Going Places

Man

The page – or in this case, the blinking cursor – is calling me back. I’m not sure what exactly it’s asking for yet, but I’m open and making myself available.

Mostly it seems to be inquiring about travel.

In the middle of reading another inspiring non-fiction book on self-mastery, the question was posed … really the author demanded, that I finish reading the current sentence then go sit with myself somewhere and write down my dreams. All the crazy, seemingly unattainable ones, the ones that make me shudder with excitement, fear or anxiety, the simple ones – like having a place for everything in my house, I mean super simple – and any rogue thought that happens to pop into my head that might be a thread that leads somewhere magical.

On it. Aside from discussing consciousness with Christians, yogis and atheists alike, dreaming is my favorite!

Travel writing.

That’s what the Universe handed me on a slightly smudgy, obviously dented, silver platter. Gifts from the Universe often have to make a few trips around the sun before I’m ready to receive them. This one may frisbee back out yet before it sits beside me each day.

And I had to really study those two words because I don’t think they mean what they seem to say. I believe, in my case, they are meant as two separate commands that intersect.

Here’s how I see it:

Travel is my blood type, a plane ticket, a new passport stamp? Those are transfusions. When I don’t get to go places (by which I mean, when I believe there is something more important than wandering like laundry or running my businesses) I get sick. It’s not a normal sick, I’m rarely that. I get bitchy and itchy. I grumble a lot like an old man who wishes those idiot boxes were never invented and what the hell is a sofrita anyway, what’s wrong with meat and potatoes? That guy. The only antidote is travel. I’ve tried other medicines; wine, chocolate, yoga, they only take me so far.

Writing too has been my constant companion my entire life. Mountains of journals sit heaving in my closet, eyes rolling when they find out they’re not so special. Each one has the same list of how I want to structure my day and all that I would like to accomplish. Day after day. They get bored, my journals. I hear them yawn, audibly breathe the sigh of disappointment when I start rolling out a new plan. But when I start to describe the view from my hotel room that includes a black-faced monkey and the Ganges they start to perk up. They’re totally fine with packing lists for European treks and they especially like when I confess how a place has revealed something about me to me.

And there are blogs, once organized, now somewhat willy nilly, and mostly lately covered in cobwebs and neglect. It helps me, the writing. The publishing is scary, but it’s part of the process too.

Travel. Writing. Travel writing. These will likely never be the kind of stories picked up by Afar or Conde Nast Traveler. I’m not likely to tell you where to eat or what not to miss or what time to be at the Vatican, and which gate so you can bypass the line. But I will tell you how standing on the banks of the Ganges made me cry tears of connection to everything and while sipping red wine at a vineyard overlooking the Mediterranean in Lucca, Italy on the most perfect day ever, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for this life I couldn’t speak.

I will share the humility I have gained by talking to a man who had no home and no shoes but smiled nonetheless and even gave the dog sharing his tarp the piece of bread I offered him. How he had enough. He was happy. He gave up everything and now whatever he needs comes to him. I will tell you that that is true abundance and I may even give you a hint of yoga philosophy lesson on the tenet of Aparigraha or non-attachment. Mostly because it’s a reminder and lesson to me.

The more I tell you, the more I learn about me.

Travel. Writing. They are symbiotic in my world. They need each other. One does not describe the other. When I look at them I can see them each on the bulbous sides of an infinity symbol.  Traveling opens me up and reveals the dark corners that need to be energetically vacuumed out, as well as the covered bits of light yearning to shine and share.

Traveling is manna to me. Writing is how I process and share my experiences.

So this is my big, anxious, hairy, exciting dream. I mean, a well-organized house is also still on the list, but it just doesn’t curl my toes like going places.

What’s your dream?

For Now

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When I committed to the year-long purge in January, I truly just wanted to lighten up, get rid of stuff. I felt bogged down by things. I couldn’t find what I needed or remember where I put something because there was just too much. I knew I’d come up against obstacles like time and urgency, that I would resist and that organizing one space would require nearly every other space to become disorganized for a time.

I agreed with myself that I would trust the process and not abandon it. Turns out abandonment is part of the process, but only for a short time.

I find myself in that space of complete disarray. One room (three if you count the two bathrooms) is neat and clean without anything “extra” in it. The rest of the house is in organizational flux. Boxes have been pulled in from the garage to go through and purge in the living room. My room has been the repository of all things mom, along with the I’m-just-not-sure-where-to-put-this-so-it-will-go-here stuff. For now. The guest room bed is covered in old family photos waiting patiently to be organized, the kitchen is in constant use and various stages of purging and we will not be addressing the dining room here today. That is the work space of Larry and a complete health hazard.

Back to that tiny little sentence above: For now. I’m against it.

There are some instances when you have to do something just for the moment, but when it’s announced, “I’ll just put this here for now,” I know there is a deeper pathology at work. Even if I’m the one announcing it. It means, this thing that I’m placing here does not yet have a home, so I’m gonna lay it here while I think about that. Then forget about it.

We are working hard at finding homes for everything we’ve decided to keep. It is much easier for me to let go of things than it is Larry. He’s afflicted with that I-may-need-this-some-day gene. I prefer to pass things along I am no longer using, sometimes to people I know, often to a charity store. But sometimes I hold on too.

