“What the heart has once owned, it shall never lose.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
If you are in receipt of my previous newsletters,, you know that I’m back from leading my Scottish Highlands & Islands Odyssey and my fellow ‘Odyssey-ites’ (sixteen) and I had the most wonderfilled, magical, transformative time, ever!
Whenever I talk about the experience, people respond with a deep sigh and say, “I wish I could have been there.”
Therefore, I decided to share my day-to-day Odyssey experiences with you through a series of newsletters. Every few days, I’ll post an account with photos of our amazing adventure.
Please click on the link below to visit my website if you would like to view any content that you may have missed, and please feel free to email me any questions or comments.
Lots of Joy,
October 3-11, 2014
Scottish Highlands and Islands Odyssey
(Odyssey– a spiritual quest of self-discovery; a journey home)
Saturday, October 11th – Day 8, You have found a home…
After a mostly sleepless night– packing, writing last minute postcards and just not wanting to let go of the beautiful feeling of the Odyssey– I went to the hotel’s Breakfast Room where I sat with Linda D. We shared our last Odyssey breakfast together and spoke of the beautiful journey we’d just been on. Afterwards, we hugged and I went back to my room to finish packing and get to the lobby in time to be picked up for the trip to the airport.
Winslow and Julie H. were already in the lobby. We were all booked on the same flight to Dublin, so we were scheduled to make the trip to the airport in the same vehicle. From Dublin, Julie H. would take a different flight back to the States and Winslow and I would fly together to our destination. There was a kind of feeling of melancholy about us as we waited and wondered aloud what our lives would be like after such a powerful transformational experience.
Of course, we had no idea because none of us had ever been so completely immersed in anything like the Odyssey. All we knew was that we had changed, that we saw and felt life differently and that we weren’t the same as when we’d arrived in Edinburgh. What might seem like a few calendar days to those who weren’t with us on the Odyssey, felt like light years of experiences and growth to those of us who had been.
Our ride to the airport and our flight to Dublin went smoothly. A really great advantage to flying Aer Lingus Airlines is that you can go through U.S. customs and immigration in Dublin! That way, when you get to your U.S. destination, all you have to do when you get off the plane is collect your luggage. The customs desk was staffed by American agents and I thought how great it must be to live in a city like Dublin, never more than a few hours away from some of the greatest art, architecture, history, food and experiences in the world and get paid for it! I said as much to the agent checking my papers and his response blew me away. With a bored look on his face, he said, “Yeah, but it isn’t The Bronx. I’d rather be stationed back in New York so that I could be around all of the things that I’m used to.”
I’m still reeling from that exchange. And I’m so grateful that I see a wondrous world through my eyes.
While waiting for my flight in Dublin, I discovered that my broken electronics worked! I guess I was so charged from the phenomenal energy of Scotland that I ‘blew’ the circuits of my phone, laptop and camcorder!
The flight to New York was smooth and uneventful, and I was thrilled to hear the captain announce that we’d be landing early. Apparently, the fates wanted to let Winslow and me know that just because we were in the States again, it didn’t mean that we had been forgotten. We landed at JFK at 6:15pm and really needed a big miracle if we were going to get to Grand Central in time to take the 7:47pm train back to the Berkshires. As we waited at the baggage carrousel, two women next to me started talking to me. They asked what color my bag was and I told them,
“Black.” Laughter ensued because almost every bag on the carrousel was black. One of the women then asked me if I had a ribbon tied to the handle so that I’d be able to identify it easily. I told her my bag had a leopard ribbon on it.
As we continued to wait, we realized more than once that the baggage unloading process had stalled because we were seeing the same bags go around and around on the carrousel. “Cancel any hope for that big miracle,” I told myself.
Finally, I saw my bag! The two women saw it, too. As I started to reach for it, one of them pulled me back, and to my amazement, these two petite women wrestled my bag off the carrousel, set it in front of me and said, “Welcome back.”
Delighted, I called the car company to let them know we were ready to be picked up. The car took it’s time getting to us and with each passing moment, I saw the 7:47 pm train leaving without us. Being a believer in the impossible, though, once we were in the car, I instructed the driver to do his best to get us to Grand Central in time for that train!
Which he was willing to do, and if it hadn’t been for the massive traffic jam, I’d have had more faith in his ability to do just that.
But somehow, time and space crunched and we arrived at the train station with a few minutes to spare. As Winslow and I raced to our train and ran down the incline that would take us to the platform, we were stopped in our tracks by the steep twenty step staircase that stood between us and our goal.
Faced with having to make a trip down those stairs and back up again for each piece of luggage and each tote we carried and still make the train in time, we stared at each other in dismay.
