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New Territory

1 Mar

I pulled a few cards this morning, as I sometimes do, from a guidance deck (www.colettebaronreid.com). The first card was “Compass” with the message saying that I am in unchartered territory and the importance of staying pointed to True North (God, Spirit, Buddha Nature). Plus a reminder that those other things – money, property, prestige, romance – can’t help you find your true path. They are just things you may experience along the journey. All helpful reminders.

So here I am in unchartered territory, the coast of North Carolina to be more precise. As my temporary Dallas abode quickly wrapped up, I was fortunate to get a brief housesitting opportunity in a North Carolina coastal town. So I went through the familiar but not quite fun process of undoing the little life I had set up in Dallas, shrunk my belongings back to car-size, neatly packed up my vehicle and was on my way.

Transitions are never easy for me. During uncertain times there is one thing I can be certain of – that I will need to lean heavily on my collection of spiritual resources to make it through. My favorites include my practice of Reiki, my chanting practice with SGI and the delightful and supportive aromatherapy of Young Living products.

The bright side, of course, is that in this space of great change and uncertainty my mind, body, soul and being don’t have to stay in a rut. While my travel wheels feel a bit rusty after being mostly still for a few years in the Asheville area, it undoubtedly does me some good to let go a little bit, move out and about and shift.

For now, I am in a comfortable bed in a house on a quiet tree-lined street with the companionship of a sweet black fluffy dog equally grateful for my company. I am here just for the short term. Enough time for a few good walks on the beach, the smell of the fresh sea air. And then, on to more house sitting!

Where it will go from here is still quite a mystery to me!  Sometimes this uncertainty bothers me and… sometimes I find myself just more comfortable with it all. As my dedicated Reiki teacher always reminds me, allow things to unfold. When we try to plan, project and figure it all out mostly we end up with a ball of stress, but likely not any creative solutions. So I plan some. I tend to the practicalities that are needed. I seek and explore. And yes, I sometimes end up in a ball of stress! But then I do my best to put those things aside and lean on the things I know I can count on – the sound of “nam myoho renge kyo” reverberating through my body, the comfort of Reiki energy bringing back a renewed sense of equilibrium.

For today, it looks like rain. From the looks of things so far, the intense lounging of the dog by my side and my own casual feel, I think it will be a quiet day for us both today. A little work. A little tending to things and exploration.

How about you? Any new territory being explored in your life?  How do you nurture yourself during times of great change and uncertainty?

Bye for now from my unchartered territory on the coast of North Carolina.

Going with the Flow in the New Year

5 Jan

It’s the New Year and I find myself in unexpected territory. I am curled up in my bed indulging in an extended Saturday morning. But there are no mountains outside my window. No cold North Carolina winter breeze barking through my door. I am, of all places, in Texas.

Why am I in Texas you may ask? Well, as things tend to go with my life I was, let’s just say… redirected. As you may know I was living in the Asheville, NC area, Hendersonville to be exact, in a simple ground floor apartment. One particularly rainy wet morning I got up to what I assumed would be an ordinary day and instead was greeted by a pool of water in my kitchen. A good size puddle. I soon discovered that this watery invasion was not just in the kitchen but throughout the apartment… in the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom. I called my landlord who lived upstairs in the home above me and she scurried down to clean up the water and I began to pack my things. As the rain continued to come down and we were more than saturated in recent years with rain, we weren’t sure what might unfold.

In the end, it wasn’t much. But it was enough… to wreck the apartment and require my landlord discern how and if she would move forward with repairs. As I could no longer live there, we parted amicably and I hit the road.

All my things fit in my SUV. Thankfully I was still sort of living my gypsy ways. Hesitant to buy things. Not liking to have “too much” or burden myself with belongings. The apartment came furnished, so with just a moderate amount of discomfort and unexpected effort on an early rainy morning, I was packed up and out the door.

