The Road I Travel

With Mother’s Day hours away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to say goodbye to A Righteous Revival. I began this blog back in the summer of 2013 when it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong in my life had gone wrong. It served as a platform and medium of therapeutic outlet. My dedicated readers – you know who you are – have been supportive and encouraging these last almost four years and I hope that you will follow me on to bigger and better things at my new project.

I recently launched The Road Linds Travels to merge my two passions of writing and travel. Similar to A Righteous Revival, I continue to share my personal growth through candid stories, anecdotes, and memories. My dear Mother is still very much a large part of the motivation and subject of my posts. I believe she’d be very proud to see how far I have come since laying fetal position on the floor of my bedroom in Eternal Sunshine. I am very proud of myself.

Much of my strength is innate and learned but much of it, I got from my mama. She stressed how important it was to be a self-sufficient woman, never relying on a man’s emotional or financial support or anyone’s support for that matter. She showed me what hard work meant – the literal kind and the figurative kind that comes with simply living life. She was why I was able to remove myself from a toxic marriage, to pick myself up off of the floor that night, and keep on keepin’ on. She was a much-needed reminder in the form of an electrical wire when I wanted nothing more than to just give up. She’s forever my deepest inspiration.

With that being said, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the comments, dedication, and energy you all have put into following and reading A Righteous Revival over the last few years. I do hope you’ll make the transition with me and subscribe to The Road Linds Travels, as it is sure to be one hell of a journey! Much Love and peace.

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All about the Journey

Almost two years ago, I sat at my coffee table eating Christmas dinner, alone. Not only was it Christmas, but it was my thirtieth birthday and I vowed from that moment on, I would do something extra special each year even if it meant I’d be doing it alone. I had spent holidays with friends and in what essentially seemed a foreign place to be celebrating the holidays before but that particular Christmas was the fourth I was spending without my parents breathing somewhere thousands of miles away. This loss only added to the heaviness of being alone on my thirtieth birthday, on a holiday that is better spent with loved ones.

I tried driving to the movie theater with the intent of distracting myself from the solitude for a couple of hours. I only ended up making matters worse when I found myself surrounded by hordes of couples and families with similar intentions. I promised myself that day that I’d write a different story thereafter.

Last year, I explored, ate, and drank my way through California’s famed wine country and this year, I head to Peru to check off the bucket-list worthy Machu Picchu amongst many other adventures including learning how to make chocolate! Peru has always inexplicably beckoned to my wandering spirit even more so than more obvious tourist destinations like Paris or London.

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Eating oysters along highway 1 at Tomales Bay, Dec. 2015

2016 has had its ups and downs like every year – thankfully not as many downs as some previous years. Nonetheless, I’d like to reflect on the positive of this year and enter into 2017 with that gratitude in my heart and mind.

I began 2016 vigorously hunting for a new job only to be promoted at my current job and assume a management role with a team of Disney loving artists. I look at Mickey Mouse’s face all day – hard to complain about that. In May, I found myself on a beautiful, rural island in the Pacific Ocean, a Hawaiian Island by the name of Kauai. I found much deserved rest and relaxation there as well as a great affinity for island life. I watched the sunset and the sunrise over the crashing waves of the sea, collected sea glass on a beach covered in it with my mother in my heart, and I ate all types of seafood like it was my job, even experiencing a mild allergic reaction to butterfish when my mouth became itchy and my lips swelled up. Thank goodness it was only mild!

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Last Sunrise in Kauai, Hawaii

The month of June brought life changing decisions and a serious surgery that was followed up by an epic eight-hour round trip hike to the top of Kearsarge Pass, an 11,760-foot peak overlooking stunning Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Forest. This weekend of camping and hiking in good company led me to a newfound love – the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range! The “range of light” as John Muir so accurately described them, left me in awe of their vast beauty, chanting “emotional pain is worse than physical pain” during the grueling climb to the top of the pass, and perhaps masochistically pining for more.

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Top of Kearsarge Pass drinking my celebratory cup of wine

While July brought loss, leaving me grieving in its aftermath, it also brought me back to the Sierra Nevadas. I took off for a solo weekend getaway one Saturday morning, ate breakfast on the banks of a pristine lake, and eagerly visited the wonder that is Mono Lake and its tufas. The following morning, I got lost on my way to a trailhead of an intended hike and when all was said and done, it didn’t feel like I had ever truly been lost. In fact, I think I was going the right way the entire time when the beautiful deer pranced out in front of my car, briefly paused, and then disappeared into the dense, dark forest.

