We’re coming up on our last week of camp hosting here at Fool Hollow Lake. We’ve decided to stay in the mountains for the summer at an RV Park in Pinetop, 20 miles southeast of here, and about 1000 feet higher in elevation. This way, we’re still in the cooler pines, out of the summering campground crowds, and close enough to Phoenix if my dad needs us.
Since we won’t be hosting, we’ll have a lot of free time, which can be good if we get out and explore and connect with people. Or it will make us crazy. I’m hoping we’ll do some day trips around the area, maybe even scout out some campsites for some dry forest camping.
Marika is thinking about doing some hospice volunteering and I’m excited that I’ll be free to take a morning yoga class. I’ve also been looking at possible art classes, and volunteer opportunities. And I’ve been nudging myself to set up some Heart Sparks workshops. But I wasn’t sure if I still had the passion, or if it was just something familiar and easy that I thought I SHOULD do.
Yesterday, I walked down the long flights of steps to the lake shore for a solo outing, to unwind after a full and fun and heartwarming visit with friends from Phoenix. I found a spot on a wide rock and watched the water lapping against the thin grasses, and I asked the Universe for a sign to know if I do still want to share Heart Sparks workshops.
I watched the breeze drawing lines farther out on water where a pair of kayaks floated by, and I wished that I had the energy to inflate my kayak and get it down to the boat ramp and into the water. But since I wasn’t willing to do all that, I reminded myself to just enjoy watching the people who were out there. I overheard spots of conversations from the people in a fishing boat, hoping for a rainbow trout, and waved to a couple as they paddled by.
When the sun got too warm, I walked back up the slope and along the pseudo-path under the shade of the pine trees until the rocks got too big to step over easily. I watched the water from this higher vantage point as a mallard skimmed across the water going to the right and the resident great blue heron flew higher up, to the left. I could hear the flapping of its enormous silvery wings.
A family with two dogs had set up chairs and coolers near the water and another group was coming down the stairs, so I started to head back to the stairs. A woman about my age walked past and we said hello, and what a beautiful place this was. She continued on the path and I headed back up the stairs.
About three-quarters of the way up, I sat on the steps to catch my breath and enjoy the view. The woman I had seen walking stopped to talk. She said she was visiting the lake for the day, and staying at a B&B up in Snowflake. A bit later she shared that her son was getting married that day, but she wasn’t invited to the wedding. Instead of staying home and feeling sorry for herself, she had taken herself to the mountains for the weekend.
I applauded her for such beautiful self-care, and she thanked me.
We talked about camp hosting and she said that she’ll be coming up on retirement next year and has no idea what she wants to do, but she recited a long list of what she didn’t want to do.
I shared my belief that the Universe needs to hear what you DO want. And that, if you don’t know, then focus on how you want to FEEL. And she had never considered that before.
I told her that I was a life coach, and that I had written a book, and she googled it right there, and I told her that we were staying in the area for the summer, and how I had been doubting if I wanted to do Heart Sparks workshops again. She said, “You’d be good at it.” And I said, “I AM good at it!” And I smiled, hearing myself say it out loud. “And it’s pretty obvious from this,” I moved my left hand back and forth in the space between us, “that I do still love it!”
And I thanked her. And I invited her to write about her ideal day with no restrictions. To include smells and touch and people. “Or no people,” she said. And I smiled big and said, “Exactly!” And she said she was excited and nervous to go back to her B&B and try it.
She asked if she could take my picture and I said, “Only if you’re in it too.” She said, “I don’t do selfies.” “Then no picture,” I said.
I stood up and she came over and stood next to me with the lake behind us and took our picture. I asked her to email it to me, and then she would have my email if she wanted to stay in touch.
We both thanked each other again, and, of course, we hugged before we parted.
Today she sent me a copy of the photo and said that she was struggling with the assignment, but that the struggle was a good thing. And I was thrilled. And again, reassured that there are people out there ready to connect with me. I just needed to say yes.
And so, I’m making a list of places to propose my Heart Sparks workshops and I am beginning to envision myself engaging with women in deeper questions and conversations, and re-sparking my own heart.