A Modern Gypsy

How does one know they are a gypsy?old-retro-antique-vintage-163136-medium

In my case it consisted of 5 elements.

The first was being born into family that already has its share of misfits, mystics, and psychics. My maternal grandmother was a midwife, tea leaf reader, and herbalist. My paternal grandmother was a garden diva who’s life revolved around the cycles of the Moon and the seasons. Both grandmothers were psychics.

Added to this generational milieu, was my love of travelling, my secret desire was to be a hippie, the pull of wild gypsy music, and books that took me to foreign countries.

Which brings me to element number two.

I was 16 lazing around in the backyard on a sunny summer day when I heard a voice. Yes, a voice!

This voice stated very precisely, “You were going to live and work overseas.”

As strange as it may seem, those words resonated with me and I had no doubt that they would happen.

In the ensuing years I based many decisions on this voice. For example, my career choice to become a teacher and the subjects I studied.

And although life took me down a few paths that appeared incongruent with the message of this voice, it continued to whisper to me.

An example of this, was urging my husband to pursue an overseas post with his company. Needless to say, he didn’t have the same inner pull that I had.

This became evident when divine intervention, the third element, changed our plans and thus the course of my life.

After much persuading my husband agreed to a holiday in Europe. Four of us planned a summer in Spain but destiny had different plans. For a reason I can no longer remember, that plan was cancelled and instead we headed to Greece.

From the moment I stepped out of plane in Greece and saw Mt Olympus I began to change. The pull of the voice became a magnet which culminated one day on a beach in southern Crete.

I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t want to go home.” He replied, “You can stay. You have another month of holiday, but I have to go back.”

I looked over at my two friends but they both had solid reasons for returning to Canada.

I left the group and waded into the water looking south. Wouldn’t you know it – there was the voice. This time it said, “Africa is over there. You will be there one day.” Once more I knew this was truth.

As we boarded the plane for home I vowed to Mt Olympus that I would return. The person who made this vow was very different from the one who greeted the mountain a month previous.

In Canada, I not longer fit into the world I had left and a 2 year battle began to raged within me. My spirit urged me on while my sense of duty and guilt tore at me.

Finally, I knew which path I had to take.

Stepping away from my marriage, security, and in some cases friends and family, was element 4. This was the step toward my vision. For the next couple of years, I was lead by an amazing series of synchroncities, one which opened the door to opportunity.

The opportunity was a chance conversation where I heard about CUSO at the U of A. How come I hadn’t heard about CUSO before?

From the moment I entered the CUSO office I knew I was in the right place. Here I was surrounded by friendly people sharing their stories of living in exotic countries.

I wasted no time. I signed up and then waited for my posting.

The voice from Crete whispered Africa but the CUSO staff felt it would be Asia. To be honest, I didn’t really care.

So, where did I go?

Six months later I found my self on a plane heading south to Nigeria, Africa. As I sat on the plane I knew without a doubt that there was a force much greater than myself sitting in the driver’s seat.

The final element in the making of this gypsy came on the day I moved into my new home.

With great ceremony Mrs. Scobie, the headmistress, drove the short distance to the house. She was so proud of it. On the outside a nice bungalow with an attached garage.

On the inside rickety furniture, curled and missing floor tiles, a seatless toilet, sink and tub but no water, a kitchen that consisted of a small stove and couple wooden boards for shelves, and 3 bedrooms with beds I wasn’t sure I wanted to sleep on.

Then there was the dust, cobwebs complete with spiders, termites in the door frames and more interesting creatures to be discovered later.

After Mrs. Scobie left I wandered from room to room and I all I could think of was, “What the hell have I done?” I sat in the living room and began to cry.

Right on cue there was the voice. “You have a choice go home or stay. It’s up to you.” I paused. I stopped crying. In popped the voice, “You wanted this.”

Yes, I did!
I was going to stay, make the most of it and have fun.

This was the final element in the making of a gypsy.

