Our last dinner has been eaten, the dessert dishes scraped and our wait staff thanked for their extraordinary attentiveness. We've scattered throughout the ship, some to watch a little comedy, some back to their rooms to relax or start packing, and others just hanging at the various entertainment spots before we regroup for the last show in the Paris Lounge. I must say, this year's offerings were a tremendous improvement over last year's and I am actually sitting in the lounge, an hour before the show, listening to Oldies and sharing my thoughts for the day. But I digress.
Today was interesting on a lot of levels. I woke early with my knee telling me in no uncertain terms that the treatment it had received at my relentless hands yesterday would now be returned to me...painfully. After dosing myself with Aleve, Turmeric and various homeopathics, I made the very wise but sad choice to miss the early dance session as well as forgoing a trip into Ensenada with the kids. This last turned out to be wiser than I'd realized since road closures necessitated a walk back to the ship from town which would likely have put a near end to my walking, much less my dancing! As it was I spent a few minutes with my knee in the jacuzzi, talking to my dance teacher, and found that the heat did me more good than all of the ice I'd been applying. Although I danced most of the last, two hour session, I chose the dances carefully, sat and stretched frequently, and, as a result, am suffering only minimal pain tonight. I have, however, left my dance shoes in the room and will do my best to stay off of it for the remainder of the trip.
Stay tuned for tales of time spent in the karaoke room later this evening, cheering my talented friends on! (and no, I have not consumed enough alcohol to do more than sing along from the sidelines!)
Instead of the morning dance session, I took myself to a relatively quiet location outside of where the daily buffets are set up, and got quite a bit of editing done on my book, although I ended up further editing a couple of chapters which had already been subjected to my need to flesh out what had been written. A couple of hours in, I closed my ipad and wandered inside for a bowl of fruit and some juice. To my dismay, when I reopened my ipad, it refused to respond! My first thought was that, not only had I lost the morning's editorial work, but also the blog post I'd written last night. Being at sea, I am running in airplane mode so nothing is being saved to the cloud.
After speaking to my instructor's husband who is an IT whiz by trade, I had hopes that I'd find my data when I connected the ipad to my desktop upon returning home. But it was my son-in-law who, after listening to the symptoms, saved my day! He suggested a hard boot which, in hindsight, I'd had to do to my iphone before. Following his instructions, I nearly did the happy dance on the beds in our room when my screen, once again, lit up as it should! Thankfully, disasters I'd experienced many years ago had taught me to frequently save my work so nothing had been lost!
So here I sit, typing away (and yes, saving frequently), singing along with the canned music (currently My Guy), doing my best to share this wonderful experience with anyone who cares to read my babbling (or as I like to call it, ADHD run amok!).
This has been the most amazing trip! I feel like I've made some more new friends this time around, while growing closer to others. I also recognize that, on some levels, I have friends who connect with each other better than with me because of shared outlooks and values. I totally respect this and know that I'll connect with others better than they, for the same reason. The diversity of our group is what makes us interesting, fun and above all, an extraordinary cross section of humanity! I know that when we return to our normal environment, our increased closeness will be very apparent, and will make what is already a warm, loving dance environment, that much more!
These are the people I laugh with, cry with, share with, and love. We don't need the intimate details of each others' lives, but are there to listen should someone need an ear. We listen, but don't pry, share but don't dump, care but respect each others' right to make their choices. I feel very blessed to be part of this incredible group of people! I learn so much just by being included. Many of them have been so supportive of this leap of faith I've taken, and through this blog, already form what I know will be the core of my readership when my first book is published.
Their continued moral support is helping me to work through the tough questions I'll need to answer as I develop the marketing plan for the first of many published works which will fill the years between now and the time this particular version of my human self rejoins my Divinity. The ride may be no less bumpy than it's been up to now, but the rewards from finally following my dream will be immeasurable.
I also see, as I talk to people about my leap of faith, that I will, at some point, have the opportunity to show others that following your passion can be done. For some, it may require careful planning, while for others, it may just require the same, crazy, wild, shut off the brain and leap, gesture I took which led me to this place where there are no certainties other than the fact that I truly am living my passion, my dream, my true purpose.
