So much can be said about taking time for you.
There is no perfect recipe on what constitutes the necessary amount of space or hours or minutes to explore and understand the depth of the heart. The passages that breathe and reveal are an ever-present expansion of what it means to live fully and more present than before. I am in that space at this moment, and although I have encountered random occurrences of heart revelations, they are happening more within me than what I deemed possible.
Taking a solo road trip is presenting me with an array of sights, sounds, and faces who I never would have expected. My strength this go-round is coming from a deep place. The trips over the western landscape in decades past have usually included the standard stop and go of typical places. I was more on auto-pilot and not entirely open to surprises or the graciousness of strangers. I felt less trusting back then. I felt more in a rush to get from point A to point B. I was so into busying myself in the car that I never picked my head up to look around because I already had the notion that most of the scenery might have been boring. It was an unusually different world back in those days, and today’s journey is from the most heart-centered perspective than I could imagine.
Instead of giving way to worries and angst, my place on the road is full of openness, awareness, and connections. I have a loose plan, but I am taking one diversion after another, simply because it feels right at the moment. This is showing me more of my heart and those intricate emotions that become lodged in places that were remnants of the old me. My only fear on the road is whether I took the correct turn, whether I will have enough gas to make it to the next stop, and if there is a cool place to rest my body. Otherwise, I’m all in, heart and soul.
I’m singing and crying to sappy love songs. I’m subsiding on meager amounts of the healthiest food I can find, but if I crave a Snicker’s bar with a roadside cup of tea, I go for it with no regret. Stopping over in random places off the beaten path that miraculously show up are giving me pause. And the people who I meet are full of stories and oddities that unfurl even more layers of my heart. This is why I chose to take a month to explore and do things differently. Since I had been thinking about it for so long, I leaped off the edge and had more faith than I could muster. One eye-popping moment can turn into an entire short story, and I have to stop to jot down every single thing that feels meaningful, and there are so many.
My creativity and inspiration have exploded once I felt the freedom of hitting the gas pedal. A few bags packed, the necessities of getting by, and a notebook always on my lap or on the passenger seat has taught me to be more okay with minimalistic living. The feelings of uncertainty have given way to “yes, I am doing this.” I am more than elated with daily serendipitous events. If it’s not a feather I find on my path, it is a stranger at a rest stop, an old toothless man at a convenience store stop where I had to pee (his words were “I felt the need to tell you that God loves you and to have an excellent day”), any worker behind the counter where I need to refuel my nut supply, or a simple gesture of kindness-these are what makes the heart open wider and fuller. Often my heart wants to blow right out of my chest with the synchronicity of it all. Emotions of every color are front and center, and I find myself tearing up often with thoughts of love and life.
I love every aspect of the adventure. No amount of heat, long dry roads, arrogant 18-wheel drivers, motel guests who drink beer in the morning sunrise outside their doors, constant classic rock that joggles my brain from when I was a high school student, melted dark chocolate on the floor board, lip balm that has seen brighter days, or the weariness of my eyes from focusing for hours at the white center lines can deter my spirit. The goodness emanating from each place, regardless of the outcome, is heightening my soul and shedding some much-needed cobwebs from the apex of my heart. It is as if my aorta is trickling happy juices into all areas of my body, and I can’t help but smile.
This is a pivotal time. It is proving to be rich with compassion, full of love, and readying me to return home with all of my layers more exposed and unhinged than ever before.
Gerry Ellen is an author, freelance writer, and wellness consultant. Her first novel Ripple Effects was published in March 2012. She is a regular columnist for elephant journal and contributor to Be You Media Group. Besides her passions for writing, animals, the environment, healthy living, incredible friendships, heart-centered connections, and sharing her experiences of life and love, she never goes a day without her simple daily rituals. She believes that balance is key to all things meaningful. Her forthcoming book is a love story, due out in late Spring/early Summer 2014.