Living with less

Taming the Tiger

angry tiger

Anger has always been an issue for me.  My personality type gets overwhelmed very easily and when that would happen I simply lashed out like an angry tiger.  I may not even have been really mad but frustrated about a situation.  Luckily it usually took a while for the tiger inside me to work up enough steam to blow, but when it did it was not a pretty sight.  My angry outbursts are among my biggest of regrets in life.

Now that I have time to reflect I look back on those days when the tiger controlled me.  Like so many people, I was over-stressed, always broke, behind on bills, not satisfied with work, felt sick all the time and my to-do list was ever growing.  I felt like I was never staying afloat, let alone getting ahead.  I looked around and saw friends who seemed to have it all together while I felt as if I was unraveling a little more every day.

Sadness and depression enveloped me and I could not see an out to the way I was feeling.  That made the tiger even madder.  It was a vicious cycle that seemed to never end.  When I knew the house was going to be lost to the bank and a new life had to start, I was felt crushed.  I tried to be excited about the uncertainty of it all.  Inside I turned into a scared child.  I pretended to be okay but the fear was overwhelming.  The tiger was ready to strike at any time.  I prayed for an end, even if it meant the end of me.  Extreme, I know, but I was completely hopeless all the while showing a smile on the outside.

Fast forward about six months.  Things have settled down for the time being.  I found a job that makes me happy and makes me want to be there even on my days off.  I found a nice, quiet place to live and the tiger inside of me is at rest.  I still get overwhelmed.  When you work with the public, things are going to happen and people are going to push, but for the most part I have enjoyed everyone I have met so far on this journey.

I realize now that the stuff I thought I took comfort in actually feed the fuel for the tiger.  The things overwhelmed me as did the bills to pay for those things.  In my dark and alone times, I thought of how to live without all the stuff but my ideals were unrealistic.  When I realized that I became upset all over again.  Now after living a very simple life for a while, I am rejoicing in the lack of things.  Lack used to mean something negative to me, now it is a goal to reach.  I now find comfort in little things like a soft blanket or a really good cup of coffee.  I no longer need the fancy coffee maker to make the coffee, I will leave that to someone else.  As long as I can find a way to wash, I have my three t-shirts and two pairs of pants are just right.  Everything I own fits in one suitcase. Lightness has overcome the darkness and I actually feel as if I can breathe again.

The process felt like I was in labor for about six months.  There were times when the pain manifested it self physically.  My eyes ached from crying, my muscles hurt and my voice was hoarse from yelling at God.  Now I wake up without an alarm clock, not fretting the day, but rejoicing that God did not listen to me and end me all those months back.  The smile then was forced and fake, the smile today is real and genuine for the first I can remember.  The tears I cry now are happy tears.

Not everything is perfect, I still experience sadness and am lonely at times, but what happens when the good days start to outnumber the bad days.  Life becomes a totally different animal.  No longer am I tied to an angry tiger and that feels good.

I used to think I could not live without this or that, but when you start to live without this or that you have more room for happiness and love.  All my experiences in life, good and bad, have gotten me to here.  I cannot express what it feels like to actually have a second chance.  I could never feel gratitude before because I was so miserable, now I am thankful for everything.

happiness

Here is to saying goodbye to the angry tiger and hello to the…..cute and fuzzy bunny (?) inside of me.  Wishing you happiness and love in your life too!

 

 

 

I Wish I May…I Wish I Might???

wish board

Pathetic as it may be, this is my wish board.

This is going to sound idiotic, but I never understood the purpose of a wish.  I get that when you wish for something you are asking for something in particular or some other tangible item that you do not currently have.  It could also be something intangible like a superpower or the like.  But when you wish, who are you talking to?  It is not a prayer like to God, so who is listening to all these wishes?  I am so confused.

