My Beloved Olive

06-07_Chevrolet_Malibu_MAXX

There have been a few very strange extreme spiritual moments in my life. One happened when I bought my beloved car. I just had my baby tuned up at the local shop. I love to anthropomorphize her. (great word) I thought I would write a tribute to her and tell the story of her acquisition.

My husband and I were still in school working on our Masters. We were so poor at the time we could barely survive and relied a lot on our school loans to get us through. My husband was working part time as substitute and at a local deli. His nickname was Baloney Boy which has stuck. I was working fulltime teaching at a small college. My car at the time was a Saturn which was having a lot of issues but we kept it running for 17 years. His car was a Malibu and had over 100000 miles on it. It died on me in the middle of an intersection. It was time for it to be replaced. We drove it onto the lot, limping along only to find out how bad it was. It would not pass inspection ever again and I am sure that it now resides somewhere as a coffee table in a landfill.

I had been noticing these olive green Malibu Maxx cars on the road and thought how cool they were. I had a dream about that color and type of car. We search the internet and found one locally. As soon as I saw her, I said she was mine. The deal was amazing as she had been purchased by a gentleman who buys new cars and drives them for less than a year and trades them. He work for GM and always was checking out new cars. This one had less than 9100 miles on it and was loaded with all kinds of features. I saw her and named her Olive.

Then came the moment of reckoning. We had nothing to put down on her. The trade on the beat up car was negligible.  I was panicking, which I certainly did a lot back then, about taking on another loan. But because we had no choice, I did. My credit rating is fabulous so we had no issues. Car loans are secured and so just about anyone can get one.

As I was walking towards the actually signing, I felt absolutely wretched. I thought I was going to toss my cookies, I was red in the face, sweating and my heart was pounding. This was not my first time buying a new car, it was my fourth. I do not remember why, but I remember the moment. I was standing alone in the show room for some reason. I felt this warm sensation and then it felt like someone had put their arm on my shoulders in an embrace of support. I felt calm fill me. I heard in my head a soothing voice say that it would be alright. I do not remember specific words but they encouraged me to continue with the transaction. And I did. I do not remember much else of the following moments other than I was shocked about the spiritual experience I just had. I remember it seven years later right down to the feeling on my shoulders.

Olive has been a great car. We have taken her to the River several times. We would take off in her on Sundays for afternoon drives as it was one of the few things we could afford to do. I do not like to drive to new places. In truth, I do not like to drive much anymore. It is on the list of fearful things I need to get over. Having Olive gave me confidence to drive to some places I would not have otherwise. When I had jobs that required me to drive to do visits, she was one of the supports that made me able to do that. She just had a visit to the local Chevy dealer who does the work on her. She has new eyeballs and lashes, (headlight lamps and wipers) a pedicure, (tire rotation) and a colonic (oil change) Every time I bring her in they want to buy her because they know they will get a good deal for her. We are not ready to part and I know there are a few more years of adventures in store for her. She looks brand new because I baby her. She is near the top on my gratitude list.

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Facing phobias

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Today I am facing several phobias. I purposefully put myself in the position of facing them. I did not think it would be a big deal until last night, at 3am. Then it hit me. I do not like to go places I am unfamiliar with. That is one phobia, but I can often overcome it with the anticipation of the event. A bigger phobia is driving. I do not mind driving on the east side of our city but going to the west side or downtown is not something I do. I do not like rush hour traffic. I am facing all of that this morning and I did it to myself. All week I have not thought too heavily about it. But this morning it has me in its grip. I am trying to tell myself it will be worth it.

I have friends who drive themselves all over the place. I have one friend who drives from Colorado every year all by herself. I think she is amazing. I would be terrified. I do not like long trips even if I am not driving. My husband and I plan any trips with the concept of how many bathrooms are in our path. He knows, especially if it is morning my longevity of being able to pass up a bathroom is pretty nil. It is one of the joys of getting older and being on a diuretic, which we both are on.

At 3am, it was like the terror welled up in me. What the heck am I afraid of? The biggest cause of fear: the unknown. I do not like a lot of traffic no matter what time it is as it makes me crazy. It is sensory overload to the highest. People are so selfish and rude, especially in their cars. I admit, I did not have a lot of patience when driving behind someone who is going ridiculously slow. Now, I try to see it that they need to drive where they are comfortable. I go slowly especially if the weather is bad. I see these idiots with their four wheel drive vehicles fly by me. What is worse are the ones with plows on their trucks. They know no mercy. But ice is ice and I have lost control of my car. There is the saying from Buffalo when a car goes into a spin…”here, grab my beer and hold on.” I white knuckle it when the weather is bad no matter who is driving. I keep thinking I would be happy if I did not have to drive. Too bad I am not rich and have a driver at my disposal. But then, I do like to drive around where I am comfortable and familiar. So it is the fear of the unknown. I would suck at being an explorer. I would be the one afraid of falling off the earth.

