𝙅𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙀𝙖𝙨𝙩- 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙎𝙖𝙣 𝘿𝙞𝙚𝙜𝙤, 𝘾𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙖 𝙩𝙤 𝙏𝙪𝙘𝙨𝙤𝙣, 𝘼𝙧𝙞𝙯𝙤𝙣𝙖 𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙊𝙣𝙚
As we drive along Interstate 8 East leaving San Diego through Pine Valley, the snow alongside the road is fresh and ushers us along, inviting us to breathe and lean into the newness.
Julia is on Zoom with her math teacher. Thank goodness for Verizon wireless hotspot!
We make our way down the grade; the white snow turns to golden sand dunes and I am reminded of California’s diverse landscape I love so much. Aside from my beloved people, this, I will miss about California—her snow-covered mountains, redwood forests, breathtaking coast and sandy deserts. I grew up in the hills of Southern California and they shaped me in the best of ways. Spent the last decade in the San Francisco Bay Area where I grew roots in the East Bay and was able to spend a lot of time connecting with the land in Mount Shasta and Lake Tahoe.
Yet, I was born on the east coast and something deep draws me back —a remembering of sorts.
In many surveys, California was ranked as one of the top five states people moved away from in 2021. I can be added to the 2022 list. In some ways, it’s similar to leaving an unhealthy relationship. I release all the sweat, love and tears that I actually did pour into the CA state legislature and into the halls and walls of the state capital in Sacramento where I spent a decade standing 𝘍𝘖𝘙 bodily autonomy and health and medical freedom. My decade of heart-centered activism to ensure that all children in California receive a “free and fair public education” will never be in vain. Empowered vocalization, bathed in love, is an act of communion with that which is holy, an act of prayer.
I hold in my heart all of the CA health freedom warriors.
As for me and my house, we take a deep in–breath of the spirit (my favorite definition of inspiration) and synchronize with divine guidance.
My 16-year-old son just passed his driver’s license exam last week. Yay! He’s following behind me in his car and I’m more than impressed at how well he’s doing. It’s the first day of this expedition and he’s definitely on the intensive course! There are three cars in our convoy; my car leading the way.
We drive on and on.
The trains out this way crossing the great expanse of land have always fascinated me. They each carry their own story and personality, as do the tall Saguaro cacti. Julia and I talk about how we can feel their aliveness. Several invite us with open arms; another is actually hugging itself, and many more, with arms raised in jubilation. We feel the celebration!
I've experienced a cross country odyssey before, once in this direction east over 20 years ago, and twice in the opposite direction heading west. The Navy offered my family many opportunities over the years to explore this amazing country. I am deeply grateful for those experiences which enriched my life in immeasurable ways.
Though it appears very barren out here, when you take a closer look, through a different lens, the desert is bustling with life. I believe it was Thoreau who said,
"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see."
We finally arrive in Tucson, Arizona and while we still have days ahead of us, I rejoice in arriving here and take a conscious step out onto this sand— like a declaration of independence.
We took the first step! I am reminded of what Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Leaving California was no small feat, months in the making and now…all is in motion, a divine plan unfolding. With just a little willingness, we feel the inspiration, set intention, vibrate out to the universe and it echoes back.
In the quiet of the desert, surrounded by a biting February chill, cool wind and silence, I know that Peace is my compass and a new map is being crafted.
𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴.
𝙅𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙀𝙖𝙨𝙩- 𝙀𝙭𝙥𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙏𝙪𝙘𝙨𝙤𝙣, 𝘼𝙧𝙞𝙯𝙤𝙣𝙖 𝙩𝙤 𝙑𝙖𝙣 𝙃𝙤𝙧𝙣, 𝙏𝙚𝙭𝙖𝙨 𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙏𝙬𝙤
The Saguaro cacti have disappeared. Thich Nhat Hanh said that life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply. I’m sure glad that I was living, deeply, in the present moment with those magnificent cacti while they lined the interstate.
