Sunday, July 12, 2009

A well-traveled road

As soon as it was time to go to college, I left the state I'd spent most of my life in -- Texas. I fled to Colorado. It was a place I had thought about and dreamed about for years. My every waking moment was spent fantasizing about living there. I imagined everything I'd do, how I'd live, and who I'd love. Ask anyone who knew me during high school. John Denver and Colorado were all I ever talked about.

Looking back on those 14-year-old's memories, I realize how few of those fantasies came true. So, what's up with all this hype about the law of attraction -- we attract to us that which we think and feel about? I thought it; I felt it; and I still didn't move to Aspen and become friends with John Denver. That was probably my biggest fantasy. I wanted to travel with him, to help run his show in some way. I didn't know what that would be. I didn't care. I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could work and travel with this man.

After moving to Gunnison, Colorado for college, I took guitar lessons and learned how to play John Denver songs. I probably still have the music somewhere for "The Eagle and The Hawk." I was a music major playing the piano, and John Denver was not allowed in those classical music halls. Confined in my small room with a captive piano I would play for hours -- Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin, but never John Denver.

I was sitting in a room alone with a piano instead of outside in the Rocky Mountains that John would sing about. I was running my hands up and down a keyboard playing a long-dead musician's piece instead of picking "Rocky Mountain High" beside a river. I would spend hours and hours in a confined room playing the same arpeggios instead of traveling with a band that introduced John Denver to an audience so many nights on the road.

It didn't matter. I knew so strongly that this would come true that I didn't waiver. I kept playing until I was asked to leave the program for lack of a tolerable singing voice and for being tone deaf. I picked up my pen instead and became a writer. I ended up with a degree in English. I use it every day.

One of the first guys I met in Gunnison was from the Aspen area. I even hitchhiked to his mother's house my freshman year and spent the weekend with him there. He was a friend that I never forgot over the years. When I ran away from home with a six-year old daughter, I ran to him, and then again 18 years later when I struggled with a failing marriage and a buried identity.

Just a few short years ago in 2004, I left Boulder county where I was living to go to a symposium in Snowmass near Aspen. The symposium was put on by a John Denver foundation called Windstar. I never made it to the symposium, but I got reacquainted with my college friend. He flew me back to Gunnison where we'd met. We walked the main street where we'd been all those years ago. We talked about all the places we'd gone to there, the people we'd befriended, and what happened in those buildings. But most importantly, while walking down the street we remembered who we once were and who we thought we'd be. It was painful to see the incongruency in it all. It was a turning point, a defining moment for me like none other. It was my 48th birthday, and I was so disappointed with who I'd become.

The dichotomy of who I dreamed I could be and who I had become was such a chasm, I couldn't fathom a way to make it to the side I wanted to be on. The distinction between the two were so evident, so in my face, that it was too painful to not do something about it.

The drive back to Boulder county that day took me two extra hours and I don't remember it at all. I never stopped thinking about how I had to make changes. I didn't know how; I just knew I had to, and one of the first things I wanted to do was learn to fly. My Aspen friend flew me over the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak to Gunnison, and it seemed the world opened up to me. There was something inside that blossomed and turned me into someone who could no longer be that simple wife that did what it took to keep peace (in an angry sort of way).

Taking flying lessons was out of the question, according to my then husband. To me the only thing out of the question was to continue being his wife. So, after 27 1/2 years I became single again. After living near Denver and Boulder for all those years, I went back to the mountains in search of me. I went back to the mountains to hibernate for a couple of years and grow into someone I could be proud of.

One of the first people I met was a shaman that I worked with for months before finding out that he and John Denver had been good friends. We worked together in Aspen for a while, driving from Steamboat every week. I met many John Denver friends that way. I still get calls from them. And then last September I took a 5-day workshop with one of John's dearest friends, Tom Crum, on the Journey to Center. It was a John Denver lovefest. There were many participants that had been good friends of John's. I heard so many stories about him. We listened to his music, and his energy was so prevalent that it was palpable.

Within weeks of that workshop, I had moved back to Texas.

So, did all that visualizing/fantasizing mean nothing? Did I really not have my dreams come true? Did I not travel with John?

In the past when I've declared something as mine -- visualizing it and claiming it with affirmations, vision boards, etc. -- it has always shown up, but just not how I think. I've traveled all my adulthood with John Denver. I moved to Colorado in 1974 because of him. I spent many nights in the Aspen area because of him, and I moved back to Texas because of him. Every major event in my life has had a John Denver connection. Every trip back to Aspen has been a defining moment for me. Every experience there and every experience with his friends have helped shape my life into what it is today.

I thought I'd be lugging around guitars with a backstage pass around my neck. I thought I'd be hearing his music live from behind the stage. Instead, I heard him within. I followed the tiny nudges that kept leading me to the next step, and those steps led me to McKinney, Texas in 2008, 34 years after leaving Texas the first time.

I've learned to make my wishes known to the universe. To voice them in the ways I know how and then allow the events to unfold as beautifully and perfectly as they always have. I've learned to wake up to the possibilities in every moment and see the finer connection to all that there is. It's a lovely way to live. I am so grateful. Thank you, John. It's been a well-traveled road back.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me think of one of my favorite lyrics in the song "I Am" by Nine Days...

    The answers we find, are never what we had in mind, so we make it up as we go along.