Why did I sign up for this event? I am going to a seminar on noxious people. That should explain it completely. There is a group of us going. This seminar is for health professionals and educators who deal with people who have behavioral issues. I will save more on this until after the seminar. I am fascinated with the topic.

But this post is about facing fears. Yesterday, my Lead Preceptor had co-visited with one of our new nurses. They went out to do a catheter on a bedridden patient in a not so nice neighborhood. When she came back, she was all upset and called me. Seems the patient they saw was lying on a bed that had bed bugs. Although she had not actually been on the bed, she was over the patient instructing the new nurse who was on the bed. She had me check her out because she felt a bite behind her ear and sure enough, there was a bite. She had me go through her hair and there was nothing. I was pretty sure it was a mosquito bite. She had gone into the ladies room and shaken out all her clothes. We scoured the floor and her desk area. Nothing. I did not realize how bad she was about bugs. I had a suspicion because one time she brought a cockroach with her into her car. She freaked out. But then she laughed because it was her mother-in-law’s car.  How the heck did she do over 20 years of home care nursing with a bug phobia? Of course, because of the relationship I have with her, I broke her stones the rest of the afternoon by sending her bug pictures. She’ll get me back.

I am not sure in putting yourself into a fearful situation is the way to cure yourself of a phobia or not. I have no choice at this point other than doing this. I have looked at maps and planned my route. I am picking up a nurse who wanted to go and I think that will help me, although she seemed relieved not to have to drive. I am giving us an extended amount of time to get there and park. Once I am there, it will be fine. I am looking forward to the day. It is a fun group who are going including “Bug Lady”.  At least it is not a blizzard.

 

 

Lessons on recieving blessings

In this experiment, you’re going to devote 48 hours to looking for evidence of this all-knowing, all-perfect FP. Call it God, if that feels more comfortable. Luckily, the FP exists every single place you could ever think to look. To up the stakes, you’re going to ask the FP for a blessing or what I call an unexpected gift. You’re going to give it 48 hours to send you a gift you wouldn’t normally receive— a surprise check in the mail, a card from an old friend, something that is truly unexpected. You don’t get to specify the blessing (that comes later, in Experiment #4), but you do need to give a clearly defined request and a concrete deadline. And as always, it helps to ask for help in recognizing your gift.

Quantum physics defines the field as “invisible moving forces that influence the physical realm.” In this book, you’ll learn to use this field of potentiality (I like to call it the FP) to your advantage.

Grout, Pam (2013-01-28). E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality (Kindle Locations 792-798). Hay House Insights. Kindle Edition.

This book has been a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. It is a group of exercises to try and experiment with to help learn and understand all the principals about attraction. I get so turned off on all the crap I see about manifesting things in order to get….and fill in the blank. Many are about getting rich fast or losing weight and getting a lover. And I admit I had some  interest in this so many years ago when The Secret first came out about the Law of Attraction. It all seemed so easy. And like so many others, I was totally disappointed when I did not get a rich gorgeous partner who wanted to take care of me while I jetted off to the Rivera to relax. It does not work because the ground work has to be done first. But at the time, I was alone, scared and looking for solutions.

So again, I cannot tell you why I chose this book. I get led to these authors and with a Kindle it is like being in a candy shop for me. I see or read something somewhere else, and I Google them and see they have a book and I go get it. Do not remember how she came to my path. And the funny thing is she has a WordPress blog: www.pamgrout.com. I am also finding now that many authors reference a lot of similar authors and I have read many of them. It is like a collective that circles around.

I decided to try her experiments without any expectations. There is nothing to lose here. I wanted to wait on my outcome for the first one, but I decided to share what happened. It was kind of one of those loud soft moments.  Here is the experiment:

The Theory: There is an invisible energy force or field of infinite possibilities. And it’s yours for the asking. The Question: Does the FP exist? The Hypothesis: If there’s a 24/ 7 energy force equally available to everyone, I can access it at any time simply by paying attention. Furthermore, if I ask the force for a blessing, giving it a specific time frame and clear instructions, it’ll send me a gift and say, “My pleasure.”

