Feeling good

Roan and I high-tailed it out of Hondo, Texas about 9 AM Thursday, light rain on our trail. We headed west on Highway 90, safely south of the flooding rains and golf ball-size hail.

After more than 300 miles, we decided to spend the night at the Marfa Lights Viewing Center.

The Marfa lights “are sometimes red, sometimes blue, sometimes white, and usually appear randomly throughout the night, no matter the season or the weather.”

Pegasus at the Marfa Lights Viewing Center, Marfa, TX, 22 October 2015I drove past the building, pulled over to left gravel shoulder, leveled, and put out the front slide. All set for the night.

As the sun set and the moon rose, car after car pulled into the lot. We saw people, some with flashlights, most without, but no mysteriously patriotic lights. But it was cold and dark and we didn’t really look. And I didn’t really sleep.

Having trouble sleeping out on the road, in the middle of “nowhere,” is not unusual. But not sleeping last night was odd.  I was in familiar territory, back at LoW-HI RV Ranch in Deming, New Mexico.

After a second night of hit-and-miss sleep, I take care of Roan and go for a fast-paced walk, my Deming routine.

I head out of the RV park and turn right on O’Kelley Road. Wind gusts up to 29 mph push from the north. But the sky is blue and the sun bright. I pull my sweatshirt jacket hood over my Hardcore Choppers baseball cap and headphones.

No podcast today. Instead I select “Highly rated” from the DJ feature on my MP3 player. The first song:  “Feeling Good” by Carly Rose Sonenclar:

Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.
And I’m feelin’ good.

“Feeling Good” by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

Whoosh! The top of my head blows open like a balloon. Sparks and tingles flow lava-like, a skull cap of energy.

Before I hit the road I watched TV, a lot of TV.  And yes, I was hooked on all the programs searching for the next music superstar.  I voted for Kelly Clarkson that first season of “American Idol.” But the performance that really got me, the one I can’t forget, was Carly Rose Sonenclar’s 2012 “X Factor” audition.

Singing at age 2, on Broadway at age 7, 13-year old Carly Rose was understated that day, perhaps purposely so. She wore jean shorts, a black vest over a sleeveless white tee, and sandals. Long brown hair pulled back with a barrette. Her rendition of the Nina Simone classic brought the house down and the judges up, even notoriously cynical Simon Cowell.

And now I’m feeling good too. Like if I ran fast enough I could spit in gravity’s eye and lift up, off the ground, and fly.

And then the next song:  “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder.

Whoosh, whoosh!  Now I’m cruising west on O’Kelley, singing and dancing to the music.  I swear I’m levitating. It’s like anything could happen — anything at all — and that anything would be great.

And I’m feeling good.

Now time for a nap.

Know nothing

Who am I?
Why am I here?
What do I want?

I don’t know.

I’m out here flailing around with everyone else, questioning my life and choices daily if not hourly.

What I do know, however, is that we’re here on Earth to learn. As Souls, we’ve designed these lives to help us learn.

These are 10 things I’ve learned since Amber died in September 2008, opening whole new worlds to me.

Adopt what resonates with you, discard the rest, or do nothing at all.

Free will.

1. We’re all on our own unique path.

Like spokes of a wheel, all paths lead to Mother-Father Source, or whatever you call the Divine Creator.

No path is “better” or “worse” than another.

2. We create the life we have.

To quote Seinfeld, “We are the masters of our domains.”

We are 100 percent responsible for our life. Not our parents or siblings, friends or enemies. Not lawyers or the government.

Every decision we have made since we were old enough to choose has resulted in the life we have today.

You are not a victim. Don’t give your power away. How you react to anything is entirely up to you.

3. Live from love and the world will blossom before you.

Don’t get caught up in the madness of fear programming. Turn off the TV. Skip the nightly news. And don’t worry — if something really important happens you’ll hear about it.

Try every day, every moment, to live from love rather than fear. Fear paralyzes and disempowers. Love makes us strong.

4. Use discernment.

Listen to your Inner Voice. Measure all you hear and see against what the Heart knows.

The answers and Ultimate Truth lie inside of you. Stop looking for it outside of yourself or from other people.

You don’t need a “guru,” you are the guru (Gee you are you).

Others may help you remember but you are the ultimate authority on you.

