South Lake Tahoe, A Love Letter

Dear South Lake Tahoe,

I didn’t want to meet you. I thought the timing of this trip couldn’t have been worse with so much going on in my life. I just knew that my absence from my regular life would be detrimental TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. I may have over estimated my importance a little, maybe. Surprisingly, the people in my life survived without me and had I not gone, I would never have experienced the splendor of your beauty.

As it turned out, this trip came at the exact right time. While it was a work related trip, I feel as though it was a gift to me for so many reasons. It coincided with a time that my soul needed something. It’s a different kind of hunger when it comes from my soul. I truthfully had no idea what I needed. Maybe a reminder. A reminder of who I am.  A reminder that no matter who or what surrounds me, I am grounded, I am centered and I know what is true. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day and I forget the big picture of my life.

Off I went. Slim Jim’s, check. Playlist, check. Stress, check!

I arrived not knowing what was in store, but boy did you feed my soul.

The last hour of the drive to meet you was worth the trip alone. Oh, hello trees. There are so many of you, you are so green and happy. Why wouldn’t you be? You are hugged every day by beautiful mountains with surprise waterfalls that pour with delight at the chance to nourish you. Lest I forget the streams. They flowed in a way that told me I was headed to a place where peace would abound. Yes, please. That’s one thing I wanted for sure, peace.

My Buddhist tendencies keep me from going into new situations with expectations and I found it quite easy to just take the experience for what it was and be grateful.

Something I’m adamant about when traveling is walking as much as possible. Not only is it great after sitting in a car for so long, but for me it’s a better way to get a feel for my new surroundings.

I learned a few things about myself while in this gorgeous place…

One, I LOVE to travel alone. Being able to explore whatever I wanted and not having to consult another living soul was liberating. I loved driving through the mountains and performing the most amazing car karaoke that the world will never have the pleasure of witnessing. (Some gifts aren’t meant to be shared)

Two, I adore me. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with me. I’m adventurous, fun and might I add, a little easy on the eyes most days. My inner monologue keeps me highly entertained and I am one of the funniest people I know. Did I mention I’m also humble?

Three, the older I get, the more I talk to myself. Not a low mumble, but like regular conversation level volume talk to myself. I think the people in my life have gotten used to it, but go to a new place and all of a sudden you’re “the weird girl who wanders and has an imaginary friend”. All I have to say to that is, DROP DEAD FRED!

Let me take you through a bit of my journey..

Day one, meeting the lake.

Sunshine, but only 83°. It was 106° back home so enjoying the warmth of the sun without feeling like it was trying to murder me was fantastic.

The bluest lake I’ve ever seen..

IMG_20170709_191721_148Music is life. I feel like every situation can only get better when you have some good tunes.

Since I love music so much, I was naturally drawn to the center of town where live bands seemed to be everywhere. I listened to three different bands at various venues. All of them were great. There’s something about live music that makes me surrender to the moment.

I crossed over to the Nevada side for a bit, not as fun in my opinion, but cool nonetheless. I spent so much time walking and exploring the town that I forgot to eat dinner so I grabbed a tasty pizza from Vinny’s on my way back to the hotel. I washed it down with a Tallboy Bud Light because I am nothing, if not classy.

Day two…

Work obligations took half of the day. However, my coworker/friend and I accomplished our goal and graduated from a program we’ve been working on for a couple of years so yay to that!

We also got to enjoy lunch at Heaven’s Little Cafe which was indeed heavenly. The fish tacos were amaaaazing.

With responsibility out of the way, I ran back to the hotel to change and I was gone. I did a little Googling earlier in the day and read about Emerald Bay. I can’t explain it, but I knew I had to go. I wanted to see that view for myself. I just needed to be there so up the mountain I drove.

Along the way I saw 2 beautiful Ravens which I took as a good omen. Most of you probably know that my left wrist is adorned with one of these beauties.

My love of birds has been with me since I was a child. Yes, my last name is Nightengale. No, not like the bird and no, that’s not why.

My Mother always called me a night owl because I never wanted to go to sleep at night. Side Note: I only ever got spanked once as a child because I didn’t want to put on underwear. I guess not much has changed. I still like to be up late and still hate underwear…and pants for that matter.

I think I was a bird in a past life. Imagine the freedom of flying and being able to take a crap on whoever you want. Amazing.

I digress….so back to the trip up the mountain. I made it to Emerald Bay and it was breathtaking.

cropped-19942818_10209588592287358_2022695716600093336_o.jpg

[wpvideo JQRbD0Gt]

The presence of other humans was a minor annoyance, but I had plenty of solitude and my earphones so all was well. I think that was exactly the point you were making to me, all is well. There are small matters; stress, conflicts and people who will try to rob me of my joy and peace, but at the end of the day all is well with my soul. I have what matters most in life and I am grateful.

A few fun facts..

Emerald Bay is home to the one and only Island in Lake Tahoe.

20170710_180623

20170710_180530
Fannette Island

There are days I would like to be air lifted to this Island so no one can talk to me. I could send a Raven with a message should anything of importance arise, but otherwise I should be left alone.

Then there is this gem. Captain Richard “Dick” Barter made his way to Lake Tahoe in the 1860’s. He was quite the character and would row his dinghy into town to visit the saloons. Captain Dick had a proclivity for Whiskey which only makes him more lovable. There’s a story about him amputating his own toes and showing them to visitors, but we’ll just focus on the positive here.

20170718_093515

 

Just to confirm that the birds love me right back..

[wpvideo 33TCmYv5]

He was just a little shy.