Grout, Pam (2013-01-28). E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

So I get up the next morning after I read this and  I decided I would start the stop watch for my 48 hours. It was hard to get the thought planted in my head and with full conviction that a blessing was coming my way. This was the morning back after a three day weekend. I noticed when I was getting ready for work that I had that slight neat feeling (I could not think of a better word than neat) of the anticipation of something coming my way. It was akin to it being your birthday morning. I was taking my time as I did not have an early morning meeting. About an hour before I was due at work, my coordinator called and said she overslept and was running late. I was fine with it until she reminded me that there was an early class that needed to be set up and she was not going to make it there in time.

I had an appointment to drop my car off at the shop as the inspection was due in August. Oops, I did not check it and so it was illegal in September. I had to get it in. My hair was a mess and I did not have time for breakfast. I rushed to get my stuff ready and I heard the sirens in town go off signaling that there was an issue somewhere close by. There is only one road that leads to the car shop and sure enough, there was a huge accident that had it backed up. Normal old Jane would be at this point frantic and hyperventilating. I sent an email to the instructor before leaving saying I was coming but might be late. I tried calling the office while I was stuck in traffic and no one was in yet. I just surrendered and let things just happen. I was calm. They must have moved something as the traffic started to flow. Going past the accident was gruesome and I think it might have been a DOA. A huge dump truck and smashed into a car and there was no front of the car left. That made me be aware of what hurrying can do. I get to the car shop and he informs me that the appointment was for tomorrow. Instead of getting all tweaked, I just laughed. He said it was no problem to take the car and they did. My husband followed me and took me to work. I got there with five minutes to spare. And to boot, the instructor had forgotten and if I had not sent the email, she would not have shown at all.

The rest of the day was peasant and uneventful. Actually for me it was boring as I like a lot of interaction. But I was calm and peaceful and got a few things accomplished. Inside my head I kept thinking about my experiment and how something really wonderful was coming my way. I just knew it and felt the anticipation. There were a couple of things that made the day special like helping a friend with a major crisis. Not that her crisis was a good thing, but that she reached out to me to help her. All I did was listen, but that was a good thing.

On the drive home, it hit me. I had spent the whole day anticipating a major blessing and it had made me feel really great even though the day was not anything spectacular. I did not solve any major world issues, won any great award, found a million dollars or lost 100 pounds. It was just a really good day. Then I thought, “OMG!” Was the blessing the solution to my time crunch this morning? Was that it? I have to tell you in all honesty I was crestfallen. Was that all there was? I got to work on time. It took the wind right out of my sails. “Whoopee” I thought sarcastically.

The anticipation went flat and by the next morning, I had given up on the experiment. In my mind, I lied to myself and said I had not, but in my soul I did. I no longer truly believed with everything that I was going to get any major blessing. When I thought about it before, there was no doubt. Now there was this slight apprehension that this was all a ruse. The day progressed again without any major hitch, but I was tired and flat. I noticed I was particularly joyless. And I am not talking about the uberparty joyous. Just that the day before there was this quiet vibe of what I like to call Little Girl Glee. That was gone. I got through the uneventful day and after dinner I went out to my chair to meditate and think. It had clouded up and was softly spitting little rain drops, but I covered myself with a blanket and started to do a Chakra meditation. I woke up a half hour later wet from the rain and with a stiff neck. I had conked out by the time I reached the solar plexus chakra. I grumbled off to bed.

I have not been sleeping great. I have been having weird dreams. I think there is a lot going on and my mind is trying to sort out things. I did figure something out. The blessing did happen. And yes, the getting to work was one and helping a friend was another. But the major blessing was the gift of the joyous feeling.  That was what I was to pay attention to and receive. Being aware. It helped me get through the stress of getting to work. Not only did it keep me calm, I was actually somewhere deep inside still happy. Not about external things, but just in my soul. That was the blessing: That very slight vibration that I call Little Girl Glee. To the outside, there is no real change. I am not grinning or laughing inappropriately. I just knew that what was being tossed at me was not anything I would not get through. I actually was able to laugh at the situation with the appointment not even being the right day. Before, I would have crapped all over my husband who set up the appointment. I would have had a blood pressure headache from being in such a panic about the class not being set up and my coordinator sleeping in. I laughed all day at my hair which looked like I put my finger in a socket. I was able to teach my Customer Service class and do it with real conviction because I felt this “happy” inside. It is hard to teach compassion when you are angry.

