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Unexpected Gifts

Hello -- I'm waving to you from farm country, S Oregon. For almost a week now, I look out onto a lush, rolling landscape that has beautiful cattle grazing or grapevines . Since the organic farm "next door" practices sustainable agriculture, I'm never sure if the animals will be in the pasture right next door or down the hill and across the way. The farmers rotate use of the fields with the one for the vineyard remaining constant, of course. It is peaceful and really grounding. Huge turkeys were strutting around the backyard this morning and every day deer visit.

This is not where I thought I would be at the end of April. My "plan" was to have finished up a drive to Florida where, after visiting friends along the way, I would spend a week or so with family. Then, by now, I expected to have continued up the east coast, seeing friends and probably settling into Virginia for a few days at least. My ultimate destination for this particular journey was Boston where I envisioned myself returning to my favorite hospital for a summer contract. I'm writing all this to you from a sweet cottage where the nights are as dark as black velvet (no city light pollution here!), the stars fill the sky, and the only sounds I hear are from nature. I can see mountains on the other side of the meadows and I've had my hands in the dirt as I help my daughter create her vegetable garden.

So, what happened?!? I headed out four weeks ago with my car packed full. I'm getting better at "needing" less, but my gypsy life means I carry around quite a bit of stuff. I was less than 20 miles from the California border when my car protested loudly. Fortunately, I was close enough to Ashland, Oregon to slowly make my way back and call AAA. If I had gone even a few more miles south, I would have been in high mountain terrain where cell phone service is spotty at best and exits are few and far between. I am so grateful it happened where it did.

Yup, my engine blew and I need a new one. You may have heard that many things are on backlog for delivery and car parts fall into that category. I honestly don't know when my car will be ready, although the original guess was maybe next week ... ???

One of the reasons I write to you every week is because I want to share what I've learned over many years of trial and error. If I can help someone (you!) with some of my hard-earned wisdom, my research has not been in vain. I know I have benefited greatly from lessons learned. My advice today is centered around several people commenting on how "calm" I have been through these unforeseen circumstances. In truth, I have been at peace around it all -- what would be the alternative?!?

This week's Seed was in perfect timing:

"It comes down to this ... Can you control others? No. Can you control yourself? Yes. Then that's what you must do because that will have an effect on others."

Here are the facts:

  • I had a plan that I couldn't carry out

  • My car is undriveable for the time being

  • I had left my rented house and it was not available now

  • A lot of my trip was free-style except for my Dad's 93rd birthday and a family reunion in Florida beginning April 9

When my car first broke down, I thought it might delay my trip by a few days. I was anxious around not having as much time to drive from one corner of the U.S. to the other. When I found out my car wouldn't be driveable for at least four weeks, I actually felt serenity seep in. I realized my agenda had gone right out the window and now I could be open to maybe an even better one. If you've been with me for a while, you know I like mantras. In this case, I started repeating this or something better. I also fell back on my current fav phrase that Tony Robbins reminded me of when I participated in his Unleash the Power Within experience earlier this year -- Life happens for us, not to us. I've had a few people expect and even encourage me to get bent out of shape and be frustrated, worried, and outraged because it's going to take some time to get a new engine. I don't think that will speed up the delivery and it certainly won't make me feel very good. Anger is part of a downward spiral. I prefer to aim upward. Plus, I'll have a NEW engine when this is all over. I was without a place to hang my hat, although only briefly. Since I've been coming to this part of the country for the last eight years, I've made friends. Within a short period of time I had offers. I've stayed in a few different places and each one has been delightful in its own way. I was able to borrow my daughter's car, unload my boxes and suitcase, and I'm loving my extended opportunity to soak up the rural vibe. Finally, even though I didn't roll up in my own four wheels, I was still able to spend 10 days with my Dad and family in Florida. It took three planes to get there and two plus a bus for the return and it was all easy and relaxed. There have been other bonuses like having time to attend to the courses I signed up for online, putting quality time into creating Programs and talking to new clients. The summer hospital contract in Boston I thought was a sure thing might not happen and it's ok for now -- I don't know when I'll be there anyway. Finally, because my head hasn't been filled with "my" plans, my thinking has become more expansive. Now that I've been back on a plane after more than two years, I'm ready to open up more travel again. Back to Portugal, maybe? Or, someplace new? I can't control others or too many circumstances. I can control how I show up and treat people and situations. I have a full "tool" box and so far, it's working out great for me and this is what I wish for you. If you're wondering how to stay "calm" in the midst of turmoil, whatever that might be for you, let me know. Let's talk about what's going on. Send me an email and we'll schedule a time!

Sparkles and Love,


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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