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Stolen Time

Happiness is not a destination. It is the attitude with which you choose to travel.   Arit Desai

“It’s stolen time!”  That’s what my Joy Center friend, Matt, told me last evening as we talked on the phone.  “I love stolen time!” he said. He went on to explain that stolen time becomes our gift to spend anyway we want when we are transported out of our scheduled agendas, our day-to-day routines.  So that’s what I’m living right now, twenty-four hours of stolen time.

My plans for this weekend began to take shape back in early September.  I knew autumn was a time that my husband, Cam, would be off on his own adventures.  He’s an avid bow hunter and was planning two extended trips out west with his guy friends.  I love that he’s living his dreams these days, claiming the time to do what he is drawn to, and I wanted the same for myself.  I sensed that I needed my own adventure, an adventure that stretched my boundaries, that felt like an edge, a fun edge.  And I sensed that I wanted to put into practice this dream of mine to dance the globe being the storytelling traveler.  I think I also knew that my gypsy feet were antsy, that, as much as I love Joy Center and all that it is becoming, I’m finding myself feeling tethered to my own rigorous expectations and routines on the homefront.  And so, on the morning of the autumnal equinox, the day after my performance, “More Please!!!,” I trusted my vibes and went for the “more please”.  I called Delta and made my plane reservations – for a weekend trip, leaving in the early evening on a Wednesday, and coming back late on a Sunday night.  I had it all planned out, and things were moving along smoothly, down to the very last detail – until the blizzard blew in and stopped me in my tracks.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was opening the front door with suitcase in hand, I received the phone call from Delta.  My flight had been cancelled.  And the computer voice on the other end of the phone went on to say that I had been re-scheduled for the early morning flight on Friday.  I closed the front door and hung up the phone, stunned.  That wouldn’t do.  It simply didn’t leave me enough time for my adventure.  And I knew that this was an important one, as important as my week-long trapeze escapade four years ago where I got in touch with an inner strength that I didn’t know was there for me, as important as the weekend improv workshop with Alan Arkin where, after a day and a half of fearful struggle, I let myself be me, ridiculously, gloriously, fully me, even in front of all those seasoned actors.  Even though the reasons were not clear to me, and still are not clear to me, I knew yesterday that I was meant to fly off on this adventure, on this particular weekend.

So there I stood with my coat still on, not knowing what to do.  And that’s when my friend, Garee, called.  She was calling to warn me that the roads were in bad shape, to take extra time driving to the airport.  I told her that there was no need for the caution; I already knew about the roads and I was in as bad shape as they were.  And I was.  For a good fifteen minutes, I felt stuck without options.  A foot of heavy slushy snow had dumped down on our county and the wind was blowing hard and there was no place to go to escape the weather or to escape the way I felt.  And that’s when I realized that the snowbound predicament I was finding myself in was a magnifying glass for some areas in my life where I’m feeling stuck.  And that’s when the light bulb went off in my head and I realized that I was the one who could change the scenario.  I wasn’t really stuck, only feeling stuck.

So, I took action, called the Delta hotline, found out that there was a place on the early evening plane for today, Thursday.  Then I called the airport and the nice man told me that his best bet was that the storm was blowing through and the plane would take off.  And I felt a little less stuck.  I had a new plan, a new reservation, and a destination that was still calling to me.  And I watched my feelings change.  I began to sense that this time at home was going to bring me gifts, as magical as the gifts on my fly-away adventure.  I began to sense that this time at home was, indeed, a part of my adventure.  As late afternoon turned into evening, the howling wind didn’t sound so ominous.  Instead it became a song, beckoning me inward.  Cam was gone on his hunting trip, the cat was sleeping on our bed, and I could do whatever I pleased.  Nothing scheduled at Joy Center.  Nothing scheduled anywhere.  Even before Matt’s phone call, I was loving the gift of stolen time.  I puttered in the kitchen.  I painted my toenails red.  I crawled into bed and journaled.  I climbed back out of bed and pulled on my snowpants.  I trudged around the block breathing in the winter-like air and admiring the snow-laden branches and neighborhood snowpeople.

I allowed the evening to be free and spacious, and marveled that we humans have the power to shift our emotions, and that it doesn’t take all that long to move from a place of despair and stuckness to a new place of hopefulness and expectancy – and that this shift can take place wherever we find ourselves, even snowbound at home when we thought we’d be flying high in the air.  And so, my bag is still packed.  My computer ready to be added – perhaps there will be a blog from my destination!  I’m feeling less rushed, more ready.  And I’m opening to the feel-great possibilities that will arise during this weekend, to the feel-great possibilities that will arise when I return.

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