so far from which
to hang a wish
is yet a tempting taunt
where once it is hung
it will dangle
waiting on twinkling point
to teeter off
and fall into
the hands of fate
And now this strength
by doubt or sadness
so not only is it Kryptonite
but a beautiful strength
an origami formation
built from intricate folding
of a fragile
Just gotta keep on walkin
till the paths divergent go
or a single one does open up
and your feet are raw and muddy
keep on pushin
Just gotta keep on walkin
though the road may be tough
you may meet many strangers
who you never even know
some greet you friendly
but some are mighty rough
Just gotta keep on walkin
and push the branches back
they’ll tear your legs and
rip your arms
the blood may drip bright red
and it will leave a track
Just gotta keep on walkin
following the trail
wherever it may lead
you may not know
but it’s your path
seek not the Holy Grail
For more years than I can remember I have been a single woman. It was by choice and something I needed to do to sort my head, my soul and myself out. Much of my life before these years had been rafting through relationships, on a craft that was unsteady and often leaky. I tried to navigate this flimsy raft through oceans far too rough and rivers overflowing their riverbeds. It often left me on some shore half drowned. And of course any passenger unlucky enough to be my mate, usually was left drenched and overwhelmed by the tsunami that was left in my wake.
But somehow, it seems now I’ve paddled out of the storm, onto a lake of glass. It is smooth and my sense of direction seems clear. I am ready to sail again.
It is so difficult in our times to find the right sailing partner to journey into the unknown. Even once we’ve learned to love ourselves and to steer our lives, finding someone who can meld their course with ours, seems like finding a lost ship under the ocean. It’s there somewhere, but the vastness makes the likelihood seem so impossible.
So unlikely that it seems that magic must be involved (as I refuse to do the internet thing). Today I picked one Tarot card to see if a partner would be in my future one day again. And lo, I got my favorite one: the 10 of Cups. Just seeing it you can almost guess that it is positive! Depending on where you look, it has different meanings, but I got it right side up and my book said simply: Contentment, lasting happiness because it is inspired from above rather than being the sensual satisfaction. Perfection of human love. Great friendship. Lasting success. Peacemaking.
So, I guess I will take that to be a yes and hopefully my ship will eventually float into the sunset. And maybe I will eventually pick someone up along the way to sail with me.
As she sat quietly on the bench, she recalled so many times of reflection. Times of stopping, of sitting still to breathe and think of her life. It wasn’t always easy to create these moments, to stop the moving train that was her life, long enough, to simply see what was around her.
These benches were everywhere. Even if people were around, they could cradle her; let her thoughts roll through her mind, easing the turbulence with the help of the surrounding landscape. They were guardians, givers and saviors.
Sometimes she would be present, sometimes drift off to another place. Somehow they were conduits of time travel: as though a space had opened up and she slipped into it and could go forward or back, depending on her mood. Because of this, she walked in places long forgotten, places of lost love or deep pain. The remembering, though, somehow put it in an ethereal plane, so the visitation became moments of healing.
Some places to sit weren’t really benches at all, but still created for her the right second to watch a sunrise. Just the act of seeing one could erase months of chaos in her soul.
She remembers now these sacred vessels and can recall far into childhood how many she has visited. From cities to the middle of nowhere, the times she took to just stop and sit–to contemplate, meditate and be quiet.
And now she wonders: where are all the benches yet to come?
Sometimes we get tiny moments in time where we get to reinvent ourselves: a new job, meeting a new friend or maybe moving to a fresh neighborhood. We start over so people may not know our old habits, quirks or things about us that maybe we’d like to change. Of course, we probably are essentially the same, but we can hope that our old baggage can be left at the door.
As we get older, for me anyway, the picture of who we are seems to become less complicated. Maybe getting there can still be puzzling, as the world may not always work in the way we want, but if we take enough time to be quiet we can usually figure out what makes us tick and will make us relatively content. We realize too, that utter happiness may be an illusion chased by youth, and that each day presents challenges we must face.
But there are basic things we can each decide if we need or want them: do we need to be rich or have just enough to live and be comfortable; is a relationship important or is our solitude more gratifying; how close to family do we need to be; how much weight do we put on our jobs/careers, or is it simply important that we enjoy them? There are so many questions we can ask ourselves in search of contentment and being the person we want to be.
And when we stand at the threshold of some beginning, hopefully it is one that will bring us fulfillment and we can come to it as the person we want to be. So then at the end of it all, when we have lived as best we can, embracing what we loved about ourselves (even if others didn’t) and adapted to each new situation because it was a chance to become someone even better.
As many of you readers know, I’ve been on a mission of contentment in my life. Pretty much since I moved almost a year ago…and maybe even some years before that really. Coming to the south was part of that on a number of levels for obvious reasons. Gee, I figured living where it was warm all the time, well, I would just naturally just be happier.
