Doing Something Just for Me

For me, this week was all about doing something just for me. It started with my first Airbnb experience and ended with my first attempt at clarity cards. In between I listened to my intuition and discovered some truths about myself.

Unique Mountain Farm

Solitude, comfort, amenities; it’s all right here just outside Hendersonville, North Carolina at the Unique Mountain Farm.

As I was planning my trip, I knew exactly what I wanted to do each day. In contrast, after I arrived at my destination, my relaxation allowed the days to flow more naturally, surrendering to a calmer frame of mind.

Listen to Your Intuition

I checked the weather and found my first full day was the sunniest. As I arrived on Monday afternoon, Waze, my favorite mapping app, sent me down winding roads, right past the Carl Sandburg Home National Park Service Historic Site. I knew a visit was meant to be.

It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in gathering forest and to ask of himself, “Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?” – Carl Sandburg

This quote sums up what my heart told me I needed when I planned my getaway. So much emotion and stress had lain heavy on my shoulders the past nine months. Consequently, while walking the grounds of Carl Sandburg’s home, I suddenly burst into tears, multiple times.

Conversely, I also had several lively conversations with dogs and their owners. One of those conversations ended with this confession from one owner.

“You just made my day.”

With my emotions now stabilized, I felt only joy. As I turned to continue down the hill, this scene lay before me.

It’s Worthwhile to Go the Extra Mile

My lifelong friend, Pat, lives in Western North Carolina, three hours from my stay near Hendersonville. Certainly that is much closer than the nine hours from my Florida home. Last week, I called Pat up and we arranged my visit for the middle of my retreat.

Once again, my intuition was spot on. Our short time together helped me see who I am and where I am going. It was the perfect segue for my final day in North Carolina.

It’s All About Clarity

Time for the hard work came on my rainy last day. I began Dan Blank’s Clarity Cards process. This was the primary reason for my alone time, to gain clarity.

At first, the cards looked more like a list of things I do, rather than what I want to create. Slowly, a theme emerged.

Becoming an integrative nutrition health coach is the framework that will allow me to help others change their lives. Each time I interacted directly with people this week, whether strangers or dear friends, I felt more alive, more connected to the positive energy all around me.

Above all, helping others amplified because I am doing something just for me.

A Harvest of Ideas

As we conclude the first official week of autumn, I extend my wish for your own harvest of ideas gleaned from doing something special just for you.


A Long Drive in a Red SUV

Mom and I went for a long drive in a red SUV. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my dark gray Subaru Forester with a new red model. That’s exactly what I did back in February. Here’s a shout out to the Apple Car Guy, from Cannon Subaru who made it happen. By the way, I love Cannon Subaru in Lakeland, FL

My Love Affair With Red Vehicles

It all started when I was a kid and my parents bought a red Chevrolet Super Sport in the 60’s. I thought it was so cool. It had bucket seats. All the family cars prior were either station wagons or Oldsmobile behemoth hand-me-downs from my grandparents. We didn’t have it long. It just wasn’t practical.

Later, Dad bought a ‘57 Chevy and gave it to my older sister when we were in high school. We thought it was just awful. The headliner was loose and the vacuum tube wipers would stop during torrential downpours as we climbed the hills on 10th Street in Haines City, Florida. I don’t know what happened to the car, but I’ll bet Dad kicked himself a few times for letting that classic go.

The closest I got to a red car when my parents furnished them was a used Datsun 2000 convertible I received after graduating from high school. The paint was white, but the leather interior was red. What a guy magnet! I gave the five-speed manual transmission a workout on the curvy roads I found as alternative routes to Polk Junior College in Winter Haven.

A few years later I married. Like most American males, my husband liked horsepower. His favorite magazines were Motor Trend and Car and Driver. And he devoured every word when they compared models. The Ford Taurus SHO caught he attention. It wasn’t long before we bought one, a red SHO.

During my Datsun sports car days, I learned to enjoy the exhilaration of performance driving, but always tempered it with caution concerning speed limits. All my life, I’ve had an uncanny ability to note the legal limit, driving  accordingly. With the many miles I’ve put in, I’ve never received a speeding ticket. Even when I drove the SHO, which we referred to as “arrest red”.

Back to the Long Drive

Some of my relatives from Wisconsin spend at least a week in Ft. Meyers Beach every winter. Last year we managed to ‘meet in the middle’ in Arcadia at The Magnolia Seafood Grille. Our lunch was great, but this year the Wisconsinites opted for no rental car. It was perfect for them and me; Publix delivered groceries to their condo, the grandkids played in the pool and the adults could walk to the pier, along the beach or shop in the many stores nearby. And I got to take my four-day-old red Subaru for a long ride.

Mom surprised me by wanting to come along. Just like all travel for me, I’m happy with a travel companion or going solo. And I knew Mom and I are very compatible traveling. We’ve driven to Williamsburg, Va together, the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, traveled to all the major islands of Hawaii, and I drove us from Colorado to Florida and back numerous times.

