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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Go with the flow. Force nothing.  Let it happen...trusting that whichever way it goes, it's for the best," ~ Mandy Hale

I decided that I would continue to write because I had an epiphany during my morning meditation earlier in the week.  This journey started as a way to keep a record of what happened as I traveled from place to place.  It was intended to be a chronicle of my outward journey and inward revelations.  It became more about the inward journey as the outward journey slowed somewhat.  I decided last week to end it because it's been almost a year, I wasn't sure about traveling and I wanted to devote more time to other endeavors.  I also felt that if I took the job I wouldn't be able to travel as I envisioned from the beginning. 

I started the training on Tuesday, March 24th.  At that time I was informed that I wouldn't be working with the mentally challenged because the director is a friend and there could possibly be a conflict of interest.  I trained last week and will continue this week. I've been in the Human Services field for quite some time and, quite frankly, this isn't as draining as I thought it would be.  I only have a schedule of the hours that fit my availability.  I can work as little or as much as I choose if the schedule has open slots.  During meditation, I realized that I am still free to travel whenever I choose and now will have the added income to assist.  

As I listen to Spirit about when and where to visit, I will give my availability accordingly.  I'm not limited to weekend travel.  I can stay in a place for 1-2 days or a few.  I'm excited to begin again. It's true that I won't be able to stay with a sustainable community for long periods of time but I am still able to visit.  I have already heard from Spirit where the next destination will be and when.  I know the where of the next one but not when yet. There are still many places within the US for me to visit as I await guidance about where to live.  I may be totally surprised where I am led or not.

Working again is taking some getting used to, especially with evening and overnight hours.  I worked those hours in my last place of employment three years ago.  However, there are shifts that I didn't know existed and I like those hours.  The interaction with the clients is not what I thought it would be.  I believe that for now, at least, this is working for me.  Sometimes we need to let whatever is happening, at the time it's happening, to happen.  We can't plan everything and we certainly don't foresee all that could happen.  I suppose that's why it is essential to remain open to the process and flow of life.  Chuang Tzu said: "Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free,  Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.  This is the ultimate."  

I said if I posted the blog that it would be early.  In keeping with that I started typing almost immediately after finishing the 4 pm-12:30 am shift.  I have more to say about the job that's not confidential but I am tired.  Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to change my mind.  It is after all a woman's prerogative, is it not?

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again, 
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Age is no barrier.  It's a limitation you put on your mind"......Jackie Joyner-Kersee

I've been thinking about age and the aging process.  When we are younger we are told, "Wait until we're older" or "We are too young to understand".  As we age we are told, "You're too old for that.", or "You're too old to understand" or my personal favorite, "Act your age."   Is our age ever, "just right"?  Why do we or society place limitations on age?  I understand that sometimes it is a necessity for the very young.  Their minds and emotions may not be mature enough to handle all situations.  In the same way, the very elderly population may need restrictions on certain activities, ie: driving.  But, the young understand more than we think they do and the elderly still crave adventure.

I know that it is mainly the younger generation who chucks it all to live a nomadic lifestyle.  I also know that after a point they settle into a responsible lifestyle.  Older people who decide to chuck their responsible lifestyle and live as nomads are sometimes referred to as vagabonds, hobos or irresponsible; even if they have shown responsibility by raising children, managing corporations, etc.
Younger people are sowing their oats, so it's fine.  I think the desires we have/had as adolescents are still in our psyches.  If one was an adventurous child, one may still be adventurous as an adult. Sometimes, the courage to do certain things may come late in life even though the desire may have always been there.  

I'm thinking about this because I'm torn between taking a job that is not in my heart and choosing to be me.  I don't know about anyone else, I only know about me and it has taken time for me to recognize and accept who I am.  I am a wild, free spirited woman. My age has not censored that about me.  I am who I am and I love it!  I know that the nomadic lifestyle is not for everyone.  Some people need stability and it does take money to live.  The amount of money it takes varies however with our needs.  My oldest daughter, Zakiya, sent me a video of small houses. These houses are on wheels and have all the accommodations and necessities that's needed.  The homes are built by the individual and is perfect for a traveling gypsy!  They are far less expensive than campers.  

