Sunday, May 26, 2019

Receiving with ease

I learned about the phrase "receive with ease" as a Unity truth student in the mid-90's. My interpretation of it has meant to accept the goodness that comes my way and not question whether or not I deserve it.  It also tells me not to wonder if there is "a catch" to such good fortune.  For me, that has meant learning to "relax into" the gifts I receive and savor the good feelings they invoke within my being.  In other words, let my self feel the love. Without going into detail, let's just say that I was very often disappointed growing up and learned not to expect people to keep their promises or build hope that what was promised would actually happen (for me).  So the importance of learning this concept has helped me to expect that good is always intended for me, that I deserve to have all the goodness (gifts) that come my way, and that if I am -- for any reason -- disappointed in the outcome of my expectations then that gift was not intended for me. "Don't take anything personally" -from chapter two of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel- contributed to my understanding of this concept. This is a comforting concept to embrace!
All this comes to my mind this morning as I experience all the good feelings and unexpected gifts from having moved across country from Florida, the verdant humid paradise, to Utah, the arid extremity of red rock, black lava and peeping greens that pop!  My heart is so grateful for the gift that Nathan and I have given ourselves with our life decision to purge and play for this indefinite period.  We have set the stage for new adventures, all of which will come wrapped in western sunrises and sunsets, vistas of red and orange and rust and black.  The energy of the mountains is the most powerful gift of all, to contribute to our spirits, our physical energy and youth, and the depth of our relationship.

Are we tired yet? Absolutely! We are somewhat exhausted by months of preparation that went into making this move.  The funny thing is that we agree the 11 day journey here felt more like a 4 day journey. Why? We don't care why. We accept the gift. We know it was just another sign that we are Supported in taking this step.  So now we rest and revel in our new surroundings, getting back to home cooking, sleeping without having to get up and attend to anything other than resting and eating and taking a walk. Our new home --for the next 4 months--has turned out to be a place for a perfect retreat from everything!  We haven't heard one siren. Instead, we hear absolute silence, and outside just the birds and an occasional golf cart drifting by on batteries. THANK YOU is all we can say!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ode to 5305 Chez Levy circa 1948

Our old house, dubbed "Chez Levy" on a dinner party menu I made years back, was built in 1948. It is no longer ours but I had to capture its essence in photos before we left it--as best as I could--that is, if it's even possible to photograph those parts of us that stay behind in grace and beauty and color and style.   Every inch of brush stroke and corner cleaned to our satisfaction. Every window dressing something discussed and decided upon. Every color chosen carefully. Every repair done skillfully with loving hands to maintain our investment. Every inch cleaned with a commitment to keeping things nice.  Every foot of acreage seeping with Nathan's environmental stewardship and love for the land and nature. 

The furniture is no longer there but part of us--and everyone who entered its space--remains. This was not what one might call a fancy home, ah, but such a real one! Filled with love and parties and friends and caring and sharing. A home that supported us as entrepreneurs, lending itself as an administrative office for a training business, a studio for artistic endeavors, cottage industry home cooking, a center for education in diverse healthful subjects, and a distribution center for healthy locally grown food by St. Petersburg urban farmers. This home was privy to tough subjects, mournful tears, warming hugs, and friends who met there and remain good friends to this day. This home was a meeting place for such a wide variety of people who may never have met if this home had not opened its doors and welcomed all who entered.

Here is my Ode to Chez Levy... in all its nakedness... and ours.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

We're "not in Kansas anymore"

Enjoy a little video I took this morning in GA...

Our two night stay in Mableton, Georgia was comfortable and relaxing yet our excitement for getting to the mountains got us up early this morning and on the road. Nathan and I were captivated by the roadside fields of wild flowers that adorn the highways through Alabama and Mississippi. Within sight of these fields, lone Confederate flags appear here and there to remind us that we don't all think alike. When we crossed the state line into Mississippi, the shock was palpable when the road surface and color changed abruptly from the smooth charcoal grey pavement of Alabama to a rougher surface of creamy colored coffee entering Mississippi.  We had lunch at a roadside diner that didn't taste "normal" to us.

It's clear that we have abandoned our comfort zone and are starting to sound like Ma and Pa Kettle on a Road Trip. Tomorrow we head to Conway, Arkansas!

Friday, May 10, 2019

We have left the building!

Reserved just for us... But I will be the first one in that bed tonight at my brother-in-law's house. This project has come to an end and we celebrated with a wonderful dinner. We leave tomorrow.

It was a wonderful day taping up boxes, finding room for it all in the car, and tidying up the house and yard. We are leaving it in such a beautiful state. Even though it was hot out we did one final small fire in the pit. Nathan drank a cold beer and I had a cold seltzer. We walked the yard and thanked it for feeding us such wonderful food and giving us such beauty to witness. We went through every room in the house admiring the colors and its cleanliness and the views out the windows. We said goodbye to it. I did a pictorial on the house for old times sake. I hope to share some of it with you in the near future. Now I am going to sleep like a woman freed from responsibility for a home. Good night my friends.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Moving to another planet at 65

