Sometimes…you just have to go outside!


Who knew San Diego had a cloudy period? We didn’t. One of the three locals we met when we got here mentioned something about May Grey and June Gloom. Figuring, at the time, it didn’t matter as long as it wasn’t snow or cold, we kind of dismissed it. Well, we’re just about on the other side of it now, but, trust me, it definitely does exist. It was still warm and fully outside-able, but it was definitely a time without a lot of sun over the past six or so weeks. She’s back now – don’t worry.

At San Diego Safari Park 2015 - the gift of travel

It was, however, certainly noticeable over the last little while, where even the new to southern Californians emitted words like humid, sinus, headache and funky weather. I don’t think I felt like myself the entire time. Mercury and something about retrograde, June gloom, subliminal messages from the east coast’s allergy season or who knows, but I wasn’t having heaps of fun. We had dramas with our health insurance coverage. My head was pounding. The NY state inspection on my car was set to expire. It took over seventy-two hours of messaging with very kind friends on the other side of the country, conversations with mean people and tears to find a few fabulous people on the other end of the phone who managed to find a way to get us new coverage, the meds and tests we needed and a way to find a smile again. All being truthful, it wasn’t the most smile filled week, yet, perspective is always key…there’s always a way for something to be worse. The news continued to flood with images of heartbreak in South Carolina, savage weather in the Midwest and terrorist action abroad. Reaffirming faith in humanity and goodness in people was necessary. And then…the universe started to speak to me.

Social media was first with two posts constantly reappearing on my Facebook feed. The first was about a dog remaining loyal to his owner even in death, tugging at your heartstrings and showcasing the significance of organ donation. The second was one of the ‘Humans of New York’ posts about a 93-year old woman named Mary. It read: “We spoke for less than two minutes. After I took her photo, she said: ‘If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens!’ New life motto.” I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And then the sun came out – our test results were negative. A smile began to reappear.

Seriously, was the universe speaking to me?

At Border Field State Park 2015 - the gift of travel

Then, on a walk, I met an inspiring man. Without the use of his left arm or left leg, he was pushing his own wheelchair block after block after block. I smiled and we chatted. Perhaps in his mid-fifties and with a squint in his right eye, he informed me he had had four strokes and was told he’d never walk again or leave the hospital. He did both. He was told he’d spend the rest of his days in a nursing home never able to look after himself. He is doing just that and now works with stroke survivors sharing stories of courage, strength, determination and perseverance. He has since been able to walk upwards of nine miles with a cane prior to getting dizzy or needing the chair. His demeanor and attitude moved me. Still the universe continued to talk to me.

Then there was the grandma. Out for an afternoon with what seemed as if it might be her two daughters and a teenage granddaughter, she looked to be having a great time. After having spent the day gallivanting around the city of San Diego, they stopped for a rest. The two women in their fifties offered to get everyone drinks-they offered water, cosmopolitan, lemonade, soda, margaritas, chocolate milk, and juice…and then came grandma’s response…’can I have a Coors Lite’? When the drink arrived, with her shaky hand she poured, lifted the glass to the teenager, whispered ‘to your health’, leaned back in the sunshine and sipped. Grandma…you are a legend!

Iron Mountain 2015 - the gift of travel

The final message of the day came in the fitting form of a yoga instructor at my first evening class. “Set an intention for your class today”, she suggested. Urging us to latch onto a phrase or term to provide strength or focus, she named a few. “Gratitude. Trust. I am powerful. I am enough.” She didn’t know it, but, she was speaking directly to me. I felt ‘ease, health, happiness and perspective’ run through my mind right before my hands struck the mat for the first downward dog. First it was the internet, then my courageous wandering friend, then there was the grandma and now this? Okay universe…I get it!

People are amazing and can truly do whatever it is they believe. Put your mind to it, be who you are and share encouragement and joy with others. Is this what the universe was telling me? Was the universe just checking in to share a bit of humanity with me? Was it a case of a little nudge to remember to be you, share your spirit with the world, push on, help people, smile through it, the world is filled with good people and to be mindful of just how lucky you are? Was it something else?

I can’t be sure what the meaning was, but the messages were clear. Be proud of who you are. There are things out there that are beyond your control. Realize it and let it go. But the things that are in your control, those are the ones to work on and work with. Not only did the creases of my mouth return to the upturned location they once were, but the week ended with a flood of happiness as more and more Confederate flags were removed from a place of prominence and the US Supreme Court handed down a decision of love and equality. If the universes’ messages of perseverance and positivity, diligence and determination, empowerment, equality and enough weren’t clear before, they couldn’t have been more clear now. Five people eloquently and emphatically declared that the rights of all people are to be protected. What you believe in matters. What you stand for matters.

Go Outside! - the gift of travel

Mary was right. ‘If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful ALWAYS happens.” Share your smile with the world. Go outside. You matter.

Honor what Justice Kennedy so very recently said…“It is so ordered.”

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