I don't need much space.  As long as there are kitchen appliances, a bathroom and a place for sleeping, I'm fine.  I am learning to live with less and that I don't need as much space as I thought.  Most people only live in one room of their homes, anyway.  Bedrooms have become the living area for some, with television, small refrigerators and even microwaves.  Humans are resourceful and can manage anything when needed.  I'd like the small house because I wouldn't be limited to one location or to finding somewhere to live.  Like a turtle, my house would travel with me. The freedom to go from place to place without the concern for accommodations is what I desire.  

Since humans can manage anything when needed and I'm a human, I can manage this job for a period of time.  I've been asked to train this week from Tuesday through Friday with evening and overnight hours.  I expressed my concerns to HR about the bus and bus stops at certain hours in that area.  I told her that I would do this week but I'm not sure of anything else at this point.  I suppose that I need to see how it is before I make a final decision.  This week will show me what the job entails.  I will know what to do when I know.  

Depending on my decision, this may be my last post or the last for awhile.  I started this blog in April, 2014.  It has consisted of my inner and outer journeys.  We are always having inner journeys and I always have something to say so we'll see.   If this is my last one, I would like to thank all who have traveled with me as I've explored and discovered parts of me.  I would hope it has led to some discoveries for you as well.  Maybe I will make next Sunday the last one.  That way I can write about the job.

Until next Sunday (maybe),
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Once we commit ourselves to spiritual growth there is no day in our lives when we arrive at a place where we're complete and that's the end of it.  The understanding that we're never finished growing is a wonderful thing.  It can liberate us from our past, from who we think we are, and all our limited approaches to life." ~ Swami Chetanananda, The Open Moment; thanks to OSIS for posting


To know that I am still growing is indeed a wonderful thing.  It means that I can start anew at any time I choose.  I'm not tied forever to my past way of being or thinking; even if that way is considered a good way.  I've been in a quandary ( a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation) for the past week.  This, of course, pertains to the job offer that I received last week.  To some, I suppose, there should be no uncertainty.  I need additional income and it is staring me in the face.  What's the problem, then?  I have no problem working, even at my age when most of my contemporaries are retired or retiring. No, it's not that.  It's two things: the type of work and the location (city) of the work.  

The job is as a Mental Health Technician.  I would be working with those with mental and substance abuse issues.  I have worked with both in previous jobs.  I know that I am capable of handling any situation that I encounter, whatever that may be.  The question is, do I want to be in that environment again?  This has more to do with where I feel I am in consciousness as opposed to the people with whom I'd be assisting.  It requires a certain energy, if you will, to handle certain situations.  I am somewhere else entirely.  Then there is the location of the job, Richmond.  I do not want to settle here.  Richmond is my place of birth and where I have spent most of my life.  It is a beautiful place and the weather, overall, is pleasant.  I don't consider it home though.  Truthfully, I don't know if I consider anywhere home anymore or yet.  

Having said that, I suppose it doesn't matter if I take the job for a time.  I always said that wherever Spirit took me, if I were to be there awhile, I would seek employment.  In that regard, it doesn't matter if it's Richmond.  There are other variables in place.  This job is shift work.  Hours are not assigned because it's a PRN position.  Techs work as needed and where they place their names on the schedule.  One may work as little or as much as desired. The hours available for me would probably be evening or overnight. Since I don't have a car, it would be difficult for me to live anywhere not on a bus line.  However, even on a bus line, I am not standing on a street corner in Highland Park at 11 pm or midnight, or downtown at a transfer point.  Buses stop running at a certain hour anyway so even if I didn't mind waiting on a corner, there might not be a bus.  Of course, there may be an employee living wherever I may be living with whom I could ride.  But where would I be living?

"Decisions sometimes prove to be the hardest to make, especially when it's a choice between where you should be and where you really wanted to be." ~ unknown  

I guess where I should be is in Richmond working this job, at least until I can save enough for a car to continue my journey.  Where I want to be, is anywhere my Gypsy soul directs me.  If i could find a room to rent without a lease, then maybe I would consider this more.  I do not want to rent an apartment for a year or based on the salary from this job.  I want anywhere that I live, at least for now, to be based on my steady monthly income.  I have no desire to be evicted from a place due to non payment of rent.  Been there, done that.  Never again!  I want to know that I can pay the rent whether I have employment or not.  I was a stay at home Mom, so I didn't work much or for long periods of time, which means that SS isn't that great.  I'm grateful for it but rent needs to be based on it. Decisions!