In my last career position, we had a corporate strategy meeting where we all added ideas to a wish board.  I was new to the concept and found it intriguing.  Everyone contributed ideas about how to make the company better for employees and customers as well as stronger financially.  There were no wrong ideas, so we were all free to add things that would have been considered over-the-top in a regular corporate meeting atmosphere.  Then the best-of-the-best were picked and added to a wish board that hung in the lobby as a reminder of where we wanted to take the company.

I have to admit I snickered a little under my breath at the idea.  Then after one particularly desperate day, I thought I would make my own wish board (I actually called it a dream board, but I believe they are the same thing).  It was way harder to do it for things I wanted in my life, there was no real out-of-box thinking.  The reason, I think, for that is because it is my life and I know I am never hitting the road with Bad Company or shredding down a mountain slope on a snowboard.  Not happening, so I felt the need to be a little more realistic.

I purposely used a smaller sheet of paper because I wanted everything on my list to be of importance to me.  I started with a picture of a tiny house.  I have wanted a tiny house for years.  I have read the books about the lifestyle and watched the television shows.  I am having doubts about it becoming a reality for me, but I put it out there as my foundation.  So, let’s just call it the fact that I want to live with a much smaller footprint whether it be a small apartment or a tiny home.  Smaller is really the key for the base of my board.

Then came what to do with my life.  I would like to work from home as a writer.  Yet, another thing that might not be in my future.  I am going to write no matter what, but I cannot see it paying rent or feeding me.  But again, it is the foundation for all of this.  I really think I should not be negative at this point, but I am also very realistic.  Unfortunately.  I used to dream big, but life sort of took that ability away from me.  Too negative?  Maybe.  This concept is harder than it seems.

Since I do not see a New York Times Bestseller in my immediate future, I need a job.  I just want a job that I am trained to do and one that I love.  I want to feel like I am making a difference and supporting myself in the process.  Having not “worked” at a regular job for a while, I have to admit the thing I hated about a regular job is the thing I miss the most.  The structure or you could call it having a purpose (that sounds much better).  I need that sense of on-going purpose.

Tiny footprint, writing and purpose.  Good start.  A few other things that followed included:  daily Bible study, volunteering, consistent exercise, frugal living, eating clean and making my own food as much as I can and my own cleaning products.  That is basically my dream board.  Funny, how when I put it this way, I see that I actually have some control over these factors.  Not really wish material (other than the tiny home).  So, do I not understand the concept after all?  I am still so confused.

What about my wanderlust?  I still want to continue the Epic Journey, but it needs to be thought out better.  I never realized just how expensive a journey like that would be (I could never have done it without your support), or how grueling it would be.  I need to take some time and reconsider the remaining portion of the trip. It will happen, I promise.  I just need to regroup.

What about home/farm stays?  I am struggling with my true abilities to do this type of work.  The past 53 years of my life have done nothing to prepare me for this particular lifestyle.  I feel useless at times and that just plain makes me sad.  Another thing I need to rethink.

To sum it all up, my wish board is more like at To Do List.  I can keep wishing for these things but without taking action, they will never happen.  Getting back to my original thought, I guess I really do not understand the concept of what a wish is for.  Do you go into a wish knowing it is just a pipe dream or somewhere in the back of your mind, do you think it could happen?  What happens when you wait and wait and the wish does not come to pass?  Seems to me wishes are pathways to be disilllusioned.

I think I will put my wish board away somewhere and turn it into my To Do List.  That is concrete and measurable.  I will leave the wishes to others. I honestly wish I could believe in the power of wishes, but I guess I am too pragmatic.

Here is to a healthy and attainable To Do List for those of us who are uncontrollably realistic…

and here is to those lovely souls who have dreams and wishes, may they become real and change your life in a way that adds more light to the darkness of this world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Comes Early

Having never been one to jump out of bed and start the day, my new life requires that I do that now.  The morning comes early when there are horses, dogs, cats, birds, turkeys, ducks and the occasional goats to feed.  These lovely living creatures need me to care for them.