Just then, a middle-aged man and woman approached us and the man said, “I’ll take those bags down the stairs for you,” and with that, he picked up all of my bags and took them down to the platform. Winslow and I stared at him with our mouths open. He then ran back upstairs, and as he grabbed Winslow’s bags, I shrieked, “Where are you from!?” at the same time that Winslow said to him, “We just left Edinburgh this morning!” And in his lovely Scottish brogue, he said, “I hope you had a good time.” With that, he took Winslow’s bags down to the platform and he and his wife disappeared in the crowd.
As Winslow and I sat on the train, a full twenty minutes before its departure time, we were in awe of what had just happened– a Scottish angel had appeared out of the blue and helped us! I knew that God was telling us that the love and magic we’d experienced in Scotland had no limits and would always be with for us.
Upon disembarking from the train, we loaded our luggage into my car and Winslow and I enjoyed a contemplative drive to her house. What was there for us to say? Back in the U.S., everything was familiar, yet somehow different. I mentioned that and Winslow said, “Everything is the same. It’s we who are different.” Truer words were never spoken.
After I dropped Winslow off, I headed on to my place.
Still wanting to keep myself wrapped in the warmth of Scotland, I put the Dougie MacLean cd I’d bought on the ferry into the cd player and cued it up to Scotland’s beautiful unofficial anthem, “Caledonia.”
My intention was to have the song accompany me to my residence by playing the song over and over until I arrived. Somewhere along the way, though, the entire Odyssey began to play itself out and finally, just as I asked the Universe, “What was the meaning of all that? What really happened to us?” these lyrics from a different Dougie MacLean song came on:
“You have found a home in the centre of the circle.
You have found a home where the harmonies can shine.
And in the breathing of the turning leaves your heart is heard forever.
You have found a home.
You have found a home.”
Tears flowed from my eyes as my soul heard the truth of the musical answer to my question. Aptly titled, “Home,” the song told our story. There will never really be words to describe exactly how I feel about everyone on the Odyssey and the experiences we shared together in Scotland. I am grateful that these lyrics come close.
I was guided every step of the way on this most amazing life adventure. Every aspect of it was a blessing and I am and will ever be grateful to the Divine for setting me on this path. In addition to the Divine and myself, I have many people to thank for the ease and success of this Odyssey– all of the participants, each one playing a particular role that helped make us such a cohesive group, our great guides, Nicky and Les, the tour company in Edinburgh, our Edinburgh storyteller, our Fairy Glen musician, everyone who wished me well and earth angel, Sharon Polidoro of Berkshire Travel Group, 413-443-9188. She worked miracles and created openings and opportunities where there weren’t any.
From the outset, there were clear signs that this was meant to be. As I was putting it together, I’d decided that the perfect number of participants for the Odyssey would be twenty. In making the Odyssey happen, I worked toward that number. One morning, just as I was waking up and coming into consciousness, I heard a booming voice say, “Rejoice– you got the number of people you
wanted!” I woke up happy! So I was confused and a little disappointed when the final number was only seventeen. I proclaimed, “Divine Order,” though, and accepted that all was as it should be. It wasn’t until the drive from the train station that I realized that I’d gotten my twenty participants. David, who joined us for a day on Skye, made it eighteen and Nicky and Les made it twenty! Wow! Divine promises are always kept, sometimes just not the way you think they’re going to be!
I loved being in Scotland on the Odyssey and I’ve loved writing about it and sharing it with you. I thank you so much for your comments and the appreciation you’ve expressed to me for doing so. In a big way, by writing about and sharing my Odyssey experience with you, I get to still be in my beloved Scotland with a great group of fellow travelers on the grandest journey of my life so far (and that’s saying a lot!). I know that my work in Scotland isn’t done, so…
This coming October 10-19, I’m leading another Odyssey to Scotland. Jan will again give the Invocation at Roslyn Chapel and David will lead us in a heart/soul bonding Toning ceremony on the Isle of Iona. Nicky and Les will once again grace us with their expertise as guides and splendid companions. The purpose of this Odyssey is claiming our birthright of joy and
freedom by bonding our souls intention for us with the center of all creativity and joy– our hearts. In a few days, I’ll be sending you another newsletter with all of the exciting details.This upcoming Odyssey, like the last one, is designed for a maximum of twenty participants.
And true to her nature, Sharon, the earth angel travel agent has done it again! This year’s upcoming Odyssey will be two days longer than last year’s at a cost of only $12.00 more than last year’s with the same high quality of service, hotels and restaurants! Come with us and experience first-hand what I’ve been writing about as you participate in the soul/heart adventure of your lifetime!