On Sunday, March 8th, I went to brunch with my friend Millie and her family to celebrate her birthday.  We went to Southerly's on Broad Street.  It's relatively new.  The atmosphere was nice and, of course, as an adopted member of Millie's family, the company was good and conversation lively, as always.  For the foodies that may be reading: I had catfish which had a very light coating and was delicious.  It comes with collards and dirty rice which I couldn't have because it contained pork.  I had a potato hash casserole, which was good and green beans which needed seasoning.  From 3-5 on Sundays, ice cream is buy one, get one, in the store area. Millie's brother bought cones for all. I had not been eating sweets due to a binding contract set up by my son, Jason and to which the other children agreed.  I had an ice cream cone though and informed them. LOL  Millie's husband paid the food bill for everyone.  It was a beautiful day with great weather.

On Monday, I went to the orientation for the job.  When I spoke to the HR person while still in NY, the impression was that orientation needed to be as soon as possible and that there were others.  I needed to be there at 9 am but not knowing the bus schedule, it would have been a rush to get the 8:06.  I decided to listen to the still small voice, forgo that bus, and not stress.  I continued to get dressed, walked to the bus stop, called GRTC for the time of the next bus and called HR to leave a message.  The 8:45 bus was 15 minutes late.  I had to transfer and that bus took about 15 minutes to get to the stop.  I got to the office around 10 am, which was the original time HR told me.  After being announced, a woman came out to water the plants and asked if I were the person she was expecting.  I answered and asked if she had received my message.  She said she had and no worries, she had just gotten there herself.  Grateful for the still small voice, I would have been there an hour waiting for her!  I was the only person in the orientation; a man didn't show.

The director came in to give me the offer letter and said that I had gotten there before she could mail it.  I probably could have waited until Tuesday to start orientation, especially since I couldn't get the urine and TB test until then.  I also had to go to the police station to get fingerprinted and over to the campus for a tour.  The HR woman took me to the police station and waited to take me to the campus, in order for me not to have to take all of those buses, After the tour, I took the bus back to the main office.  It was a productive day and I will be paid for it.  Training was supposed to start that week but the manager I will be assigned wants me to train with her only.  I am waiting to hear when that may be.  The job site is located in Petersburg, but moving to Richmond in the next couple of weeks.  Perhaps training will start then.  I would like to make my decision about the job after I've trained, met staff and the residents. I need somewhere to live though and that will also determine if I take the job.  
"Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to require the most from you." ~Carolyn Myss

"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." ~ Nelson Mandela

At first glance, these quotes appear to be saying the opposite, but they aren't.  Making a choice out of fear is not the same as making a choice that scares you.  Me, taking this job because I need money, while practical, can also be fear based.  Choosing not to take it and continue to travel is a scary one: how will I travel, will I have enough, etc.  The decision is truly mine to make but friends, I would love to hear what you think.  Please comment in the comment box.

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New York/Richmond VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"We grow in life to greater emotional and moral stature, not because of what we think we know, but because of what we know we don't." ~ Joan Chittister, The Sacred In-Between

I sometimes joke and say that my sister and I knew our astrological signs before we knew our names.  Of course, we didn't, but it felt that way because our mother was always talking about the signs. She was not as heavily into it as I once thought, because for years I thought that I was a Capricorn.  My mother based my sign on my birthday, December 22nd, and most books agree.  However in the late 1990's I had my chart done and found out that at the time of my birth, the sun was still in Sagittarius.  My moon is in Gemini and my rising is Scorpio.  Those all feel like me and so I agree with the chart.  The stars have spoken!

The reason that I bring this up is because one of the things my mother used to say to me about Capricorns, is that they have a slow start in life.  Capricorn's symbol is the Mountain Goat and is always shown climbing a mountain; a steady but slow climb, none the less. My mother said that I would not reach any goals until later in life. She also said, when my Scorpio daughter was born, that Scorpios aren't passionate.  We ALL know that isn't true!  I am not condemning my mother.  She did the best she could with the knowledge she had.  However, in listening to her, I believe that I self-sabotaged often in my life.  I would have a multitude of ideas; some expressed and some not, but I seemed to always find a way to not bring them to fruition.  