We breeze through New Mexico; I love their license plates.
As we enter Texas, I hold the yellow walkie-talkie two-way radio to my mouth and in my best Texas drawl report to my dedicated convoy, “Welcome to Texas, All, Y’all.” There’s blue sky for miles. We pass through El Paso and the energy constricts as does the traffic. Such as life, eh? At times we’re free flowing and at other times we may feel a little congested.
It feels like we could just reach out and touch Mexico. Somewhere on the other side of El Paso we’re in the vast openness once again. I embrace the adventure, always asking for inner guidance and wisdom to receive the encounters and the experiences meant for me…
My openness to change, to grow, to expand in awareness, is born out of willingness, a willingness to trust a knowing deep within, the willingness to go with the flow — like this freeway.
The speed limit is 80 mph. I don’t often drive 80 mph and so it feels quite fast, but oh- so- free. I begin to wonder if it’s too fast for my new driver tailing close behind, and I slow down. As if reading my mind, I hear the crackle of the two-way radio channel finding its signal, then his voice, he asks if we’re going to speed it up…
We merge into the left lane to pass the semi-trucks 85, 90…
There’s something so revitalizing out here. I speak it out loud, “Life, Life, Life, Revitalizing Life!” Those words came alive from something I once read. I think it was Louise Hay or maybe, actually, I do believe it was Catherine Ponder, 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘚𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘨𝘦𝘴.
I’m definitely revitalized!
We roll into Van Horn Texas just as the sun is setting and I am aware that simplicity offers deep serenity. As we look in every direction, we find the beautiful sky, marbled in lavender, pink and orange enveloping us.
𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦…
The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
𝙅𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙀𝙖𝙨𝙩- 𝙄𝙣𝙫𝙤𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙑𝙖𝙣 𝙃𝙤𝙧𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙎𝙖𝙣 𝘼𝙣𝙩𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙤 𝙩𝙤 𝘽𝙚𝙖𝙪𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙩, 𝙏𝙚𝙭𝙖𝙨
𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙏𝙝𝙧𝙚𝙚 + 𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙁𝙤𝙪𝙧
We chose to reroute due to inclement weather expected through Dallas. Ice, snow and freezing temps didn’t sound inviting to this astute convoy.
My heart was planted in the DFW area for nearly 5 years in 2003 and I had been looking forward to driving through Nicholas’ place of birth. We made some of the most joyful memories and lifelong friends there. Alas, it wasn’t meant for this voyage, so we adjust the sails and glide down Interstate 10.
One small issue. This is the second day that my tire pressure light has come on. Only this time, it doesn’t turn off. Thankfully I have a co-pilot and she retrieves the owner’s manual to refresh my memory as to which button will reveal what’s going on with my psi. Voila, I love this technology! All tire pressure is quite low and can apparently drop due to cold conditions. We’re about 45 minutes outside of Van Horn and I decide we must stop for air. We locate the first gas station on this stretch of nothingness, two old pumps and I don’t see air. I run inside to inquire. Around the back, we find the air. Yay! Tire blowout averted!
Caravanning through the belly of Texas feels never ending—Texas has an energy of boldness and grit and while I know it can rub some people the wrong way, I truly appreciate the raw and real temperament permeating from within this state.
My mom is along on this expedition with us and I’m grateful for her flexibility, calm and accepting nature and her willingness to trust the journey with us.
We schedule our breaks around the Love’s truck stops. Love’s offers clean bathrooms with many stalls, a wide selection of snacks and emergency items like Q-tips and nail clippers, a dog run and they typically have triple the number of gas pumps of any average gas station. These factors make it possible to have efficient and productive stops. When daily travel time is 6-7 hours, stops can potentially add a considerable amount of time if you’re not mindful!
However, we are!
Each night we check into a hotel and it’s nothing short of amusing. You see, we’re traveling with two leopard geckos, one corn snake and a hyperactive Boxer.