I spent a few days at a friend’s home in Asheville then headed to the midwest to visit family and stayed with my mom for a few weeks. I returned to Asheville for a business meeting and then… I went to Texas. Texas wasn’t exactly part of the “plan.” But it was a generous offer from a friend in my Reiki community for an available and safe place to land. With a bit of exhaustion but fair degree of willingness, I made my way.

The backside of this story is the idea of change was in the air. I hadn’t traveled in the two years I had been in Asheville and was hungry for some new scenery. I had been feeling stuck and in a rut, yet wasn’t sure what to do about it. In comes a solution, as unexpected and inconvenient as it may be.

I’ve been here a few months now. This diversion has offered a taste of freshness and newness I was needing. But it has also been a big adjustment. Instead of hearing the sounds of nature, I hear the buzz of the busy road nearby. In my first week I managed to accidentally drive on two toll roads and run a red light that had a traffic camera on it. One day for reasons beyond my understanding, my GPS started speaking Spanish.

So here I am, tucked in my temporary Texas abode. There’s a fire in the fireplace and the roar of local traffic outside my window. As I awaken into 2019, I am on a detour of sorts and not quite sure where the road is going. With much gratitude and some anxiety along the way, I am doing my best to go with the flow in the New Year.

Day Trippin’

26 Aug

As I haven’t had any international escapades in some time, or much wandering of any kind really… it’s time for this gypsy soul to have a little movement. No big agenda, no big plans. But for now – a little day-tripping. You know how it goes… getting out of the familiar, if even just an hour or so away, and exploring some new territory.

How lucky am I that my current abode is seated right in the heart of some astounding natural beauty. So off I’ve been exploring some of the area… not too far away, but still getting out of town!

 

Caesars Head State Park

Just a 45 minute drive and I found myself in South Carolina at Caesars Head State Park. A gentle mostly scenic journey, I easily made my way to the visitor’s center and checked things out.  The park staff directed me up the road to the top attraction, the view. While my glimpse at the scenic overlook was shall we say… a bit foggy ( it was like staring out into a white abyss…)… thankfully, after a brief hiking excursion when I returned I had a better view. It was something like this.

View Caesars Head State Park

 

Triple Falls

DuPont State Forest

This well traveled North Carolina Park packs a powerful waterfall punch! Strung together by a series of mild to moderate (at times somewhat steep!) trails, this friendly well marked park is a breeze for getting out into nature and taking in some breathtaking scenery. How fortunate to have such amazing blasts of nature not too far down the road.

The waterfalls of DuPont State Forest include Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. My favorite was High Falls. I also loved the base of Triple Falls. There I climbed the somewhat extensive series of steps to find my way to the base. How satisfying it was just to be in its presence and to take in not only the beauty but the feel of the falls.

High Falls

 

Swamp Rabbit Trail

Swamp Rabbit Trail Travelers Rest

This 22 mile rails-to-trails greenway runs from Greenville, SC to just beyond Travelers Rest, SC. Greenville is about 50 minutes south of me so I made an afternoon of it and checked out the area a bit.

As my ankle never fully recovered from a tumble down some stairs in France, I am always on the lookout for new flat places to walk – kind of a odd exploration when you live in the mountains!  Nonetheless, I continue my quest!

I started in Travelers Rest, the trail end closest to me. I parked my car near the heart of downtown and took in the scenery. The trail was easy to find – friends and families out on a Sunday afternoon mostly pedalling and some walkers on the trail alongside the road. I checked out the small collection of restaurants and shops blossoming near the trail. And when my curiosity was satisfied, I headed for the trail myself.

Swamp Rabbit Trail Greenville

True confession – I perhaps “cheated” just a bit in my first Swamp Rabbit excursion. As I was on foot, I quickly decided this portion of the trail is perhaps best suited for cyclers. I walked for …just a bit… in Travelers Rest as bicyclers buzzed by and not too much scenery to take in for the “slow travelers.”  I soon decided to return to my car, drive to Greenville and check out the other end of the trail. Kind of like reading the first page of a book and then skipping to the ending…

I caught the trail again in Greenville at Falls Park in the heart of the city. A tiny little green refuge in the midst of Greenville’s small but notable city bustle, the park features a man-made waterfall and hooks you right up with the Swamp River trail.