I expect to live for awhile but I have no desire to continue to place my dreams on hold, even if I were a Capricorn.  Langston Hughes said, "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or fester like a sore and then run?"  I've held up my dreams for too long out of fear and also thinking I had to wait for some later date.  Well, later is here and I am ready to move forward.  Recently, I have become Facebook friends with several women from Haiti.  The majority of them are so talented and creative and are living their dreams.  I believe, because we all are created in the image of The Creator, that we are all creative. However, some of us act on it and some of us do not.  These sisters from my father's homeland are inspiring me to do, be and live more.  I, too, am Haiti (Ayiti)!  Creating, whether it is writing, painting, sewing, crocheting, is in my blood.  My father was extremely good with his hands.  He made my crib and other furniture pieces as well.  I love to create.  

On my mother's side, creativity reigns as well with all of the above named items.  In addition from my mother's side, I have acquired the passion for nature, the earth and helping women.  I realize that I do not have to choose one thing and be done.  I can focus on something to start and then expand.  I could also allow some things to be hobbies.  I like so many things, which is why the issue for me has always been to get grounded enough to focus on what truly gets me passionate.  I always wanted to combine it all.  Now, hopefully, I am learning to relax, release and go with the flow.  I am so ready to express my innermost self.  If you #don'tbelievemejustwatch. LOL!

Monday the 2nd, I did not go out for a "chat and chew" in Harlem with my friend Sonya, because it snowed on Sunday and she also had an appointment added to her already busy schedule.  The snow melted very quickly so I decided to take a trip to 125th Street to an African store.  Have you ever seen something in a store you wanted but for whatever reason, not get it? Then it haunts you afterwards and you berate yourself for not getting it?  That's what happened to me regarding some pants which is why I went back on Monday. On Tuesday the 3rd, I went into Brooklyn to meet my friend Iliana for another manicure.  This time we went to the cheaper place which costs $6.  Since I was in the neighborhood, I went to the natural food store to pick up a few items.  It started snowing just as I was getting off the train.  This snow came down very quickly and covered  things just as quickly.  Did I bring the snow, I wonder?, because it snowed for most of my visit.

I booked a bus ticket to return to Richmond on Wednesday the 4th. Jason and I took a taxi to the bus station which costs $25.  We get there and the attendant said that all buses to Richmond had been cancelled.  It was not raining or snowing in NY or Richmond, so Why?  We took the train back to his apartment.  Later that night it began to snow in NY and later the next day in Richmond.  No buses ran on Thursday either.  Friday was unclear and since the reason I was coming to Richmond was for two doctor's appointments on Friday, I really didn't see the need to come back. My friend Alma was turning 65 on the 8th and having a party on the 7th, to which I was invited.; so yes that was a reason.  My friend Millie's birthday was on the 8th as well.  Greyhound was willing to exchange the ticket if I chose to travel that way.  I'm not sure of refunds though.  

Jason decided that I would be more comfortable on the train, which he had been trying to get me to take before I purchased the bus ticket. He purchased the train ticket for Saturday morning.  He engaged the Red Cap service for me which put me on the train ahead of others.  I definitely prefer the train over the bus, who wouldn't really?  The train arrived in NY 30 minutes late and put me in Richmond at 6:45 instead of 5pm.  After being picked up, I showered, changed and drove to Alma's party.  It was great to see my friends especially since I'm not sure when I may see them again.  On that note, in December of 2014 I applied for a job in Richmond as a Mental Health Technician with Rubicon.  The job is a part time prn.  I am able to work as much or as little as possible depending on openings in the schedule.

Friday, the 6th, while still in NY, I received a call from Rubicon HR offering me the position.  I asked if I could think about it because, as stated in an earlier blog post, I'm not sure if I have the energy for this type of work anymore.  I was told they needed an answer because she wanted to have an orientation on Monday the 9th.  I told her that I was in NY but would be in on Saturday evening and I would attend orientation.  I felt that attending would give me some insights into whether or not I wanted the job.  I do know that I need additional income but I don't want to live in Richmond. Should I take the job for a few months to gain income? Is that fair to an employer?  I was told once by my son Jason, that employers have no loyalty to employees if they need to let them go, so do what I need to do for  me.  I just remembered he said that to me two years ago.  The issue is that I need a car and someplace to live.  I have no problem catching the bus, but I will probably work the evening shift and I'm not standing in Highland Park at 12 midnight waiting for a bus.  Decisions, decisions!  I am interested in all thoughts pertaining to what could be a dilemma.

