Travels to Myself

November 1, 2012

Whenever I board a plane, train or automobile to a new place, I am guided by my internal GPS. Every interaction I have or person I meet opens my eyes in new ways. I am informed by the novelty of the situation, but also by the ever-unfolding plan of the Universe that places me right in the middle of whatever I need to experience. It is particularly astounding to me how many cool people fly on airplanes.

Waiting at the Dulles International airport with Husband, I noticed a cute young couple in the corner, sharing food and body warmth as we waited to board our five-hour flight to San Diego. Husband and I had to change seats at the gate to ensure we sat together so our once randomly assigned seats were once again rearranged for that purpose. In other words, I wasn’t supposed to sit where I did, but I am so glad it worked out that way. I met the most fascinating doctor-in-training who laughed with me across the continent. When we got up to stretch our legs, I noticed the cute couple was right behind me in the next row. That’s when the girl engaged me in some small talk. It turns out she and her husband were returning from their honeymoon cruise just in time to miss Hurricane Sandy. Then, to my delight, she asked me if I might go to lunch with her.

“I just love your light,” she beamed. I beamed back and we made a date. A few days later we spent a lovely few hours together, chatting over lunch then walking on the beach. We revealed that neither one of us was supposed to be in the rows we were sitting (she was supposed to be on a different flight altogether). I shared with her the mystical-magical that we all possess. She already knew that. What impressed me most was when she said we already have everything we need. At 24 years old, she knows who she is. I was encouraged that the next generation’s consciousness will be higher than ours.

Travel brings us closer to who we are, guiding us to people of all ages and backgrounds. It shows us that no matter where we are on the planet, we expand a piece of who we are when we are engaged with each other, just like the Universe itself.

Dance in the light, my friends, wherever you are. Know that everything will work out just as it should. And that you are not alone.  Ever.

Bon Voyage!

July 18, 2012

“The voyage itself is not important, but rather the one with which you travel that counts.”

Travel is one of the best ways to see how slow you can go. Waiting in line to board planes, buses and trains is a great opportunity to test your patience; you might also be confronted with a new culture, even if it’s in the same country.

I am reminded of the microcosm that is Bavaria every time I travel outside its boundaries. From where I live, you can go as little as two hours and be in an entirely different world (and country).

As you travel this summer (or winter for folks way down South), notice how the pace of life changes, depending on where you are. For someone in New York, their slow might be your fast (or vice versa, although I doubt it!). It is possible to live at your custom speed no matter where you live. While the world is unfurling its chaos, remember to drive just a little slower. You’ll get to where you are going faster if you go slow.

Trust me on this.

I heard God tonight. No, it was not the booming-voice-from-above kind of sound. It came from a flute and three string instruments played by a quartet that breathes the divine power of Mozart. Believe me when I say: music can heal. I left the Salzburg Imageconcert hall, in all its golden, guilded beauty, with soaring spirits. Salve for the soul, indeed.

How could you not smile to the beat of The Magic Flute? I found myself grinning stupidly throughout the entire two hour program. We gave them a standing ovation; they gave us an encore.

It was magic. In a flute and a few strings too.

Thanks, Wolfy. I owe you one!

Now I know why Italy is the birthplace of all things slow. Its magical sun, the food that sprouts from the earth, the smiles on people’s faces…with all that goodness, how could you not want to decelerate to enjoy it all?

Four years ago in this very place, I outlined the steps to Slow. In under a week I had read seven books and started to absorb the powerful message that Slow can bring to all of our lives.

I am here now again. And it feels wonderful to reconnect to the source of so much.

May you enjoy the beauty of Slow today, no matter where you are!


In 2010 281,303,769 visitors swept through the 394 National Parks this nation (and its surrounding areas such as Puerto Rico) has to offer. Every state in the United States has one, with the exception of Delaware. An annual pass costs $80 and it’s well worth the price.

