Or had some trauma associated with it. Minor. I hope this is being read with a good sense of humor.

But that all changed when I met the primary author of this site. Ever since then, Valentine’s Day celebrations have had meaning They have been deep. We’ve been together through quite a bit these last few years, especially this last year.

I am in school, full time with easily 30 hours of homework a week, she is working nearly sixty to seventy hours a week. And the moments we have together come few and far between these days. quite honestly, we are lucky to get one good full hour together each day.

She takes care of me, and I take care of her, the best that we can in the limited time we have together. We talk, but conversations generally lose steam as the clock wears on, and 5:30am comes awful early for someone who is a incurable night owl.

Sure, we are making investments in our future. We understand the sacrifices we are making now will help us in the long run. Sure, we know that, well, sometimes life can get rough. But we deal. And due to our schedules, which are on opposite shifts, we find ourselves sometimes spending 10 minutes together before one of us goes to sleep.

Sure, we do what alot of couples do. We changed the date of our Valentine’s Day celebration so we could have all day together on Saturday. We had a great meal together, she bought me some gifts, and I am getting her a necklace. I say “getting” because themuse is very particular, and we will probably be shopping until tax day for it.

But this year, I want to give more to my wife. I want to do more of the things that matter. I want to spend more time with her. I want to stop opting for an evening spent sulking on the Internet because we are both “just too tired” to do anything else. I want us to reconnect on that deeper, spiritual level that lack of time can sometimes erode. And I want to make clear, specific goals of these things. She and I have been talking about this, and how to achieve it, and how to spend more time together with our hectic lives… But actions speak louder than words. So darling, here are some gifts I want you to have…

  1. Once a week, I’d like us to go to Borders, or a bookstore together, even if we meet after work.
  2. St Pete Art Walk. When they come up, you tell me. I will make time.
  3. At least once a month, I’d like us to go to the beach. Maybe more often. I know, I know. Yeah, I can be weird about the beach. Well, time I got over it.
  4. Eight Minutes in the morning. Yes, I know,but its time to do it. (And for those of you who have filthy minds, shame on you. This is an exercise routine.)
  5. When you need a date night, you tell me, and it will happen. You name the place and time, and I will be there for you.
  6. Every night, we have tea *together.* We have tea, but its often in our separate offices. I miss tea time with you. And its a good chance to shoot the breeze.

Okay, so those things may seem small. But they are gifts I can give you, all throughout the year. And maybe by then, they will be habits… And we can think of new things to add to the list. And every year, we will keep our list, and add on to it. And every year, we will look back, and laugh at these silly little love letters.

So, how are we going to make sure these things get done? Well darling, take a look at your desk. There’s a calendar for this month. This is our Togetherness Calendar. Its a tool we can use. And we can use it every month. And if you like, go check my office. There’s one tacked up to the cork board in there.

This little token of my love is to show you how much I value our time together. I know there will be times that allow more or less minutes of the day together. But we’re still waiting to get you a necklace until you find the perfect one, and I can’t exactly give you chocolates due to your blood sugar..So look at this as my little box of chocolates. I can’t give you a real one, but I can give you my heart. You’ve always had it, its always been yours, and I want to show you how much I love you every day, by sharing even a small part of every day with you, and by making time for us to connect.

I love you, spooky, my Gemini, my lovely, lovely wife. Thank you for being the most amazing thing to have ever happened to me. I have no idea how you do what you do, and how you manage to make the world around you seem more beautiful. Your smile still makes me melt.

Anyway, I am pretty sure by now, there’s alot of people relatively close to losing their lunches, so I will stop for now.

So since I can’t give you a heart of chocolates, here is my real one. I love you hon, can’t wait to spend more time with you.

-me

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The "M" Word

Over the years, I have learned that it doesn’t matter how much you make, how much you know, or what kind of household you grow up in, ultimately, how you approach and handle money comes from within. I have seen couples making tons of money, and yet they live paycheck to paycheck. I have seen accountants who didn’t even know how to manage their own finances, and I have seen individuals that grew up in the same household approach money in completely different ways.

While statistically, we may not be as bad off as the lending tree guy, the commercial where the guy has the perma-grin, and a beautiful house, family, car, swimming pool, riding lawnmower, and we wonder how did he do it all? His secret? “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs…I can barely pay my finance charges…Someone help me.”

When it comes to money, one of the basic rules is that you can’t have it all. Even if you do win the lottery, you still need to develop a budget and spend accordingly or eventually you’ll run out of money. However, not everyone knows where to starts when it comes to money management so here are some resources to help you take charge of your money and as always if you have any questions just drop me a note:

HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT
free online seminar and workbook provided by MotleyFool.com

CREATE A PERSONAL BUDGET
provides both online and offline worksheets

QUICKEN
money management software

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Destiny

As I write this a myriad of thoughts are crossing my mind.  To start off with, my ten year high school reunion is this upcoming labor day.  While I am not going, the whole anniversary date has got me pondering, am I where I imagined I would be ten years since graduation?