5. Embrace change. Embrace not knowing.

The only constant in life is change. Glow with the flow.

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.
Life is but a dream.

6. Allow the Universe to support you. Trust that It will.

Say to yourself “I am open to receive” and allow. The Universe is Infinite and Abundant. And you — a spark of Source — are too.

7. Birth and death are just changes in form, like water to ice to steam.

The Soul never dies, it just changes venue.

8. Dare to dream.

Life is meant to be fun, an adventure.  The only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves.

Get quiet and ask yourself: What do I want to do? And then, despite all the skeptics and naysayers, including your inner critic, do it.

9. Have compassion for yourself. Through you, that compassion will flow to others.

“We’re not meant to be perfect,” Jane Fonda said on Master Class, “We’re meant to be whole.”

Not perfect, not saintly — whole.

10.  When all is said and done, I know nothing.

Plan for now

When I first started out on the road in May 2013, my plan was to have no plan. I wrote about it in “This plan of mine.” But then my plan changed, becoming: To eventually figure it out. So, here I am, eventually figuring it out, a “now” at a time.

The plan for now is to leave Milwaukee on Tuesday, 29 September. My first destination — New Orleans for a weekend workshop with John Armitage titled “Journey Into Oneness.”  (I mentioned John and New Paradigm Multi-Dimensional Transformation [NPMDT] in “Freedom from Fear”.)

I’m allowing 10 days for the 1,000-mile drive.  Depending on how things go, I may stop a night or two along the way, or hightail it south and park at Elks Lodge No. 30 in Metairie until I check-in at the pricey but convenient French Quarter RV Resort on October 8.

After NOLA, I’ll head west on I-10 to Houston where I hope to meet up with Allie and Madeline. Then across Texas with a possible stop in Hondo at the Alamo Area SKP Co-op. I spent several months in Hondo last fall and winter.

My next long-term stop is the LoW-HI RV Ranch in Deming, New Mexico. The Loners on Wheels (LoWs), an RV club for single RVers, have their fall rally at the end of October. I spent a few months in Deming this past spring. It will be nice to see old friends in both Hondo and Deming.

The plan for now is to stay in Deming for one or two months before heading across Arizona into southern California. I’m taking yoga teacher training at YogaWorks in Costa Mesa starting in January 2016. After completing 200 hours, I’ll be accredited through Yoga Alliance to teach.

I’ve been practicing yoga off and on since I was a kid.  My earliest yoga memory is from the 1970s, watching Hatha Yoga with Mrs. Kathleen Hitchcock on PBS. I remember lying on my back on the hard kitchen floor in snail pose, knees bent and tucked beside my ears.

Over the years, I’ve taken classes in many types of yoga including Hatha, Kundalini, Bikram, Vinyasa, and Yin.

I fell back in love with yoga in Granada, Nicaragua this past August. The four classes I took at PURE  reignited my passion.  As I wrote in my application, I want to take teacher training to:

…help myself and others deal with the daily challenges and stresses of life. Yoga helps me fully let go, relax, and breathe. Yoga helped me deal with the deaths of my dog, both parents, and former lifestyle with serenity and grace. I want to give this gift to others, as well as to myself.

I’ve applied for a work-study scholarship that would cover half of the tuition. While in Orange County, we’ll be parked at Elks Lodge No. 1952 in Garden Grove, about 11 miles north of the studio.  Come visit!

So that is the plan for now.

What’s your plan for now, Dear Reader? Please do tell.

An eternity in Congress

Since leaving Hondo, Texas on 12 January, Roan and I have bounced across three states. We spent one night in Marathon, Texas; two nights in Deming, New Mexico; a week each in Benson, Mesa, and Cottonwood, Arizona (with side trips to Jerome and Sedona); and five nights in Quartzsite. Whew!

We’re ready to settle down for what seems like an eternity — three weeks at the Escapees North Ranch in Congress, Arizona.

So, what’s in Congress, Arizona? Apart from less than 2,000 people, not much from what I’ve seen since getting here five days ago — a dollar store, a Country Corner gas station/convenience store, a post office where my mail is addressed to General Delivery. Fortunately, there’s more nearby.

