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Posts tagged ‘adventure’

sa·yo·na·ra

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. -Rabindranath Tagore

 

Tomorrow I leave for a 12 day buddhist pilgrimage on the small Japanese island of Shikoku.

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I have no earthly idea how I was led to do this, how I’m going to get around on an island of non-english speakers (and my small knowledge of Japanese language…..other than that which I owe to 80s music ….case in point:

Thanks, guys….wait…I mean domo arigato 😉 )

Add to that a forest of pit vipers, wild boars, signs I may not be able to read to get to my next village and poisonous centipedes…and I’m kind of feeling like Indiana Jones, but the indiana jones that didn’t like snakes and found himself in interesting situations:

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But man…I am pumped!

Yes, maybe at times I’ve worried about trying to figure out how to use the japanese baths  (luckily I found this jewel): bath_small.jpg

 

And I was worried about what to pack ( but found out I’ll be sporting this amazing and symbolic ohenro-san apparel….where every item has a very deep and spiritual meaning. “It is said that white is worn because long ago some pilgrims would collapse from the physical exertion and die during the pilgrimage, and the white robes could serve as their burial clothes”….two birds, one stone…respect):衣装.jpg

 

I’ve had the great gift and capability of being able to travel to many places and this will be my second pilgrimage (with the first being the Camino de Santiago I did at the one year mark of Michael’s passing) and if there was anything that I learned that time around, it was that everything would be okay if I trusted the path. That was very difficult one year after Michael died, as it was hard to believe that anything happened for a reason, but nine years later, years into trusting my “path”, I look forward to challenging myself even more….mentally, spiritually and physically. As it’s been said about the Henro:

What is important is not the destination,
but the act of getting there.
The Path itself is the goal.

Buddhism has also played a role in my life after loss and I love the idea that On the way of the 88 Temples, anyone that you meet, anyone that you hear, anyone that you see; they are all manifestations of Buddha. Learn from their strengths and reform your own shortcomings.….so listen and learn and honor them…..I think that’s a goal to embody in everyday life.

 

sujata

INSERT YOURSELF HERE…you look great in orange too!

There are many “seas” in this inner world we each hold within…and I have stood upon many shores looking out at what seemed like an endless abyss..

An abyss that your mind tells you you can not survive and that tries to freak you out (like these signs on the Henro Pilgrimage: )

 

shikoku-88-temple-pilgrimage-019

Not sure what’s going on here…but the snake looks pretty friendly…and has nice hair 😉

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Pumba does not look happy!

…but I have crossed them, because my heart always said it would be worth it…and it wasn’t lying.(What the heart forgot to mention is once you cross that first ocean, you open the door to looking through the binoculars to see there are many more seas out there waiting for you if you are willing to look deeper…not on the beach, but in the current, the unknown, life.)

 

So yes, I am a bit nervous and have no clue that will come my way,but THAT IS LIFE and  and  I’m ready to keep on living’ it!

 

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Lots of love- Taryn

Back

5 months around the world.

Tears.

Bliss.

Shedding.

Finding.

Searching.

So much that I don’t feel I will ever be able to put into words.

So much I’m still absorbing….embracing.

I can say, that more than anything, this trip was not about the tropical locations or adventures (yes…they played a part)…but this trip was about a widow who lost her soul mate over 8 years ago, who had never wanted to date or love or feel connected in that way again…learning how to be a “we” again.

Learning:

How to trust.

How to rely.

How to let go.

How to have faith in the unknown.

And…

I was not disappointed.

I struggled and fought and sometimes climbed into my mental cave of a security blanket, but not before Luke pulled it over my head and made me face it. Face myself. Face the obstacles of learning how to live in love after the one I loved was taken suddenly and tragically.

When times got toughest I’d find a “Michael” or “Charlie” show up in the form of a grocery bagger, a bungee coordinator, or a dog on a trail. I’d be sent warmth and hope in the form of a swallow or a white butterfly or a child’s smile.

More than anything, I saw the parts of me that I so easily ignored in the comfort of my solitude.

The fearless widow now saw the fears that still crippled her.

The go-with-flow girl saw that she still wanted to control the uncontrollable.

The peaceful warrior saw that she still had battles within herself to hand an olive branch to.

And so, here I sit, not swarmed by the impermanence I had become so acclimated to, but on the chair in the office in the home we live in.

I’m changed and am changing, but am still playing catch up to figure out in just what and all the ways.

And with that, I am learning to love all the crooks, cracks, crannies, jewels, dust, glitter and glow of this further unveiled soul of mine.

And I’m alive….and now, very fully aware of what that truly means….fully aware of where life exists.

Strut

 

It’s been said that once we have found the true path, destiny unfolds before us like a red carpet.

 

I’m a believer of that and the fact that much of destiny (if not all) is determined on our ability to self-propel ourselves into it.