I've moved from Maine to Illinois to Florida to New Jersey and back to Florida in my life time. I was thirty-something the last time. At sixty-five, here are my thoughts about moving...
  • A large part of my identity is tied up in this house: steward of the land, hostess with the mostest, chef extraordinaire, hearty parties, welcome wagon, etc., and most recently, artist.
  • It's almost like dying, leaving "this life".  Having to say goodbye to people you know you won't see again. Giving away precious possessions you hope will retain some meaning for those who receive them. 
  • There are memories encased in the "physical stuff" you have carried since you set up housekeeping after high school graduation.
  • Yes, I got a little "homesick" but I was so much less attached to the importance of community. I didn't value friendships the way I do today. We think we have "forever"...
  • There were no social media or cell phones for any of my interstate moves so it was much harder to stay in touch. You had to pay by the minute to talk to anyone you knew! Can you imagine?
  • How do you make friends and develop community when you drop in unannounced? You can't expect people to know you are coming and welcome you.
This time around...
  • I have managed to get blessed with the best partner possible to go with me on this new leg of life.
  • The artist in me is going to help me transition to other spaces. I have been known to make jewelry on other road trips.  My jewelry also opens doors with people who admire what I wear.
  • Friends are excited and authentically happy for us, telling us that we are brave. No one has dared to tell us that we must be crazy! They are just smiling and wishing us the best.  Some are secretly wishing they could come with us...
  • We are literally free to go, mobile, root-less, and unencumbered, for the most part.
  • Social media and cell phones exist. Amen!
  • We have some old and new friends out West that we can visit when we feel an urge to nest with our past and relax in shared history 
  • We have new friends we have never met who waiting for us to visit them north of our initial stop.  Thank you, Facebook.
  • It's going to be a fulfilling adventure!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Raccupine Farms

A visiting friend recently made me think of a story that I published in another blog of mine called Raccupine Farms back in 2010.  The post was written a little over a year after being "managed out" of my corporate job when I turned fifty-five.  My spirit was broken and I was burned out from six months of unethical practices of abuse-- albeit normal, I've heard from other survivors-- from my managers. Looking back, I had no business being in that particular corporate structure. I am an empath NOT a barracuda. It had been a painful year and I was still recovering from exhaustion and the trauma of rejection.

Our marriage was twelve years old at that time, neither of us had made it that long in other relationships, and I was feeling introspective on the wonderful transition that began for me when Nathan came into my life and into this house. 

Almost ten years have passed and I will let the piece speak for itself. It gives me joy to revisit it and celebrate how we have come through hard times and still managed to heal each other with our love for one another.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Wall

No, not the wall you're thinking of. This wall, my wall, is in our living room that we are about to leave. It has been blank for over 3 years waiting for me to frame pictures and create a wonderful menagerie of artwork and crafty pieces to make some sort of artistic statement. I did all the mat board cutting and framing that I wanted to do. I just never hung them on the wall.

This week, as Nathan is closing up the yard he is finally getting to all the art projects he planned to do outside with leftover latex paint rescued from local recycling. Although his artistic technique has not changed, the colors schemes are totally different than others that have adorned our home over the years. I love them more than all the others he's done before!  Are they more precious now because we are leaving, he is losing his workspace, and I am giving up living space that I have nurtured for over 25 years?

The new pieces aren't even dry yet. Now I am left wishing that he had tackled them sooner so I could have put them up on the wall. But maybe I would not have, since I never got around to putting anything else up there. I guess there will always be some things that get put off until it's too late to do them. The message for me is that not everything in our lives will get completed, and as long as we are alive there is always something else to do! What does this say to you? If you can clarify the irony in all of this, please do.   

Now that I have fallen in love with them, I have spent half the day hoping we can find room for them in the car. That will not happen. Even if we could find room, there are layers of latex paint that are struggling to dry because "gobbing it on" is part of Nathan's technique. I've decided that I'll have to settle for remembering them in photos. Oh, and, of course, Nathan has assured me that he can always make more of them in the future. "But they won't look like these, honey!" And he likely won't get to them until the next time we are preparing to move on.  Sigh... 

My very favorite is the bottom one!

Friday, May 3, 2019

What should I say first?

I am honestly am a bit self conscious (who me?) about writing this blog, knowing that my thoughts and words will somehow be judged.  So this blog is really an experiment of sorts and a test of my courage. Remember that saying "Put your money where your mouth is"? Well I've been dreaming about this moment when I would be the writer I've always wanted to be but never had the time. This is it! Be warned, if you are waiting for something profound from me, I can't promise that. What I do promise is that I'll be honest about what I think. Many of you who know me pretty well can't imagine me any other way. 

By next Friday, our car will packed for our cross country road trip. The house is emptying out nicely, the echoes are growing throughout the house, and our final packing is underway. Nathan and I continue to be genuinely excited about what is coming and extremely kind to each other as we face this huge transition to a new lifestyle in another part of the U.S.  I can't speak for Nathan but I know that he too is parting with the house and yard and grasping onto his own sense of closure.  I have had some teary moments in the past week, realizing that our dream is coming true and that we are going to pay a price for it.  Change costs.

We are leaving our home!  If I could turn back the clock to last October when we decided to sell our home and possessions and move out West, I would not do it. I still know in my heart that it is time for us to move on. Nathan knows it too.  During other times in my life when I've experienced loss--and this is a loss of most all things I own and local friends whom I've known for over 30 years--I have walked through the fire, been cleansed, and emerged alive.  My history tells me that this will be no different.

I'm glad that you, my dear friends, are travelling with me. The gains are lining up to unfold.