Monday, January 17, 2011

Being "Open" Can Change Your Life

Written around 7:00 p.m., January 16, Local time over the Pacific Ocean. Posted upon return.

This is relief.

Clearly stated, it is my opinion that anyone who says you can't "Eat, Pray, Love" the way Elizabeth Gilbert does is wrong. I just did it and didn't have to take six months off or quit my job. I just wanted it to come to me. You know, the grand feelings of nothingness like relief, solitude, and simple quiet celebrations. I experienced it all.

"Annie, you are free," said a former colleague, who now must be a friend, in the hours after my life changed. Her statement almost immediately allowed me to see that I should celebrate it.

Sidebar: Isn't it funny how one person can say something so simple and we just grasp on to it like a commandment? The smallest thing can make all the difference, I mean one word, one person can change your entire perspective. Ultimately, just by being open, it then changes your life.

Freedom followed me to Hawaii where I just came back from vacation.

The first night I was mistakenly recognized by ten members of the Air Force as a celebrity. Ashley Greene from "Twilight" and Jennifer Grey. I'm so glad they didn't ask me to perform any dirty dancing.

To Michael in Miami, thank you for telling me to relax... I certainly did.

The next day, my friend (who met me in Hawaii from Chicago) and I drove to the North Shore and we ate Mexican food. We escaped the rain and found a private beach where we sat and ran and laughed and took pictures. Later, at The Hula Grill, I ordered a Mai Tai (my first one in almost 8 years) and a seafood platter. That is my "Eat."

That night we went back the hotel bar, where I was the celebrity the night before. It was called The Shore Bird. Immediately I spotted a Man in Maroon sitting across from me. The connection was instant. After a drink or two, conversation, and a walk on the beach the following night it was over.

My friend back in California said, "No pressure, just have fun." I did, but the Man in Maroon represents the "love." Maybe I just had to travel that far for a confidence boost.

The morning after meeting the Man in Maroon we went to Pearl Harbor. There isn't a better place to signify "pray." Standing over the Arizona, I saw the "oil tears" rise up immediately after I prayed, and then I nearly cried.

I never once heard the word or uttered the word frump on this vacation. Getting the Frump Out of Your Rump is a process, a journey, and as much as we want to believe it is possible, it does not happen overnight.

I wish it would, but we are all a work in progress. We're all in or have been in situations we know aren't right but deep down hope that they are. We've all been tugged and pulled at every angle and left to figure out how to keep moving.

I'm still Floating on The Wings of Earthly Angels. Yet, I'm sustained by a journey in which I realized it's ok to be perfectly me, and find out that I'm just as attractive as I had hoped to be.

At the end though, this is not just about me. It is about all of you, too, and if I could have packed you all in a suitcase for the opportunity to just feel free, I would have.

In short, here are the lessons of the island:
  • Smile. Everyone will smile back to you. 
  • Laugh, because it matches the synchronous sounds of the crashing ocean waves.
  • Embrace, because someone who just wants a human connection will embrace you back. 
  • Be open. You cannot feel the healing until you recognize the freedom. When you do, let freedom ring. Buy a piece of jewelry, fitted with the plumeria, to remember your self-discovery. I did, and it will stay with me until I have a daughter or a granddaughter one day who needs that reminder as much as I do now.
  • Be you. Being open and being you work together. You simply can't be open if you're faking any part of you.
  • Love, because it offers the most rewards. 
  • Forgive, because there is no passage to any of the above without it.

I forgive myself for believing for so long that I wasn't good enough, beautiful enough, or smart enough to have, or be, what I needed.

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  1. i look forward to your morsels of truth. you gave me "in 2011, i'm going to like myself more" which I have prominently posted above my desk.

    now, I can add, "you simply can't be you if you're faking any part of you."

    i'm so thrilled to hear that you got the recharge you needed in Hawaii. Cheers to a lovely vacay and your very own eat, love, pray.

  2. I really appreciate this post because I have endured so much in my life and the one thing that has kept me "sane" is being able to share openly my stories and resisting from bottling things up inside. I did so until I commenced employment at the Q. I was advised heavily NOT to share my life with anyone! I was told that the more I shared with anyone, the more ammunition they could hold against me!

    Wow, that was a powerful pill for me to swallow -- given the fact that I was moving-out for the first time, and felt like a fish out of water!

    I followed the advice to a certain degree, kept my distance but more so as a precaution until I was able to thoroughly analyze the situation.

    Interesting thing was, I was glad I actually followed the advice. I learned a valuable lesson there... that not everyone has you in their best interest. However, there were a very narrow few that did emerge and prove themselves trustworthy.

    What has been your experience so far?


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