Walking outside to see the sun starting to stream over the mountains, smelling the pure mountain air and feeling the cool breeze on my skin has transformed me into a morning person.  The absolute quiet of the day and the stillness have made me fall in love with this new, albeit temporary, lifestyle.  As the kitties rub my leg and the horses nudge me toward the barn, I realize that there is much more to life than I had ever imagined.  My view was certainly very narrow.

The day continues as it always does with more chores to do and errands to run.  Then the cycle starts again as night begins to fall.  I will hear the animal voices reminding me not to forget to feed them, as if I could.  But now the sun is disappearing behind the mountain and the fresh air still brushes against my face but just with a cooler temperature.  Life is good on the farm.

I am learning that taking care of something other than myself is its own reward.  I so quickly fall into a pattern that revolves around myself.  That only leads to frustration and depression.  Caring for others opens the heart and the mind to a new way of thinking.  It makes no difference if you are helping another person or a furry friend, the mind cannot seem to concentrate on both self and others at the same time.  Thinking of others is not an automatic response for me, but the more I do, the easier it becomes.

A few more things to do then off to bed as morning does come early to the farm.

Here is to the opportunity to see a new and different life than the one I knew and to constantly expanding my horizons.

A Time for Reflection 

  
First, let me say to everyone out there…I am wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a new year full of blessings, health and joy!!

I know it has been a while since I posted anything.  I traveled a little bit, made it to Florida to visit my sister and brother-in-law, got sick and started a new home stay.  As usual there is a lot going on but I was just too ill to write about it.  I am finally feeling better, thanks to my host family and a local free clinic.  

A year ago today I was at home in Ohio thinking about taking an extended trip to the Wesr Coast.  I had a job that I had to figure out and logistics.  I was aching to hit the road but was pretty sure it was not going to happen.  Here I am a year later and I did the Epic Journey (at least part of it), left my family home of 49 Years and am living somewhat nomadic for the time being.  What an incredible and terrifying year.  

My highs have been very high and the lows below low.   I, truthfully, have been afraid most of the time.  Change is hard for me and I have had a lot of it.  I have cried more this year than I ever have and I have also laughed more than I ever have.  I have felt more isolated than I ever have and more connected than ever.  The year has been full of contradictions and confusion.  But looking back all I can really see are the people I have met.

The people who  have crossed my path have touched my life in ways I could never have imagined.  I reconnected with many of my family and long-time friends before taking this trip and that was a blessing I can never forget.  We all got busy with life and this trip seemed to bring us all together again.  My work friends supported me from the very beginning and I could never have done this without that support and love.  On the road, I met amazing people taking their own personal journeys.   I learned the trips were different but the need to dream and explore were all the same.

I have met people who have traveled the world and walked across the country in search of the perfect place to be.  I have met single women traveling alone and  finding independence and strength.  I have met many people on quests to find peace by pitching everything and starting over.  I have met people willing to take strangers into their homes and provide shelter, food and purpose.  I have had complete strangers watch out for me to be sure I was safe when traveling alone.

When I planned the original trip I thought it was going to be about the things I saw and the things I did.  I was wholly and completely wrong.  Those things made an impression but it was who I met along the way that have changed me.  I have grown in ways I could never have imagined a year ago.  I have learned lessons and heard stories that have literally blown me away.  

There are times when I miss my own couch or bed.  Sometimes while driving, especially at night, I look at homes with the warm glow of light shining through the windows and I miss my own space but then I realize that I am on a different path right now.  I may settle down in one place again but for now I still need to expand my comfort zone and learn more of the lessons life has for me.

To everyone who has followed this crazy journey with me and to everyone who has supported me, my gratitude is unwavering. I could never have done this without you.  There are new plans being made for 2016, so the journey is not over yet.  I hope and pray that you will continue to be with me as I try new things.  My life is blessed because of you and I thank God daily for your love.

Here’s to family and friends this Christmas season and to all the best life has to offer in 2016!!  Thank you again everyone!!

