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"One of my biggest Fears while traveling is losing my luggage."
"One of my biggest Fears while traveling is losing my luggage."

Fear and Luggage in Australia

Fear is the fast food of the emotional neighborhood. It can be found on every corner of life, prompting detours into that unavoidable Fear Franchise drive thru. It’s all about what happens to that six piece of fried Fear. Do the greasy nuggets get devoured? Does it take some time for them to digest? Or does the Fear Meal get tossed in the garbage?

The "F-bomb" is a primal emotion that arises in the most unsuspecting situations, it juxtaposes with happiness and excitement, shadows victories and sabotages success. It’s the antithesis of love and yet a natural and useful element of the human condition. Fear is a challenge from the universe to procure bravery and to instill growth.

My childhood and teen years all the way through my early twenties were filled with Fearlessness. And then, somewhere along the way, I drank a super size Big Gulp of the Fear Kool Aid. It’s fair to say that over the years, I have allowed Fear to unrightfully direct some major decisions that greatly altered the course of my life. Being aware of this is half the battle, but some events of late have made Fear my personal blue plate special. So I decided to dig in.

It’s strange how a phone call can flip your Panini just when it’s turned the perfect, golden brown. My professional life had recently gotten to that ideally crispy point and then the phone rang. I had finally decided I was truly satisfied with the circumstances of my career, but the voice on the other end of the line invited me to step away from my usual corporate grind to go back out on the road with a rock and roll band. There went that golden, grilled cheese sandwich of life circumstance satisfaction. The work would entail a brutal three-week schedule traveling from city to city through Australia and New Zealand. I would have to work mega hard under a demanding agenda and endure my least favorite element of this type of work, sleep deprivation. The big, "Why did this come back into my life?" question arose making the scenari…

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Weapons of Mac destruction.
Weapons of Mac destruction.

Water and laptops don't compute

In an age of Apple Watches and Google Glass, shouldn’t laptops be impervious to water damage?

As someone who has toted their computer into the bathroom while showering in order to "kill two birds," I must request that hardware designers take people like me into account and devise a way to fully waterproof these machines. At the very least, being someone who also keeps their source of hydration and caffeination perched next to their MacBook Pro while furiously working away on it each day, I beg these tech wizards to please create a truly splash proof keyboard.

My precious laptop is filled with unpublished drafts of children’s books, novels, poems, songs, short stories, memoirs, blogs and journal entries. This poor machine recently drowned. It uttered a faint "uncle" when I went to turn it on one morning after shutting it down normally the night before. There was an aqueous event that day before however. My water bottle, once a benign vessel for liquid, is officially a Weapon of Mac Destruction.

The pink Contigo was innocently hanging out in its usual position during my workday – poised to the right of the laptop, on a coaster. It usually houses ice-cold water from my refrigerated Brita pitcher and since I do not run the AC, the house was at a dewy 81 degrees. As the science of condensation would have it, the cold water in the warm room caused the bottle to sweat. When I picked up the container for a sip, beads of filtered water perspired onto my keyboard.

I hurriedly rushed to clear away any visible wetness, even detailing between each key with a q-tip. I breathed a sigh of relief as the computer went on working the rest of the day, as per usual. I shut her down in the evening before going to bed, as always, but that next morning, as stated above – the silver lady could take no more. I should mention, she had already made her aversion to water known. She had previously protested against showering with me, permanently shutting down her attached keyboard, for…

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Strawberries for as far as the eye can see.
Strawberries for as far as the eye can see.

First garden reaps food and thought

I took down my garden this morning.

The gesture is one that seasoned gardeners realize is an inevitable part of the growing cycle; what is put in, at one point, must be taken out in order to make room to start again. It’s like one of my favorite mantras in Kundalini Yoga, "SA TA NA MA" which means "Infinity / Birth, Life, Death, Rebirth."

But, I am a novice and this was my very first garden, so the patch’s preciousness mixed with prideful memories of the vegetative successes that burst forth made this a somber event, and one that I was none too keen to oblige.

Of course, I could just leave the barren plants, now sizzled from the heat of summer sun and wilted from when my travel schedule forced me to neglect tapping the rain barrels. Time and temperature would naturally take care of the bulk, decomposition would be victorious, the plants that started out as seed, would wither right back to where I initially buried them just months before. But, I was too enthused to put in my fall garden to be that kind of gardener.

This newfound zeal for making things grow is the byproduct of participating in an organic farm work exchange program that made me realize farming is a sport. Maybe it’s not a formal sporting event and there is certainly no National Farm League – yet – but, after working in the fields just once a week for a few months, I’m pretty sure the athleticism required to put produce on the table qualifies for the term. My muscles can testify that four hours of hoeing and forking is one of the best workouts I’ve ever experienced. I could probably get some back up on that from FarmersOnly.com.

My work exchange required me to do a fieldwork shift once a week, which allowed me to indulge in manual labor in what I considered idyllic work conditions – outdoors, under the sometimes too hot sun, in usually too high of humidity, but outside nonetheless. There were no pesticides or chemicals used and fields of my favorite greens and cruciferous vegetables s…

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It does a lot more than leave ya standing around.
It does a lot more than leave ya standing around.

Blue moon magic

The Blue Moon rose on July 31, 2015. This astrological wonder hadn’t occurred since 2012 and won’t varnish the sky with its indigo face again until 2018. To my delight, the early hours of the "morning after" presented a celestial show that will have to sustain me until I can witness it again.

I’m an early riser - very early. On August 1, I woke up without the alarm around 4:15 am, drank a big glass of water and with my dog Sookie still curled up next to me in bed, read two chapters of Anne LaMott’s "Traveling Mercies." Her work reminds me to view the world differently, to infuse every breath with spirituality and to flip my inner inspiration switch on. I hopped out of bed after the daybreak dose of literature with the goal of meeting the sunrise.

I prepared a French Press full of tea to enjoy later and the Sook and I headed out for our walk. As I turned to lock the front door I was besieged with a feeling of awakening to a different locale than I had slumbered in the night before.

I had noticed the temperature was predicted to fall into the 60’s overnight, so I turned off the A/C, which I never keep below 80 anyway. I recalled how I slept in silence for the first time in weeks, sans the rattle and hum of the ancient HVAC unit that cools and heats our home. The snap of chilled air greeted me as I stood on my porch, turning the key to bolt the door. A thought danced across my consciousness; how nice it would be to live in a world or at least a city where you didn’t have to lock the doors. The next thought abruptly cut in as I realized that utopia was either very far behind or so way far ahead of me that I would probably never experience it in my lifetime.

But, something today felt different. The vibe felt singular, yet somehow recognizable. The seasons were shifting again, or at least summer seemed to be sequestering herself. The climate felt somehow more familiar to me than the oppressively hot summer days I had been enduring with forced enthusiasm. I…

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