For as much commotion going on, we all remain in pleasant spirits!
The mantra…𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙅𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮! We keep our eye on the prize (our arrival to our new home state).
I believe that mantras invoke the Divine.
By the time we stop in Houston, I’ve used my horn more than I have in my entire life. This is surprising to my children who have always encouraged me to use my horn at times, but never would I! Perhaps I’m getting punchy or maybe the drivers around me are punchy. At any rate, my horn actually does work and it’s not until this evening sitting down to write did I make the connection to Van “Horn” Texas. I’m certain that this doesn’t refer to a car horn, but I can’t help but chuckle.
I typically drink kombucha daily. I haven’t had any since I left San Diego. Though Love’s has a lot to offer, they lack kombucha.
Lo’ and behold, somewhere before Beaumont I see ONE bottle of Synergy kombucha in the refrigerator at Love’s! I assume it’s a gift from the gods and give my thanks!
We find the register to check out. My tribe places their loot: snacks, drinks and junk food on the counter. The cashier rings everything up and lifts the bottle of kombucha and informs me that she can’t sell it to me. She doesn’t know where it came from. They don’t sell kombucha and don’t have a barcode for it. She must have felt my disappointment as I said, “Oh bummer, I’ve been hoping to find a kombucha and this is about the 8th Love’s we’ve stopped at and I was so excited.” She said, “Aww damn, now I feel bad” and she grabbed a can of monster energy drink behind her, scanned the barcode and handed me the fermented tea I had so eagerly craved!
See that, confirmation that angels are everywhere and gifts abound! Albert Einstein was a genius after all, and he said,
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
I notice the miracles and trust the journey. I am confident that we will always be guided along to the people, places and positions meant for our goodness and growth.
As we head out of Houston, we cruise along the bridge over the Trinity River and sing along to Allison Krauss’ version of the old spiritual, 𝘿𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙍𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙋𝙧𝙖𝙮. “Oh People, let’s go down, c’mon down, down to the river to pray…”
We sweat our prayers, we breath our prayers, we sing our prayers. We become what we behold.
I get goosebumps knowing that my life is a prayer and so is yours. Let us pray for the world because I hear there’s war in Ukraine and while none of us know the details of why or what is unfolding, what we do know is that innocent people are maimed and killed in the crossfire of power plays.
I’m pouring my prayer out over the Trinity River knowing that my love — in mind, idea and expression through inspiration, revelation and guidance will find its way to the innocent people of Ukraine, Russia and the world. I see our world healed, returning to wholeness, ascending out of darkness and destruction and into unity and love.
𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴.
𝙅𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙀𝙖𝙨𝙩- 𝙑𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝘽𝙚𝙖𝙪𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙩, 𝙏𝙚𝙭𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙈𝙤𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙚, 𝘼𝙡𝙖𝙗𝙖𝙢𝙖 𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙁𝙞𝙫𝙚
We pass by, up and over more waterways. Though inside the car it doesn’t feel very fast, I’m aware that we’re flying along the southernmost interstate in the US. I’ve become accustomed to this speed. I notice that it only took hours to reroute that neuropathway about speed.
With ease, we breeze into Louisiana, snapping a picture of the state welcome sign, this is our ritual now as we enter each state. It’s our fifth state; the border is the Sabine River.
Bridge after bridge, we roll on over lakes, rivers and various other swampy inlets.
We’re driving along the Gulf of Mexico and I open the sunroof to smell the sea. Since leaving Texas, the weather has warmed up considerably.
The speed limit fluctuates and it’s a little tricky to keep up with the inconsistency… 80, 60, 70, 60, … Nicholas’ voice cuts in over the radio, “what’s the speed limit, Mom?” I reply, “I think 70” as I release my foot from the gas pedal because in my rearview mirror, I see the lights of a Louisiana state trooper trailing close behind my son who has been in possession of a driver’s license for only a few days. My first thought, those would be beautiful bright blue lights if they weren’t affixed to the top of a police car trailing us. As my car decelerates back down to the speed limit, I reply into the radio, “How fast were we going?” Nicholas states in the calmest tone I’ve ever heard someone speak with lights and sirens behind them, “90 Mom, nine-ty”
Lesson one: 𝘋𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸 𝘔𝘰𝘮.
