These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

An experience of the Yellow Brick Road: I am the Wizard of my destiny.

It was always hard to sleep the night before flying from New York City to San Francisco. It was always an early flight and I feared I would sleep through the alarm, and not be ready when the taxi cab driver would ring the bell to the apartment. Then, there was the fire in my belly, the anticipation of seeing the man who was my intimacy research partner for eight months. One week per month we would meet in San Francisco with three weeks apart to live our lives. We stayed in contact through text messages, and once a week a long Facetime conversation.

So, let me back up for a minute. A few years ago, I lived in Los Angeles and traveled to Baltimore, New York and San Francisco every month. This lasted for eight months. Elements of that year included leading three, online Heal My Voice programs with 60 women all writing a story to heal and alchemize; board meetings and a pilot-writing program with women in drug recovery in Baltimore;  and studying two courses: Orgasm Mastery, in New York City, and a coaching-leadership program with an emphasis on Orgasmic Meditation (OM), in San Francisco.

The crazy thing about that immersion in Orgasmic Meditation courses was something unexpected. The feeling sensation in my body increased so much so, that I could feel a distinct, palpable difference in every city I visited. I could feel it in my body like a beating drum. From earthy to spine tingling to heart expanding, there was a flavor in each location that was unique.

The rhythm of each month began in LA. Waking up early for morning OM practice with my 10 housemates. Then, sitting outside with a hot cup of coffee before heading to the airport. Watching the hummingbirds flitting from Bird of Paradise to Chinese Bell Flower, their beaks inserted into the crevices of flowers to drink the nectar. Me, in my flip flops and sundress taking one last breath in our tropical backyard. Then, off to the airport, LAX. The feel of LAX, with the sun shining and a light breeze maintaining the temperate climate, where it was common to see a movie star waiting in the security line, or walking through the airport with a purse dog on one arm, designer handbag on the other, trying to achieve some level of anonymity behind sunglasses. Tourists wearing their Disney ears or Hollywood Walk of Fame shirts and hats. The airport feels surreal, like the back lot on a movie studio. Lots of action, cameras, stars, and unexpected moments with all the travelers playing the part of the film extras.

Arriving in Baltimore five hours later, feeling the grounded earthiness, no pretense. The Baltimore accent melded with local colloquialisms, like, “Hey Hon, you goin’ down da ocean for your birfday?” Always a friend waiting at the curbside to pick me up; listening to the latest ups and downs of life in the car ride to the house. A pullout couch with flannel sheets awaits my arrival. A cup of tea. A space heater. A chair pulled to the side of the couch for me to use as a side table.

After a week of coffee house Board meetings and writing workshops for women in drug recovery, I get on the Megabus to New York City. Balancing my computer on my lap and a cup of Zeke’s Coffee (Bad Birds of Baltimore, the preferred choice), in my hand, I would sometimes pay the extra $9 for the front row, upper deck, seat on the bus so I can see the iconic New York City skyline, and feel the rush of adrenaline at first sight. Suddenly, I am in the city feeling the exhilarating energy of beating hearts, mind racing conversation, intermixed with multicultural mixtures of languages.

My body is buzzing with excitement when the bus stops at the corner near Times Square. I hop off the bus, grab the handle of my suitcase and jump into the flow of the crowd like a school girl waiting for the moment when it is my turn to play Double Dutch, jumping in with my own fancy footwork. I frequently break into song when walking in the crowd without a care as to what anyone else thinks. Give my Regards to Broadway, or Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind.

Give my regards to Broadway
Remember me to Herald Square
Tell all the gang at Forty Second Street
That I will soon be there


In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York, New York,
New York

In New York, I took a course called Orgasm Mastery, became a grandmother to Lucille, and stayed in an actor’s apartment in Queens.

And then it was time for San Francisco and my intimacy partner. He flew from Hamburg, Germany to Paris, France. Always stopping at a gift shop to pick up a little memento like an Eiffel tower keychain, or a tin of macrons. We always arranged our flights to arrive at the San Francisco Airport within an hour of each other.

San Francisco has this international feeling intermixed with flower child remnants of the 60’s-meets-technology-of-the-future. The old and the new, feeling youthful and alive. Big ideas. Gold rush. Anything is possible.

Most months I arrived at the airport first. I wheeled my suitcase from domestic flights to international, and waited outside the crowded gate. Unlike domestic flights where a friend or family member picks you up at the curb, international flights have throngs of people waiting. There is a monitor where you can watch the passengers on the last hallway before they emerge into the airport. Anticipation is thick in the air. I anticipate my partner’s arrival along with groups of people, some single and some with small and large groups of families. Some with signs but most with flowers and arms ready to embrace a loved one. I wonder about their stories and watch each arrival during my hour wait. There is the soldier arriving back from a tour in another land with both woman and man crying in a long embrace. The multi-generational Chinese family embracing an elderly man and woman in a wheelchair. I wonder how long it’s been since they last saw each other. There are outcries with each new recognition of the person emerging through the gate. A young woman in her 20’s arrives. Greeted by a man, a woman and two young children that feels a bit stiff. The children hide behind their mother and the man reaches out with a friendly but formal handshake. I think, maybe this is an Au Pair arriving to care for the children for a year. She is here for an adventure in the United States.

And so it continues until I see him, my partner, on the monitor. My heart starts beating faster. We haven’t seen each other in three weeks. He quickens his step when he sees me at the gate. And with one swift motion like two people in a dance, his arm is around me, turning me to the exit door right outside the airport, where we pause to exchange a long, slow kiss before heading to the BART, the subway system that will take us to our private room at the International Hostel and the start of our week long adventure, again.

Written by: Andrea Hylen; Heal My Voice

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