Congress, Arizona and surrounding areasWickenburg , the closest “big” town with less than 10,000 residents, is 17 miles away, and boasts two grocery stores — an old Bashas and a new Safeway. I prefer the latter and not only because it stocks Cook’s magnums. It reminds me of home. The layout is almost the same as the one in Hunters Woods.

The nearest Walmart — this full-time RVer’s favorite store (sorry Dad) — is in Prescott (pronounced “Preskitt”). Arizona’s first capital city, Prescott is 44 miles northeast and about 3,000 feet up AZ-89. No vehicles over 40 feet allowed 37 miles ahead, the sign at the base of AZ-89 warns. Miles of switchbacks between here and there.

Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains, Yarnell, Arizona
Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains, Yarnell, Arizona
Between Congress and Prescott lies tiny Yarnell , just 10 miles up AZ-89. I drove up there on Wednesday, with Kathy, a new friend from Quartzsite, and her dog Kip. Our mission: to see the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains, “…a shaded grotto of oak trees and granite boulders.”

Remnants of buildings at the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains
Remnants of buildings at the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountains
The Shrine did not escape the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 firefighters in June 2013. In addition to damage to the Stations of the Cross and guard rails, the small, privately funded shrine and retreat center lost several buildings.

Back in Congress, Roan and I are enjoying this respite from the road and the Sonoran Desert’s perfect winter weather: china blue-white marbled skies, highs in the 70s, lows in the 40s, virtually no humidity.

Birds call and whistle, soft breezes caress from the north, traffic from nearby AZ-89 hums low, an occasional train creeps silently by. Only an errant sonic boom from jet fighters playing “chicken” disturbs the peace, spooking the cattle.

The sun sets over North Ranch, Congress, Arizona
The sun sets over North Ranch, Congress, Arizona

Roan, we’re not in Texas anymore

The sun rises on SKP Saguaro Co-op (Benson, Arizona)
The sun rises on SKP Saguaro Co-op (Benson, Arizona)

Now this is more like it — clear skies and 69°F. I can live with this. Sunny days in the 60s and 70s, starry nights in the 30s. Even Roan’s shedding his winter coat.

We left Alamo Area SKP Co-op — our home since late September — on Monday, heading west, north, and up on US-90. I drove 285 miles, climbing to almost 4,000 feet, to Marathon Motel & RV Park in Marathon, Texas.

Tuesday dawned grey with freezing drizzle and a weather advisory. I debated staying an extra day or two until the weather warmed.  A call to the Texas Department of Transportation, however, assured me that US-90 was good the 120 miles to Van Horn and Interstate 10. So off we went.

Tuesday, I drove 354 miles through El Paso and Las Cruces to Deming, New Mexico. We spent the next two nights at the LoW-HI RV Ranch, home of Loners on Wheels. It rained, then snowed, then rained again all day Wednesday.

The next morning, thin ice covered Pegasus and topped the slide outs, falling in shards as I retracted them. The water hose was frozen. The air was cold, the sun warm.  Water dripped off Pegasus’s eastern flank. And off we went.

Our route from Hondo, Texas to Benson, Arizona (815 miles)
Our route from Hondo, Texas to Benson, Arizona (815 miles)

Thursday, we drove a short 176 miles, across the Continental Divide in western New Mexico, to our destination —SKP Saguaro Co-op in Benson, Arizona. We’ll stay here until Wednesday, 21 January, when we’ll head to Quartzsite to boondock (camp without hook-ups) with the Escapee Solos.

Every winter Quartzsite explodes from a population of less than 4,000 to several hundred thousand.  In January and February, the wide open desert, just 15 miles from the California border, is the place to be if you’re an RVer in southwest Arizona.

Why Quartzsite? Three reasons: 1) Good weather, 2) Virtually free camping on public lands, and 3) A Big Tent filled with vendors targeted towards RVers. (Which came first — the RVers or the Big Tent?)

After a few days of dry camping in Quartzsite, it’s back to “civilization,”  specifically Mesa, for a week. Teri and Tom fly in from Milwaukee for a brief respite from winter on 27 January. Who knows what fun we’ll get into! Roan will be so surprised to see them.

After that, February’s to-do list includes getting the InvisiBrake system looked at — it’s draining the car battery — and finding someplace to stay until the Escapade RV rally in Tucson in early March.