I am accepting this moment with grace, because, after all 90 is fast, I lean into my knowing that all people, events and circumstances are a divine appointment, no matter how disguised the appearance. I begin to change lanes and make my way to the right shoulder; Nicholas remains close behind. I think my mom somehow made her way out of this debacle and is now somewhere behind the state trooper.
Either the trooper saw our California plates and didn’t want to deal with these out of state delinquents or he was code 3 and we just happened to be an obstacle in his way.
Whatever the reason, I thanked our travel angels and blessed the state trooper as he flew by! Godspeed, my friend!
I then declare, in case the Universe didn’t hear the first time: 𝗻𝗼 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘂𝘀!
They’ve always been a profound, repeating symbol in my life in a multitude of ways. I’ve also found myself as the bridge in many instances. A bridge can represent a passage or the sharing of ideas, unifying places or people, and bridges increase the range of options. A bridge is a mighty symbol of connection —and hope. The gap between is magical. A great teacher, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, said, “The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.”
My heart is crossing over and over and over.
I am connecting with this part of the country through these charming bridges. Crossing the Breaux Bridge, I feel bathed in beauty and I love this stretch between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, through the Atchafalaya Wildlife Refuge, the Atchafalaya River, the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.
As we head into Baton Rouge, we cross more bridges, all the while I feel we’re weaving our spirit with the land, through timelines, over the Mississippi River, where the stories have been carried along --ever moving energy…
Then, we arrive upon Pearl River where we meet the Louisiana-Mississippi state line. I get on our 3-way radio and announce our sixth state by spelling it out, “Welcome to M-I-SS-I-SS-I-PP-I.”
I feel Mississippi, thick with history sunk in the soil of the swampy lands we have entered. I feel the stories springing from the wells of the rivers. We wonder about the gators, and why it’s called Devil’s Swamp.
I’m someone who can’t evade sensing the stories, tuning in with the land, feeling the ancestors. I can’t deny my role on this planet, though there have been times I have certainly tried.
As we approach the Tchoutacabouffa River, it penetrates me. The river’s mouth is located just north of the city of Biloxi at Biloxi Bay. Biloxi, Biloxi—I feel compelled to repeat this name. It holds a sacred vibration but I’m not certain of what it is until we look it up online.
The name Biloxi in French was Bilocci, a transliteration of the term for the local Native American tribe in their language, Siouan. According to Wikipedia, when first encountered by Europeans in 1699, the Biloxi tribe inhabited this area. They were eventually forced west into Louisiana and eastern Texas. The Biloxi language, Tanêksąyaa ade, has been extinct since the 1930s.
I feel the sensation of this tribe in my soul and take a long, deep inhale, hold it at the apex and reach for just a little more air and then, slow and steady, exhale.
I am a healer, I build bridges. We don’t find our calling, it finds us.
As stated previously, I believe each of our lives are a prayer and we get to be a blessing, healers to all of time and space.I say yes, and so it is.
We meet Alabama for the first time, boy, her accent is unmistakable and her people, so open-hearted.
We arrive on Mardi Gras. Who knew? Well, Mobile, Alabama did!
𝙅𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮 𝙀𝙖𝙨𝙩- 𝙀𝙣𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙈𝙤𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙚, 𝘼𝙡𝙖𝙗𝙖𝙢𝙖 𝙩𝙤 𝙂𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙣𝙫𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚,
𝙎𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝 𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙖 𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙎𝙞𝙭
We’ll never forget Mobile, the oldest city in Alabama. I’ve lived coast to coast and visited the south, Savannah, Charleston, a handful of times, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the South until now. The Deep South is a world of its own. I feel like a stranger in a strange land, but warmly welcomed and loved. This Southern hospitality is definitely a real thing.