In just three days we have visited three different national parks (we did this all very slowly, honest. They are very close to one another!). And I must tell you we beam at the rangers in those booths when we flash our annual pass that Husband graciously paid for. He was wise. A seven-day pass to just one park costs $25-30. So as we breeze past the pre-paid booths, we smile, knowing yet another fabulous educational program awaits us.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The simplicity of it is astounding. The signage is always informative with lots of pictures, maps and guides. The rangers are friendly (one of them at the Grand Canyon admitted he passed his phone interview by smartly answering the question: “What are you going to say to tourists when the Canyon is filled with fog and they can see nothing?” “It is Nature’s cycle,” he replied. I smiled. Yes, it’s Nature’s cycle.)

So when the rain pelted our heads on the way to the car after devouring an amazing meal at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, we knew the sky would clear soon. On the way back to our hotel, we were rewarded with two mole deer staring at us as we trolled past in our rental car.

To all you rangers and National Park Service folks, we say thank you. You are beautiful in every way. The cost of admission may be eighty bucks, but the value of experiences like these are priceless.

We’re three weeks into my five week sabbatical, and I have to say my email volume has shrunk considerably. On both my work and book-related accounts, I activated an auto-reply that explains I’m checking in intermittently, but that I’m pretty much off the grid until September 2.


Typically, my email inbox swells to the size of a voluminous tidal wave on a daily  hourly basis. But somehow folks have recognized they’re not going to get an answer from me unless it’s really big news or an immediate request that simply can’t

Because some things just can't be missed. 17th Anniversary in Virginia!

wait. As you know from another post, I am on an iPhone diet. Thusfar I’ve lost about one thousand emails that simply aren’t rolling in. Apart from the occasional random pitch, I’ve been left alone by just about everyone.

It was the best decision I could make so I could free up as much time as I needed to attend to my life “on the ground”. I reconnected with almost every single living family member, visited five of my closest and oldest friends (who are so not old – really gang, you look fabulous!) and even managed to go shopping a few times for back-to-school items for the kids.

As we enter what I’ve coined PHRASE III of our August sabbatical, we will experience new adventures out West (from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon to, yes, two overnights in a Chuck Wagon – stop snickering. Believe me. It will be blogworthy!). I promise to pop by occasionally because slow does not mean stop; it merely means a mindful pace that allows you to soak it all in.

Under pressure! That’s what many of us feel right before taking a vacation. Locking down the house, arranging for pet care, stopping all mail delivery, etc. It’s almost as if you need a vacation from your vacation planning before it’s even gotten started.

I don’t know about you, but renting a car at the airport after an international flight has to be a seamless experience, otherwise I am even more stressed. So when we got to Dulles International Airport two weeks ago, we were astounded at how fast the check-in service at Dollar Rent-a-Car went. Until we discovered they didn’t have any more economy cars available for another fifteen minutes. No big deal, I thought. I live in a time abundant state. We’ll have some snacks and wait. When the newly washed car was driven up, we were thrilled.

But what I didn’t know was the rental car agency had rushed through the detailing process such that the air tire pressure was uneven. A light indicator for the air tire pressure illuminated in my car about a week later. We even went to a tire center to have it checked. All but one had fifty pounds in it, but they couldn’t add the tire because the supervisor hadn’t turned the machine on yet (it was almost 10 am – you have to love slow country living!). We found an air machine at the local convenience store. Following the tire guy’s instructions, I added enough in the one tire to match the air pressure in the others.

That is, until my dad suggested I look at how much air pressure is SUPPOSED to be in the tires. It turns out the “lowest tire pressure” was actual the accurate one. So I went back to the rental agency and asked them to please check it. I wasn’t about to spend anymore money on it. Indeed, the tires had been overinflated by the agency itself. I suggested he let the detailers know to which he snippily replied, “I would if they spoke English!”

Hmmm…I was starting to feel less enamoured of Dollar by the minute.

So my slow travel tip to you is to ask that they check the air pressure for you before you leave, or travel with a gauge yourself. You can find the proper air pressure on the inside of the driver’s door. Apparently at Dollar, the buck stops with you.


Go with the flow

June 8, 2010

Slow makes things flow.

Doubt it? Have you ever noticed how traffic patterns are affected by one person going too fast behind you who then has to slam on the brakes because you aren’t going the same speed? Multiply the speed by the distance and the number of cars involved and you could have yourself a mighty fine traffic jam.

