We were in Maggie Valley for a long weekend—a much-needed and deserved respite at the tail end of our business’s busy season amid prepping it for new ownership and downsizing our home as we get ready to travel full-time with our Airstream. And we were treating ourselves to an authentic Italian meal at Frankie’s, a popular must-do in this beautiful mountain town.

We create the lessons to be learned, the happiness to be sought, the love to be shared, the demons to be conquered.
Seated in the lounge area with a baby grand piano not far from us, a pianist was tickling the ivory with relaxing, unfamiliar melodies as I enjoyed a glass of pinot grigio and fresh bruschetta piled high on made-from-scratch flatbread. When our salads were served, the musician began a new song, and soon my face was contorting, struggling to hold back a torrent of tears. I wanted to run to the restroom to have a good cry, but I would have had to pass through the entire crowded restaurant. So, I just sat there, pouring my attention and energy into my salad, hoping guests at nearby tables didn’t notice the droplets streaming down my face.

The song—the ONLY familiar one of the evening—was “[I Did It] My Way,” originally composed by Jacques Revaux and titled “Comme d’habitude,” later with lyrics by Paul Anka and sung by Frank Sinatra. The tears it evoked during dinner were from being reminded of a dear friend who gifted me with a dream visit a few weeks after she died, the melody from “My Way” drifting into and through the dream loud and clear. I rarely remember my dreams, but this one has stayed with me with most of the details still lodged in my memory.

My friend loved Maggie Valley. She and her husband bought a vacation home just a few miles from Frankie’s and would escape to it a few times every year. Last summer, after a valiant health battle, she departed this world for the next. It seemed fitting that in a place where she found peace and comfort she would reach out to me through my dreams to tell me she did it her way and to remind me to do the same.

What does that mean? We have a habit of conforming to societal norms—manmade rules and regulations that give us a sense of safety and security, that serve as a barometer between right and wrong. We have rituals and traditions that give our lives structure and, possibly, meaning. Many believe we are the receivers of God’s grace, that we might have a modicum of choice and control within our microcosmic daily lives, but that God maneuvers the paths we follow and decides our destinies.

It is all an illusion, though. Manmade. We have only to remember that we are one with the universal flow of consciousness, one with God. We are both the giver and the receiver, the creator and the created. We are here to get to know aspects of ourselves better through the realities we create. We create the lessons to be learned, the happiness to be sought, the love to be shared, the demons to be conquered.

Consciously or not, we all choose how we navigate ourselves through our lifetimes. We make choices on how and what we attract to our lives, on who we choose to surround us (family, friends, coworkers), on accepting the good and dealing with the bad, on whether we allow ourselves to feel trapped or in control. We all do it our way, but oftentimes we don’t want to take responsibility for our actions, for our words, for our thoughts. Things happen to us; others are out to get us; it’s not my fault, it’s theirs. So much easier to give away our power.

We create the illusion of powerlessness because it is so much harder to KNOW we create, to KNOW we have the power to direct our own lives, to KNOW we have to take responsibility for our own actions and responses.

the rendering of my reality is a work of art …
The tears I shed over my salad were in remembrance of someone I dearly miss, someone I know who exited the planet in her own way, who lived life on her own terms, who consciously directed her journey through karmic relationships, family, friends, community … who allowed herself to be a gifted vessel of wisdom for those finding their own footing on their spiritual paths.

The tears were also a reminder for me to not lose my way, to stay the course and fully embrace my truer true, my authentic self. My path and my journey are my own. Even with the foibles and follies, missteps and missed cues, the rendering of my reality is a work of art. My one and only purpose in life is to continue discovering who I am, to accept it unconditionally, to truly know myself. For then I will truly know the Source, the universal flow of consciousness, God.

© Karen W. Newton. Karen has a Masters of Transpersonal Psychology from Atlantic University, Virginia Beach, VA.