Fresh Brewed Unsweetened Iced Tea with Extra Ice

iced tea

In the past, I have been very specific about certain things in my life. Iced tea is one of those things. I would only go to certain restaurants to get it because I knew who used powdered tea and who fresh brewed their tea. Getting a sweet tea by mistake would just about ruin my day. I always figured I know what I like and that is that.

Times they are a changing. I no longer have the luxury of having that mindset. I used to wear two or three outfits a day, now I wear one outfit for two or three days (as long as it stays clean). I used to have a pantry full of food, much of which I would never get around to eating. I would only have organic Half and Half in my coffee. My bathroom was full of bottles of scrubs, astringents, lotions and many other concoctions that I felt I absolutely needed to have. I never realized how wasteful I was.

Once you decide to downsize, you have to start rethinking everything; what is really important, what would be nice (if you had the room), and what is completely ridiculous to carry. I wanted to have just what I could carry in Devi (my Mitsubishi Endeavor). So I got rid of most of my stuff and packed up Devi and found that I still had too much stuff. Now I am in the midst of downsizing yet some more.

The point for me is that I always thought I had all this stuff that I could not live without and I had to live in a non-bending, specific way. I have learned one bar of soap washes my hair and face as well as my body; I no longer need soaps for different body parts. Three shirts and two pair of pants can make complete outfits for over a week. There is no room in the car for junk food (that is a fairly new rule and I do not always live by it…but I am trying) and so on.

I have a little respite today, so I am going to try to consolidate and get rid of a few more things. I will consider what is important or has some sentimental value and what is unnecessary. I will probably look back sometime today and wonder how I ever got by with my old way of thinking. I am embracing this new lighter lifestyle as it just seems more organic. Please do not get me wrong, I have a long way to go but, at least, I am on a path-not sure if it is the right path but it is a path. Learning to live with less and without a lot of extra conveniences is a process and I am assuming it is one that is learned over a long period of time.

For today, I will forego a few more of those “things” I thought I had to have and learn to embrace it. If I am out and about today, I may stop at Mickey D’s and get a fresh brewed, unsweetened iced tea with extra ice (a girl cannot give up everything)! Here’s to living with less and loving it!!

 

 

How to Find a Host Family for a Farm or Home Stay

Helping Others

 

Lately, I have been talking about the Farm or Home Stays I have been participating in. I have been asked how one finds people who need HelpXers (as we are called). It is easy, through an online site called Help Exchange (or HelpX for short). The following blurb is straight from the Help Exchange Website and describes the theory behind the program much better than I ever could.

 “Welcome to Help Exchange (HelpX)

HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.”

 “HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts.”

The only difference is that I have decided to stay within the United States (I cannot even imagine the mess I would be if I was traveling abroad). If I was interested in traveling overseas, that would be an option. There are all kinds of working opportunities as well as locations. Some places need experienced help and others are willing to teach, train and coach you to learn a new skill.

The program is amazing as are the people who participate as Hosts. They are awesome and generous. This is a great program for young people to learn about different cultures and learn all kinds of skills, but it is turning into an option for more experienced (dare I say older) people who want to get off the corporate treadmill and start living an alternative lifestyle. I have run into more and more “older” couples who want to ditch the mortgage and the stuff and hit the road.

HelpX is a great way to give back and pay forward. It opens doors to let the participants help each other as well as people who are in need of assistance. I want my life to start being about others instead of always being about me (if you have read past posts, it really is all about me).

So what have I learned so far from my HelpX experience: (1) How to lay field stone and gravel to make a mud-free walkway, (2) How to make better a better food product by using sustainable and organic means, (3) How to paint a porch, (4) Goats are really fun to take care of, (5) How to make coffee with a French Press, (6) The more you move the better you feel, (7) After all these years, I am still allergic to hay, (8) Some outside people do not understand the concept and are not trusting of your motives and so much more. This journey has just begun, so I am looking forward to what other lessons I will be learning. Here’s to a wild ride!!