I choose this path, listened to my inner voice, followed where it led, took action, and made a decision to make the most of it.

This had taken me to 80 countries on all but one continent.
I have made the world my home.

My motto was and is: Where I am – there is home.

Change the channel.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”
– Deepak Chopra

The other day I took my car in for an oil change and came away with an unexpected gift.

https-::www.flickr.com:photos:nfsaBy habit before I leave my car for service, I shut off the audio and slide my seat back. I move the seat back as a curtsey to the mechanic’s knees. I assume they are taller than me. As for turning off the audio, I don’t like it when the service folks change my programming or radio station.

Do you also have something that bugs you when it gets changed? I have to admit that there was a time when I had a long list.

Getting back to the oil change. When my car was ready I got into it, adjusted the seat and headed off to the next destination. As I was driving along something caught my attention…the music was different but enjoyable.

I checked and sure enough it was on a different station. I left it there and began to pay more attention to the music and before I knew it I was welcoming the new tunes I was hearing.

Looking back at that incident I realized it was a good metaphor for life. Often we cruise along doing the same old, same old out of habit. This routine can become so comfortable and easy that we don’t want it to change.

Then when something unexpected happens we immediately attempt to get back to that comfortable old space. If we can get back to the status quo quickly all is well, if we can’t then thoughts of fear, anger and unease grab hold of us.

We might even get into the thought circle of questions: “Why me? Why do things like this always happen? Why do I have to change?” Or simply, “I don’t like this and don’t want this!”

I have been there! Now that I can look back on it I see how much time energy I wasted on these thoughts that created nothing but unhappiness and stress. My favourite game used to be the thought circles!

Much like discovering the new radio station left by the mechanic, life often presents us with different ways of looking at or doing things. We have a choice to welcome them in or set a road block of misery. The great thing is, we always have a choice.

Change and choices are constant. We are offered so many channels and programs, it seems like a waste if we don’t grab on to some of them.

With a different program comes new vistas, new experiences, and opportunities.

You can stay where you are or you can change the station and discover something new. A surprise is awaiting you!

Share a time when you embraced the unexpected to find something new, wonderful or enjoyable.

Unleash your thoughts!

What if you stopped trying to control your thoughts?

off leash

You know those thoughts like: “I shouldn’t be thinking that, it’s not nice, or positive or spiritual, or healthy or whatever.”
I think you get the idea.

Somewhere along life’s path, the belief that some thoughts are good/positive/desirable and others are bad/negative/undesirable took hold.

As a result you expend a huge amount of energy trying to have only positive thoughts. Then we exert even more energy beating ourselves up for those unfavourable thoughts that creep in.

Looks like a battle you’re never going to win.

What if you could unleash all your thoughts in the same way that you unleash your dog in the off-leash park? As soon as your dog is unleashed it bolts for joy. What about you, if you unleashed your thoughts could you be totally comfortable with all of them?

Or does the fear that they will run amuck keep you from taking that chance?

I was afraid of unleashing my thoughts. I believed that if I allowed my thoughts free rein I would get myself into all sort of trouble. I also strongly believed that I had to control them.

I spent a great amount of energy ignoring negative thoughts, pushing them away, trying to twist them into positive forms or looking for other ways to fix them. None of these methods worked! They just kept coming back.

As I watched my thoughts I discovered a Universal truth about thoughts, by themselves are neutral! It is only what we put into the thought, our labels and judgement, that give a thought its value.

I choose what I think. I choose what I add to a thought to give it value.

This choice was my power. I can choose to give a thought meaning by adding labels, conditions, and judgements, OR I could add praise, encouragement and kindness, OR I could choose to watch them float by without any involvement from me. It is very powerful to know that I can choose the world in which I want to live.

So, perhaps what you are afraid of isn’t that your thoughts will run amuck, but the fear of unleashing your innate power to create though choice.

Something to reflect upon from Sydney Banks: “Thought is not reality; yet it is through Thought that our realities are created.”

Therein lies your power and your freedom.