Such was my morning. As I gazed over the bridge above the autobahn, Munich-bound, I saw the cars lined up and at a halt. The sign above the bridge told me there was an accident. So I kept going straight, hoping my GPS would catch up. The voice persistently tried to get me to turn around until we got too far from the autobahn entrance. Then it readjusted and smartly got me back on track. I skirted around the traffic jam on backroads, then gracefully (and gratefully) hopped back on the highway. I breathed the slow and trusted in my belief about time abundance. I have more than enough time to do what is required to fulfill my ultimate purpose, I whispered to myself. GPS guy seemed to respond with his consistent voice of reason. “Now turn left.” And so I did.

The Truth Heals author Deborah King, whose book is coming out in German tomorrow, speaks of our chakras much like an autobahn. If our energy is blocked, we are in a jam. Depending on where our energy blockage is stored, we can have any number of health issues related to that blockage. In her book, she speaks about the healing power of truth. Dividing the body into seven power centers or chakras, she talks a lot about illnesses that correspond to that area where our energy is most jammed up.

Energy flow is immensely important for well-being. Much like the traffic example, when we go with the flow in slow style, we get there a lot faster than when we are either racing around or at a stand still.

Distraction or feeling as if you aren’t really here is an expression of our blocked root chakra located at the base of our spine. Our coccyx is what grounds us and connects us to the rest of our body. It connects to our feet, which keep us in the here and now. That energy, which flows from the base of our spine up to our heads, also races through our arms, feeds our brain and controls our attention. In effect, a flowing root chakra allows for slow while a blocked one is often expressed in fast-paced stress and a road to nowhere.

What does your personal highway look like today and how might you find more flow? I took the slow road today and it got me there faster. How about you?


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Lessons from the cloud

April 17, 2010

Thousands of people are stranded at the Munich Airport due to the volcanic ash hanging out in the stratosphere over Europe. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel has been affected by the continental haze that oozed from the base of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier. Flying back from a visit to the United States, she had to stop in Portugal instead of her planned destination of Berlin. Tens of thousands of others have jumped on trains or rented cars. One politician even took a bus from Hungary back home, braving the 600+ KM trip with other mortals who move slower than he.

How Nature teaches us the power of slow, enforcing its laws and bending its will against ours! If you were to ask any one of the travelers staked out in tents in the lobby of Munich airport, you might get a response of irritation. One brave soul admitted ‘we will sit and drink tea’, a marvelous German saying (Abwarten und Tee trinken), that implies an almost Zen-like acceptance of the here and now. But the no-fly zone has brought on a certain quiet in our skys that is both relaxing and notable.

As someone recently said to me, Nature will correct itself. It’s mankind we have to worry about.

Here is the visual of Southern Iceland’s pervasive plume of ash….

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Hanging in the Balance

March 12, 2010

As I was sipping my last cappucino at the Malta airport, it occurred to me why work-life balance is a concept that is at odds with itself. Work is as much a part of our lives as play. When we talk about balance, we really mean moderation. We want to be moderate in how we spend our time, whether it is at our jobs, with our families, or with ourselves.

Balance implies stasis. It is the state of non-movement. If you’ve ever walked on a balance beam, you know it requires utmost concentration and effort to stay on board. But life, like the rocky boats that sway with the Mediterranean outside our hotel room, is motion with unconcentrated moments that keep us slightly off kilter. Even if we are paralyzed, the inner workings of our bodies are pulsating.

Rather than speak of work-life balance, I plead the case of finding alignment. When our actions are aligned with our intentions, we are on task. We are on that balance beam, putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes we fall off; sometimes we land a perfect ten.

If you love what you do, you are lucky to have your work as an integrated part of your life. If you are counting the minutes until quitting time, you might benefit from more alignment to bring you to a place of inner freedom.

Living the power of slow does not mean you are in an absolute state. Quite the contrary! It means you are feeling the rain against your skin when it falls and remembering that there will be sunny days, too. It means you are mindful of this moment, then the next and the next.

Our personal bank account of time is the gift with which we are born. How will you spend it today?