July 2011


I live in a lovely apartment on the first floor with one floor above me. The windows face a vibrant tall green hedge that separates me from the building next door. I have the space I need – an eat-in kitchen, a bedroom, lots of closet space, and a main room. This main room serves as my dining room and living room.

When I walked by my dining room table the other morning, I noticed that the tablecloth was
drenched and the table, of course, was wet. Then I realized there was a hissing noise coming from the ceiling. “Hmmm…It’s summer in Los Angeles and it’s certainly not raining.” Yet as I stood staring alternately between the ceiling and my soaked table, I realized there was a gentle mist cooling me down!

“Oh my! There’s a small leak in the ceiling somewhere!” I knew I had to move the table and threw some towels on the hardwood floor. That was about all I could do, and I headed out to see a friend and ask for help. During the short walk, the first thought that came to me was something I’ve learned in classes in the past year, “This event is for my training and development. It’s for my spiritual growth.” OK, I am willing student and tried to figure out what I was training for and what I was to develop. I felt an inner calmness connecting to the fact that this was not a malicious, rather an event to help me grow.

What a big accomplishment, I felt. I had internalized the message in the moment. I was pleased…until the following Friday.

Six days after the misting event, I received a medical bill requesting immediate payment. The health practitioner’s office billed me because, as the invoice said, I didn’t have insurance. “What?” I screamed (to the walls). “What are those turkeys thinking? Of course, I have insurance. I gave them my insurance card, they copied it. They know I have insurance.”

I proceeded quickly and angrily to call the health practitioner’s office. Of course I had to solve this problem right away. It could absolutely not wait until Monday. “How incompetent of them,” I thought.

After the situation was resolved, and I resumed breathing and functioning at a normal pace,
I had a proverbial “smack in the forehead” moment. “What did I just do? Where was the sense of inner calm that I had six days ago? Wasn’t this, too, sent to me for my training and development?”

Yes, it was. Then where was my training and developing? I caught myself after the fact – not in
the moment.

That’s my life’s dance: Two steps forward, two steps backward, cha, cha, cha!

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It’s my blog’s second anniversary! It’s been an incredible journey since July 2009.

As we travel through our days, we meet challenges that help us grow emotionally, spiritually, and professionally. Two years ago, my main challenge was living productively while unemployed.

I explored different avenues during my unemployment. I took classes to expand my skills. There were interesting career workshops where I heard dynamic and inspiring speakers. I traveled to several cities to take part in networking meetings. And at each station along the ride, I learned something new about myself.

That was the original intent – to explore the professional growth through writing.

Often, during our life’s journey, we travel various tracks. We start down one track, see that we’re headed in a great direction and then the train stops. Another train crosses the track, or there’s been an accident – something that stops the train. At that point, we might need to disembark and board a train on a different track. That’s what happened to me about four months into
the blog – I changed trains.

I left my luggage on the first train. I wasn’t sure of the destination; I took a chance.  The passengers were friendly and the staff helped all of us get comfortable for the ride. And the conductor was the best guide! We passed plains with beautiful fields and mountains lined with evergreens. I saw rivers with shimmering blue water. We hit our share of rain storms. Then we traveled through dry deserts. Some days, the sky was grey and gloomy. Other times we had perfect light blue skies and sunny days.

I’ve been on this train for a while now. There are twists and turns – we travel up and down. Although I didn’t know where the train was headed it’s been worth the ride. To quote Robert Frost, “I took the [the road] less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

July 4 has come to mean the true beginning of Summer. It’s a day of parades, barbecues, beaches, and fireworks. There are many venues for these outdoor events. My favorites are the impromptu backyard – or rooftop – gatherings.

This year, my family hosted a spontaneous backyard barbecue, with something to do for each member. Some folks brought the tasty and non-traditional main dishes. (This crowd appreciates the exotic BBQ fare!) Others provided salads and drinks. And the kids enjoyed basketball, bubbles, and ring toss – in between courses. The weather cooled down to “just right,” with a lovely, gentle breeze. Perfect.

As the sun set and the sky grew darker, I joined some friends on a rooftop to watch the fireworks. We figured we’d only be able to view one or two local shows, including the Hollywood Bowl. Instead, we had a 360-degree firework display!

“Hey – they’re straight ahead,” I called out.

“Yeah – and I see some at 3:00!” another friend yelled.

“Wait! Turn around – there are some over the Marina behind us!”

“If I turn anymore,” Anne* said, “I’ll get whiplash!”

Giggles! Unabashed laughter!

We saw patriotic fireworks (red, white, and blue). There were fireworks that looked like silvery drizzling rain. And one of the sites set off a display of what looked like floating golden balloons. Oooohhhs! Aahhhhs! Instead of watching one display for 15 minutes, what a treat to view an hour of stunning and colorful fireworks!

The simple pleasures…

(*Not her real name)