Anyway, even though this is Wednesday, I'm writing as if it's Sunday.  I will let you know my decision on Sunday. I am quick to admit "what I know I don't know" as stated in the above quote. Hopefully, I am growing in greater emotional and moral stature. The past three years have been an emotional roller coaster, up, down, up, down but I will not stay down.  In the words of Rumi: "You have seen my descent, now watch my rising."

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be, 
Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New York

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Simply be yourself.  Look past the fanfare and drama to what is enduring.  Take time to clarify what is important to you and let non essentials fall away." ~ InnerLinks, Angel of March is Simplicity

Stress is defined as: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.  There are the day to day stresses of life and there are the stresses which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.  Some stress will cause anxiety or panic attacks.  Most of the time we don't realize that we are under an unusual amount of stress or we feel as if we can handle whatever comes our way.  This is why it is important to "let non essentials fall away".  

On Tuesday the 24th, I had an anxiety attack.  At least, I believe that's what it was.  I received a text from Sprint about my cell bill. The amount was double what I believed it to be and had budgeted. For some reason I began to panic when I saw the text.  I have no idea why, because I have been a customer for 14 years.  I know that customer service will and has worked with me regardless of amount.  I called Sprint and sure enough, it was a mistake.  The bill for March had been added to the current bill.  They apologized and I rang off.  I remember having the thought that I must be more stressed than I thought because I am never upset about a bill with Sprint.

Shortly afterwards I felt a pain in  my left arm below my shoulder and a tingling sensation in my jaw.  I have felt both of these before so I didn't become too alarmed.  Then I started to feel hunger pangs but the nauseating type.  I was surprised because I had eaten one and one half hours before the hunger.  I went to the kitchen to get a piece of fruit when the thought occurred to me that perhaps it wasn't hunger but indeed nausea.  I took an aspirin just in case it was my heart and in a matter of seconds, I felt as if I couldn't breathe.  I was at the apartment alone and I don't know anyone in the building but I headed to the door to get help.  Instead I dialed 911 and told the operator what I was experiencing.  She asked me to remain on the phone while she got paramedics on the line.  I began to breathe a little easier.  The paramedics asked me the address.  I told them that I would need to buzz them in but they said it was ok and to leave the front door unlocked.

Shortly thereafter, firemen arrived.  They immediately placed an oxygen mask on me.  One of the firemen said that I could have been dehydrated because it was extremely hot in the apartment. This radiator either turns off or on, there is no high or low.  When it's hot in here, it feels as if the thermostat is set on hell.  The firemen questioned me about illnesses and diets.  I drink a Yogi detox tea daily and told them.  They suggested that I stop for awhile because the herbs are powerful, and I have.  The paramedics arrived shortly afterwards and took the oxygen mask off.  They said they could monitor my breathing better without it.  

Jason was on the phone the entire time.  I began to feel better and chose not to go to the hospital.  Jason told me he was coming home even though I told him it was unnecessary.  I'm glad he did because I was scared. After the paramedics left, the police came to check to see if the person had gone to the ER.  I told them that it was me and no I hadn't.  The policeman said I should still go because by the time symptoms appear it's too late.  Of course that put me in panic mode again.  Normally, I pray when things like that happen but for some reason this time I panicked.  As in the above quote, I am assessing what is essential in my life and eliminating the rest. Jason stayed with me on Wednesday as well and worked from home.

On Thursday I decided fresh air was needed and walked to the store.  I fixed a chicken Brunswick Stew for dinner.  On Friday I tool the subway to the Harlem/African Mart on 116th Street.  I love seeing all of the items and listening to the barter between merchants and customers.  On Saturday I took the train to Sylvia's on 127th for chicken and waffles.  I only ate the waffle;  the chicken was too large and I have a thing about non organic chicken.  I don't know why I even ordered it.  I walked along 125th street and looked into a few of the shops.  It was cold and I decided to head back to the apartment.  Saturday, I went to see my grandson play basketball with his league.  My, that child is tall!  He's like his father.  He is a very good re bounder.  He scored some points and his team did win. Jason and I came back to the apartment and had dinner.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

Tomorrow, if the weather permits, I will meet my friend Sonya in Central Harlem for lunch or "chat and chew" as my friend Venetia says.  I'm looking forward to the time together.   I plan to take it easy and not let the stresses of life, daily or otherwise, overtake me. I have work to do and I plan to be here to get it done.  I advise everyone to do the same.  Let go of the fanfare and drama.  Find out what is truly important in your life and go with the flow.

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle