What’s Normal?

It happened again today. I woke up and it was light out, so I assumed it must be time to get up. Then I looked at the clock and it was 4:30 am. That’s just not right. My whole life, the sun has never risen at such an ungodly hour. That’s because I’ve never lived this far from the equator before. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to live in Alaska, the land of the midnight sun. As I’ve done every morning this summer, I covered my eyes with a pillow and tried to get back to sleep.

If there’s not a word for this sensation, there ought to be. That feeling that the basic, fundamental rules of nature are being violated. That sense of “Not Normal.” I bet there’s a Germanic term for it. Or a French one.

I’ll probably feel it again when I experience my first real earthquake. The ground is not supposed to shift beneath one’s feet. When that starts happening, what can you count on?

I felt it when I woke up one morning this past winter to find everything covered in snow. I hadn’t seen snow in 30 years. The world was suddenly otherworldly.

It happens when you bite into something you expect to be savory and it turns out to be sweet, or vice versa. It happens when someone reacts completely the opposite of what you anticipated. It happens when someone does a violent act that you can’t imagine doing in your worst nightmare.

We all live by certain assumptions  and expectations that really don’t hold up on close examination. These deeply held beliefs are what give us a sense of security. Most of us prefer to be able to predict our world. It’s weird to think that all of that is an illusion.

[Image credit: leandecisions.com]
[Image credit: leandecisions.com]

Looking Forward

In a couple months I will be going up to visit my favorite aunt in Connecticut. I’m really excited. I haven’t seen her in ages. I’ll also be spending some time with a young lady who has been like a daughter to me. That is going to be great fun. I’m really looking forward to it, and it suddenly occurs to me that I haven’t had something to look forward to in quite some time.

Maybe that’s what’s been missing, that feeling of anticipation, of good things just over the horizon. Somehow I’d lost that along the way. I’d sunken into a resigned complacency.

In better times I used to travel out of the country every two years or so, and I’d spend many many months learning about my target country, reading as much about it as I could get my hands on. I was a sponge, soaking up every tidbit of information available. I’d hate to spend all that time, expense and effort only to find out upon returning home that there was something absolutely amazing to see right nearby and I’d missed it. So I’d really do my homework, which made the build up toward the travel almost as exciting as the travel itself.

Expectation, eagerness, hope. These are things that should be a regular part of a healthy spiritual diet, and I look forward to feasting upon them for the next few months. Connecticut, here I come!

AuntBetty 010

Me and Aunt Betty

Humbly Reaching Out

From a recent conversation with my boyfriend:

Me: All of a sudden so many good things are happening in my life! I’ve got that job interview, I got a promotion in my captioning job, I got my 100th follower on my blog, and I just saved a couple hundred bucks by transferring a credit card balance. Could it be that the pendulum is swinging back the other way, finally? Could my luck be changing? I should buy a lottery ticket.

BF: Just remember that this is from YOU reaching out. Not the other way around. Keep reaching out and the way will show itself to you.

Me: You’re right. But, too, it DOES seem like it is the very times when I step back and surrender and stop trying to force things…that’s when things start to get better. Sometimes I just have to get out of my own way.

BF: I learned that from hitchhiking. The more you want and NEED a ride, the less chance someone will stop.

Me: Exactly! So, reach out by sticking your thumb out, but don’t add desperation into the mix. Don’t insist. Don’t expect everything at once. Just make yourself available to the abundance should it come your way, and then see what happens.

————–

That’s a difficult balance to maintain. Reaching out but not clutching, grasping, forcing it. Being humble without being passive. Being open without having expectations. Trying to reach a goal without anticipating an outcome. Having faith but taking responsibility for yourself.

I think finding the right balance will be something I’ll have to work on my entire life. But as it stands now, I did wind up getting the job!

On the other hand, I only matched two out of the six numbers on that lottery ticket. But hey, that’s one number more than is usual for me! Which is probably why I rarely buy them.

Hitchhiker Jericho

[Image credit: solanotempest.net]

P.S. Please do not take this as an endorsement of hitchhiking. In this day and age it’s entirely too dangerous. Getting across town, let alone across the country, isn’t worth your life. Unfortunately, this is not the world of my youth.