Babysitting meditating …same thing

I realized something about my mind. I need it. But I need it to not do certain things at times it really wants and to keep quiet from time to time. That is a tall order if you’ve ever tried meditating.  I joined a 50 day challenge where I meditate for 10 minutes a day. Anybody can find 10 minutes, right? What about quieting your mind for 10 minutes. Virtually impossible (initially) and 100% OK!

Pretend you are babysitting your mind. It’s gonna wander, that’s it’s job. But suddenly your role as your soul is to babysit that little creature. When it says something to get your attention just say ‘shh it’s ok I know you hear that’ or want that or think that or feel that. It’s ok a thought comes up. Let it. Then sit back and watch. Listen. Breathe. Set your alarm so you can be free of time for a minute….. or 10.

Sleeping Bag

listen to your heart

The homeless travelers in Colorado Springs stand on the highway exit corners collecting an undisclosed plethora of coins, paper money, uneaten fast food lunch I didn’t want after all, 2 large unsweetened tea cause I asked for sweet tea I’m a Southerner now in the West, cans of sardines, to name a few. Last week the wind was blowing crazy like it only does around the plains and yep it was cold and snowy. I’m in my toasty warm lovable Kia Sportage and there he stands shivering with his cardboard reused sign ‘Need Help’ so I gave him my sleeping bag. Chica doesn’t know yet as I’d used it for her to stay warm when she takes her copilot seat. The traffic light remained red for some time as the grey and orange bag whipped around the disheveled fellow as he stood waiting patiently for the next flow of onlookers. I rolled my window down again and gave him one of my many cloth bags cause I’m a silent bag lady too. He scurried back with a grin saying ‘thanks man.’

Yesterday as I was walking around the adorable welcoming snowy town of Manitou Springs I spotted a fellow curled up under the bushes in a sleeping bag with the morning sun resting on his quiet form. He looked rather comfortable but I know better.

Try telling a mother and business woman facing retirement she should get pregnant because after all it brought her such joy and purpose. She would not need to answer and could inwardly chuckle as she continued to plan her future freedom life out from under all the shady business situations she’d faced working in the system as well as all the critiques she’d swallowed during her parenting years as she attempted to do the best for the fruits of her loins.

Ok so I’m not facing retirement but I relate to her. As a rock climber would turn and walk away from some strangers encouragement to jump on a climbing route without ‘good beta’ from a trusted source. I’m at a spot where I neither want to get pregnant nor jump on any rock requiring vertical ascent. Substitute the suggestions of what should a nurse do? ICU, ER, private duty, hospice liaison, cardiac unit step down, travel nurse (hard!), inpatient rehab RN, camp nurse, Health Director, occupational health nurse at a lumber plant, and most recently school nurse. I’ve done it all. Loved it and can list why I will not do each again.

As my own employment grim choices are laid out in front of me I can’t help but think I might need another sleeping bag.

Cowboy

Outlaw caught my attention first as at 5 months old she was 4 ft tall and 105 lbs. Huge black male German Shepard with attached owner on one side named Cowboy. Long grey hair and you can imagine with the cowboy hat and boots, every finger ordained with silver turquoise jewelry. He was out leash-training his pup and this was no silent matter as Outlaw has quite the bark and I didn’t want to challenge his bite. The conversation began as I’d been walking from my rental just a block up in the canyon and close to town. It’s a quaint cozy eccentric kind of folk community of Manitou Springs, CO. Been here 4 months and being slow to pay attention to details, it took me 3 of those to realize there were 12 fresh water soda mineral infused springs bubbling at spots throughout town. The Indians didn’t live here but intentionally passed through for the healing waters. Back to Cowboy and Outlaw, what an encounter. Where is Flannery O’Connor when I need her?

Let’s just say long story short I’m now looking at this framed memorabilia of Cowboy and his 35 years of playing Buffalo Bill in the rodeo show in Wyoming from a spot in his living room. He looks the same as the beaming confidence he emits in person, just 40 years younger. His high ceiling cottage is tucked up on the hill with lots of others all aching for an upgrade and a fresh can of paint. A rock collector and ex-Vietnam Vet with a huge service dog, an internal sound system futuristic, in it’s midst, as well as Cowboy’s built in friend “Alexa”. You heard me and she hears him. Each request he shouts has just a little aggression noted as it’s a commanding relationship in the fullest. She graciously responds and turns on lights or t.v. shows or finds attempts to retrieve a Grateful Dead song for me when that topic comes up in our group conversation.

My visit was brief and just a glimpse of what I get myself into. No harm just gotta shake your head of judgement and accept everybody lives their own life and hopefully it’s to the fullest of their ability as Cowboy is doing. He made it clear they’d honorably discharged him way back before he arrived in Manitou Springs. He added it was because they didn’t want a weapon in his hands. Lol. And the healing he has gotten from remaining within these canyon infused pockets of town and the 14,000 ft beauty of Pikes Peak as our background sky as well as drinking it’s water corresponding vortexes being key to his happiness.

I have this inate quality of making any soul feel accepted, willing, and ready to open their closets with skeleton’s without fear. I think it’s cause I’ve been a nurse for awhile now, a mother for a while longer, and an open hearted little girl for a very long time. I carry with me my empathy and corresponding experiences to share if only heartfelt understanding.

I remember the first time I connected with a homeless person without judgement or fear but with a mother’s love. I was riding the BART busline in San Francisco. My then 18 year old daughter just starting her freshman year of college in the bay area and as such, flying from the nest. Gazing out the window as the transit hummed along, I saw this dirty bearded fellow with his long brown coat and shoe laces dangling standing on the side of the road amidst trash and city winds.

I thought to myself, ‘That’s somebody’s little boy.’ I felt his mother’s love for him. Somewhere, maybe only in spirit.

I’ve come view most of society from those eyes I’ve gained. Years after that day on the bus, I’d find myself in a form of homelessness. I had a car and a seaonal job, but my heart felt homeless. It would take actually being physically ‘home less’ to discover the secret. Homeless people/‘travelers’ have found a spiritual home those with material homes silently seek.

Cowboy and his sidekick Outlaw now have both homes. He deserves it for his service for our country’s freedom, and  I’m happy he found it in this old western cross through of a town.

….. fall in my path

Since I work ‘seasonally’ and that season is coming to an end on my time off this winter I decided to ‘work in exchange for room and board’ which is turning out to be quite interesting even before it begins. I thought it would just be random farms and it’s turning out to be spiritually based places past present future tense depending on the situation. I ‘chose’ them due to proximity and or looks like a place I wanna visit (the one in Canada).

The first I’ll see in 2 weeks. It’s a couple on their ‘first calling’ who’ve been given a parsonage for the Lutheran church they now guide about 1 1/2 hours just west of Fishkill, NY. When we last spoke she said ‘Ok I’ll have lunch ready when you arrive!’ I”m happy already. Next is a woman outside of DC (again 1 1/2 hours) who bought a 100+ yr old church several years ago just to renovate as it was near her father who has since passed. She’d wanted to sell it but something kept telling her to stay put so she ‘Airbnb’s’ it and wants me to help get yet another room in order for that reason. I’ll be there for 2 weeks. Yet another actually contacted me (I did the initial reach out but then forgot all about her) from Ontario CA. Ends up she is a holistic healer and certified midwife. She runs her wellness business from her home. I’ll start seedlings and make herbal stuff etc ….

Things seem to fall into my path …… so the journey continues.