And honestly, my life has become more than I ever imagined it could be.  I am married to one of the most amazing husbands.  We have a beautiful house and two of the most comical cats.

Besides that, I have developed my artwork to a level that I thought I would never achieve.   Even though, we are both facing being laid off within the next 90 days, we live a very blessed life. 

A couple entries ago, I simply posted one my beliefs that everything happens for a reason.  It was the same night that we found out that my husband was also going to be laid off.  At the time, I didn’t want to go into the details, but I wanted to remind myself of the power behind this statement. 

In all of my life experiences, each one has taught me a lesson or help facilitate the connection to the next step in life.  With my husband, there are a couple interesting connections, connections that make you wonder if we were destined to meet each other one way or another.

But ultimately, destiny aside, we all play a role in shaping our future.  So I wonder where all these recent changes where land us.

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Embracing Different Rhythms of Life

Isn’t it amazing how much of ourselves we put into people, places, and situations, and then, when we remove ourselves, we find it was only ourselves there and not the others.

~ Pearl A. Burrows

I went back to tealeaves again tonight to see what it might say, and the funny thing is that the message above, does really hit home. However, the sad part is that it applies more to the people in my life than me personally.

While I know I am far from perfect, I do actively try to improve upon my own words and actions. The frustration part is that I have a hard time knowing how to accept and deal with those around me that don’t try to do the same.

Even though we are always the center of our own universe, we sometimes need to be reminded that we are not the center of everyone else’s. You can’t expect the rest of the world to walk to your rhythm. Walk to your own rhythm.

It doesn’t matter if it is a relative, a friend, or just a short term acquaintance, it is a fact of life that I will meet and have to deal on a daily basis with people, who have certain thoughts set in their mind, and it doesn’t matter what you say, nothing can change their perception.

I guess I should learn how to accept this way of thinking, but it’s hard. I want to shake these people and say wake up. I want to somehow knock some sense into their minds. But it doesn’t matter what I say or do. Until that individual is willing open their eyes to a new way of thinking, a new way of life, I just have to somehow manage.

In a lot of ways, both my husband and I are a lot of like in our way of thinking. And today as we were driving around, we had a conversation concerning this exact topic. To give you some background information, we live in a subdivision off a main highway that is under major construction, and even if I am in a hurry, I try to drive with caution. However, there are quite a few drivers that don’t seem to think that traffic reduced to two lanes with construction deserves any caution. That is, I just saw someone this morning cross the double lines to go around someone trying to turn, and the scary part is that the person was driving straight into incoming traffic when they tried to go around the construction vehicle. Not exactly, what I would call smart concerning it only took five seconds for the driver to turn. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky at the lovely age of twenty-seven. But to point out exactly how dangerous this stretch of road is right now, we saw a nasty accident this afternoon. It involved a couple cars, and it was not a pretty sight. As my husband said, if we would all just wake up and realize that we’re not the only ones on the road, if we would only watch out for each other, we wouldn’t have such accidents, and I think that thought can apply to all of life. If we would only wake up and realize that our way of life isn’t the one and only true path, if we would realize that there are different paths, different ways of thought, life might be easier. Life might flow. Life might not be such a struggle.

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Are you truly happy?

An idea, a thought has been brewing underneath the surface for a couple of days now. Maybe I’m just different from everybody else. But I don’t think it is unusual for a couple in their late twenties to buy a house, even a decent house, considering they don’t have children and they both work.

To me the world is what you make of it. You are the sole controller of your destiny. Your attitude, your decisions. All reflect in the events of your life.

When it comes to money, it’s not about how much you make. It’s how you use it. My husband and I make regular salaries like everyone else, but thru watching every penny, we have been able to afford to purchase our dream home. Should I feel bad that my fellow co-workers live in tiny houses? No, because I know where their money goes. It goes to the local bar among other discretionary expenses.

Please don’t get me wrong; while their lifestyle is not for me, I do respect their right to make their own choices in life, their own priorities. It’s only fair that I deserve the same respect.

I also don’t believe in blaming your circumstances on the government. I come from a family of hard working individuals. My great-grandfather came to the states, learned how to speak English, worked his way through the depression, had a couple of businesses, and owned two homes. It didn’t come on a silver platter. It came from hard work.

While I had the support of friends and family, much of my success in life has come from within. It came from an inner drive to work hard just as my ancestors did.

The thing that upsets me is that lately I seem to feel that some of my friends and family judge me in ways that I feel are completely invalid. I get the feeling that some think my husband and I are completely selfish to devote a year to working our asses off in order to buy a home. I also get the feeling that some people just don’t like it when you’re happy as weird as it might sound.

I’m sorry, I don’t care who you are. Whether you are Brittney Spears or some Joe Blow, all of us have had shitty days. All of us have had those days when you have felt on top of the world. It’s just part of life’s cyclical motion.

And it doesn’t matter how much money you make, whether you can afford a great home or an average home, the real question is, are you truly happy?

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The Traveling Hour

Back in the days when I did consulting work, I use to fly on a weekly basis to our client sites, and as any traveler knows, flying can take up half of your day. But I really never minded. I always look forward to the traveling hour, the moment when I was held “hostage” on the airplane. There were no cell phones or computers with internet access or cable tv to distract me. All I had during the traveling hour was my journal, a book, and a pen.

Sometimes I would use the traveling hour to read, to expand my mind. Very rarely did I read novels. No, normally I turned to magazines or non-fiction. And often after a bit of reading, I would feel inspired to write in my journal.

After my days of consulting work ended, there would be times when I missed the traveling hour. While, yes, I could read a book or write in my journal, it takes discipline to ignore the distractions in my home.

And of course, as I am writing this, it is the traveling hour. I am stuck on a two hour flight that there is no escape from my thoughts. And what thoughts are passing through my mind?

Well, I am reflecting upon my recent trip back home. It was a nice little getaway. Nothing bets being back in your hometown. Even though there are obvious signs of change, I felt right at home.

Part of me misses the life I had back home. I had become the big fish in the little pond. I had so many good friends. I was involved with the art community at many levels. But yet, I felt called to leave, to venture out into the world. In my adventures, I met my husband.

It’s strange. I don’t know if fate plays a role in my life, but I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else. When I feel lost in the world, he is my strength. And when he battles life’s questions, I am there for him. I realize what we share is special and sometimes rare.

I truly feel blessed that I am not alone when faced with life challenges. But even outside of our relationship, we have a wonderful circle of family and friends that support us. Even though sometimes I do get lonely and miss some of those circles I left behind, I feel as though I am heading in the right direction. I know I am creating my own little hometown with my husband in Florida.

See, the traveling hour is about listening to yourself. When we are able for one moment to shut out all the noise that the world spews out at us, we are able to pay attention to the life that surrounds us. While it is easy to get caught up in the day to day activities, we also need moments to look at the big picture of our lives. Call it the traveling hour, meditation, solitude, prayer, whatever your little heart desires, either way it plays a vital role in our lives. When we have a moment, whether it is spent stuck on an airplane or locked in our bathroom, we start to see the subtle messages that guide us. Maybe those messages will tell you that you are right on track. Or maybe they will pull you down an exciting and new path. When we give a voice to the little callings that hide in the depths of our minds, exciting changes can occur in our lives. Things that you never thought possible might occur. And sometimes all it takes is the willingness to be open to what life has in store for us . . .

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What are your dreams made of?

When I was growing up, I use to change my mind every two seconds on what I wanted to be when I was all grown up. One day I wanted to be an interior decorator. The next day I wanted to be the architect that designed the buildings. Neither of which I ever seriously studied. While I have talent to pursuit a career in art, I never wanted to turn my art into something that had to be produced on demand. When it came to actual career choices, I became rather serious, and chose professions that were guaranteed to bring home a pay check so I turned to numbers and landed a job in accounting. My career choice in accounting has always been rather fulfilling and challenging. However, as the years go by, I have been recognizing that our career choices are not the only choices we make concerning our role in society.

While I am an accountant by day, I could be an exotic dancer by night even though I am not. Since I moved to Florida three years ago, I have been re-establishing my roles. Yes, I know it has been three years, and I should be completely established, but take a long time to re-establish myself when I make a major move. So with that aside, I still have dreams out there waiting to be experienced.

One of the dreams I ponder is a coffee house art group. The idea is inspired by one of my girlfriends back in Kansas. She titled the group, “The Artist Support Group”, it was a place you could come to once a month and share your triumphs and struggles as an artist. The group was open to artists of all shapes and sizes. It didn’t matter whether you were a poet, a painter, a musician, either way, it was all the same. You were a creator of beauty, of pain, of life. We would meet once a month, and every month, I would leave the gathering inspired to create. It was food for the artistic soul. Since it was such a positive experience, I have considered bring the concept to a local coffee house, but of course, I am hesitant. What if . . . ?

One of my dreams concerns connecting with other artists. The other dream concerns my spiritual side.

The spiritual element has always had such a profound effect on my life. If I tried to trace it back for you, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what inspired it. Maybe it’s just one of those genetic elements of life. Either you have it or you don’t (or you don’t want to recognize it).

When it comes to the spiritual element, the one oblivious talent I do have is wishing. While I won’t delve into the details, I will note that in recent years I have become more and more hesitant to use this ability. My fear is that someday my wish will occur out of negative circumstance. While this probably would not brother most people, I have a conscious. I am very aware of the fact that for every decision, there is a consequence or effect.

When it comes to the spiritual element, I wish there were like minded individuals I could speak to outside of my fiancé. But most people I encounter are not within the happy medium of spiritual knowledge. Either they are Christians without a clue or pagans on the edge.

While yes, maybe I could just wish for it all, but in recent years, I have learned that wishes can take years to evolve. Sometimes there are lessons to be learned. To have wishes occur exactly in the manner you wish for, sometimes you need to open your mind and see what the universe is trying to tell you at the time.

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