As I type this it's a beautiful early fall morning in Charleston. I had a very peaceful breakfast enjoying the cool morning air in the courtyard of one of the restaurants downtown. The key, as with most restaurants on Sunday morning I suppose, is getting there before church gets out. I did, and now I'm sitting for a few minutes on a park bench to take some deep breaths, to think, and to let my considerable arsenal of defenses down for a little while.
I've got a number of places I like to go to relax, to think, or just to let my mind empty itself. That's one of the cool things about Charleston - they seem to have put benches in these strategic places that lend themselves well for that.
|My Sunday Bench|
|My Sunday Bench|
The view from this particular bench is pretty remarkable. Bright blue sky. Marshes at low tide. The big bridge in the background. Downtown just across the way. It's all there....
I've had a very busy last couple of weeks - some of which I've shared here and some of which I haven't. Regardless, opportunities that pop up and decisions that need to be made have are part of the ongoing re-direction that I've been doing lately.
I have no problem making decisions. We could argue whether or not they're good ones but when I make them there is a reason. Sometimes it's hope that they'll open the door to other things. Sometimes it's simply out of need. Sometimes it's part of some bigger plan. Regardless....there's always a reason.
I was talking with a friend yesterday about some of these things and she reminded me of something I know, but have somehow forgotten. She said, "Trust your gut.". Ironically, that's what I needed to hear because as often as not - it all comes down to that. Trust your gut...your instincts...your deeper feelings. And once you've made your decisions - don't keep looking back over your shoulder.
I went to the David Gray concert in Asheville on Friday. That town knows how to have a concert. The last time I saw him (last year) was in Charleston and it was a very proper, restrained, polite audience. Not in Asheville. The crowd was up and dancing from the first song, and we were all on our feet more than not. It was excellent.
Yesterday morning it was my distinct honor to have breakfast with someone who lives in the area who has been writing to me for several years. It's truly a pleasure to have the chance to meet my "friends" - people who feel they know me through my book or my blog or what they've seen online who have taken the time to write me. I like to think that if you follow any of my writing or my speaking and eventually meet me in person I'm very much as I appear - for better or for worse. Anyway, I very much appreciate him driving into town to spend an hour together, face to face.
My "gut" decision to keep home base in Charleston has helped to sort out a number of other things. And although there continues to be no small amount of tumult in my world at the moment, it's manageable. Especially when I get quiet moments to soak in the universe from the comfort of my little benches...
I was up at 4am this morning to drive to Raleigh for work. 4 1/2 hours is kind of a long commute and I'll admit that the first couple of hours were tough. Thank God the sun came up when it did. I was ready to curl up and go back to sleep.
I've been thinking back over this weekend, and reflecting in general. I remember a year when the Out and Equal Workplace Summit overlapped SCC. I had to fly from Austin to Denver to give a Friday talk at O&E, then to fight rush hour traffic to get to the airport so I could fly to Atlanta. I finally got into the hotel at midnight, I spoke there during lunch on Saturday, then on Sunday morning I was winging my way back to Austin.
I don't regret for a minute doing my "community service". And there's a part of me that would have loved to have gone to SCC in Atlanta just to say 'hi' to a few dear friends who are typically there. But the balance in my world has shifted from doing things I feel compelled or obligated to do, to doing things I either want to do, or reasonably can do. My weekend of concert, driving, some relaxing time getting my hair done, a nice quiet Sunday breakfast, time on my bench watching the world spin, and delightful dinner with friends is exactly what the doctor ordered given everything else going on.
Speaking of SCC - one friend who was there estimated that there were 800 or more attendees. That's fairly remarkable as the attendance has remained fairly stable over the years. As other major events have come and gone, and as smaller regional events have gained in both visibility and reach, staying "relevant" isn't an easy thing to do. The fact that SCC remains as an institution is testament to the leadership and the vision that goes into planning something like this. I'm sure the planning for next year is already under way...
And, speaking of Out and Equal....the Workplace Summit is scheduled for Baltimore at the end of October. They've got a couple of job openings on their website so if you're interested take a look....
Back to the "gut" thing for a moment. I've learned to trust my gut. It's not always right, but it's always true. My gut has been telling me a number of things in recent weeks and, right or wrong, I'm comfortable following where it leads. It seems as though many of us want a sign, or a "right" answer, or we seem afraid to be wrong. All I can say is that if you can find and listen to your inner self, you're well on the way to being ok with the way things turn out. Sometimes, just "ok" is just fine.
I'm going through a phase where I find it important to tell people I appreciate in my life that I do appreciate them. I mentioned a couple in a recent blog entry - Karen from CO who calls me every Sunday, for example. My electrologyst, Maria is another. I can't imagine where I'd be in life if I hadn't met her. She's one of a handfull of people I can honestly tell that I love them. And I do.
One dear friend is always there with a kind word, or a positive thought. I've never met anyone so positive in my life but I've learned to know when she's hiding something. Another is Angie...I never want her to think I take her for granted because I truly do appreciate our friendship.
I've could keep going...but I think lately I'm feeling "Appreciate the People In Your Life" week more acutely than usual at the moment. I think it's partly because of people who have really taken me in and helped me over recent weeks when I've needed it. I'm so used to doing things on my own that accepting help can take a little getting used to. And appreciating people that offer it...well, I just want them to know....