The Tunnel

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Our hearts are naturally inclined to love.  Our environments then shape the love that we share and nurture with others.

This is my souls intense belief.

What we each choose to do with our existences are our choices and our choices alone. Circumstances will influence our choices but ultimately it is our decision.

I started my day just like most days, groggily rolling out of bed, preparing for the day. Throughout my routine I usually take the time to check in on my Facebook account. Today I found on my news feed an individual, in a group, requesting help to locate a divorce attorney.  I, out of curiosity, started to scroll through the responses and comments.  I found many positive comments for one representative or another then I saw a trend that directly hit a nerve with me personally.  I disconnected from all the calm, kind, loving tendencies I have and went straight to righteous, indignation!  I posted.  I responded.  Then I paused.  I believe my writings were justified and I stand behind my comments but I had to stop following the post.

My wounds from my past experiences were too raw for me to continue, the onslaught of trauma from the past year too intense.  Divorce is a horrible journey.  No matter if it is “amicable” or hostile, and everything in between.  Lives are in transition.  Not just the lives of the two people ending their commitment to each other but also the community around, what was a happy couple.

I have a difficult time embracing anyone seemingly gaining from such an experience.  And yet, as a society we pour millions of dollars into the pockets of attorneys who honestly don’t care one way or the other if the course of action they are about to perform will enhance another’s heart in love.  I do not know of any divorce attorney who can truthfully say they are 100% proud of every divorce that they have managed, yet the check came to them anyway.

This blog is coming today from a place in my heart that appears like the golden lines of Kintsugi.  I am stronger, and more beautiful than my pre-divorce years.  I counsel loved ones through this long dark tunnel of divorce.  That light at the end of this tunnel is not an oncoming train but the resilient glow of gold shining in all the broken places of your heart as you heal.  This “tunnel”, not of love, but divorce, is dark and uncertain.  There is always light at the end of it, guided by love.

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Warm Fuzzies

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The wreath is on the front door, gifts are perfectly adorned under the Christmas tree, lights and tinsel are strung around my house, resembling the leftover decorations from the Disco Era.  I love this time of year!

This wandering traveler loves walking up her front path with the glow of colorful lights illuminating my small world.  My traditional symbol of welcome, a pineapple, graces the door, beckoning you to step in out of the cold.  The warm ensconce of being home instantly relaxes me.

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Soul Experiences wants you to feel this way each time you travel with us.  We travel not for the sake of moving from point A to point B but for the experience of the journey.  Whether we are a half hour away or half way around the world, the relaxing feeling of home will resonate with your soul.

Travel well my friends!

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False Advertising

Culture: the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

Workplace Culture: is the environment created by the concepts established and embraced by the firm and the employees alike.

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I attended coffee with a group that meets just outside of my office in the common area of the building.  It is a great group of entrepreneurs/business people, gathering on Thursday mornings, indulging in casual discussions.  We have an open forum with businesses volunteering to host (a.k.a. ‘bringing treats’).  Some attendees are regulars, yet there are always numerous new faces.  If you have ever attended any form of a coffee event, you know it is networking at it’s finest.  Your coffee cup gives your nervous hands a mission.  It is early in the morning, so in theory, your mind is fresh and so is your smile.  If you are not fully awake, caffeine consumption is heartily encouraged, so artificial energy is on it’s way to your muddled morning thoughts.  Coffee meetings are a significantly helpful platform for those of us practicing our ‘elevator pitch’, but that is another blog.

Our host today presented a topic for our discussion this morning.  ‘What is workplace culture?’  An excellent question…what is it?  I know what culture is.  What is workplace culture?  I pondered this while listening to the conversation around me.