The hundreds of thousands of words I've written over the last five years have truly NOT fallen upon deaf ears. More people are finding my words online, and, as time goes on, I'll learn how better to have them show up in searches (as I type this, the song, Ain't No Mountain High Enough is playing and suddenly, it occurs to me that, although the song talks about a woman's love for a man, could it not also apply to one's love for their passion, their purpose?) Wow! There sure were a lot of songs dealing with love, whether gained, lost or unrequited in the music of the 50's, 60's and 70's! I'm sure it's true of other eras, but the ones which catch my attention the most are from the eras which were such an integral part of my life as I was growing up. I suppose the era I'm now in will leave its mark as well, since it is when I am, essentially, allowing myself to be reborn into the person I chose this lifetime to become! But as I was saying to one of my new friends today, even though it seems like it took a long time, and I might wish I could have gotten here sooner, I know that the life experiences I've had were essential to my reaching the point I've come to now, and will be even more essential to my reaching whatever place it is that I will, ultimately reach as a direct result of what I'm learning every second of every day.
The group is gathering for the show, so I'll put this aside for now, to be completed once the evening's fun and frivolity finally drive me back to my room to pack and sleep.
The show was hilarious, and made more so by the fact that one of our group alerted the cast to the fact that anyone in the three rows we occupied would be likely to play along with them, should we be chosen to be part of the show, so, of course, several of our group were, including our dance instructor who preened and posed in a huge circle of feathers they put on her!
After running upstairs to stow the iPad (and there's another story here, so hold on!), and pack for early debarkation on the morrow, I returned to the deck where everyone was playing. As I walked into the area where a band was playing, one friend said "come on, we're doing karaoke!". Just as I turned to follow, another said "come and dance with us!" When I told her I'd already agreed to join the karaoke-ers, she and her SO joined us. Little did I realize that my friend, Linda, would get me up on that stage, not once, but twice! Even worse, there were only a few of us in there when I got up to take the stage, focusing only on the words on the screen, and belting out "Why haven't I heard from you" by Reba, but when I finished, I found that she'd dragged half the group in! Oy! I hope for the sake of their ears that I didn't hit too many clunkers. Near the end of the evening, she dragged me on stage again to sing "Going to the Chapel". In this case, I'm hoping her beautiful, sweet voice sufficiently drowned out mine! But what a blast!!!! At least, in this case, I will never see most of those people again, and I have to admit, it was fun to just get up there and belt out a song! (shhhh, don't tell Linda or she might try to get me out for karaoke again!)
Looking around the room at all of my friends, feeling a seemingly endless amount of love, I realized that the group I hang with now is special in a way I hadn't realized. All of the women who are married or otherwise attached have found a man who loves and cherishes them as we should all be loved and cherished by our chosen life partners. (and this includes my daughter and son-in-law). In that moment, I realized that, although I am unattached myself, I have found the people who make my heart swell. The men greet me and other single friends with warm hugs, while their wives and girlfriends know that both their mate and we lucky recipients of those heartfelt hugs would never threaten their relationship in any way, but have the utmost respect for the people and the relationship! After years of having to walk on eggshells around so many insecure women and disloyal men (and a few in reverse situations), I am awed to find that what I truly believe a relationship should be is out there, and is out there in vast quantities. I had just been hanging with the wrong crowds for too long!
So, to all of my friends who exemplify the perfect relationship filled with love, respect and devotion, thank you for sharing the warmth of your love. You all help make the world a better place, and have boosted my faith in humanity in ways you may never know. But know this, I am incredibly grateful to all of you for showing me that these qualities still exist!
EGAD! I got so full of the love, I forgot I promised another story! I was in the elevator heading back to our cabin to stow the ipad and stuff. A man in the elevator asked me about wifi and I told him I wasn't using it to connect to the internet, but to write. He said to me "Are you an author?" I replied, "Not yet, unless you count my blog, but I have several things in progress which I plan to publish."
A few will understand the significance of this, so I'll just leave it at that!
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my amazing, loving caring, devoted, (I'm at a loss for words here) friends! You are my inspiration!
2. I am grateful for a wonderful weekend of Line Dancing at Sea, to our instructor, her hubby and roadie, to the people who organized the trip, to my daughter for the great t-shirts and other members of the group for all of the little things they did to make this trip so special.
3. I am grateful to those who pulled me out of my comfort zone so often this weekend, and it wasn't even kicking and screaming!
4. I am grateful to be home with my cats, knowing that my world is multi-faceted, and a lot more interesting these days.
5. I am grateful for unconditional love.
Love and light