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Convict Lake where I ate breakfast

Thanksgiving found me surprising my family in Kansas City for the holiday and what a nice treat that was to spend so much quality time with everyone, especially my eighty-six year old grandma. From listening to Elvis Presley Pandora, my grandmother’s favorite, to assembling her Christmas tree with my aunt and cousin, I was reminded just how important the family we don’t get to choose is. Happily finding a jazz lounge and touring a distillery with my best friend of eighteen years was time well spent and will certainly be a part of the memory books of our minds for years to come.

People have come and gone and I am reminded that no matter how long each person was a part of my life, be it for years or for a moment, they were all equally as important and purposeful. It’s most certainly about the journey and not the destination, nothing is an accident, there are no coincidences, people are rarely ever “joking,” and the Universe always has messages for those of us looking for them.

And here I am, one week away from a trip that I have looked forward to for so long! I am proud of my hard work, my candor, my strength, and my drive – I am proud of the loving, bold, and compassionate woman I have always been and I am unashamed of the endless hopefulness that burns brightly inside me. But you’ve seen so many disappointments in this short life, says that child’s voice inside of me that’s always seeking to protect, and to her, I respond, but my dear, without hope, we wouldn’t put one foot in front of the other, we wouldn’t look forward to or get excited about another day and all of its possibilities. Therefore, I shall always have hope.

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I am looking forward to the Peruvian journey and to thirty-two! Cheers, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, set your life on fire, seek those who fan the flames, and a Happy New Year to all of you!

Choices, Change, History and Tomorrow

Today marks exactly two year years since I decided to end my marriage and I’ve been so preoccupied with the joy that it is my only surviving grandparents’ 85th birthday that I didn’t remember this other significant date until just now as I type this.

Many would look upon such a day with sorrow and possibly some regret but I look upon this day as one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself – a difficult one, no less. As I retrospect on our life together, I do not for one second intend to play a victim as that time has long passed. When I dig a little deeper, I realize that if it weren’t for this decision, I have no clue where I might be today – desperately unhappy is the only certainty. Although, I can’t imagine my life getting much darker than it already was with David, I am sure that it was possible which is the whole reason we make choices toward change, right?

Making decisions to change an aspect of our lives that we find mundane, boring, unfulfilling, whatever it may be is difficult! Change is terrifying but if we don’t take that step or those steps to change whatever it is that is not serving our soul then we will remain in a perpetual cycle of displeasure and that’s an understatement. We have no one to point fingers at except ourselves if we do not work toward changing the part or parts of our lives that are unsatisfactory.

This past Sunday, I had the extreme honor of witnessing a ninety-one-year-old holocaust survivor deliver an inspiring speech on his extraordinary life during a visit to Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance.

Mr. William Harvey wasn’t even the scheduled speaker for that time slot. He happened to be visiting the museum just to say hello when the scheduled speaker could not make it due to illness. His compassionate response when asked if he could fill in: “I couldn’t let the public down.” Again, I hear you Universe.

This is the type of person our youth should be idolizing. This man is hero material,” I thought to myself. At the young age of twenty-two, Mr. Harvey was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp weighing a mere seventy-two pounds. His harrowing tale sincerely altered my perspective on life.

He spoke of his mother and how hard she worked raising six children, as the motivation behind his will not to give up during his imprisonment. In so many of his ideals, his values and his morals, I heard an echo of myself while gaining immense encouragement from his anecdotes of extreme struggle and heart wrenching survival.

This is a man with incredible experience, courage and tenacity – a man who was given a choice between remaining a victim or making something of the life that he fortunately still had unlike so many of his loved ones. He chooses to live in such a way that he looks forward to every single day that he awakens for it’s an opportunity to do something good in the world, to give back to someone else.

In no way am I comparing my struggles to his – I am simply drawing the valuable perspective that I gained. How could I possibly justify not manifesting the changes that I see necessary to fit my desires and accomplish my goals, to better my character and further my self-awareness? I left the museum that day wondering how any of us could justify remaining in a complacent state of being, of merely existing and not living! It’s as if we have forgotten history or perhaps, some of us are just turning a blind eye because we fear the change is far greater than any we could manifest alone. If only each of us could understand that true, necessary change begins with a single human being. I think the moment we all start waking up looking forward to each day with the knowledge and power to do something good is the moment that change will be enacted.

But what will that take?

Thank You, Mr. Harvey, for dedicating your time, your energy and for giving back to humanity and to your community. This world needs more individuals like you.

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Photo by David Miller; http://www.jewishjournal.com/survivor/article/survivor_william_harvey