This is the blessing: Joy and Calmness. Last night the calm was still there. The LGG (Little Girl Glee) had toned down. I was tired as I had a half hour total break yesterday between meetings. But, I like meetings so it was fine. I decided that I would try this experiment over and over. There is no limit to how many blessings we can have. For me, it is a teaching tool to get my body and soul more used to the feeling, and pardon the pun, embody it. Someday it will be engrained and part of my natural makeup. But for now, it is a lesson I will continue to work on.

 

 

Little Victories

It is the Little Victories that make life so wonderful. As we go through our day, we should stop and celebrate all the little challenges we overcome. Sometimes they are pretty big ones, and it is healthy to stop and say, “Yeah I successfully got through that.”  If you are like me, you probably spend a great deal of time in preparation of some stressful event. My new motto is acknowledge myself in some manner once I have completed the hurdle to make sure I imprint the success, no matter how small. It is part of being aware and produces a very nice feeling.

Part of my healing has included dealing with all the little phobias I developed over time. The list was expansive and I did not realize how paralyzed I had become. The Associative Awareness Techniques has disassociated many of the external cues that were causing pain and other ailments. The therapy works towards balance and control, something I was completely lacking. I was reacting to input that I was not even aware of which was causing great pain and suffering. It has worked on my pain greatly reducing the constant aches from a level 7 to usually a 1 or 2. Not saying my pain does not flare, but I have learned techniques to calm the fire. But an added bonus, which there are many bonuses, I have also learned to overcome stress to a much bigger degree. Trust me, it is a work in progress and there are and will be times I am not doing so great. Part of my healing is to accept that and work on moving past those moments.

One of my biggest phobias included travel. I have never been a big fan of traveling, however I like being in different places. It is the getting there, not the destination that I worried over. Now worry does not quite cover the emotional toll I would extract when I had to go somewhere new. If I was traveling with someone and they were driving, the concern would be lessened. But, I still would perseverate if I would agree to go somewhere to the point whatever the event was, by the time I had to actually leave, I would be so worked up I would suffer greatly. I know when it all really started and I know where the fear became part of my repertoire but it is the past and gone. I knew in my heart that this was something I had to work on to get over because I wanted my independence back. To be honest, it had gotten so bad that there were days when going to the grocery store would overwhelm me and ruin a perfectly good day off. I would try to figure a way out of having to simply get in my car and drive less than a mile to get the necessary food for the week in the house. Seems silly as I write this, but it was a true impediment for me.

I knew I had to face this dragon head on. Nine months ago, that would not have been a possibility. I can count how many activities I have not participated in because I would have had to drive myself. Granted, my husband enjoys driving and is a willing chauffeur. But there have been times when I wanted to do something with a friend or just myself and said no because it required me taking myself. This fear recently reared its ugly head as my husband has an issue which is impairing his sight. He is having surgery and the situation will easily be remedied, but it was like a slap in the face when I realized I had to stop relying on others to create my safety.

I used to have to drive as part of my job when I was working with families who had a loved one who was receiving services from the agency where I worked. Although they were only small journeys to various homes for in-service visits, I hated it. I was not completely unable to do it, but was relieved when I was promoted to a different responsibility. This was less than eight years ago and within that time, I became this petrified person who would perseverate about going to the local store. This is how quickly fear can over take your being if you let it….not that I let it, I was not even aware of it until now. I think that is part of my message here. Be aware how quickly something can spiral out of control and the grip on your life can be exponentially your undoing.

As part of my current job requirements I am now going to have to drive about forty miles one way to an affiliate we have just purchased. I was scheduled for a meeting yesterday and with short notice. It was a good thing because I did not have a lot of time to think about it. Actually, I did not think about it. I had an unusual calm about the whole matter. I also had to do something yesterday which normally causes me great anxiety and that is to attend a high level meeting at the enormous medical center which we are affiliated with. When I say huge, I am not exaggerating. I was supposed to attend with our CEO, who knows the hospital well, but with less than eight hour notice, I was on my own.

I resolved the fear of the longer commute to the distant meeting by trundling my best friend and I off for a day of shopping on Saturday. We made a drive by and secured the location and then spent the afternoon shopping at the outlet mall located nearby. I drove. We had a blast. Yesterday, I had no anxiety and the only thing I realize is I need better tunes in my car, which magically turns into a sound booth when I am driving. Why is it that our voice sounds so incredible in the car when no one can hear it? With a little planning, I figured out the best way to attack the medical center for my 7am meeting and that played out better than I could have imagined. I got there so early that the place I parked was empty, which never happens there. They have transports to and from parking lots located miles away it is so bad. I did have to ask one person for help once inside and she was so generous and took me exactly where I needed to be. This gave me a few moments to relax and calm before a meeting with a board of directors and high level medical administrators. No problem!

