Community Connections

Moving away from home has its ups as well as it downs. New setting, fresh faces, newly discovered routines are all reasons for excitement, but what happens once the dust settles? Your sense of newness has now been accustomed to what is now your daily life. What do you miss? At times, it’s the very thing you wanted to move away from, your community.

When I decided to move back home this last time around, one of the things I was most excited for was once again having that sense of familiarity around me. Not only did I yearn to be around familiar relationships, but I was excited to get involved. As a kid I had always seen myself giving to the community that raised me, so once I got back, I made sure that it had been on the top of my list of goals. I wanted to make sure that I got involved in a way that was through some sort of passion of mine. Whether it would be through the arts, working with children or the elderly, handing out food the homeless, or cleaning up our streets. My mind was set to find a way to volunteer my time and services to making the city a little bit better than it was yesterday. Had anyone told me that a pandemic was going to hit and that it would take that to spark the change that was needed in order to begin, I would have laughed in your face and told you that maybe you’d been watching one too many sci-fi thrillers.

COVID came by and with one swoop, pulled the cloth out from under us. Some of us were tipped over by it, crashing to the floor, left confused and unable to pick up the pieces, while others remained relatively unscathed, still standing in the same spot as if nothing ever happened. Yet, every single one of us walked away with change in one form of it or another. Being locked away for months all we had was time. Time to do all the things we had been craving to do, the time to think, the time to reevaluate life. It’s of no surprise that once we were let back out into the world, I didn’t last very long working the job I had prior to everything happening. I had spent so long enjoying my days and being constantly reminded about how short life was and how unexpected death could come, that I was no longer satisfied doing what I was doing. I was miserable. I felt over worked due to the shortages in staffing and supplies, and underappreciated. After a long and crazy shift, I walked away and never went back, vowing to myself to find a way to produce enough income to sustain myself and that would make me happy.

Quitting that job opened up a whole new set of opportunities. I once again had the time to do what I wanted to do, and what I wanted was to make time work for me. I took the last little bit of cash I had left and invested it into an idea I thought would work. I created a product to sell and to my surprise, it took off fairly quickly. I wasn’t too shocked that it was doing well, I was more shocked at the fact that it had been relatively easy. All I had to do was let go of what no longer was working for me to make room for what I wanted. The Universe works is magical ways, and I say this because it was through this newly founded business of mine that I ended up meeting someone who would later end up being key to my integration into the community.

It was my very first showing as a vendor and after a few hours, and many successful exchanges, I began taking apart my area in order to get ready to leave. It was then that I met this wonderful human being and after a bit of interaction I decided to gift her one of my products and told her that if she ever needed where that came from, she knew where to call. And she did. Not only had she become one of my regular clients, but it was through an invitation of hers that I discovered my love for yoga. It was through her that I was asked to volunteer at a local art exhibition in the city, and it was again, through her, that I was invited to be on the committee in regard to our city clean-up as well as to help feed the homeless.

Connecting with my community has been something that I have been striving to do for years. I feel that since moving back, the pieces to many of my life’s adventurous puzzle pieces have been falling right into place. I am at the start of this new journey and the excitement is high. I can’t help but imagine all the treasurable moments that are going to come from this new direction I have taken in. I can’t wait to meet people that are riding that wave that I’m on right now, those that are on my life frequency, who little by little will help change our community with me.

Contemplation Station

All I’ve really been doing the last couple of months is contemplating. I think about everything. I think about where I was a year ago, or 5 years ago. I think about the people I have met along the way, and have also lost within this process called life. I mourn the loss of those who are still alive but are no longer with us. I think about certain things that I would never even think twice about before. Like, why I’ve gone to the beach more since moving back to New Jersey then I did the entire time it was living in Florida. I find myself wondering how I have gotten into a stagnant routine or which I’m constantly craving more for myself but yet can’t take steps towards changing certain things in order to get the ball rolling my direction. I think about how I’ve gotten in my own way, and although I would love to blame this pandemic, I can only truly blame myself. I think about how my passions such as writing and painting have taken a back seat to drinking and thinking. I guess the silver lining to all of this is that at least I’m thinking.

Rock Bottom

“It’s only when we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”

-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight club

We hit our lowest of lows.

You believe that it truly cannot get any worse than it already has.

Yet what greater gift could life hand you? Sure, anyone could build on an already existing foundation but would it be building or more like reconstructing? The freedom lies in being able to choose the foundation on which to build on. We hit rock bottom and it’s something so shocking and earth shattering, even more so when it was expected or we saw it coming. We set blame on ourselves, or worse, on others.  We become so caught up in the anger and the resentment that we lose sight of the real opportunity that’s been offered. Many people out there would give anything  for an opportunity to start all over.

Rock bottom.

Who even invented that saying?? I mean it could be worse. You could be dust. A life cut short, as in, no mas, finito, poof, gone.

There will be some who read this and say, “Yea, well death sounds better than the shit I’m dealing with.” I say to you, “You say that now, but stare death in the face and more than half of you will hold on to dear life, clinging on for as long as you ultimately can.”

Turning to dust, that is your worse case scenario. Hitting rock bottom? You’re still a rock. You are still strong and well put together to still be considered a rock. Don’t take that strength for granted. You are all you need to start over. Yes, it will be difficult but it’ll also be so rewarding. Every bump and ding along the way will buff and shine you until all your hard work and dedication turns you into that smooth, beautiful pearl that you always were.

Rock bottom.

It’s that level before dust that one has to hit in order to tear down a life not meant for us in order to build one that truly serves us.

10748036_485087578300494_993079967_n Photo Credit: Natal Galvan *taken from a page from the book, The Secret