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.

Summer Breeze

I’ve always said that I’m more of a “go with the flow” kind of girl. I don’t typically have much planned, at least not every little detail. I’ve usually got a general idea of what I’d like to do, but to say I’ve got my entire life mapped out down to the tiniest detail is completely untrue. Yet, having your whole life mapped out and having goals are two different things.

When I was younger I had my life totally mapped out. I knew what career I wanted, where I wanted to travel to, the type of husband I wanted to have, the style of family we were going to be (yes, I said style) and the home we would be creating in. All of this before I even knew who I was. As I got older and learned a couple of hard but meaningful lessons, I realized I was trying to live a highly contradictory life. Not contradictory because I wouldnt be able to live it, but because none of it was me. I went from a detailed plan to scratching all of it from my to-do list keeping only the traveling part.

I quit school and solely focused on working so that I could get from one place to the next. Finding love was importnant but there lied the problem. I was trying to find it, therefore I was constantly pointing myself in the wrong direction instead of letting it find me.

I also came to discover that I, in fact, was in no hurry at all to have children. As one does when on the road to self discovery, I asked myself Why? Why was I trying to find romantic love so hard but not with the end result of a child? The answer was the most honest and direct as I could be with myself.

I had a necessity in finding my best friend and partner so that I could enjoy all of life’s magic and splendor with someone. I would feel fulfilled with being able to share the journey of life and constructing memories of that journey with someone else. Having kids for me wasn’t a need. I feel as though for many, having children is a desire that most people have for they have a need to leave behind a footprint or legacy. I don’t have such desires.

So here I was, now in my late 20s. Only now I am beginning to differentiate what was important to me and what wasn’t. I lost most of my blueprint and only had one thing on my mind and that was to live life! During this time is when I lost my dear cousin in a tragic and unexpected accident which pushed me even harder towards living life for the now, fuck the later. The problem to this thinking? You begin to not set goals for yourself. You literally begin to live your days moment to moment with no thought to your future.

This is where I’ve been fort the last 4 years, floating.

Ok…. maybe “floating” is being a bit dramatic… or maybe… I’m trying to not be so hard on myself? I don’t know. What I do know is, after an immense break-down, I’ve begun to take my life back instead of letting it drift around with the breeze. I’ve started to make solid goals for my immediate future, because of course although “Summer breeze makes me feel fine…” to continuously allow yourself to drift along with it will most certainly be the death of you and your purpose.

Caution To the Wind

I put to rest another small and unhappy part of my life today, for I’ve learned from my previous experiences to not let unhappiness hang around for too long.

Today I decided to quit my part-time job.

I won’t lie, walking away from any sort of commitment, whether big or small, personal or professional, it’s always difficult to do. There are always pros and cons, of course. Most times if you’re at the point in which you are weighing out the negatives and the positives of your given situation, the cons will outweigh the pros. But, if you’re anything like me, once you commit, it’s too hard to quit no matter how difficult the situation may be.

Growing up my momma made sure to raise no fool. She instilled in us kids the values and principals of working hard and sticking to what you start, no matter the sacrifice and dedication it took. As kids, there was no such thing as “sick days” unless one was contaminated with something extremely contagious such as the chicken pox. We didn’t take days off of school without an important reason, and once I got older there was no such thing as “calling out” of work either. Think of it like this, in the 30 plus years that my mother has been employed at the casino, she has only called out of work four times, and it was due to snow. You can just imagine the work ethic my mother has and in turn has passed onto us. This is why in today’s time, if I find myself committing to something, be it a job, or project, anything really, I am committed. I am your loyal little work bee until something or someone prevents me from happily doing so.

The key word there was “happily”. I am a HUGE follower of happiness. I believe that happiness is a choice. You either choose to be happy or you choose to not be happy. I believe that while we’re here experiencing this life we chose, we either decide to make this a heaven on Earth, or Hell. Much of what helps us make our decision as to which way we live has to do with listening to ourselves and allowing intuition to direct us. I mean we have feelings for a reason. Feelings help guide us throughout life, and although people listen to some feelings, they don’t seem to consider all feelings. For instance fear is one feeling people tend to not only consider but over indulge in. Yes, fear allows us to avoid many dangerous situations, but at times it also limits people’s ability to experience things outside of their comfort zone.

A follower of happiness cannot simultaneously over indulge in the feelings of fear.  Yes, a follower of happiness can experience fear, but there is no overindulgence because to follow happiness, many times (most times) you must throw caution to the wind and not allow for fear to govern decision making. Happiness is a feeling that not many people take into consideration. Are you happy at work? Do you feel happy in your romantic relationship? Does your friendship bring you happiness? If not, are you willing to go on that pursuit of happiness no matter what it takes, or will you let fear take reign of your life? Many will read this and counter that one cannot be happy in all aspects of life. Those people are Debbie Downers. You CAN be happy in all areas of your life. People do it everyday. It’s a small percentage but there are those individuals that are truly happy in all aspects of their life. You just have to choose to be happy. Sure, it takes time, but if you’ve got the drive and determination, just like with anything else in life, you too can achieve all around happiness.

There is no need for me to say that my part time job wasn’t making me happy. It was no secret. I honestly couldn’t have been more vocal about it, and although I wasn’t there for long, I still feel annoyed with myself that I ended up staying there for as long as I did. There were many days full of anguish and unease that could have been avoided if only I would have left sooner. Yet, I can’t dwell on the past. Or I could, but for what reason? To extend that negative feeling?? Instead I’ll applaud myself for leaving the unhappy situation sooner than I have previously done in the past, merely because I let fear rule over my feeling of intuition.

“You need us as much as we may need you.” My ex-boss said to me as we spoke about our issues. Anyone who is an employee knows these are words that draw a line in the sand. So I either choose to believe that what he spoke is true and stay in a situation that brings me no joy. A situation that I’m in only because I don’t want to let others down. OR  I choose to cross that line and step out and over into the unknown. Where the door to comfort and familiarity closes and the window to new and endless opportunities await.

I chose to cross the line. The minuet I did I felt the greatest weight being lifted off my shoulders and in that instant I knew I did the right thing. Maybe not the right thing in the eyes of others, but for me it was the right decision. Now I’ve got an array of avenues to pursue. I can go this way or that way, while nothing negative is holding me back. In this NOW moment I can say that I am truly happy in all areas of my life and I plan to keep it this way. Yes, there will come a time (many more times) where a feeling of sadness or unrest will try to creep back in, but as a follower of happiness I am committed to myself to always do what makes my soul smile. I choose to pursue that which makes me radiate joy, positivity, and love so I not only continuously live in harmony with the Universe, but so that I can also serve as an example that one can truly achieve and live in overall happiness if one chooses to.

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