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It did not take me long to piece together my past employment with the information provided.  How did I go from absolute love of a career path to the utter desolation of my sense of purpose?  Was it me?  Was it circumstances?  Was it management?  It suddenly became crystal clear, it was all of the above.  It wasn’t just one component of my career that was askew, it was the culture of my workplace, co-teachers, directors, administration, and of course, me.  The workplace was advertising a culture that did not match the actual workplace culture.  I did not fit into their workplace culture.  I could not lower my standards.  I could not limit my imagination.  I could not participate in destructive behavior.  I could, however, enhance who I was and encourage others to do the same.  In the end of my employment I was devastated that I was not ‘enough’ and it took me months to realize I was ‘enough’, what I was, was not is a good fit for that institution.  My love of teaching is not diminished, if anything, it has grown!

I now own Soul Experiences.  A small business, growing everyday and always looking forward to our future.  So how do I avoid creating workplace culture that does not honestly represent Soul Experiences’ culture?  Before I hire any employees, I can define what Soul Experiences’ culture truly is, I can exude that culture in my work and personal life, I can learn from the false advertising of my past, so I can flourish in my future.

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For more insight to Soul Experiences, check us out at www.soul-experiences.com

If you have more questions about your workplace culture please visit Marianne at www.work-warrior.com.

Travel well my friends!

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Lost

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I lost my sunglasses today.

No, this is not earth shattering news.  I did not loose my car in a ginormous mall parking lot.  I did not become separated from my beloved child at said mall.  I did not misplace my cell phone…again.

You see, while I am enjoying the great outdoors, I need my sunglasses.  The sun feels harsh on my eyes.  The warmth on my skin feels like magic kisses but my eyes have become dependent on the shade provided by the dark tinted, thin plastic.  The sunlight looses its sharp edges, the burning blast becomes an inviting glow.

Travel can feel like this.  Our dependency on the familiar.  The warmth of excitement, we feel, discovering new places.  The magic of adventures on our journeys.  Although, the harshness of flight delays, the sharp edges of an unknown road, unexpected expenses, are ever present when we step out our doors.  All these components of traveling can impede achieving relaxation we so desperately desire.

Let Soul Experiences be your “sunglasses”.  Let our experience shade you from the harsh reality of traveling.  Journey with us and let us soften the barrier between you and rejuvenation.

Travel well my friends!

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P.S. I found relief from the sun after I pulled my shades from the top of my head. :-)

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Listen

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Do you hear a voice? 

Not the radio

Not the TV

Not the endless yammering of the city

Do you hear a voice?

The voice of the loved one who needs you but isn’t sure how to ask.  The small melodic voice of a child asking the same question over and over again. The droning voice of your boss reviewing quarterly statements with you. The authoritative voice of an administrator admonishing something you love. The seductive voice of your lover calling you back to bed.  The prayerful voice of your soul reaching out to the silence in your heart.

Listen to the voices that speak to you. Listen with a fervor to hear what another is really saying. Take the time to stop, listen and respond if needed. Only when we truly listen do we truly hear what our hearts want.

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Where The Birds Glide

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It is nothing short of a miracle to witness the lightening of a loved one’s soul. You see pain etched on the lines of their face. The light in their eyes is dimmed. Their shoulders carry an invisible weight only they can feel. Then, slowly, gently or sometimes all at once, their burdens dissapate. The shoulders that were drooped, are lifted. Their eyes glimmer with love and mischief like you remember. The lines on their face are softened to better represent the soul you love.

I traveled yesterday to The Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska. This was my second journey to this site. In the early spring this year I ventured there with a tour group. I loved the serenity it inspired in me. I wanted to linger. I desired a sanctuary where my heart could heal. I yearned for peace in my soul, even if it was just little bandages holding it together for a few more months. My overall impression was pure love.

As I stood in the chapel overlooking the Nebraska prairie, watching vehicles dashing back and forth on the six lane interstate, I began reflecting on my own soulful journey to this moment from the last time I stood in this place. I am stronger than I believe, I am the beckoning light for others, I am gracefulness emboldened. I stood a little straighter, glanced to my beloved traveling partner and said a silent prayer for her continued strength. Her inner light is back, full of promise and determination, just like always.

We stood together watching the birds outside, gliding on the blustery winter winds. Hovering, dipping, soaring, twirling, appearing to have no reason for their flight except pure joy. Taking the wind and making a playground for themselves. As I moved out the doors of the chapel, I pulled my coat tighter around me against the gales and glanced back one last time at the feathered campions of our visit, they continued their joyous arial acrobatics, using what they were given for happiness not sorrow.

Travel well my friends.

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Manic Monday Morning!

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Are you KIDDING!?!?!?

It was only a 3 hour time period!  I am going back home and crawling back into bed!  This is ridiculous!

Let’s just list it out: (this began at 6:15 am)

  1. Accidentally called my Fiance’ after he texted at o-dark-thirty this morning
  2. My body aches
  3. Stayed up too late
  4. Had to clean snow off my car
  5. “Service Airbag” notice is on in my car
  6. “Low Tire” notice is still on in my car
  7. I am almost out of gas
  8. Running late for an appointment
  9. Dealing with “Senioritis” infected teenager
  10. Dealing with above mentioned teenager’s school
  11. Heard a loud pop while driving, to see the small crack in the windshield is now more than doubled in size, across to the drivers side of my car
  12. Scraped my brand new bumper of my car on the curb
  13. Forgot a necessary work flash drive at home
  14. Forgot the keyboard for my iPad at home

Oh my gosh this is too much for me to handle so early in the morning, especially Monday morning.  It is now 9:15 am.  I feel like I should call for a “do over” like when I was a child, learning a new sport, trying to swing a bat at a tiny white baseball flying at me.

But wait….

Let me look at this list again….

I reached my daily stress level quickly but were those incidents really stressful?  Or will I be better served changing my perspective, just a little?

Here is my blessings list for those same 3 hours:

  1. I was able to wake up to my Fiance’s voice this morning.
  2. My body aches!  I am alive!  I am blessed with a body that still moves.  Although it is difficult sometimes, I now have more knowledge about how I can help relieve my pain.
  3. I had an indulgently fun late night!
  4. I did not have to drive over the weekend while it snowed.  The snow was fluffy and beautiful, which is why I love this season!
  5. My car is smart enough to know something is not right with the airbags that could potentially save my life and my passengers lives if they were ever needed.
  6. My tire is still low but has not gotten any worse which means it is still fixable.  Plus it wasn’t completely flat!  WIN
  7. I have enough fuel to get where I need to go. This afternoon I can fill up the tank in the warm sunshine.
  8. I’m frequently late recently and the world has yet to stop spinning because I couldn’t choose which boots I wanted to wear this morning.  :-) (let’s not forget having choices in footwear is another wonderful blessing)
  9. My firstborn son is a senior in High School!  I am so proud of every one of his accomplishments! His graduation may be one of his top ten achievements in his lifetime!
  10. I am so blessed to be involved with a school system that is attentive, organized and engaged with my son’s educations.
  11. The crack in my windshield is in the driver’s direct line of sight, which can not be avoided.  I can’t put off the necessary repair now.
  12. I have a new bumper! After years of wear and tear, then the selfless sacrifice of a brave raccoon. The scrape left no visible damage to my bumper and I will be more careful in the future.
  13. I know right where I left my flash drive.  I know the information on it is safe.
  14. The keyboard for the iPad is a luxury and I will manage today.  Plus I can pick it up when I return home to pick up #13.

All of my stress has melted away.  I am ready to tackle the rest of my day.  I only needed to change my perception.  Yes these events happened, but the way I looked at them was my stress, not the actual incident.

Our lives need to refocus on the positive, the bright lights, the blessings, the joy.  Let go of your worry.  Redefine your outlook.  Allow your perception to reflect all the blessings in your world.  Share your joy with others.  Your joy may be the light to someone else’s Manic Monday!

Travel well my friends!

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Find your calm.  Let the winds of chaos settle into calm breezes!

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