J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all who wander are lost.” This resonates with me on the deepest level because it that is very much the story of my life. I have a bit of a gypsy soul but was also fortunate enough to have book smarts too. I’ve been this duality of bohemian artist meets intellect my entire life.
My Mother saw the gypsy in me when I was young. My father died when I was seven. My Mom raised five kids on her own and knew life was tough but would be tougher for her wandering gypsy daughter. Being a “Drill Sergeant” type of Mom she insisted I focused on using my intellect, learning “real” life skills, as she said called them, and getting a good education. Because my grades were high and my family’s financial situation, I was lucky enough to get a grant that paid for half of my tuition at local all-girl catholic prep school so I had a great high school education which has left me with some life-long friendships. After high school I wandered from one college to the next. I ended up having to drop out of La Salle University with 90 credits because I couldn’t afford my tuition the last year of school even with having two jobs. After taking many years off from school I finally finished a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 2007 in Business Management with Thomas Edison State College.
My professional journey over the years gave me the opportunity to grow and expand in many different directions and for that I am very grateful. Once again the gypsy can’t help but breaking loose at times it’s like a drunken sailor in port when the mood strikes her. I am working on containing her enthusiasm a bit. It’s getting easier as I get older because I simply don’t have energy to keep up with her. From my early 20s to mid 30s I worked for three different retail companies in the buying and planning departments as an analyst, buyer and merchandise manager and coördinator. Since leaving retail I’ve been a Hostess a local restaurant, a Receptionist for a local realtor, a Driver for a Home Care business that serviced the Senior Citizen population, an Accounts Receivable Representative and I even worked for a summer making Hoagies or should I say Subs for those not from Philly. Oh trust me, I can make a mean Philly Style Italian HOAGIE! I still work for owner making HOAGIES occasionally on holiday weekends. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease last summer I suspect I will not be able to do that anymore because the roll dust could make me sick.
Over the years I’ve volunteered for numerous local non-profit agencies. By a strange twist of fate or divine intervention in February 2002 I ended up taking a part-time job working as the Business Administrator for a small non-profit historical Museum and within six months I was promoted to the full-time Executive Director. I had no idea how much I would love that job or how that job would make a permanent impact on my life and relationships. It changed me and I am forever grateful for the experience. That job allowed me to use my full skill set and challenged me to be better, act better and do better in work and in life. That job gave me invaluable experience and taught the importance of good people skills. In many ways I grew up while working in that job.
While working as the Executive Director for the Museum for four years, I was introduced to a man who changed my life. He took me from a girl full of unharnessed power and potential and helped to mold me into the woman I am today. His name is Paul and he was the President of the Museum when I worked there. Oh, let me tell you. Paul and I had our go-arounds. We are two head-strong people and when the door closed we often were screaming at each other or at least having a heating discussion:-) But, we also respected each other and liked each other. And, we ALWAYS had each other’s back. As much as I bucked him and tried to steamroll my way through things and people he showed great patience with me. He slowly nurtured me and guided me like a trainer breaking a wild horse. By example, Paul showed me that I could get what I wanted in life without being a bitch, dick or asshole. He taught me to be strong and express my opinion without being arrogant or full of myself. Paul showed me the importance of compassion, empathy, patience and good people skills. Paul led me and the organization by example. He was never afraid to take on City Hall. He stood up for what he believed in. He was never afraid to take a stand and didn’t care who he pissed off if he believed in something. He was always respectful even when he was kicking your ass. I’ll never forget him saying to me one day, “Linda, you don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk! Walk away. You’re better than that.” Words I live by to this day! Paul and I are still close. I now loving call him “Dad”. As my father died when I was seven, it’s nice to have a father-figure in my life.
Unfortunately, all non-profits struggle for funding. As the budget got tight, the organization asked me to work part-time again. I couldn’t afford to that. Because of budget constraints they eventually laid me off. But, that still remains my favorite job and it gave a solid foundation of experience working in every aspect of the non-profit arena. I now volunteer my services in many capacities for other local non-profits. The part of the job I loved the most was the Public Relations aspect and, actually, I even enjoyed Grant Writing. Call me crazy but I like it.
Well, this brings me to today. I am very grateful for the job I currently have but I feel it is important to keep my blog separate from my current professional identity so I won’t go into any details of what I do for a living now or who I work for. But, all I will say is I am lucky enough to live and work near the beach. I was fortunate enough to have the skills to land a job that affords me a nice lifestyle in a great location. That makes me happy. On my days off during the summer you will usually find me on one of the local beaches enjoying sun and surf.
In my free time, I am a passionate Yogini. I was planning on doing Yoga Teacher Training this year. But, I need to postpone it for another year because I need to tighten the belt a bit this summer. I am an art LOVER. My first trip to an art museum was when I was in high school. I took the train into Center City Philly by myself because no one else would go with me to see a Diego Rivera Exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum. I enjoy writing this blog, erotic poetry and am starting to write guest blogs and freelance articles. I hope to write a book one day. I am a Reiki Level I practitioner. I am preparing for my Level II training by practicing and I plan on doing Reiki Master training by next year. I have a VERY active lifestyle. I powerwalk. I do Pilates. I golf. I sail, parasail and want to zip line this summer. I meditate which brings me great peace. I live and breathe the law of attraction. What you think about you bring about! I am spiritual not religious. And, I firmly believe in KARMA. Protecting my Karma is very important to me. This means choosing right actions by taking thoughtful action instead reacting in most situations.
In the last four years, I’ve gone through a series of transitions which changed not only my body but also my relationships and hobbies. The hardest part of transitions is letting go yet it is also the most important step in healing and moving forward. Through these transitions I’ve learned to embrace the duality that lives within me and enjoy the gypsy nature of my soul while using my intellect and intuition to make good solid choices. Mostly I am learning to be grateful for every experience I’ve had in my life as they made me the woman I am today. I am strong, compassion, driven and open to change and growth. While the gypsy that lives within is my true self, I’ve also learned the benefits of stability and the power of dependability in life.
This post is dedicated in loving gratitude to my Mother and all of my teachers, mentors, spiritual counselors and personal heroes along the way. I am who I am because I was lucky enough to have you in my life.
Lastly, one of my favorite books is “The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. If you are going through a transition or need some spiritual soul food, check it out. It helped me along the way. I am now reading it again for the third time.
Peace, Love & Happiness to all
Midnight Red – C.M. Cooper American Impressionist Painter