Harnessing the power of intention – But it’s Sunday and all I want is pizza

Liquid gold sunrise, 7:00 a.m. – I’m snuggled in my morning chair, wooly blanket warming my knees, steaming espresso cupped in my hands, thinking.

Thinking about this cozy house, its perfect size, location, easterly orientation, amenities. Its quality and craftsmanship, the red sofa with Mediterranean blue and granny-apple green pillows that pick up the colors in the painting hanging above it.

The astounding panorama that holds me speechless.

Thinking about how I wondered what gift I could give myself to commemorate seventy years of life and immediately knew: Italy, the Amalfi Coast, Praiano. How until that moment I hadn’t an inkling what I wanted, and yet it was there without hesitation when summoned.

Thinking about the kindness and generosity of my host who makes this trip even more delightful with his helpfulness and relentless humor.

Nicola Irace, superhost, took this photo on my terrace the day I arrived.

The power of intention…has it no limits? It seems to grow stronger as I age. If I have a desire, almost before I put thought to it the Universe delivers. It’s spooky!

Gratitude floods my heart. What a privilege to have the resources, the health, the intact mind (some would argue that) to manifest this dream.

But there are still some things I have to actually go out and get. Today I crave pizza.

This stairway is my ticket to avoid the tunnel. It feels good to begin to know the lay of the land. About halfway up I unbutton my coat and loosen the scarf around my neck. I’m glad it’s February. I wouldn’t want to be navigating these inclines at 93°F (33.8°C) which is the average temperature in Praiano in July.

There are no cookie-cutter houses. Entrance gates and doorways are as different as the people who pass through them. My photo doesn’t do justice to the picture on the upper right. Bright yellow ceramic tiles march up the steps, and the finials on the wall above the door are sparkly green.

Red carnations drip over this home’s receiving area, and a dry fountain stands sentry by another.

I passed on breakfast and now my stomach’s rumbling. I found the menu for Che Bonta online. Pizza, seafood, panini, tiramisu. I should be getting close…yes, here it is. I stand in front of the door and read the sign: closed for the holidays. What holidays?

My dream of pizza fades. The coffee and croissant cafe from yesterday had a breakfast menu. It’s two minutes up the street. As I approach I see a spill of humanity clustered around outside tables – standing room only. It looks like the entire Tour de France in their team jerseys and bicycle helmets has stopped here to eat. Groan. Is this the only place in town that’s open?

Just then the bells in the tower of San Gennaro – the church with the blue dome – peal the call to worship. I forgot. It’s Sunday. The little cafe may very well be the only place serving the public today.

I’m not in the mood to elbow through all that testosterone. Food can wait. There’s another church high on the cliff that’s been on my radar. San Luca. A quick course correction and I’m on my way.

As I approach I hear more bells, then singing. The service is underway. For a half-second I contemplate entering. The thought passes.

I’ll have to come back when I can go inside.

My journey has taken me high up the mountain. On the map this morning I saw Via Duomo, a road leading from this church back to Tutto per Tutti market. But is it a road – or a path – or a staircase? There are no signs. I wander for a while, uncertain. There’s no one to ask.

Out of nowhere a man appears walking toward me. When he’s close enough to hear I say in my best Italian, Per favore, where is Tutto per Tutti? Half in English, half in Italian, he tells me it’s Sunday. Everything is closed. Tutto per Tutti is closed. But there is a small market…he motions me to follow him to the edge of a parking area. “See the car there?” He points. “Centro Market. It is open. You go there. Everything else is closed.”

I don’t have the heart or the language skills to tell him it’s just the landmark I want. I don’t need a market. But I thank him and start walking. Soon I’m overlooking what is by now a familiar switchback. If I go left at the curve it will take me directly to Tutto per Tutti.

I pass the grocery store, which is closed, and just ahead is Centro Market. As was the case the first time I went there, a man stands in the doorway. I recognize him as the owner. “Buongiorno,” I say.

“Buongiorno,” he replies.

I had no intention of shopping today, but all at once I crave human interaction. I nod and he steps aside to let me enter. A bin of enormous red peppers catches my eye. “Grande,” I say, hoping that’s the right word. He smiles and nods. I choose the largest and set it on the counter then make the rounds of the shop adding a couple of tomatoes, biscotti, two apples, and… there it is! Primitivo di Manduria, a wine from the Puglia region. He adds it to my bill. I pay and we stuff it all in my backpack. “Grazie,” I say. “Caio.”

Buon pomeriggio,” he says. “Rivederci.

