By Melanie Bates
There’s a change a brewin’ in me, folks.
And… it’s felt about as fluid and graceful as when Jim Carrey, of Ace Ventura fame, was birthed from a large, plastic rhinoceros arse in the sequel. My facial expressions and utterances are the same.
I’m on the lookout for something different; something big. I’m waiting to embrace change as enthusiastically as I’d embrace the return of the buoyancy of my breasts at 20.
You see, I haven’t felt very connected as of late. Hell, I haven’t felt connected for a good seven plus years. It’s more like I’ve been sort of floating around, willy-nilly, on a trade wind from the Caribbean. But, you know that feeling I’m talking about, right? When you feel that indescribable joy, feeling of connection, and clarity of purpose and path in every bone in your body; when you just know you’re onto something big and it swells you, you feel lighter, and you physically see more clearly?
I was talking with a friend about this feeling of connectedness recently. I told him that I haven’t felt that feeling since I moved to Cleveland. I was trying to noodle out with him what that was about. I think it started with an emergency surgery I had for my Stage IV Endometriosis. I was married to a wonderful man but we had nothing to work toward together. We didn’t have much in common, we were just sort of going through the motions of existence, neither happy, nor sad, but simply content and comfortable. I hadn’t been happy for the last six years of my marriage. I think that surgery, and subsequent recovery, awoke something within me – a will to live; a will for more than just existence and comfort. I left my 10-year marriage, I left my family and friends, I left my home and traipsed across the country with 30 boxes of books, a twin mattress, and a couple of bookshelves. I had never felt more alive. It’s as if my vision, normally 20/40 had returned to 20/20. I’d never felt more clearly set upon my path nor more full of joy.
It lasted for a good three years too. During that time I traveled to Europe, New York City, South Beach, Folly Beach, Ottawa, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Pennsylvania and a few places I can’t even remember. I dove out of a plane. I learned to snowboard. I got up on a surf board. I went to hundreds of concerts and met thousands of people. Literally.
What my friend and I decided was that when you’re taking risks, when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally more connected. When you’re shaking things up in your life you’re truly living in the NOW. You’re not focusing on the past or the future. I challenge you to take your first dive out of an airplane while retaining thoughts of Aunt Hester smacking you as a child with her bejeweled ruby handbag. It’s not possible.
It’s the same for travel. When you’re in a wholly new environment you’re bombarded with new senses and sensations; things you’ve never seen, heard, or felt. It’s difficult to focus on the mundane or worry the past or future when you’re in a new setting. I think this may be why folks are addicted to extreme sports. Who has time to worry about the state of their stocks and the market when they’re barreling down a mountain on a piece of wood?
There are other ways to stay in the NOW but my meditation pillow is musty and I’m no Deepak Chopra. Yet.