Today I had an interesting realization related to that expectation. Usually this time of year, as midsummer rolled around in New England, I would almost get depressed. I love spring and summer. They were my favorite times of year! You can’t beat the beauty of those seasons in the North–let’s face it! The budding flowers, then in full bloom, the trees filling out with their greenery, the smells and birds. And of course, the lack of snow and cold!!! This was the best part.
Winters could seem endless there: the blizzards, downed power lines, leaking roofs, shoveling snow, winter jackets/boots/mittens/hats/scarves and frozen body parts, plus the driving. It was all just awful! When those days finally melted away into warmth, it was heaven on earth. Those who haven’t experienced it, well, they don’t know real beauty.
So when August would come, I would think: summer is half over and that means Fall and that means it will start getting cold soon. I know, silly of me, but I couldn’t help it! The summers seemed so darn short some years and the winters horrendously LONG. And time just moves faster now that I’m older. All the projects one planned for the summer, there was never enough time…
But I realized today: wait a minute….there IS no real winter here! No fall or snow coming in few months. In fact, it’s lovely weather (although I haven’t minded the hot weather either). It was crazy to think about! I’m tan, have no winter clothes to drag out, no boots to find, no moth eaten hats, no rusty shovels to find…nope, just my flip flops. Yesss!
True, the gardens aren’t as nice. I do miss that terribly. I’m not crazy about cactus or Palm trees, or lizards. But I have seen Cardinals and some other cool birds. Maybe the new place I’ll put up a feeder. And maybe I’ll try some more potted plants. And since it’ll be my own back yard (sort of), I’ll sit out more and enjoy.
You see, I have this tan now–all year round!
There comes a time in life where dreams, schemes and your belief system all come crashing together and it’s time to see if you can walk your talk. So it has come to pass for me.
For some time now I have been fascinated and, well, even more than that, committed, shall we say to the idea of tiny homes. The idea of minimalizing one’s space and one’s ‘stuff’ as George Carlin so wonderfully put it in a beautiful routine some years ago–and living in much less square footage.
Some do it in as little as 150 square feet! These folks amaze me. The homes I follow on Instagram are lovely, quaint, mobile (some of them), in trees, on water, in the mountains, in the city, in the desert, eco-friendly, made out of recycled material–you name it. But the one thing they have in common is that the living space is very small.
When I made my move last year, I went from a three/four bedroom farm house, to a one bedroom apartment. The square footage was maybe 400-500 feet less if you included the porches I had, which we used quite a bit. What I knew was that I gave up lots of ‘stuff’ and space…willingly. Gave my things to friends, the dump or anyone who would take it. And it felt freeing!
But I still had lots actually. This place I’m in now was advertised as 1000 square feet. It was hard to believe, but when I comfortably moved in the stuff I had, it appeared to be true.
Now will come to true test of my willingness and ability to carry out my hope and dream to live more simply. Today I just put in an offer to own a condo that is less than 700 square feet of living space. No, it’s not an amazing and beautifully made tiny house in the middle of some lush forest. But is an adorable space that overlooks water. It was very peaceful.
The other part of it that was so attractive is that it is part of a community. This is another ideal that I feel is very important for me personally, and for the healing of the world. Instead of many individual, separate houses–each with their own lawn mowers, weed eaters, tools etc. (all creating more garbage for the world)– more communal living I feel is what is needed. Plus creating community, where people care for and about one another; instead of neighborhoods where no-one knows their neighbor anymore which has been becoming the standard. It takes a village to raise our kids. Maybe this would help to stop some of the hatred?
This place has a pool (three actually), workout area, community room and I hear it’s very active. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. I already know folks from work who live there and it’s very close to my job, so my co-workers and I can socialize more.
Of course, I am nowhere near the closing and anything can happen, but I feel hopeful. Things have been going well for me here recently . My Mom has been such a big help with this all and has encouraged me with this decision.
Now to make the tiny space into a tiny home with big contentment.
Someone asked me recently if I was happy that I made the move here… It was a complicated question, well, maybe more a complicated answer.
In thinking about it, I realized that I’m in a transitional stage in my life. While I’m surrounded by so many more people living here than I was in my small New England town, I am now much more alone. And in my work place, it’s loud and the energy is intense–yet I feel in this odd impermeable bubble. Or want to be anyway.
Loving my weekends, by myself either at home or walking outside quietly (avoiding the busy dog parks), it made me realize that this is a hermit stage in my life. At first I thought I might be missing something not gathering lots of new friends around me, but then it suddenly came to me, that there’s something very right and comfortable during these passing moments of gathering solitude.
In my recent past, I’ve been a Mother and care-taker in my job. These both took lots of energy I didn’t mind giving. Now, just rebuilding my own resources and not helping anyone else is a welcome gift. The peace of silence is necessary and rejuvenating.
This realization came as a surprise, but as I settle within my lone hermit archetype, life feels less stressful and more content. Maybe the next stage will be about community, but for now, in answer to the question if I am happy that I moved here: I’m blessed to have this opportunity to have the time to experience this contemplative phase.