I look up those words when I get home. Good afternoon. Meet again. How lovely is that? Then I empty my pack. What will I do with a giant red pepper? Nothing right now.

After I’ve thrown together egg and toast and scarfed it down, I grab a book, curl up in a lounge chair on the terrace, and promptly fall asleep. I wish I had an app that counted stairs!

Are you content? BE TERRIFIED!

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Sometimes we get stuck in our lives. No matter how gorgeous, titillating, and inspired they may be, eventually it all becomes normal; still really really good, but normal. That state of complacency, cruise-control I call it, is often confused with contentment. “Oh everything’s great. I’m content with my life.” If that’s you, be terrified.

I’ve lived in Bali for five years. From day one I was awestruck. Everything was like nothing I’d ever known, done, seen, heard, believed, before. I was drinking from the fire hydrant of life at just about the same gushing flow. Joy was my perpetual state followed close on its heels by deep, soul-satisfying gratitude. I dreamed big and the dreams that manifested were bigger. Bali met me on every plane of existence with abundance above and beyond imagining.

But like many romances, infatuation becomes lust, becomes admiration, becomes love, becomes commitment…and then if the fire is left untended it wanes to coals and burns out to cold, dead, ash.

I woke up one morning and felt the chill.

Bali was still Bali. I knew that. But something inside me had shifted and I didn’t feel her the way I had before. I’d become content, but in the wake of the intensity of joy, discovery, and amazement, contentment was a colorless place emitting the low-level hum of boredom.

There was nothing wrong. It’s very difficult to sort out what’s not right when there’s nothing wrong. I journaled, meditated, yoga’d, did everything I knew to do. But I was metaphorically at sea in a magnificent sailboat without a breath of wind. My father died. My first grandchild was born. Life crested and dipped like waves around me but I remained stagnant in their midst.

Then one day by divine chance, I stumbled upon a book with the dreadful title, A Happy Pocket Full of Money, by David Cameron Gikandi. Truth be told, I would have never picked that book off the shelf. But because of the serendipitous way it crossed my path, I read it. Buried in a paragraph on page 85, was the key that broke the code. Paraphrased it went something like this: A major reason why people lose their joy is because they cease to dream. Sometimes this happens when comfort is finally achieved, which isn’t a bad thing. But if you find yourself going down, re-examine your goals and mental images, for life is images of the mind expressed.

Bingo! Sirens went off. Five years ago my head had been filled with images: the kind of life I desired, the books I would write, the home I would live in, the friends I would have. Five years later, I HAD IT ALL. I had achieved comfort. But the place in my mind once filled with fantastic visions and outrageous dreams was now empty space and I was going down.

The author didn’t stop there. He went on to make the remarkable claim that 5000 dreams are better than 500. His premise is that you want to give Source plenty to work with.

So I’m imagining my list of 5000 dreams. I have three so far but they’re big ones. Meanwhile, I’ve recognized that in the wake of so much blessing an old belief system had crept back in, one that suggested I’d been given so much more than I deserved, how dare I dream of anything else? Where do these idiotic lies come from? And why was I paying so little attention? I knew better!