 

Sometimes we don’t notice our forward trajectory and the red carpet unfolds at a slow speed, that years later is finally apparent to the naked eye and soul. And it shows us that not only has destiny rolled out the carpet, but shows us that we have walked across it.

 

But as I’ve most recently learned, sometimes, after many years of becoming mindful of who and what we are made of, we become aware of destiny when it shows its bare self, and decide to throw ourselves into it head first…no looking back…and just like that, at the speed of lightning, that red carpet is not only rolled out, but ready for you to strut yourself down.

 

Of course, on any red carpet, you’ll find a step and repeat. Those moments where you’re made to pause, see the light, gather yourself…but what’s most important is that you keep walking…because lord knows you can’t keep destiny waiting!

 

Lost

I was having a farewell dinner this evening with a friend…which usually equates to sharing our thoughts on life and all that it teaches/has taught us thus far.

At one point during our conversation, he looked at me and said, “Taryn, there was a quote from a book that changed my life. I want to share it and I want you to absorb it.”

Intense!

That was the word floating into my head with such a preface!

“Ok.” I responded, taking an exaggerated inhale as some sort of sign to show him I was prepared.

He opened his mouth and the words poured out:

“All that is not given is lost.”

I repeated it aloud. I repeated it again.

I sat silently and dissected it in every which way.

It hit me. I dare not say in which way, as I think it’s a line that will bring to the surface the things deep within ourselves that we may have lost….which will be different for each of us.

The things we have failed to give.

 

I know since Michael’s death, there is much that I have given and much that I have received.

I also know that there have been parts of me that I have held so close that had/if I did/do not let go, I would never know all the true beauty still awaiting me.

I want to give.

Every aspect of every ounce of every part of myself.

I refuse to die with any lost part of my being.

I’ve lost too much to lose anymore by my own hand.

I want to give it my all in giving my all.

I owe it to myself.

2013

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties,” – Helen Keller

 

Well, 2013, we’ve had our moments.

 

Good.

 

Bad.

 

Awesome.

 

Terrifying.

 

Everything in between.

 

But you have not conquered me, and for that I am forever grateful and with a reflective heart, shall share some of my favorite moments, because focusing on the shitty is just kind of faux pas and SO last year!

 

 

So with no further ado….

 

  • Going to India- It’s truly has been my favorite stop in my travels. It touched some part of me deep down in my being. Its people. Their smiles. Their spirituality. Their gratitude for life. It was utterly amazing. With some of my highlights being: “working” at the orphanage, the Shreya’s crew and guests and driving around the madness of Bangalore. Thank you for allowing me to visit you. We’ll meet again.
  • Yoga Practice- It’s only natural that it follows India, as it was in India that I was taught their traditional hatha yoga, that I practiced for 3-5 hours a day. Once returning home, I’ve so gratefully been able to carry on my practice nearly every day of the week. Namaste!
  • The AWP- We had our first gala. Launched WidowU. Held over 18 events! Connected with around 1,500 military widows! Created an amazing team. It’s my passion and purpose. Most importantly, all of the amazing fellow military widows I have the honor of taking the journey with! They inspire me beyond words. I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
  • My family- We had some big health scares and I’m just grateful for initiatives and steps taken to ensuring more time with those I love the most. I’m also so glad to having a talking niece! They’re a bit more fun when they can talk!
  • Friends- For those that have been in for the long-haul, those that I’ve reconnected to, and those that have recently entered. I’m grateful for meaningful conversations, drive-in theater dates, food explorations and guidance. Thank y’all!
  • Officiating my first wedding- I was honored to be asked to officiate for a dear friend and her amazing (now) husband! I could have never thought to have been asked, but so grateful to be a part of such an amazing love story.
  • Hawaii and Mexico- Any time on the beach and with those you love is amazing. Add in dolphins, snorkeling, margaritas and sunsets…pretty darn awesome!
  • New York- I’ve been there a bit this year, but all for amazing things! Surprising AWP fans at a school, meetings for AWP partnerships and awards.  It’s been great to us all!
  • Music- Whether it be in the form of ACL Festival, Karaoke, Pandora, SXSW or my LP collection. It lubricates the heart and soul. I don’t think you can ever use the word lubricate without it sounding a bit inappropriate. Forgive me.
  • Spiritual Awareness I had already started a path of awareness in the past couple of years, but in ’13 I loved taking my modern Buddhism course, teaching meditation to other widows, learning about and utilizing Reiki, crystals, essential oils, making malas and getting acupuncture! I’ll leave out the millions of books and notes I have…but they’ve been a part of the journey, too!
  • Happiness- It was somewhat of a “Bigfoot” for a while. Some mysterious and ever fleeting object that seemed more myth than reality. But it’s real and pretty awesome to be immersed in.  Even more than that…it’s a choice. I’m glad I chose to have it become a huge part of 2013.
  • Michael- Ok, he’s got to make any list of mine! I was able to connect with him in ways I never knew possible, and lets just say that we could have filmed “Ghost 2” with the interactions we’ve had 🙂 I feel more than ever that he such a guide and part of every step, decision and interaction. Love you, baby!
  • Everything Else- Conversations, Maximus and Brutus, Queen Latifah, AWP Supporters, Getting rid of cable, A new AWP Logo and SO MUCH MORE!!!

