“Go Straight On…”

Only getting three hours of sleep (more or less) a night is not making me feel too perky. What IS making me feel perky is the headway I’m making in the studio. And all the writing that I’ve done during the hours not in the studio. There are small obstacles that have popped up, however… mostly these are hiccups existing in the mind and the heart. People, places and things I miss can leave me feeling like I’m on pause and then it feels like my wisdom gained from Italy might be fading away already. I’m determined not to let that happen though. One of the ways I’ve been able to “snap out of it” is to remember the NOW and refocus. Flow forward. This is a great mantra if you feel a little stuck about just about anything. I’ve worked so hard on these things and have to forgive myself when I’m not quite up to speed some days or temporarily lose my direction. Focusing and paying attention to the present moment and where I am heading sure feels better and allows things to fall into place. We have to surrender to the moment. I was confused last night and this morning (most likely from the extended belated birthday drinks), but now I’m right on again.

In Italy I was “on” every day for a month. Every road sign, conversation, sight to see, mechanical or technological contraption to operate lent to a constant need to be aware. I depended on maps and a GPS system I’d never used and still don’t trust much to guide me through winding hair-pin turns through back country roads and villages. Especially in the fog. The scariest times were driving in the congested bigger cities and on steep alley ways that looked like roads, but could barely allow a few inches between the cars and the stone walls. I pride myself as a good, safe driver in general. That said, I’m going to count most of my driving time there as lucky. There are only a few that know of the “incident” in Montepulciano. It wasn’t pretty, I can tell you that. My passengers listened quietly to a series of horrific exclamations coming from my mouth. It was a scary situation and I was so stressed I could feel the blood boiling in my veins. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse. It could have been MUCH worse. The only thing that made it better was to stop at the closest vineyard afterward to start drinking.

At times my GPS would fall asleep. Out of the blue it would suddenly wake back up and announce: “turn around when you get a chance….”  do WHAT?! Why it chose to give direction only some of the time was baffling. They should have just programmed it to say “My bad… I totally nodded off!”

My favorite was when we hadn’t even left the long gravel driveway from the villa to reach the road when the GPS would quickly tell us to turn around. I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder if that was a real warning. There were days and times that it might have been best to stay where we were to avoid the trouble we got in… but I suppose that was all part of the adventure.

One of the other things my GPS would say out of nowhere is “go straight on…”  over and over. As if I needed to be reminded to continue driving. I’m still scratching my head over many questions I had while there (and still have) from Italy. “Go Straight On” makes more sense to me these past few days though. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going! Move along! Stay your course!

It felt really great to step off the airplane in Atlanta and be able to read each sign and know exactly what they meant immediately. In Italy I could figure some of them out, but most were lost on me…  by the end I had finally caught on and was actually leading a group of people and telling them what the signs said and announcements over the speakers at the airport were all about. The fact that they were listening to me was a little funny… one of the group said, “thank goodness someone here knows Italian!”  Seriously. Most of the time I was figuring it out as I went.

How many days in a row does it take until being a foreign tourist gets to you? I left the U.S. feeling excited and confidant. Within a matter of hours from landing, all of that was being challenged. The crash course in Italian was an amusing idea before I left. Not so funny when I arrived. Not knowing road signs was dangerous. I highly recommend preparing before you travel so you don’t show up like I did. I think the word for that is “retarde”. I was so confidant at home that I assumed I’d catch right on and it wouldn’t be a big deal when I got there. All in all, I did alright. I made it back safe.  What I can say for sure is that after thirty days in a row of challenges, I was exhausted. I wanted to just know things and not really have to think about how I was going to get there or what direction I should be heading.

As I’ve settled back in for my third week home already, I’m appreciating things I used to take for granted. I’m seeing things from a new perspective. I liked getting a little lost and learning new things. But I also realize that to have a laid-back, care-free time somewhere, these things that you have to figure out every day and that leave you confused can severely alter your recipe for fun if you don’t surrender. Once I finally surrendered, it was much better.

We all navigate through our lives in different ways… some float along… some of us depend on our lessons… our fate… our destiny. People guiding us… or even pushing us. Sometimes we get side tracked. Sometimes lost. Sometimes we go backward. Forward. Around in circles. Up, down, etc. Direction can be a tiresome effort when you’re just not so sure which way to go. But when it eventually becomes clear it can also be absolutely exhilarating.

I guess in my tired state, I’m just glad to know I can check in with my inner GPS to continue guiding me. The direction gets a little fuzzy at times and I may temporarily feel lost, but trusting myself and that everything is flowing forward is a good place to be. When obstacles come up and if in doubt, I get still, get into the moment and in the now… and then I just go straight on! I eventually end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

p.s. I do miss driving down some of the Italian roads now… not having to really pick a lane and driving in the middle of the road super fast was pretty cool.

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