Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Little Bit of Florida, on the Shores of Lake Erie

Well, after a long and stressful travel day, I returned to the land nestled on the shores of Lake Erie, to resume my normal life. I found my husband and four restless pets waiting anxiously for my return.

And I returned to my daily routine of going to the office.

But something is different. Actually, many things are different.

First of all, I'm not teaching this term, since I have been granted a research contract, releasing me of my teaching duties to focus on my academic research. (That's a topic for another blog, another day).

What that means, is that I am not driven by the clock this term. No need to cram tasks into the brief blocks of time between teaching.

No frantic scramble to get papers graded in time to return during class.

The luxury of being able to THINK about the tasks that lie before me, and to actually follow through with them as I do them.

It is a wonderful, though strangely disconcerting, feeling.

And yet, something else is different.

That something else is me.

My mind set.

As I wrote about on several posts here, I did a great deal of reflection while I was in Florida. I let my mind go. I let my elements, water and air, cleanse and rejuvenate me. And I reclaimed control over myself and my life.

So, as I returned to school this week, and took up this new slightly awkward routine, I realized that I am a new person.

And it all revolves around that integrity I spoke of in an earlier post.

I COULD be staying home, doing what I feel like, and not worry about the job. After all, they didn't grant me tenure, and don't want me around for the long haul, so why should I bust my chops to work for them?

But, you see, the work isn't for THEM. It never was.

It is now, and always has been, for - and about - me. About realizing my true self. About finding my bliss.

And today? What wonderful thing happened, but that a book rep knocked on my door to offer my desk copies of texts for my courses, and we wound up talking about my OWN book project, and making a connection that might - just might - end up in a book deal for me at the end of it.

See? Integrity.

If I had not been in the office today, if I had chosen to sleep late and read what I wanted to read, instead of going in and doing scholarly tasks, I might have missed this opportunity.

And I know this is the case, because this morning, I saw and heard seagulls outside of my window.

In Erie, Pennsylvania.

Now, we have gulls here, don't get me wrong. They are often on the lake and at the shoreline.

But we live inland, about 47 blocks from the lake, on a hill. We don't usually get gulls up here.

Today we did.

And I know why.

The gulls were there to reinforce the lessons I had been learning in Florida. Like the dolphin who appeared for me in Florida, the seagulls' connection to the water is symbolic for those with this totem. Water represents the emotional side of a persons psyche.

The seagull is a messenger. If it dives into your life (as it did into mine this morning) this can indicate deep seated emotions that need to be healed. If seen bobbing on the surface its asking you to let go of worry, go with the flow and enjoy yourself more.

More importantly, seagulls hold the teachings of fairness and respect and show those with this medicine how to create relationships based on these two principles.

Relaxed and easygoing in all of their pursuits, seagulls bring us the gift of a carefree attitude. They are casual about how they build their nests and where they live.

Those with this totem should try to remember that the complementary side of a carefree nature is the proper acceptance of responsibility. When you commit to something and others are depending on you its not appropriate to just fly off if the mood strikes you. It is good to temper a carefree attitude with a responsible nature and to know when each behavior is appropriate.

So, the gulls, like the dolphins, were showing me that I must hold onto my integrity and self-respect, and carry out my responsibilities for my own sense of balance. Then, and only then, will I have met and lived my true bliss.

So, I remain watchful for those totem signs that tell me I am on the right (or wrong) path, and I listen to their messages.

What are the totems telling you today? Are you following your bliss?

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