The Weird Alternate Universe That is The Laundromat

laundromat no 2

I love going to the laundromat; it is like “me” time when it is not busy. Now when the laundromat is busy, it is a different story. A few weeks ago, I found the Hilton (or, at least, the high-end Holiday Inn) of laundromats.   It was a Saturday night, when I suppose other people actually have places to be, and I was able to do my laundry without much fanfare. I was able to read a book guilt-free; I mean what else are you going to do? The experience was truly relaxing and nothing out of the ordinary.

I went to the same laundromat a week later and it was a completely different story. The “mat” was full of people with LOTS of laundry. One couple was using eight double-capacity dryers….how many clothes is that? I cannot even imagine folding and putting all those clothes away. I can do all my clothes in a single load which is one advantage of living with less!!

So I made a beeline to the back of the mat by the dryers where no one else wanted to sit. It was too loud to read, so I have to come up with something else to do to take up the time. The day was grey and rainy, which made the overhead fluorescent lights seemed extra bright while the spinning ceiling fans made an eerie strobe light effect on the shocking light.

I became hypnotized by the circular hum of the dryers as the clothes crashed against each other like waves in the ocean. I have never seen a washer that was front loading, so I was completely enthralled with actually being able to watch my clothes being washed; going round in circles watching them spin, then fill with soapy water, and spin again. The surrounding sounds of voices turned to a dull murmur.

My world right now is definitely in flux. Moving from place to place and relying on the kindness of people I do not really know at first. Sleeping in guest rooms, sharing bathrooms, and living out of a tote are some of the things that are new to me. Yes, it is what I wanted but I never thought about all of the realities. It is all good, I am getting used to it but I realized that the little laundromat I visited felt like home. Most laundromats have the same industrial look to them and smell like dryer sheets and fabric softener. It was truly comforting. I actually looked for excuses to go back.

My newest realization is that no matter how adamant you are about leaving your past behind, you still inwardly long for those small vestiges of comfort or reminders of a different time. For me, right now, it is the laundromat that gives me a sense of home and roots. I know that sounds really strange but it is my truth for now. Here’s to clean clothes, the fresh smell of clean laundry and the feeling of home!!

laundromat

Thank you for listening.

The Road So Far – Lessons Learned

The Road So Far

I do not own this image, but I am respectfully using it in my blog and it is a homage to my favorite show ever, Supernatural!!

 

It has almost been one month since I left the only home I have known most of my life and with very few belongings. A lot has happened in the last few weeks and I have actually learned a lot about me and about life. Here are some of the lessons that have hit home:

 

  • Plans NEVER go the way you think they will: I cannot tell you how many plans I have made only to have them change a few times into something completely different. I am learning the hard lesson of going with the flow. This is hard for me but it is a lesson that must be learned in order to cancel out all the chaos all around.
  • Strangers are amazing: I am still amazed that complete strangers will take me into their home and give me shelter and food in exchange for some work. It is so easy to live in a bubble, just seeing your own life and not venturing out much. That is how I lived my life; consumed by my problems with a very small worldview. My Hosts are bigger view people and it is helping me to see that way too.
  • Even if you get rid of most of your stuff, it is still too much stuff: I seriously downsized. I cannot believe how much stuff I got rid of and, guess what, I still have too much stuff. As you start to live a life without things, you realize how little you need to actually live. Of course, I am lucky enough to enjoy the things our Hosts have, but having lived on the road for a few weeks prior to all this showed me that I can still live good and not have a lot. It is not about living without, but about truly living with what you have.
  • Being old and living on the road is not for the weak: I have spent most of my life working behind a desk and not really exercising or moving much. Now my life consists of movement and activity. It is hard on this old woman!!! Some days I think actual work is easier than this lifestyle. Even though I am still kind of weak, I am getting stronger by the day and thinner (yippee).
  • There are days when you just plain miss a fluffy bed: Having slept in the car (front and back seat), in a tent on an air mattress, on a thin mattress in a cabin and a futon. This goes along with the previous lesson, getting old is hard but you adapt and it all works out. It is still better than sleeping on the ground which I cannot ever imagine doing anyway!!
  • You cannot go anywhere or get anything done in five minutes: the next time someone says I will be there in five minutes, expect it to be at least 20. I guess there are a few things that can get done in that time frame, but for the most part life is messier and takes longer to clean up after.
  • Buy local and meet the locals: The local people of any place are the gems of the area. I have learned to go to hometown hardware stores, fruit markets, diners and more. The local people love to tell their stories and it is a slice of Americana that we must preserve. Local businesses are the backbone of this country and need support!!

