“When a problem arises, so does the solution.”  -John Considine


I was sitting at the Spiritual Life Center in Ferndale when I first heard those words uttered in a sentence. As many of you know, I have been involved with them since I have left my evil day job and I couldn’t be happier to be there.  I wouldn’t call it a church, and it is definitely not a cult. According to the website:

“We are a welcoming and inclusive interfaith spiritual center enjoying high energy, heartwarming Sunday morning experiences and wonderful meditations together.  We study and put into our lives spiritual principles and tools for happiness, successful living and loving relationships.”   

For me, it is like being a part of a live version of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.  I have seen many of the principals in action in the past couple weeks and I wanted a chance to put it to paper. So for all of my fellow Topic Tuesday writers, this is where the idea came from for this week.

Recently, I went to California.  I purchased the airfare with the last check I got from my EDJ and it was suppose to be the big release for my first novel, The Awakening. Not to mention a great excuse to meet up with some of my favorite people on the planet.  

On the surface, it wasn’t the most practical plan to begin with. I left my steady income to live a more freelance lifestyle.  When I left, things were going well in my fiancé’s work, I had a few steady clients, and more were coming around to my awesomeness! At least that is what Patti kept telling me.  I was going to finish this book and all would be well. This is where my lessons start and hopefully you will see that in the end, everything is just as it should be.

If you have ever worked freelance, you know that there are good months, ok months, and months that make you wonder why you would ever think you could ever do this.  October was the latter for me.  Add to that a massive slowdown at Pumpkin’s job and the shoestring started fraying. All the while, I knew I had this trip happening at the end of the month. All I could think about is that the editor had my book and it will be released in the end of October giving a little boost for Christmas which is always a good month for Pumpkin anyways and we will catch everything up.

Sounds good doesn’t it?  It didn’t happen that way.  This is my first novel and if you read my What I Learned article you know that I should have realized that it was going to be a different experience than the other people around me. Needless to say, we didn’t get the book out in time for me to actually do the signing.  The question now became should I go anyways?

I guess here is a good place to mention that I added a little side trip to San Francisco to see my best friend and her new husband’s new house.  I had never been to California and had no clue when the next time I was going to be able to see her. It really wasn’t a big deal, instead of flying into LA I flew in to San Fran and took the Megabus down on Friday.  I figured no one would get sick of me if I only stayed a couple days.  It was probably one of the best decisions I have made in a while but more on that later.

With the mounting money strain and stress of this trip Pumpkin and I were truly at each other’s throats.  It seemed as if neither of us could stand the other for very long.  He resented that I was going, I resented that he wasn’t.  Three days before the trip it all came to a point and in my head I finally decided that I was going.  The question became am I coming back!

The day of the trip came and I couldn’t be more excited.  I can count on my right hand how many times I have been on an airplane and they always amaze me.  While I was somewhere between Denver and San Francisco my mind opened and I started writing.

“I don’t know about you but I am always amazed that the plane got into the air, much less gets us to where we are going.  I am reminded of how much we take for granted.  If you told someone in the 1700’s that we would be flying with 300 other people through the air inside a big fiberglass object and you aren’t unbearably hot or cold they would probably think you had gone mad.  Add into the fact that you can get a cold beverage there and they would burn you at the stake as a witch.”

It was then and there that I learned to see the wonderful things around me;  to open myself up to experience this adventure and not to worry.  If you saw my Facebook feed while I wandered around San Fran, you would know that I saw the city.  I enjoyed every ounce of it.  Best of all, I got the opportunity to hand out with my friend and her husband one-on-one when in the past; it was always in a big group of people. They are such a wonderful couple and I wish them many years of profound happiness.

I learned my second lesson while walking down the steps on Telegraph Hill:  You can not be in two places at once.  I was talking to Pumpkin while I walked down and when we hung up (about 250 stairs later)  there was a statue that has such personal meaning to me I cried for a moment. I had been walking down the stairs and almost missed her. If our conversation was just a minute later I would have never seen her beauty, never had the moment, and wouldn’t be sharing it with you.

