Monday, August 15, 2011

Ruffled Minds, Mirrors and the Quest For Balance

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.  ~ Charlotte Brontë

My mind has, indeed, been ruffled these days, but it isn't just my pillow that is affected, it's my surroundings as well. Sometimes I imagine myself a mirror, reflecting the inner workings of my mind, heart and soul. And like a pebble thrown into stilled water, the ripples of what I emanate can be seen and felt by those around me. My dog, Lakota, and cat, Bella, are no exception.

Whenever the subtleties of a stressful day, a hurting heart or an anxious mind have settled in, unbeknownst to me, my animals also serve as a mirror, reflecting what's inside me. So, lately, I've been looking into them far more often than I have in the past. Other pet owners may find this true of their own pets' behavior in relation to what is going on inside of them. Bella, tried and true, is always there purring, looking upon me with her intensely beautiful, deep emerald eyes; never once looking away at what she sees inside me. And Lakota, his chocolate brown eyes, so playfully innocent, yet so gentle and wise, remind me of what unconditional love feels like. They've been my steadfast unit for the last 8 years of my life, witnessing ever smile, laugh, tear, haunting experience and moment of realization. They've been guides and protectors, but they've also been teachers.

That was a minor tangent to where I was really heading with this entry, but it ties into my ever present search for balance. As of late and in light of a new job I'll be starting in a week, I've been trying to do other things out of my comfort zone. This initiative really started at the beginning of this year, when I took a work trip on my own to France, something I would not have had the courage to do years prior. Then came the initiative to publish my novel, which I'd been putting off for some time because of being scared to submit it. After that, the pursuit of a new job hit me hard, yet with it, more change and discomfort. And the more recent things ... well, this blog for one. I cannot discount how much it's taken to expose parts of myself I'd gotten so used to keeping hidden for so long. And, to bring things back to my "family," I've begun taking Lakota on more frequent and longer walks, down new paths and under night skies. And I've noticed a difference in not only his demeanor on those walks, but my own. It seems trivial, but even the subtlety of changing up our walks, discovering new places to go, has been somehow symbolic to the bigger picture I'm currently trying to paint. 

However, my mind and heart are still creating shaky strokes, so before I start my job next week, I've decided to expand my quest for inner peace and balance by taking the rest of the days following Tuesday to travel around Ohio to various historical homes/museums and villages. Because for me, there has always been something majestic about history and the way being physically immersed in it affects me. And something about this notion that hit me the other day (similar to the one that compelled me to start this blog) just feels right, like it's what I'm supposed to be doing.

An almost eerie contributor to that feeling stems from an experience I had three years ago. I was meditating in my old room at my parents' house and decided on a whim to do a mental exercise I'd been taught years prior. You essentially imagine a blank, two-sided chalkboard that is off a ways in the distance and as you slowly approach it, you begin to make out words or a single word on the board. In this case, the word "Balance" was on mine. At that time in my life, as I'd mentioned in a previous entry, my life was the complete opposite of balanced, so it came as no surprise that that was my "message." However, when I flipped over the board, the word "Bellevue" appeared. At that time, I hadn't a clue what that word meant or how and if it was related to balance. I'd tried to make it fit later on, always keeping an eye out for it, but it never quite fit in any of the things going on in my life at that time.

Well, as I began constructing my make-shift itinerary for this mini-adventure of mine, I stumbled across a website that had a complete list of historic home/museums in Ohio. And one of the first sites that immediately hooked my eye was "Historic Lyme Village," a restored complex of 19th century buildings including homes, barns, shops, a mansion, a schoolhouse, a general store and several museums.

As I looked where it's located, it said in large bold letters: Bellevue, Ohio.

So, Wednesday night, I'll be staying overnight at a Victorian bed and breakfast in the area and hope to write about each place I hit after that. I'll be on my own, but hopefully some of you will follow along.

And who knows, maybe I just may find some balance after all ...

~ C ~

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