 

That is all I can think of for now. I am sure more will come to me as this crazy journey continues. In the meantime, I absolutely need to tell you about a new friend: Luke P. As I was running errands today in the rain, I saw a man walking with a broken umbrella. Since my journey started, I look at people’s situations differently and clearer. I ran and got a new umbrella and new gloves. NOTE: I am not telling you this because I am such a great person, but because what happens in a minute.

 

I stopped and gave Luke the umbrella and asked where he was going. To a town less than an hour away he told me, so we decided that it would be better to drive there in the rain than walk. On the way, I found out all the things Luke has done: walked around the country, rode his bike in snowstorm in Colorado, took culinary classes and now he is a cook at a men’s shelter. He was a respectful and courteous young man and quite the inspiration. He loves helping people and seeing new things. His worldview was amazing to me and getting to speak with him for even a short time inspired me to be a better person (which is what my sojourn is all about). I am so glad I got to meet Luke and hear his unique story. The more I travel and meet travelers, the more I grow as a person. The stories I am hearing are changing my life. Everyone told me that travel would change me, I never realized how much travelers were going to change me. What a wonderful lesson learned!!

What is it Like Working on a Farm/Home Stay?

Just a few of the tools I used this weekend.  Okay, maybe not the hammer.

Just a few of the tools I used this weekend. Okay, maybe not the hammer.

I have had a few inquiries into what it is like to work on a Farm/Home Stay.  This is only our second one, but I am thinking it will be similar in other places.  First, it really depends on what the Host is looking for in terms of work to be done.  Many of the stays we have looked at include fixing thing, gardening, caring for livestock, building barns and other buildings, cutting trails, clearing land, painting and general farm work.  In return for this work, the “help-x’er” (that’s us) will receive room or a place to pitch a tent and sometimes meals.  Each Host decides how many hours a week is needed (usually between 20 and 32).  Many of the hosts do not require a lot of experience, this process is designed to expose people to things in order for them to learn something new.  It is really quite a unique program.

Then there is us.  I cannot verify this fact for sure, but I think we are fairly old compared to other help-x’ers.  But Mike has a lot of varied experience; so when seasoned help is needed, he is the guy to call.  I, on the other hand, have spent the last 30 years or so working behind a desk.  I can paint a little and do some things, but my skill set is not in huge demand.

Last weekend was a good example of a typical home stay workload.  Mike was involved in doing some brush clearing, tree trimming, raking of leaves, and other landscaping-like tasks.  The weather was nice, so it seemed like the perfect set of tasks to start on.  While I worked in the house a little bit, doing general cleaning and some cooking.  Then on Sunday while Mike was trimming I started to paint the house around the front door and Mike ended up finishing it.  After working all day and having a meal together, our Host Family invited us to join them in watching a movie.

It is a lovely mix of varied work and being social.  Some Farm/Home Stays simply want the work done and afterwards you are on your own.  That is fine too.  That is why it is so important to read Host profiles and reviews to see if a particular stay is the right fit for everyone.  We have been extremely lucky with our two Farm/Home Stays, as the people could not have been nicer or more generous.  I am fortunate that my “Martha Stewart” skills are being put to use; even though they were not detailed in the profile, it turns out our busy working mom Host can use an extra hand.  I am so very happy to help.

