I am and will forever be an outre woman, an outlaw woman.
Common knowledge it is, I do and say things my sisters and many of my friends would never fathom. I could disclose a list of the unmentionables for those outside the loop, but it's late or, for some, early, so I will make maximum use of my blogging time and just admit that I am proudly, in countless ways, such a woman.
Several years ago, I walked away from teaching English to pursue my passion for writing. Some of my colleagues were tacitly curious, I know, figuring I'd lost what was left of my mind. Others shared their feelings at every opportunity, and still others commended my courage, slipping me inspirational notes. No, I didn't walk away without prospects on where the road would lead next, in the way of income. The Universe made that part palatable. I'd live frugally on an inheritance left to me by my childless aunt, who nursed full-time and painted in her leisure time, for several notable figures---family lore having President Carter as the recipient of one of her paintings, which was once on display at the Carter Center.
In my outre heels, I have learned to embrace CHANGE. There is no other way around it, no other fathomable fashion in which to live my life. Having been there before, I do not choose to flee change, and hurt myself in the flight; hence, I can only welcome change, seeking its company willingly and thereby deepening the quality of my life. Admitting this, I must also admit that I am in transition.
There are some who would describe the space I'm in as being stuck. Plausibility exists in the view. But I prefer to reference it as recognizing that I have broached a crossroads, not an impasse, in my life. In a very real sense, I am open to this place as a blessing. It prompts me to lay bare something inside me, something had this crossroads not appeared, might have gone unexamined, might have remained faceless. So the Universe gently nudges me toward another plateau of my journey.
Possibly, had my inheritance been bottomless, I might have worn out the comfort of my present pumps, never seeking to sashay into my favorite shoe store to purchase another pair of stilettos. When one has been on frugal autopilot, sometimes one becomes comfortable on that setting and, invariably, imagines it perfectly acceptable to continue strolling in a perfectly good pair of pumps...because they've now worn themselves into a second-skin, a complacent fit.
Change and time, therefore, have taken to sitting at the foot of my bed, in the amber-honey of sunlight. I am not taken aback by their presence. I do not fight. I embrace them. For I am happy, still, in spite of the uncertainty of not knowing where the road will lead nor what will be removed or added to my silo.
Happiness, an integral part of my way of being in the world, takes me by the hand and guides me to action and meditation and insightful exploration. Last night, after cleaning the kitchen, I returned to my office, where I yet am this morning at 6:21 AM, to determine what jobs are available in Oprah's network. If I must be employed, I may as well seek in an intriguing arena. Since I've always loved Oprah and the manner in which she uses her voice for good in the world, I started with her website. And although I'd love to report otherwise, my foray there didn't unearth plentiful positions in the talents I weld: writing, organizing and speaking. Same as the Turner Broadcasting site, Oprah's OWN and Harpo Career sites beckoned for applicants in Communication and Broadcasting, with experience of which I could not boast, not to mention most of the positions called for relocating to Chicago, Los Angeles or New York.
Reading and taking notes, I languished over a few of the job descriptions. Wondered, were I employed in them, if I'd have the energy, disposition or creativity to write. Maybe it wasn't all bad there weren't profiles easily earmarked for me.
Then I began reading the online articles from O Magazine. And realized why I was on the site.
The articles watered my soul.
In one piece, Oprah had written about the crossroads she'd come to when she made the decision to take "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on a different course from those of her competitors. Here she was asking the Universe two simple yet powerful questions: "What would you have me to do? Who would you have me be?"
Oprah's questions lined up with what I was feeling. They reminded me to do what I'd mentioned yesterday to a beloved sisterfriend in England. I'd told her I go within, to ask the Divine what I needed to do whenever I didn't know. And last night, here were Oprah's words whispering in my ear: "When you don't know what to do, get still. The answer will come."
I know. I practice it. Know it like I know the smile in my morning mirror. Yet sometimes Spirit reminds me, like it does you, in its constant attempts to let us know everything is just fine...even when the way is unclear.
No one, I realize all over again, saves me but me and my connection with the peace and Stillness within Claudia. So I relegate time alone, to hear the tiny voice that never leads me astray. I flip the switch on that incessant chatter that reminds me I've got to do SOMETHING NOW. That Chicken Little was right. The sky is falling. That my parachute is on aisle four, and I'm at this desk.
As I continued to read, feeling my heart lighten and become near weightless, I came upon an interview showcasing my favorite author of all time. Toni Morrison. Her words tossed me another lifeline. One with "On Writing" painted on the life jacket. Her words reminded me that what I loved, rooted deep within me, could and would save me. In so many words, she advised me to be easy, to remain open, to flow.
No one can express the thought quite like Toni Morrison, so I quote her proudly:
"It's that being open---not scratching for it, not digging for it, not constructing something but being open to the situation and trusting that what you don't know will be available to you. It is bigger than your overt consciousness or your intelligence or even your gifts; it is out there somewhere and you have to let it in."
And with that, I strike another outre pose, flexing my desire to remain open to Spirit and its knowing, as I walk forward, with the innocence of a child, like my fearless grandson, Nazir, and trust that the way comes indeed out of no way. I submit my plan for the Divine's masterpiece for my life. As Oprah so aptly put it, "Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself."
Living A Golden Life....
The Golden Goddess