The third lesson I learned was just a few minutes later when I had the choice of walking straight down the street or walking through the park:  Follow the beauty. I decided to walk through the park and inside it was the amazing fountain.  After walking down all the stairs at Telegraph Hill, I figured I deserved to relax and meditate near said fountain. Unfortunately, my back didn’t like that idea at first. I didn’t have enough support where I first was going to sit so I had to move down a step.  It was there that I found a plug so that I can charge my phone. (I had taken a lot of pictures already and it was getting low.  This was an issue the whole trip)

I got to see a naked man in the Castro, got propositioned by a male and a female hooker in the Haight and got asked if I wanted any drugs in Golden Gate Park.  All-in-all an amazing day that was just topped off by handing out candy with my friends in their brand new home.  What a great way to meet the neighbors.

The next morning I was on my way to meet up with Patti for the Palm Springs portion of this trip.  I can say that the trip down there was nice and I would definitely do the Megabus again but the wifi sucked, so I couldn’t really do the work that I was planning to do or watch a movie.  After a while, reading was making me a little car sick so I just looked out the window and enjoyed the fact that I had the whole row to myself.  This was truly a blessing!

Admittedly, parts of Palm Springs were a little bit hard for me. I was supposed to be launching a book that didn’t happen and there is only so many times you can walk around a pride festival.  We had the perfect parking spot so I refused to go back to the hotel and besides, I wouldn’t want to miss any of the Alan & Logan Show!  The lesson learned here is: Get over yourself! When I wasn’t sulking, I found that everyone around me were characters.  I will never forget Rob & Eric who were both so very fun to talk to at the festival.

Speaking of Eric, he brings home the next lesson I learned: Accept and be grateful.  All weekend Kage and Patti mostly paid for dinner while I tried my best to pay for breakfast (which only worked once)  They both knew I didn’t have much money for this trip and unbeknownst to me, had planned on feeding me while I was there. It was our last night in Palm Springs and Eric invited us all to dinner at this wonderful café just down the street from Kage’s hotel.  It was an amazing meal and when the check came Eric grabbed it and wouldn’t allow anyone to pay.  Before that, we found that I would be flying home on the airline that he works for and he told me to send him the reservation information and he would upgrade it.  I told him I would, but after he paid for dinner I was not going to until he texted me the next morning asking where it was.  I will always be grateful for how wonderful he was and promise that next time he is in town, I will show him a good time. (Dinner, clubbing, museums, get your mind out of the gutter)

Then it was back on the road to stay with Patti for a couple days.  Now I know we joke about her being a crazy cat lady, but I have proof; seven kittens that decided that I was their new jungle gym!  It was the most adorable and peaceful thing I have ever experienced except when I was wearing the sleepy pants.  Thin pants and claws do not a good mix make. 

Patti’s family were all so amazing from the cats all the way to her husband.  They made me feel right at home to the point I actually believed Ali when he said that I always have a home with them. They are mishpucha! If I wasn’t with Eddie, I would be marrying one of Patti’s sons even If it is so I can call her Mom. One of these days I am going to write our trip to Santa Monica into a book. No one would believe it actually happened.

Just when I thought I couldn’t be more grateful, I went to check in at the airport.  I was ushered upstairs to the VIP lines and from the time I walked in, to the time I was sitting in a chair in my terminal was only ten minutes.   I felt guilty at first when a couple was going to be split up but I did the right thing and changed seats with them, which took me out of my cherished window seat, but then the guys that were in the other two seats were together so they let me have the window so they could sit together.

In all, I ended up spending $250 the whole time I was in California.  I can’t think of anything that I would have wanted to do that I didn’t get to do. Looking back the biggest lesson I learned was: Trust that it will be ok.  Things always work out somehow right.  Why waste time worrying about what can happen when you can be grateful for what is happening around you. 

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 JP Adkins lives just outside of Detroit in a beautiful art community with his fiance and dog. When he isn't contemplating the meaning of life, he enjoys relaxing on the couch and watching the leaves fly by the window at seventy miles per hour.

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