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Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA

It is another early morning for me since I plan to visit New Orleans for the next two days and I want to make the most of my time.

I can always recognize Linda's comments on my posts, so when she reaches out and offers me a place to stay and be my guide in New Orleans, I know I am in friendly hands. Honestly, so many people told me that New Orleans is not a safe place for a solo woman, so you can imagine my relief when Linda's offer came.

I canceled my reservation for the motel and the city tour, and now I am double excited as I have an opportunity to meet with Linda and be relaxed as I visit New Orleans.

Linda is following me on Facebook in one of the travel solo women groups, so of course, we bond over a hug and show off our setup before we start our day. I love Linda's sweet and tiny teardrop!

You know how life sometimes simply falls apart? Well...

Before I share what happened next, I made sure Linda is comfortable with me sharing our story.

Linda is excited to be my guide, and I am thrilled I am about to experience what Mardi Gras is all about. Linda's friends Lark and Daphne are joining us as well.

I jumped into Linda's passenger seat. Linda puts her car in reverse, and the loud sound of a smash vibrates our excitement.

We are both shocked as the realization comes into our minds. Linda smashed into my car, my beautiful new car. Her trailer hitch and muffler smashed my front passenger and sliding doors.

I get out to check the damage, and my heart sinks. Linda stands next to me in disbelief and horror at what just happened. I can feel her pain. I take a few deep breaths and make a promise to myself to take this moment of squeeze as an opportunity for another step in the life journey of self-growth. First, and most importantly, I need to be there for Linda. I don't know who Linda is and what her belief system is. After all, we just met. I know for myself, I need to give all the compassion in me to ease her emotional pain that I am witnessing.

Linda doesn't need much to reach her integrity. Right away, she comforted me and assured me that she would take care of this no matter what. We take this moment of kindness to hug and embrace each other.

We both agree that this mess can wait until tomorrow. Right now, there is a party to attend.

Okay people, I need to say this! You need to make a point in your life to experience Mardi Gras!

First things first, you need to get in the zone for celebration and be part of the spirit of Mardi Gras. Linda, Daphne, and Lark made sure to paint my face, splash sparkles, and hand me earrings and a crown. Now I feel like a local!

Wow, just wow! What amazing energy! So many of my senses are engaged in a fun and electric way- and all without a drop of alcohol!

We get a spot on the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon and have a front-row viewing. Today's parades are The Krewe of Femme Fatal, followed by the Krewe of Carrollton and the Krewe of King Arthur. The amazing high school bands and dancing teams marching between the Krewe parades are fantastic sounds to this electric atmosphere.

Yes, of course, here and there my mind returns to the earlier event, but I push it away, reminding myself of my promise. It is a work in progress as I take this as an opportunity to stay in the moment, be kind to myself, enjoy getting to know my new friends, and be part of Mardi Gras.

I relish today's experience with great joy. Most of it comes from being able to share it. Linda, Lark, and Daphne enriched my Mardi Gras experience, and I am grateful for their friendship.

For dinner, I introduce new flavors to my life as I am enjoying Seafood Gumbo for the first time, which I absolutely love! Also, red beans and rice!

Linda and I sat for hours that evening and talked about life, spirituality, and the beautiful universe. I admire and appreciate Linda's wisdom: "God will give me everything I need to cope with any situation that arises, but he won't give it to me UNTIL it arises." I hope to remember that when life squeezes me into the corner of a new lesson.

When you meet a soul willing to take the same journey as you with her self-growth, you create magic.

So yes, for now, I am in a waiting phase until my van is fixed. On the bright side, I have more days to visit New Orleans and be a local.

Linda still wants to show me around, but she needs a few days of rest after her cataract surgery, while I have a chance to be her nurse.

It is fun to start getting reviews on Amazon for my book. I am grateful for the time my readers take to support it.

It is natural to feel gleeful with pride when my book receives five-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. It is also natural to feel like your ego took a hit when you get a three-star review; especially one with the title 'Disappointing.' Fortunately, I strive to live a life of egolessness. So, it does hurt for a short minute or two. I am aware that not everyone will enjoy my story or grasp its message.

The reader was disappointed that I didn't delve deeper into the roots of my trauma and only talked about the healing part of it. I can see her point, but I also feel she missed the essence of my story.

From the moment I decided to share my world with the world, I knew there was no way I would compromise my integrity. Revealing my traumas and exposing the origins of my pain would have meant shaming my father and my ex. That is not who I am or who I wish to be. Dwelling on the past or pointing fingers for blame is not my healing style.

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