I am not sure how long we will be doing this bartering for room and board, but for now it is a wonderful experience.  We are meeting some of the most interesting people along the way.  Every day there is something new to learn from our Hosts.  Although the process can be a little daunting for someone like me (basically who hates to be out of their comfort zone), it is the most blessed of experiences as it makes me do things that are uncomfortable (not in a bad way) and is making me stronger for it.

I hope that painted a generous picture of what it is like.  If you have any specific questions, feel free to let me know and I will be more than happy to answer them.

I am sure each situation is unusual, but that is just an example of what we have experienced in our three weeks of Farm/Home Staying.  Thank you for listening!!

How Much Comfort do You Need in a Comfort Zone?

I do not need a room with a view, I need a room with a door.

I do not need a room with a view, I need a room with a door.

As I make my way down this new road I am taking, I am faced with the fact that my well-known comfort zone (my home) is no longer available to me for comfort.  I now have to find a place of comfort somewhere else.  This has been difficult for me.  I am considered a “Highly Sensitive Person”, which means basically that I am easily overwhelmed by light, sounds, commotion, and other external stimuli.  I need a place to go when things get to be too much.  I always ran to my home for that comfort but after many years of that I started to feel that my home had gone from comfort zone to prison.  I say prison because, at times, it became easier to not leave at all then to face the world.

The view from the front door of our latest farm stay.  North Carolina is beautiful!

The view from the front door of our latest farm stay. North Carolina is beautiful!

For now, I do not have a permanent place to live and, therefore, no permanent comfort zone.  I have been blessed thus far on my journey that I have had a room that I could retreat into when I felt overwhelmed.  I took all that for granted for many years, now I realize that is a luxury.  A room with a door….what a lovely sight that is for me now.  A place where I can be quiet and breathe, away from anything happening on the other side of the door.

This view is my new comfort zone.

This view is my new comfort zone.

I used to think that my comfort zone had to be this place where I was in control of all things.  I cooked my way, I cleaned my way (although I gave up on that a while back), I did everything my way.  I realize now that it was the “control” as well as the quiet that was my comfort.

Even Devi loves North Carolina.

Even Devi loves North Carolina.

Having “control” of things is like having a false sense of hope.  It is just not real.  Life does what it does and you really do not have that much control.  Okay, you may control how often you do laundry or what to make for dinner but the big decisions seem to be out of your control.  I walked on eggshells for years thinking if I had everything in place that my life would finally be perfect.  I would try to control something and another thing seemingly fell apart.  I was afraid to rock the cosmic boat for fear that all things would just come tumbling down.  Now that all “that” is gone, I can see a little clearer.  I lived in constant fear…every day and of everything.  It is no wonder I was never happy.  I wish I could have seen that before, things may have been different.  Or maybe they had to be this way in order for me to see them.

So I am learning to find my comfort where I can find it; I am learning to be more resilient and flexible (which is NOT me); I am learning to let go of what little control I have and learn how to do things differently; I am learning that making a new life is harder than I thought it would be but is very doable.

I do not own this image but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I do not own this image but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I always used to say “Let Go and Let God” but, honestly, I had no idea. It sounded good in theory and I was sure that was something I could do at another time but not then because I was still in control. Now I make the latest plans, think of all the contingencies and try to make it come to fruition….and the plans never seem to work out. I need to remember to let go and go with the flow. Mike is amazing at doing that, me…not so much. But I do not think I will ever find peace unless I truly and honestly completely let go.

Here is to letting go of useless control (it never got me anywhere good anyway) and to find life exciting instead of scary; scary being a place a had to hide from. If I can just see the adventure in all this, maybe having a comfort zone might not be that important anymore. Here is to letting go of the woobie!!

Thank you for listening!!