You may say I’m a dreamer…
Many people have given me feedback that I’m a seeker, a dreamer, always on the lookout for a better way of life, place to live, way of relating, job, etc. When I hear these comments I interpret them as coming from a place of inspiration with a twist of judgment—an eye rolling kind of judgement that assumes I’m an unrealistic idealist. I’ve also gotten the feedback that I’m in a Goldilocks pattern, never quite satisfied with my present reality. Sometimes it’s hard to take myself seriously when I get this kind of feedback from the outside world and many times I hesitated to follow through with my yearnings. But for this most recent phase of my life I commit to following my desires, believing in my dreams, and fine-tuning the dial to my internal guidance. The result has been that I am often in a jubilant state of bliss and wonder at what life has to offer. And once in awhile I’m more confused than ever, afraid I’m making (or have made) a big mistake by not being complacent with all that I already have, but that thinking happens less and less often… I’m learning to fully love and appreciate my wandering tendencies!
I spent most of last month getting my Santa Cruz home ready for me to hit the road again for a 5 week stint of self discovery, searching for community, and rejuvenation in nature. My tenants this past year left a very dirty house and some ruined and poorly maintained things for me to fix and replace, so money began to flow out the windows as I hired help and bought supplies to get it ready for air bnb guests—and eventually ready to put on the market this fall. Have you ever noticed how the Universe appears to show up for you when you’re intentions are clearly aligned? Lately, I have been especially amazed at this occurrence.
Heading into Oregon through the desert route after my workshop with the Hendricks Institute
In May I had a surprise call from our local utility company, saying they wanted me to remove several sheds that were on the easement of an underground gas line on my property. Those sheds have been there for between ten and eighteen years, and I understood that it was okay to have them since they weren’t permanent structures with foundations. In fact, just 2 weeks before this call I was told that some day in the future they wanted to talk to me about the sheds, but for the time being they were not a problem. All of a sudden the sheds were a problem and the company wanted me to move them right away. I stammered, and even ended up crying, explaining that I had way too much going on with working full time, getting ready to travel extensively again, possibly selling my house soon, and helping my daughter move to Africa for a year—and I didn’t even live in my house so had to be considerate of tenants. I resisted their pressure, but each time I did they offered me more money to move the sheds. After a couple of months I got used to the idea, wanting to sell my home without anything hanging over my head, and started seeing how it might even be a benefit to clean up that side of the house and get rid of the scrap wood pile, old cans of paint, and household items that I realized I would probably never use. In the end, the company offered me a large sum of money to remove the sheds… large enough to pay off all of my bills and enable me to participate in a few workshops and trainings that were loudly calling my name.
Riley and Pickle cool off after 8 hours of driving in desert heat on highway 395
On the road once again!
I found a perfect tenant for my studio (she loves taking care of my cat!) and an incredible manager for my air bnb listing, and packed Wanda up to hit the road again on July 26. The sense of freedom and joy I felt as I headed south on Highway 1 stayed with me the entire drive to my first training—eight days with the Hendricks Institute focused on body-centered therapeutic play and conscious loving. This training would be the final one I needed to become a certified Hendricks Big Leap coach. For the entire eight days I sat spellbound watching Katie Hendricks work her magic on the group of close to 40 of us. We played with our demons and personas until we laughed, learned how to melt our fears so we could fully reveal our true nature, got up close and personal with our true essence, and wondered about the unconscious commitments we make that keep us from living a life full of joy. We laughed and cried and danced and communicated deeply without words. I swear I had a big smile on my face the whole time! By the end I was literally buzzing with energy all over my body. This is how I want to live my life!
Smoke from fires made for hazy brilliant red sunsets all the way from Southern California to the northern tip of Washington
Wanda was having some minor problems with her temperature gauge warning light and I had a part to pick up at my mechanic in the eastern Sierra, so I decided to pay my friend Max a visit at his new house near Death Valley on my way north to Port Townsend. That provided a route to travel the whole way to Washington on my favorite Highway 395, with views of spectacular mountains on one side and sage-covered big sky desert on the other. This time was different, though—I drove through smoke from fires the entire way from southern California up to southeastern Washington. It was even smokey for the drive all the way across Washington to the north western boundary of the state. Each day the sun was hazy until sunset when it turned into a bright red ball for its final hour. The moon was barely visible, even when full, and my eyes burned and I coughed and blew my nose every day. The whole western third of the United States seemed to be on fire! Even with that sad and scary occurrence, I enjoyed swimming with my son in South Lake Tahoe, camping with my friend, Kathy, at a hot springs in southern Oregon, and spending some time at a remote off-the-grid mountain retreat in southeast Washington.
As I continued on my journey I noticed a pervasive joy and lightness that has become part of my being now. I’ve found a rhythm that works for me, and having only me to answer to is so much fun! This past year has been about developing a relationship with myself, learning to love myself—and I think it’s working!