I have learned and will continue to learn to let go and let things happen. I call on a Higher Power to guide me and so far it has not failed. For those of you who know this and have been practicing this methodology, it is natural. For me, it is all new. I am still amazed when it works and I have to push myself to trust. But the good news I am doing it and learning. As a teacher, I know the importance of receiving positive feedback to accelerate learning and growth. These milestones for me are big and impact me greatly so I made sure I gave myself kudos the rest of the day. I shared my achievements with my husband who has patiently seen the toll the stress has caused and often receives the fallout. It was such a simple victory but not less in its significance for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Dickering with thieves

Last night, my husband and I drove out to look at a car he had spotted on the Internet. Car shopping is a whole lot different than when I bought my first horseless carriage. It almost was painless. He has been in search for the best deal for only a week or so and when he spotted his target, it was a simple quick email and off we went to look at it.

My first car was a 1960 Ford Falcon. I bought it off of someone’s lawn for $50.00. It was the coolest thing in the world to have your own car. I do not remember all the messing around with titles and paperwork. I gave the guy some money and the plates I got and off I went. The steering wheel on this dinosaur was at least three feet in diameter. In the trunk was a set of snow tires that were brand new. Gives you an idea of how big the trunk was and this car was considered a compact for those days. My girlfriends and I tooled around in this baby and my boyfriend and I used it as a private get-away. I taught him how to drive in that car and he went on to try semis.

One day as I was on the expressway and I went to brake. My foot went to the floor. The car did not even attempt to slow down. I still remember the helplessness and yet, I figure it out enough to get off the road to the shoulder and coast to a stop. Once I turned the car off, that is when the real panic hit and I burst into tears. This produced a fellow traveler to come to my aid. We did not have cell phones in those days and I do not even remember how, but a flatbed truck came and took my bomb to the garage. There it was given last rites. The front end was barely attached in the carriage of the vehicle and the car would not pass inspection again. They put new brake lines in and I drove it until I sold it for $25.00. I sold the tires for another $50.00 making me feel like I winner.

The next car was the first in a long line of semi-luxurious used cars. I like big cars and always will. I learned to drive on my father’s 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was his menopause car. It was considered for its time the hybrid of a sports car with a luxury car. It was hot. His next car was a Buick, a sign of passing in my eyes of male aging. My husband made some comments about  buying a Buick this time, and I realized he was reaching that age where black knee socks and plaid shorts was a rite of passage. My favorite car was a Ford Grenada which was a version down from the Lincoln Town car. I would get into that baby and my world would be transported to a sense of extreme opulence.

At one point, when we were in college as returning adults, cars took a back seat to tuition. We drove our cars until they fell apart literally. He had a Malibu which we had to replace as it just died on me one day. That was when I bought the car I have now, and absolutely love. He drove my old car until we replaced it because it was time. I got my money out of that Saturn. It was 17 years old. Great car.

Cars are more than just something to drive around. They are memory makers. We have our favorite routes we spend Sundays traversing on. We have our paths that take us to our favorite place to relax; The River. I have enjoyed many activities in cars. From bygone days, my friends and I used to spend weekend nights parked at the drive-in. The movie was not always the highlighted feature of the night. Cars offered freedom and lessons in responsibility. I drove in conditions that no one should drive in and I am not talking about the weather. The car is an extension of your home and a place for privacy and relaxation.

So my husband has a new car and it is not a Buick. It is jet black with heated leather seats. He is jubilant. I am glad it is what he wanted and I do not have to do anything more than just sit and enjoy it when he drives. Gone are the days when buying a car is a traumatic experience. I did not hear anyone utter “does the Little Lady want to try driving it?”  The salesman was hardly sixteen it seemed. But he was very pleasant and took my snarkiness in stride. We got to the dickering and even that was painless. He sat us his booth area and off he went. He comes back beaming with what he thought was a good deal. He did not know me. I had to counter and off he went to haggle. I got my deal and I have to say, it was a good one. My husband lets me handle anything with money and purchases as he is too kind hearted to deal with thieves.

He picks up his new baby this afternoon. It was actually a pleasurable experience. The only thing left to fight over is the radio.