Something happens when you take possession of a thing. It becomes yours. And because it’s yours it now has value, but it’s just a thing. Even that 3 carat diamond ring is just a thing (not mine, don’t have one). The value is financial and emotional. The monetary value slides up and down depending on the emotional attachment.

Let’s take Grandma’s set of dishes that we use every Thanksgiving and Christmas, that she used on special occasions. They’re fine china we’ve been told, even says so on the bottom. They’re priceless, clearly. But in actuality, with the missing gravy boat and lid to the soup tureen the set is only worth about $50. At the most. It feels insulting. It’s the emotional grab. In truth if I were shopping for dishes I wouldn’t even consider these, they’re not my style. But when I use them they feel special.

This is the process. Each item is to be considered. This is where I am. I have culled the items that hold no sway – clothes, books I’ve read, unused greeting cards, Rubbermaid food containers and various other items, now I’m down to necessity and heritage.

Letting go of the things does not mean I am letting go of the memories or even tradition. Truly if I had 15 minutes to grab whatever was meaningful to me and get out of my home, after my pets it would be my computer, camera and artwork done by family members.

Is the myth of the memory more important than the freedom and space of letting it go? Is being bogged down by DVDs, old letters, family heirlooms more grounding and nurturing than wide open space in which to be creative and light?

I’m getting to it, the right balance for me. For now.

 

 

Personal History

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I am lost in a sea of personal history. Memories and emotions gently rock my present, nudging my attention this way and that.

My room: the repository of my past. Photos from as far back as 1800 and something. My great-grandparents parents photos and maybe their parents too. Some I know, some are magical ghosts of my DNA.

My room: the sanctuary of my creative aspirations. Over 20 boxes of hundreds of beads – many semi-precious stones that I could just caress for hours. I am partial to rubies, they feel mysterious and rich. Aquamarine gives me space, I can’t help but take a deep breath in when working with them. And sapphires are the keepers of  secrets. In boxes in my closet are unpainted canvases, paper cut for projects forgotten and photos I’ve taken and left to die in the back of a drawer.

My room:  the organizational nerve center. Four file drawers hold the remnants of an abandoned organizational system, files numbered and lettered but empty. Files full of bills paid, places to visit, the history of my pets and cherished documents that allow me to wander the earth.

My room: holder of tiny sacred spaces. An altar that continues to grow even though there appears to be no more room, sits atop a large bookcase. As I was counting it I thought I’d find new homes for some of the excess Buddhas and rocks, but there appears to be no such thing as excess Buddhas.

This was to be the last room on my list but something compelled me to “knock it out.” It’s been a week. More than. I’m almost done counting. That was supposed to be the easy part. But to count photos you must touch them and I don’t know about you, but I must also look at them. And as I do I am mentally eliminating some and finding purposes for others. I am sorting and organizing memories as if I can come back to them when I’m ready.

There are just a few boxes of photos left to count and then all the jewelry supplies. I have set a goal to complete the counting by the end of this week – Sunday. In the meantime I am surrounded by a mine field of unfinished projects. And it’s creating heaviness, filling spaces that I need free and open. Cards that need to be cut, photos to be sorted and culled, letters to be read and overall purging. This is just round one.

As I sort through the stuff that has built me I wonder what I am really hoping to gain by this process. My goal from the outset been space and time. I want to be able to walk into my home and not feel compelled to straighten up, but I sense something much deeper at work.

Urgency. I carry with me, deep in my gut, this sense of needing to get things done. Organizing, categorizing, sorting then storing. Get it done, check it off. But when it’s done will I be sad? Will I look for the next thing to accomplish no matter how trivial? Maybe that need will abate once things are ordered. Maybe not. This is the work of the process. This is why to abandon it or hold fast to rules would dilute the outcome.

It’s cranky and itchy, the process, but in a most informative way. It’s doing its work on me and I like, don’t like it. I think that means it’s working.

21 Day Challenge – Day 1

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No struggle. None. This day has been a testimony to vulnerability. It’s amazing how many people respond to someone else’s self-examination.  It’s the place where we’re all the same. Everyone has something they need and want to work on and when one person admits it, the door swings wide open.

Thank you for walking through the door with me. Because the response was so positive and uplifting on the blog, I started a Facebook Group called Enchanted Living. Here we can encourage each other, share our successes and ask for support.

To be clear, this challenge is not about achieving a goal per se, it is about clearing the path for your intention for life – a direction, your personal north star. You may not have the words, but you know what it is. You feel it.   So work out, do yoga, stop drinking wine and eating sugar, but do it for clarity, for lightness. This intention will reveal itself and you will be unstoppable.

As for me, I was able to complete every task I set for myself today with no groaning, moaning or whining. Just the opposite. I felt so much support and love from all the comments and Facebook group postings. I offer you that same support. Know that as I continue with this unveiling of authenticity for myself that I encourage and support you on your personal journey. Allow yourself to crack open, bit by bit or all at once, it’s your process. Trust it.

[The photo was taken just as it started to rain at the little duck pond down the street from my house. Unbeknownst to me the clouds were holding onto a lot of moisture and within minutes I was caught in a deluge. I walked slowly. Concerned for my camera, I buried it beneath two shirts. I think it’s fine. But walking in a heavy rain, getting soaked, felt absolutely magical and appropriate. What a gift.]