Our campsite and hot springs at Hart Mountain, Oregon
As I pulled off the dirt road into the large clearing where Kathy and her sister, Jude, had already set up camp, Riley and Pickle went crazy, climbing in my lap and wagging their whole bodies as they tried to exit Wanda to greet our friends. There was one site left next to a trickling creek lined with willows, and I pulled in to set up camp for a week. Ahhh…. to be in one place for longer than a few days was a relieving balm after my eight hour drive from Tahoe and the previous 5 hours from Bishop, 6 hours from Ojai to Max’s, and before that driving from Santa Cruz to Ojai. When I was at the retreat in Ojai I never stayed anywhere longer than three days. Hart Mountain was the perfect place to settle and rejuvenate! It featured a gently sloping desert landscape with pronghorn antelope, deer, and a huge flock of nighthawks that filled the sky each night around 6. It also has a natural hot springs—one built tub with a stone wall for protection from wind and one grass-lined natural pool in the middle of a wide valley.
My favorite place to meditate at sunrise each morning–the water was hot!
Journal entry: My eyes burn from smoke and from getting up at midnight to snuggle in my sleeping bag in an open field with our group of nine campers (mostly Kathy’s family), hoping to see shooting stars from the Perseids Meteor shower. With each streak of brilliant light we gasped and ahhhed with delight. The wide expanse of star-studded sky never ceases to amaze me—we miss so much connection to the Universe we inhabit when we live in light-polluted urban areas. I feel a sense of wonder and connection to infinity, which also sparks a feeling of smallness and insignificance, all at the same time. Or maybe it really alternates back and forth, keeping a perfect balance of humility and inspiration. I wonder what kind of essential medicine that might provide for healing the dis-ease of our fast-paced, consumer-conscious “modern” culture. If only we took the time to notice more often…
Petroglyphs at Hart Mountain–is that an alien?
Yesterday we took a four mile hike up a steep dirt road to an expansive view of the mountain. It’s very dry here, but little creeks cut through the valleys and can be found by the aspen and willow groves they nurture. Artemesia (sage brush) is predominant, with its spell-binding scent that I love to inhale deeply while reflecting on my favorite goddess archetype, Artemis—lone huntress and protector of animals and children. I like to rub her leaves on my skin and let my clothes soak up her essence, the natural perfume that most suits my tastes. She is always covered with life here—small orange and brown butterflies, bees, and wasps sip at each cluster of yellow flowers. The foliage clicks as grasshoppers admonish my intrusion, and crickets chirp all night long. So comforting to hear this healthy, thriving ecosystem out here where no pesticides have been sprayed and life is left to live mostly without human intervention—other than hunting. I’ve enjoyed meeting the hunters in the hot springs tub. They seem to love this place and we share an eagerness about seeing the wildlife here, even though our politics and many other values are probably quite different. I connect with an open heart and acceptance.
Lushness of life in the desert
Pickle’s first ferry ride
An answer to my dreams?
I may have found it!! Since reading an article about the eco village in Port Townsend six months ago, I’ve dreamed of going there to check it out. It seemed to have so many of the things I’m looking for in my next home: living by permaculture principles, community garden and food forest, shared meals and community activities, sustainably designed housing, and a strong commitment to conscious communication and helping each other out. I envisioned dance parties, work parties, game nights, helping young families with kids, having younger folks around to help me with things that are getting harder to do in my aging body, friends I can talk to without getting into my car, and shared decision-making—I’m ready to let go of being the only one deciding what needs to be taken care of and the only one paying for the work a house needs. Port Townsend Eco Village has all of this, and more! There’s a huge workshop and arts and crafts building, and it’s on the edge of town, so it feels rural but all your needs could be met with a bike ride or walk to town or a ride on very affordable and convenient public transportation. And they even have farmers markets (note the plural—more than one a week!). It’s a 20 minute walk to the ocean and just 10 minutes to an extensive trail system for hiking with dogs.
PTEV has a rural feel, but is in the city limits
The city is the perfect size for me (population about 10,000) with lots of entertainment and artsy shops, a wonderful health food store, and hardly any stoplights. There are foliage-lined paths all over town so you can avoid traffic (I didn’t experience ANY traffic!) when walking or biking around. People are super friendly and welcoming, too. As Laurence toured me around the eco village, I was enchanted by the uniqueness of each home—all had an inviting warmth with creative touches like cabinet door handles made with branches, natural tree trunk supports exposed in the corners of plaster walls, stones hand-picked from the beach artistically incorporated in patios, and colorful glass bottles as tiny round windows embedded in the foot thick, well insulated walls. I was met with enthusiasm at each home I entered with offers of veggies and fresh berries from the garden and homemade pickles while I got a tour of the work in progress and unique sustainable features of each structure. The large workshop and arts and crafts building had me drooling, as well as the small orchard, chicken pens, and gardens. I was in a fantasy of all the desires I had on my mental checklist for where I want to live next.
House for sale in Port Townsend Eco Village
The lot where I thought I could build a tiny house was already spoken for—just two weeks before I arrived, but there is one last house for sale and I am considering buying it. It will depend on how much money I get when I sell my Santa Cruz house. My body has a huge yes when I think about making this move. My practical side is hesitant about having a mortgage again, even though it would be small and I’d have a couple of rooms I could rent out for extra income… I’m trying to decide which side to trust the most. This time I want to stay unattached and see how it all flows. It’s a huge move, but I’m very excited about the possibility!