There’s something about being on the road that brings out Mom’s stories from all the decades of her life. And her memory is phenomenal. Don’t worry, I finally figured out I could tape some of her stories on one of the 2,000 mile Florida to Colorado treks.

In contrast, what made this 3 hour trip fun was the preponderance of red cars. It was an ongoing joke both ways! Most of the trip was two-lane country roads, but nearing our destination, the traffic was horrendous. Being a Florida native, I avoid the coasts during the busy months, November through April. We were in the height of snowbird season in late February. At the many stoplights nearing the beach we’d count 4, 5, even 6 red vehicles! And we’d laugh and laugh about this silly coincidence. It made the hours fly by.

How About You?

Do you have a car story? Or maybe a story where you keep seeing people who have something in common with you? Tell me about it by sharing this post On social media and include my handle, @dawnoutside in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I know you have to get innovative in Instagram, but sharing my handle along with this photo will work.

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Sometimes You Have to Fight Fear

Sometimes you have to fight fear, let it know who’s boss.

Trip of a Lifetime

Almost three years ago, in November 2017, I was in New South Wales, Australia. I wanted to study Reiki from Frans Stiene and at the time his next Reiki I class was in his home base, the Blue Mountains north of Sydney.

It was my first time in Australia and I enjoyed every minute of my short time there. The class lasted a weekend, but I was allowed an extra day to overcome the jet lag from my fourteen hour flight. Wandering around the beautifully landscaped grounds of the International House of Reiki Tomah Retreat, there were new garden vignettes at every turn. Most noteworthy, an adult tree house rose near a garden with camellias blooming just beyond. Next I found a small pond with koi. Wandering farther, I found a labyrinth of low growing shrubs. As I walked the circle, I wondered what the weekend would bring.

Unexpected Hospitality

The class far exceeded my expectations. And what fun to be the only American with eight Australians from all over the continent. Sunday arrived sooner than expected and we started thinking about heading home. Luckily, one of the other Reiki students lived in Sydney and she not only let me ride along, she delivered me directly to the front desk of my downtown 5-star, glass wonder Sydney hotel. That’s real Australian hospitality!

Modern Splendor

Similarly, the glass exterior was repeated in the room design. The bathroom was almost like one of those scenes in a carnival house of mirrors, where you think it’s the way out only to find, once again, you took a wrong turn. The difference was this hotel was elegant, warm and inviting. Something about the bathtub drew me to it. Maybe it was the marble tile edge, or the reflection of the soothing turquoise green plexiglas by the sink. I thought, what a nice way to relax before venturing out to find an evening meal.

In contrast, the prefab tub and shower combination at home was not at all inviting. But the non-slip coating on the tub floor and the rounded edge were just what I needed to hoist my plus-size body out of an Epson Salt bath I’d had a few months prior.

What Could Go Wrong?

I gently lowered myself into the warm water. The lovely scent of the bath gel and the softness of the washcloth reminded me what 5-star quality feels like. My arthritic knees were soothed and soon my toes were wrinkled as the water cooled. I reached forward and was surprised how easy it was to reach the drain release.

“What’s different here?” I asked myself.

I proceeded to turn my body sideways in order to get to my knees, which is the only way I can get out of the tub at home. But I couldn’t turn. The tub was too small and I was too big. Uh-oh. I sat upright as fear swept over me.

“I can’t get out,” I murmured.

“Okay, okay. Just relax.”

I took three cleansing breaths. That felt better. How about throwing my leg over the edge onto the floor? I tried, but I didn’t have enough strength to overcome the weight of my ample butt and I slipped right back in.

As I sat there, naked, damp, getting cold, all I could imagine was the shame of being found by the cleaning lady the next day. There it was, the look of disgust on her face. That’s when I started to get angry with myself.

“Dammit, there has to be some way I can get myself out of here.”

Will This Never End?

Sometimes you have to fight fear. Certainly the slight adrenaline rush of my anger helped me. I tried to get purchase behind me on the marble edge of the tub. My butt was off the bottom of the tub, my feet pressed against the end by the drain. I slipped. I got more angry. Through sheer will, I managed to find the strength to get up far enough to scoot one foot beneath me, pain searing through my knee. I fumbled myself into a partially upright position and managed to throw my left leg over the edge and onto the floor.

I lay crumpled on the floor weeping with relief. As I crawled to my knees, I lay my forearm over the toilet, gripping the side and was finally upright. I toweled off and pulled the plush bathrobe around myself, covering my nakedness, still trembling.

Finally Over

Exhausted, I found the menu and ordered room service; hamburger, fries and a Diet Coke. As I took my first bite, I closed my eyes, savored the texture, aroma, and charbroiled flavor of the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.

Sated, I walked to my window and watched the lights come on as darkness descended. Right below me, across the street was Sydney’s Town Hall, a beautiful, historic Victorian building dwarfed by the towering modern skyscrapers.

“I know how you feel, old friend. But we endure, don’t we.”

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