The Littered Highway

It was time for an adventure.  I had been wanting to visit the Oregon Coast for years and decided, okay, this is my adventure!  My firstborn lives in Portland, so a plan was devised.  I would pick Nikki and a friend up in Portland and we would drive along the coast and stay in South Beach.  The beach was really putting out distress signals and needed me there, and I wasn’t going to disappoint the beach!

I grappled with the idea of flying in versus driving.  If I flew, I would just go in for a long weekend.  Somehow, that didn’t seem long enough, and finding an animal sitter for all my animals is tough.  So, I decided to drive and take my puppies.  I researched where to stay and made my hotel reservations, as I was breaking the trip up into 3 segments.  Since I was going to miss my Bible class, I asked Rev. Barry (my instructor) what I should study.  He suggested (since I’m a total Bible newbie) to get all the parables and stories on audiobooks.  Great!  So I downloaded quite a few as well as “The Story of Judas.”  I was all set!  The road was really calling to me and the time leading up to my departure seemed to pass by slower than a 100-year-old turtle crossing the road.

Finally, the day arrived.  I loaded up the car, got the puppies situated, and hit the road.  Eight hours later, I was in Salt Lake City.  I have to say that the drive through Wyoming to get to Utah was pretty blah for sightseeing.  I toggled between Bible stories and song playlists.  I caught myself listening to an old song and a vivid memory would pop into my head.  It was something that I needed to heal.  The tears would come.  I would let them come, I would remember, I would heal them and let them go.  By the time I got to the hotel on my first night, I was tired.  I wasn’t sure if it was from the drive or the healing, and honestly, it didn’t matter.  The next day of driving was easier; only about 6 hours to my stop in Boise, ID.

When I got back into the car, something had changed.  I felt a newfound sense of freedom.  Again, I toggled between the Bible and the songs of my life.  Again, the tears came and the healing ensued.  By the time I reached Boise, I was exhausted.  I knew what this was from.  I couldn’t just loaf around in my hotel room and rest because I was meeting a very dear friend for dinner.  Let me tell you, this young lady had taken a chance on me way back when during a time in my life when I needed someone to believe in me.  She was one of the BEST bosses that I have ever had during my career as an instructor and personal trainer.  I hadn’t seen her in 12 years or so and I was really looking forward to it.

As she approached me to walk to the restaurant, there was this beautiful light that surrounded her.  The essence of who I remember was still the same, but something had changed.  We chatted over dinner and it was clear that she was on the very same path to enlightenment that I had embarked on about 4 years ago.  It started, for both of us, with yoga and continues to grow.  It was hard to say goodbye to this kindred spirit, but there is a knowing that comes when you are with another enlightened soul.  We are all connected and our paths will cross again.  I got back to the hotel feeling so blessed!  I snuggled in with my puppies and fell into a deep sleep, surrounded by bliss.

On day #3, I awoke to the sound of pure joy in my heart, for at the end of this day I will be with my Nikki!  I tell you when your children grow and leave you it is by far the hardest thing you will ever do in your life.  You grapple with did I teach them everything they needed to know?  Will they be okay?  And, then, the moment arrives when you get to see them and know that they are the most gorgeous humans in the world, thriving, surviving, all that this world has to give them.  Seeing that fit, together, sassy firstborn again just had me smiling from ear to ear.  We picked up her friend and headed to the coast.

If you’ve never been to the Oregon Coast, I suggest you put this on your list of places to see.  We stayed in a cottage right on the beach.  South Beach is pretty secluded and it was just what I needed.  The sand is firm, yet soft, and the ocean waters are cold on your feet.   Nikki fixed us a feast that first night and we lit a fire and we were all surrounded by love.

Our time on the beach was brief.  We ate good food, had great conversations, didn’t get on each others’ nerves too terribly bad (after all we ARE family), and left for Portland and Nikki’s church early Sunday morning.  This accepting church was simply amazing, we ate more AWESOME vegan food.  I slept like a queen in her loft at the house she shares with 2 other wonderful souls.  The puppies and I felt like we were in a tree house and the space was quiet with a wonderful vibe!  I was sad to say goodbye and embark on my journey back home, but it was necessary.

The stops on my way home were only altered by staying with a new friend that is close to Boise.  Talk about another enlightened soul!  It was a wonderful night filled with delicious fresh veggies and a trip to a roadside veggie and fruit stand.  I was all set with fresh eats for the rest of the journey home.

The last 2 legs of my trip were filled with more spiritual growth, and more tears, as I littered up the highways on my way home with thoughts that no longer served me.  By the time I reached Denver, something inside of me was very different.  I felt a new sense of peace and love that grew within my heart along that 8-day journey.

What I have noticed since returning home is that I feel “lighter.”  That road trip changed my life.  When I’m asked about my trip I just say, “It was amazing.”  People may think that it was the sites, the people, or the places, and yes, that’s part of it, but the work I did during those long hours on the road,  has healed things inside of me; things I didn’t even realize needed healing.  Every tear that I shed along my journey, opened up space in my heart for new, wonderful things to find me.  In the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” Liz (Julia Roberts) is in search of the “God within.”  I found it along those stretches of highway between Denver and the Oregon Coast and back again.  I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.

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