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  • When I got my second divorce back in '80, I decided I was going to an art therapy conference in Kansas at the Menninger Clinic to meet Robert Ault, one of the founders of the American Art Therapy Association who had written a paper on functional art therapy, and since my thesis was on functional art therapy with the severely handicapped (politically correct term in those days) I wanted to learn more about it.

    My mother cried and wailed that I couldn't drive that far without a man, I had no business driving by myself across country, and what if I had a flat tire? Well, I did have a flat tire, right by an exit on one of the interstate highways in Missouri. I pulled off slowly and there was a gas station by the exit (not so common back in those days as it is now). I pulled in and asked if there was anyone who could change my tire. The man there said no, I would have to drive 10 miles down to the next exit where there was a garage.

    Now if nothing else works, cry, so tears came to my eyes, and I told him that I couldn't drive 10 miles on the interstate with a flat tire. He took pity on me and said, OK, lady he'd change it for me and he did. I offered to give him some money but he said no, he didn't want any money. I was back on the road in a short time, the rest of the trip there and back was uneventful, Bob gave me a couple of his unpublished papers on functional art therapy which I cited in my thesis, and the conference was wonderful!
  • I decided to fly to Mexico in 2003 for a Toltec trip where I would meet people I knew at the airport in Mexico City and we would all ride together to Teotihuacan. I had hoped that there might be someone I knew, on the same flight with me but it turned out that none of them were on my flight, so my mind started telling me, 'Connie, you shouldn't go out of the country by yourself, you need a man to travel with, it isn't safe to be a woman traveling alone, especially in a foreign country'. I have forgotten all my two years of Spanish from college and am limited to 'Donde esta el sanitario, por favor?' and a few other useful phrases that I got from my sister who was a Spanish teacher, so I wondered how I would do communicating with people. (Sorry, my computer doesn't know Espaniol either and won't type the question mark upside down).

    It was a wonderful trip and went smoothly, and as I'm sitting in the airport floating in a Toltec haze of heaven and bliss, reading a book on Buddhism, waiting for my flight, a group of women carrying bibles swoops in and surrounds me on all sides. Thus began a wild conversation of where did I go and what did I do and them telling me what they had been doing and where they had gone, etc. I told them I had gone to Teotihuacan, to do some research for the art history classes that I teach (true) and had joined a group of people that I knew and had also met some great Mexican people.

    They said that they were there as missionaries and showed me their bibles in Spanish and English and said that they had also gone to Teotihuacan and climbed the Sun Pyramid. Did I climb it too? Yes, I had and asked them what day they had been there because I'm really hoping it was not the same day that I was on top of the Pyramid of the Sun, because we had done Toltec ceremonies and one of my teachers from Mexico, did part of it in Spanish and other local people that were there joined us. It was a different day, so I was safe from further questions on that topic. (You can no longer do ceremonies there, it's forbidden by the policia, who stand at the top of the pyramid to make sure you don't).
  • They asked me about the Buddhist book I was reading and if I believed in Jesus, I said yes, I believed in Jesus and that Buddhism has many of the same great teachings as Christianity. We got called to board our plane and my seat turned out to be next to one of the women from the group.

    Now I have written before on how I am a spiritual person having a human experience and don't follow any particular religion, but know about beliefs in various religions and about the historical, symbolic and spiritual significance of artifacts and artworks in different cultures. The woman pulled out a corn dolly and said that one of the Mexican women had given it to her, and I said wow, what a lovely corn goddess! She said it is not a corn goddess very emphatically, stuffed it back into her bag, pulled out her bible to read, and didn't talk to me the rest of the trip.

    One of my new Mexican friends had given me a banana as a snack before I left, so I pulled it out of my bag and discovered that it had already turned black and had started getting mushy from the heat and trip to the airport, and just as we were preparing to go down the runway and take off, one of the airline personnel broadcasts over the speakers that it is illegal for anyone to take any fruits, seeds, plants, etc out of Mexico.

    My imagination started going hilariously wild at the idea of being arrested for having a decaying, unappetizing banana in my possession, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get rid of this incriminating evidence so that I'm not hauled off the plane and to some Mexican prison for the rest of my life. I wrapped it in a couple of tissues and stuffed it in my traveling vest of many pockets and I decided to dispose of it in the restroom as soon as the seatbelt sign is turned off. The woman next to me is frowning profusely at my black banana, and yes I did dispose of it and as you can see, I'm not in prison in Mexico for smuggling a banana out of the country.

    We landed in Dallas to change planes, I found my new boarding gate, sat down to wait, and pulled out my Buddhist book to continue reading. I was sitting across from a couple who had a small child with them who turned out to be very open minded. We had a great talk about the different religions of the world and their similarities until it was time to catch my plane.
  • On another one of my trips back from Mexico several of us flew into Atlanta on our way to Nashville and there was a two hour delay in our flight. We got into Nashville about 2 in the morning and the shuttle bus to take me to the hotel where my car was at was no longer running, so one of the men gave me a ride to my car and I set out on the road home in my little VW Golf. Again, I'm floating in my Toltec reverie and feeling wonderful and somehow, probably because I needed sleep, I turned onto the wrong interstate. That was OK, it was further but I knew how to get home that way.

    As I was leaving Nashville I could see a spectacular lightening show flashing in the sky off to the west, one of the best I have ever seen. I was buzzing down the interstate with my cruise control set at 65 (speed limit is 70), my moon roof open, mellow jazz on the radio, watching the light show and 'feeling groovy' when a little red car with out of state plates whizzed around me and disappeared down the road. A few miles later, I came up behind this dumpy little red car doing about 60 so I passed it. I wasn't very far down the road when it zoomed up behind me and passed me again. This happens a couple more times and I am allowing it to get on my nerves and my mind is running wild and ruining my feeling groovy, listening to jazz, watching the light show.

    I passed the car again and realized that I am almost to my exit. When I reached it I turned onto the ramp and that dumpy car came up behind me again and followed me onto the ramp. Well now I'm a little scared, but maybe they just need gas, right? As I get to the stop sign for the two lane highway home, there is a truck coming over the bridge to my left and I'm turning right so I tromped the gas pedal, pulled out in front of it, knowing that the red car would have to wait and go after the truck. And it does pull out behind the truck, which is slowing down and pulling off the road to a gas station on the right. I'm watching in my rear view mirror to see if the red car pulls off for gas, but it's still coming down the highway behind me, but because of the truck slowing down and turning, I'm about a block ahead of it and the 40 mph speed limit is ending so I gun my car, and set my cruise control for 62. I figured that was a pretty safe speed and if the police did stop me, I would tell them about that dumpy car behind me.

    I had 20+ miles of open highway before I got to a small town that would not be a likely destination for travelers unless they wanted to see the Patsy Cline Memorial at 4 o'clock in the morning. After a few miles, I can see that red car gaining on me, so I speeded up to 65 (speed limit is 55), finally losing it and making my way home feeling groovy.

    Life is definitely an adventure.

    PS, I CAN travel out of the country all by myself feeling groovy.
  • The first picture is a collage that includes photos taken in Mexico City of Aztec dancers, Moon Goddess sculpture, and the Cathedral at Zocalo that was built over ancient ruins and is now propped up to keep it from sinking into the ground. The photos following it are the Butterfly Temple, Sun Pyramid, and Cacti taken at Teotihuacan. The last one is me collaged over a watercolor painting. All have been adjusted and enhanced digitally.
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