 

The biggest challenge I face is being present in the moment and enjoying myself when all of the small stuff in life tries to get in the way. It was easy to do when I was with you, none of those things existed. I messaged a friend who frequently visits you and asked him, “Is this heaven?” He replied, “Of course it is”. And that was that.

I may have found my heaven on Earth. I think you’ve stolen my heart from the Ocean who I still hold in high regard and will always visit. However, nothing can compete with the clarity I feel standing under your giant trees and looking at the majestic view of your water and mountains.

IMG_20170710_183859_494
At Inspiration Point

 

Day three, a sad goodbye..

I will miss you. I debated going back to the lake one more time, but since a 5 hour energy drink was already going to be required for the trip home I decided to get on the road.

[wpvideo 5WqJlh6q]

Not to worry, I safely drove while the phone was stationary and capturing a bit of my drive. I could drive this road every day and never tire of it.

Until we meet again, South Lake Tahoe. Thank you for the reminders. Thank you for being so welcoming and thank you for the quiet.

There is value is saying nothing at all, in quiet reflection and in a little soul searching.

 

Accepting What Is

I think I have some pretty good friends, but then I see a reflection of myself in a door and notice a piece of my wild, curly hair sticking straight up and realize that I have no friends at all. Thanks a heap, guys. I can’t wait until you have something stuck in between your teeth so I can carry on a long conversation with you, then simply walk away with the satisfaction of knowing I’ve sentenced you to death by embarrassment.

Anywho, I have been listening to a weird sounding German/Canadian man talk to me about The Power of Now and it may be changing my life. Yes, I’m aware it’s very “New Age” and spiritually out there, but if you know me at all then this should be no surprise. Please withhold your judgment. In fact, just pack it away in the box of Hopes and Dreams stored in your parent’s attic. I’m gonna keep listening and then read it old school style, so deal with it. And for the love of God, why does the “Insert” button on the keyboard even exist? WHO is using this button?! And for what purpose? Please don’t answer, I’ve already stopped caring.

As I am attempting not to be so concerned about the future (which is going not great so far by the way), I find myself becoming much more self-aware which actually is great. Sometimes, I think God said, “give Melissa feelings, give her ALL the feelings” and then He did.

I’ve accepted that I just feel things deeper than most people. I know that’s a strange statement coming from me. I’m the sarcastic girl, the anti-social one who would rather talk to your dog than you, but alas I have tear ducts after all. Truthfully, once you’re in my circle of concern, my love knows no bounds. My capacity to forgive is damn near endless (not always a great thing), my loyalty is fierce and I will protect you with everything I have. There is a downside. Sometimes, that same love, loyalty and forgiveness is not returned. Fortunately, I can count on one hand how many times that’s been the case and I have gained wisdom from that pain.

Speaking of pain, let’s get back to The Power of Now. Mind you, I am only a third of the way through and my pal has promised me a book club type of discussion after I read the entire book (which he will soon regret), but I’ve already had some “AHA” moments. One is about pain so here we go…

“The pain you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.”

Wait, humans are resistant to change and things they don’t want? Whaaa? Just kidding and that may seem like a no brainer, but really think about it. When something we don’t want to happen happens, we don’t tend to be passive and just let it be. We fight. We fight for all kinds of reasons. Maybe it’s a painful change, maybe it’s not what we want and maybe it feels unfair or unjust.

What does our non-acceptance and resistance do though? Does it change the circumstance? Does it change the person? No, it changes nothing. It does however cause a great amount of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and disappointment. Yet still, we resist. I don’t even think it’s on a conscious level, it’s reactionary and illogical. I’m so very guilty of this and believe me; it will take quite some time to kick this habit. However, I will try.

I’m aware of the connection between our minds and our reality. I understand the importance of perspective and what we think, but sometimes I still have trouble accepting what is. Damn my humanness.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

That’s a tall order, Tolle…but I will try because it all makes so much sense to me. It speaks to me on the deepest level. The place where my soul is at peace and I know what is true.

Everyone’s truth is different and I’m no expert, but I do know myself very well and I know what I need. The hardest thing for me has always been to stop overthinking and listen to that part inside of me that knows exactly what to do. Call it intuition, God, your subconscious, the Universe…all I know is it’s the truest part of me and the best guide I have.

Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..”

“Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events” – Dalai Lama

No matter what you believe, I think most of us can agree that our thoughts have a great influence over our lives. Those who don’t agree are most likely mouth breathers. Anyway, if you find yourself in a church pew on Sunday mornings, then more power to you and I hope it feeds your soul. You may want to avoid this one though because I’m still confused.

20170627_152612

I never feel the need to explain my beliefs, but when someone is genuinely interested, I do and I’m grateful for the conversation that led me to this book. I’m grateful for people who are open minded and enlightened. I’m grateful every day that I’m alive and have an opportunity to evolve even more. I am far from perfect, but I never want to stop learning or challenging myself and I’ll always be weird so deal with that too.

I’m also grateful for sunshine and music. This gem is from Emeli Sande’s latest album and if you’ve followed my blog, you know I adore her. I love how vulnerable she allows herself to be and the poetic nature of her lyrics. Ok, I’ll stop. Just listen..

I love how much she craves a deeper meaning and connection. I get that, I crave it too. I love that some people are just drawn to one another. It can’t be explained, it just is.

I get that some events and pain are unavoidable and unpredictable, but if there is some pain that we can lessen or avoid by accepting and not resisting what is, I think it’s worth a try. Also, underneath it all I absolutely believe that what’s for me will always be for me.

Wherever your journey takes you, I hope you find what’s meant for you. Choose your humans well.

20170627_161151

Just a tip though, it will never be a pair of Crocs or a man bun. Those aren’t meant for anyone.