I'm amazed at how the essence of ourselves continues to surface even when we may not be sure who we are at times in our lives. I sense a consistent energetic quality to my being from when I was a child. It’s always been letting me know whether I’ve been aligned with it or not. I just don’t think I knew how to listen. Maybe that’s why the Universe has sent me some traumatic adjustments in life. To set me straight.
Perhaps the feelings of overwhelm, disconnection and loneliness have to do with an energetic misalignment? Why do we feel alive in some environments or depleted by others? Why do we choose to live in a small town or a high-rise building in a bustling city?
Is it possible that anxiety, fatigue and illness can result from being out of flow with our true nature? Where can our true peace and joy dwell inside a facade of happiness in the house of should?
I’ve lived in many shouldy places. I should be thinner. I should be more accomplished. I should floss more. I should have been able to get a well paying job with awesome benefits.
Today, with 100% conviction, I can tell you that I am unemployable.
This does not mean that I’m not smart, it doesn’t mean I don’t have skills. In fact I have some very marketable skills. But at 52 years of age, having always been part of the 1099 world other than restaurant jobs, there’s no place for me in the employee/employer world of grown up salaried jobs.
This means no health, dental and vision benefits. It means no reliable steady income. It means no 401K plan, paid vacation or sick time and any of the other perks people get under a companies employ. And the pension benefits my attorney pressed me to secure during the divorce will amount to a whopping $146 a month when he retires.
Math has not been my strength, but my numbers don’t add up to a sustainable life in one of the most expensive cities in California.
So, I’m venturing off on another let me figure out a plan D adventure. This time to Thailand. For a while, or forever - if there is such a thing.
This year, I’ve been listening to my inner wisdom and paying attention to my emotions created from different experiences.
I’m trying to be more like the baby whose entire physical body rejects something disagreeable.
If it feels like a sour lemon, why would I keep doing that to myself? I'm finally tapping into my deep desire to experience life, be an observer of that experience and communicate it to others through writing. That tastes like The Madonna Inn toffee cake to me; delicious. Crave-able.
My first book was intended to be about how volunteering could heal the pain of heartbreak. I had it all figured out. One year of volunteering and I'd be over it. Done. All healed and moving on with life.
Oh how naïve I was.
But the beautiful gift that came from that awful time in my life was the fulfillment of a life-long dream to write a book that would help people.
It is only because of a long-term friendship that another life-long dream is becoming a reality. At the end of March I leave for Kanchanaburi, Thailand where I’ll be volunteering for a month at Elephant’s World, a sanctuary for abused, sick and older elephants.
I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous. I ask myself what the hell I got myself into?! Why couldn’t I have decided to write about 5 star resorts instead of going to spend a month sleeping on a mattress under a mosquito net in a hut with no air conditioning during the hottest month of the year in Thailand?
Not to mention smelly elephant poop, Zika, Malaria, Typhoid, twenty-hour flights, theft, and the more serious concerns a woman has traveling solo.
The hermit and the adventurer parts of myself are in great contrast. The hermit wants to have the safety and security of the known and familiar. But the adventurer asks what would there be to write about if everyday were the same?
Although, in a way, everyday will be the same at the elephant sanctuary preparing the elephant's food, getting ready for the daily visitors, working on projects and cleaning up for the day. Well then, maybe I shouldn't bother after all!
Shhhhhhh Hermit, you'll be okay.
Patty Blue Hayes is the award winning author of Wine, Sex and Suicide – My Near Death Divorce and the self-help book, My Heart is Broken. Now What? If you'd like to contribute a comfort food recipe for her upcoming cookbook, email, email@example.com
Check back for posts on the elephant adventure and the makings of the 2nd life experience book.