As I checked into the hotel last night, the gentleman said he’d be remiss not to mention that we rolled in on Mardi Gras. Well, I only know a little of this celebration; Fat Tuesday, party before Lent and, well, inappropriate tales about beads and breasts…
But, hey, we’re here and it’s not too often that I say no to an unexpected adventure.
Though we’re exhausted and it was our longest driving day so far, we rally and get back into the car and drive downtown to Water St.
One of my life’s mottos is “𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞.” In other words, the stars always align.
Another of my life’s mottos, “ꜱᴇʀᴇɴᴅɪᴘɪᴛʏ ɪꜱ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴡʜᴇʀᴇ.”
Never mind that I got whacked in the head with an enormous box of Moon Pies and Julia has a very sore toe, we arrive back at the hotel adorned in shimmery-colored beads and a truly glorious memory for the books. It ended up a very late night!
It was the adventurous Amelia Earhart who said, “By adventuring about, you become accustomed to the unexpected. The unexpected then becomes what it really is...the inevitable.”
I am so grateful that my mom is with us, she’s the one who taught me, modeled for me, how to live and love life, embracing the unexpected and living the inevitable mystery.
And so, we woke a little late—the fun was worth it! Although we’ve passed through two time zones, our bodies are still in tune with the west coast clock.
We set off. Today, we head north, all the way to Greenville.
We enter Georgia, our eighth state on this trek. Julia immediately notices the rust colored “Georgia clay.” She said, “I know we’re close to Greenville now.” The red colored soil that is so evident in Georgia is due primarily to iron oxides. South Carolina is known for its abundance of this “Georgia Red Clay.”
I am thankful, once again, for the wireless hotspot. Julia carries on over Zoom with her math teacher as we cruise up Interstate 85. At this moment, I embrace the words of Arthur Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Is it just me or does everyone notice license plates? I’m somewhat enthralled by the rainbow of states that have been represented. As we grew closer to the east coast, I noticed the increase in variety. Now, I’ve counted at least 10 different states in the last hour.
New Mexico still remains my favorite license plate; bright turquoise or bright yellow with the sacred sun symbol of the Zia tribe. The Zia sun symbol represents the Circle of Life, no beginning and no end: the four cardinal directions, the four seasons of the year, the four cardinal light phenomena (dawn/white, midday/blue, evening twilight/yellow, and night/black), the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle age, and old age). Then there's the four elements: earth - air - fire - water, four lunar phases...the sacred number four reveals itself in so many other traditions too.
A reminder that all aspects of life are a sacred ceremony. Life is a sacred ceremony.
Turns out that LA traffic has competition and it’s here in Atlanta. We were planning to stop to eat lunch at the Slutty Vegan, but we’ve lost so much time crawling along, we decide to press on. Besides, our new home is only about two hours from Atlanta, so I know we’ll be back.
Somehow in the cluster of chaos, we lose our caboose on the interstate. After about an hour, we reunite immediately outside of the city. This is the first time our faithful convoy gets separated. Considering how many hours we’ve spent on the road; I am grateful for the ease of this road trip.
We’re on the home stretch, paying close attention now that the sun is going down, since we don't want to miss our last welcome sign, the ninth and final state, culminating our journey east.
Soon, in the dark of this new night, there it is. The map marks the Savannah River which silently proclaims the Georgia-South Carolina state line, and the simple blue welcome sign heralds us in.
The state motto: Dum Spiro Spero, translation from Latin, 𝘞𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘦 𝘐 𝘉𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦, 𝘐 𝘏𝘰𝘱𝘦.
I notice my breath, breathing me, my heart full of hope and I bring the little yellow walkie-talkie radio to my mouth, press the button and announce to my beloved convoy, “Welcome to South Carolina, we’re home.”
Cheers to new beginnings! xoxo -a