It didn’t take months, or weeks, or even days. Within hours of the juicy birth of new desires, the lights went on, the expectant sizzle of potential zinged through my veins, and lusty infatuation for everyone and everything made me giddy with joy. Never, ever again will I let my life get comfortably dreamless. Thank you, Mr. Gikandi.

~~~~~

“With our thoughts we make the world.”
– Buddha

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
– Walt Disney

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind.”
– Winston Churchill

“Where there is no vision the people perish.”
– Proverbs 29:18

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
– Alvin Toffler

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.”
-George Lucas

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”
– Napoleon Hill

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”
– Henry David Thoreau 

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What if….?

Sometimes I wonder…

What if I’d taken that job with Pan Am Airlines and had become a flight attendant at age 19? How might my life have been different?

That’s a wasted What if. It’s in the past and there’s nothing I can do to change the outcome of that decision. But there is tremendous power in a What if that imagines something different in future time. A What if is the first step toward change. Often it’s fleeting, a mere shadow puppet that dances indistinctly through the mind. But it leaves traces of itself that bring about random ideas and a niggling discomfort that perhaps there’s something I could be doing differently? Perhaps there’s something waiting for me that will manifest when I realize what it is.

What if I could do something I loved instead of this job that’s killing my soul?

What if I could be mentally, physically, emotionally healthy?

What if I could get out of debt?

What if…?

The reason why those thoughts rarely change anything is because they’re overridden by old programming that sounds very much like, it won’t work, I’m too old, too young, too tired, it’s no use, I’ve tried before, I’m too broke, it’s too late, it’s a silly thought, I’m better off than most, why can’t I just be satisfied?

That programming is solid, unyielding, and unconscious for most of us. It grew out of our first impressions of the world before we were old enough to filter information. It’s buried deep in our subconscious and it informs every single decision we make. It’s the reason we have thought patterns, and patterns of behavior that repeat, sometimes beneficial ones, too often destructive ones. It determines the kind of people we attract to us. In a nutshell that programming runs the show.

To ask the What if questions and to allow them to become dreams before the programming shuts them down, requires help. Take a look at my life and tell me about patterns!

Married and divorced five times

Pulled up stakes and moved every two years or less

Rarely stayed in a job for more than a year

Lived from paycheck to paycheck

Accumulated credit card debt

Wore a happy face that masked the emptiness inside

Then three of my closest friends died within a year, all younger than me. It shook me to the core of my being. I asked myself, If you were told that you would die tomorrow, would you have regrets? In a terrifying flash I knew that not only would I have regrets, I would feel as though I hadn’t yet lived. That my years had been spent living someone else’s life.

That was then.

The journey from there to here was taken in incremental, logical, strategic, and sometimes serendipitous steps. As discovery writing exposed old programming and uncovered my truth I knew what to do and when to do it. I entered a kind of effortless flow that exhilarated and amazed me.

And it brought me to a dream that is bigger than anything I could have imagined back when I started to rethink my life. My definition of happy now looks nothing like what I accepted as happy before. I have connected with my path, a calling, a life purpose and the joy in that is indescribable. Utterly indescribable.

My dream is only mine. It isn’t everyone’s idea of bliss to move to the other side of the world and live on a tropical island. (How cliché is that?!) But it is everyone’s dream to be happy, to live a fulfilled life in tune with your reason for being.

Yesterday my daughter e-mailed my Tantric Numerology Reading for 2015. It spoke to thoughts that have been weighing in on my consciousness for the past few months. And it affirmed my desire to pass the information I’ve learned on to others:

You cannot accept and use your gift unless you feel that you deserve it. Remember, this gift is already yours. Relax, use it and enjoy it. Your gift is the ability to teach. You will find it easy and pleasurable to teach others through your actions and words. ( http://www.3ho.org/tantric-numerology-reading)

As I read this the truth of it settled into my bones. “Yes,” I said. “Of course.” And the inevitable tears trickled down my cheeks.

 

Suspicious Block in the Third Chakra

There is an area where, as a writer, I’m weak. Deficient almost. I can write rhyme, suspense, grief, human interest, self-help. But comedy? I don’t have a handle on that. Humor, unless subtle and understated, is a mystery to me.  I have blogger friends whose posts have me laughing til I weep. I love that! Their tongue-in-cheek irreverence is hilarious. And you know the person at the party whose monologue attracts crowds and keeps them in stitches? That’s not me.

In the February Writing for Self-Discovery Workshop in Bali we will be Writing Through the Chakras. I was thinking about that this afternoon. Where’s the humor in the chakras?

First Chakra:  Survival
Second Chakra: Creativity and Sexuality
Third Chakra: Personal Power
Fourth Chakra: Love and Compassion
Fifth Chakra:  Speaking Your Truth
Sixth Chakra: Inner Wisdom and Knowing
Seventh Chakra: Connection to Outer Wisdom and Spirituality

 

They all sound like pretty serious stuff. So I did a little research and it didn’t take long to find that it is the third chakra, the seat of personal power located in the solar plexus that, (according to purenlightenment.com) houses “the energy necessary for self control, laughter and humor.” And when you think about it, that makes perfect sense…right?

Since I’ve been living in Bali I have learned how to laugh. Authentic, joyous laughter comes from deep within. It’s far different from the shallow ‘head’ laughter that sounds forced and empty. Try it once. Laugh in your throat area then guffaw from your belly. Big difference! If I have laughed long and hard I notice sore stomach muscles the following day.

So how do I translate that belly-type laughter into writing? And should I? Maybe I’m the writer of angst and woe. Maybe I shouldn’t go there. Maybe I need to stay in the subtle, understated realm of the familiar.

That’s what I’ll be exploring as I write my way through the third chakra. Who am I relative to humor? How do I want humor to manifest in my life? I’m excited. Who knows what hilarity will be unleashed when that bothersome blockage is cleared!

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