 

There you have it.

Pretty good roster! And I have no doubt, a primer for all that 2014 holds!

AS my motto goes:

Let’s do this shit!

7 & 8

-11

If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

~ William Penn

12.23.12

On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.

A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.

Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.

My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.

I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.

“$25 on each please.” I asked the cashier.

“And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out.”

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yes.”

“Well, Merry Christmas!” she replied.

I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.

I exited with a smile.

I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.

-15

I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.
-17

-12

Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.

The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn’t believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.

All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled…and so did the tears in my eyes….this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows…I was living them out loud 7 years later…but had just begun…

I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall’s to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing.-14 -13I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.

As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing.
-10
I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.
-16

Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.

I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together…sushi…where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children,  and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.

-18

These individuals weren’t any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and  ones that I admired.

They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn’t deserve it.

I don’t know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.

We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. One set of the lyrics stated:
“Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on..”

kisses

That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did….or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don’t even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful,  of days.

Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.

**Update**

 

12.23.13

Today marks 8.

8 years since the most remarkable man chose me to spend the rest of his life with….and he did…if only for a year and a half in flesh.

I prepped the night before…jotting down what great deeds I would do, not only in commemoration of this special day, but the people and universe that surround and house the spirit and love that we share.

I awoke, opened my eyes to the sun shining through the blinds and said aloud “Happy Anniversary, my love…let’s rock this!”

As I showered, Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World” played and I my heart filled with the mission at hand.

The mission to share a fraction…an ounce..of the love…unconditional love…I had been shown during his time on earth.

This year was different, I wanted to spread kindness, but throw in bit of us…who we are…what we love.

I warmed up with a stop at Starbucks, buying giftcards for the two cars behind us and leaving a 300% tip to the warm smile that handed me the green tea latte.

I found joy in looking in the rear view mirror at the unsuspecting person that I hoped to share a bit of sunshine with.

-6

Next, I stopped to get flowers, hoping that our favorite (tulips) would be available. We used them in my wedding bouquet and Michael loved surprising me with them on occasion.

With my heart open to whatever was available, I smiled to find red and white ones waiting.

I then googled “cemetery”. It led me to a small back-country haven, in which I headed to the back corners.

-3

Once there, my heart led me to one headstone, cracked in half due to time’s grip. No longer bearing a name, all it shown was a poem that I have no doubt I was supposed to read:

This lovely bud so young and fair
Called hence by early doom
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom.

I laid a bouquet of tulips, and offered it the attention I know a loved one past would have appreciated.

-3Next, I set forth to my favorite used bookstore.

At arrival, I headed to one of Micheal’s favorite book series “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. I found the oldest edition of the first book of the series and inserted enough for its next reader to buy the whole set. As I placed its message, I remembered the moments in bed where Michael would read aloud to me. My heart swelled knowing that that memory may be passed on to another lucky soul who falls in love with a Stephen King reader.

-10

I headed out, also ensuring that the next two book lovers left with their books on us.

As I left, I bought a mildly inappropriate Christmas card (the best ones, in my opinion) and found a man who looked as if he deserved a laugh and kind deed.

I hope it made him smile.

-12

My next stop led me to a random car, where I placed another bouquet on the windshield.

As I was plotting my next route, I was honored enough to see the elderly couple return to their car, find the flowers, sit in their car seats and simply inhale the flower’s fragrance with a smile. It was one of the best moments.

-11

Next, being a lover of the sweets 🙂 I placed many a treats on many a cars:

-4

One of my last stops was at a place that embodied so much of what we love…FILMS!

My dear friends know just how many 12 hour film marathons I’ve attended, and Michael knows just how many sofas we imprinted while watching our favorite foreign films.

I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy such a blissful aspect of our intertwined passions, so I headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse to buy multiple gift cards for the next groups to arrive.

-13

The gentleman preparing the gift cards responded with ” I thought all of humanity was lost…thank you.”

I thanked him.

He was giving me much more than I was giving monetarily.

I entered my car, with my list of acts of kindness completed in hand, and smiled with the same joy I felt as if Michael was by my side.

-5

I ended the evening with a dear friend, at a favorite restaurant, sharing some of my favorite memories of my journey with Michael. She surprised me with dessert, and I was humbled to know the staff felt honored to share in the celebration, as well.

-9

I conclude this remarkable day with gratitude.

Gratitude for the messages sent. Love shared.

Gratitude for those that let me show and give them something they undoubtedly deserved.

Something that I believe to be the greatest resource our society has.

A resource the kindest being I knew shared with me to their last ounce.

Love.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

Thank you all.