Falls Park on the Reedy Greenville

 

Paris Mountain State Park

Lake Placid Loop Trail

Just outside of Greenville, I found my way to this park as part of a little shopping excursion. Always great to get back to nature when out and about! While this park doesn’t offer the “blow you away” kind of nature, it was still a satisfying immersion and connection with some trees, earth and water – ah, something that always soothes the soul! A gentle loop trail around the lake (helpful for those of us with a history of getting… shall we say… misdirected out in nature) this simple diversion was a welcome and restoring break!

 

Dam at Lake Placid

 

How about you? Have you done any day trippin’ lately? What a way to go when you just need to get away, take a break and change the scenery a bit!

A Year In the Mountains

7 Oct

It’s a quiet Saturday afternoon here in Hendersonville and a rare cloudy day in the land of regular sunny blue skies. Although there’s hardly a sound inside or out, I still find myself a bit uneasy in the noise of so much happening in the US and world as of late.

As of this past week I have been in the Asheville area for a whole year!  When I set out to come here, I was excited to be in and explore this beautiful mountain area. While the first few months were simply delight after delight of taking in the sheer beauty of it all, admittedly, some of that has faded away as I’ve waded further into in the nitty-gritty of more regular life.

I am grateful for the time I have spent here so far offering healthy doses of some things I wanted most – some peace, quiet and space for nature; connection with like-minded folks; the refuge of great yoga classes.

This past year I’ve heard different stories of people’s acclimation to living and being in the Asheville area. Some folks come here and feel like they’ve found their spot… and others find a distinct sort of struggle living here amidst the backdrop of beauty. For me, while this area has offered much of what I was hungry for, a year into my time here I am still unsatisfied in some ways. Ways that may work themselves out in time or may need some adjustment on my end.

I’ve relocated three times since first arriving back in October 2016.  In many ways, these moves have just felt like part of the flow of my new life adjustment being back in the States after being abroad for five years.  Still traveling light, it was relatively easy to shift from one place to the next… appreciating the simple things that each spot has had to offer. Still today I am only “somewhat” settled, living a kind of “semi” American life, afraid to load myself down yet with too many things.

My current residence, stop #3 on my Asheville area journey, has me living in Hendersonville, just 25 minutes south of Asheville.  While it’s just a hop skip and a jump from Asheville, in many ways it’s a very different scene. Quieter. A bit flatter. More traditional. More conservative. In some ways I find it a nice refuge and appreciate its simple beauty. And in other ways I am hungry for… a bit more.

Not long ago I had an opportunity to present about my five-year adventure at an Asheville Meet-up Group, Being in Business.  What a treat it was to tell my tale and to take a dip in the spirit of my journey.

While I’ve been back in the US for over a year now, I still run into echos of my years abroad. Just today I had that “funny” moment of confusion crossing the street… unsure of whether to look left or look right. While there are plenty of thing I appreciate about being back in the US, lately I find I miss my “foreign self” – that experience of life defined by different borders and boundaries than regular American life.

And so for today I continue on my journey, presently perched in my American “half-life” in Hendersonville. So grateful for work and a quiet, beautiful place to live. Appreciating some time to be more at ease.  But also still… paying attention as to what calls to me now as I continue this journey of life.

Learning to Dream Again

19 Jul

Well, I didn’t mean for it to happen… After five years of travel, big leaps, amazing challenges and opportunities, when I came back to the US all I wanted to do was rest. While elated by my journey, I really wanted a big taste of life that seemed more “normal” to me.  Thankfully, that’s exactly what I got. As a little more time passed, my time and energy went into getting some of the basics going in my life… work, a place to live. This was all good, but after nearly a year of a lot of hard work, focusing on the practicalities of life, and a big dose of “normal,” something started to happen… my capacity to dream was shrinking away.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do… I lived for five years on a healthy appetite and desire for gobbling up new destinations. Despite the obstacles and challenges that came with it, year after year each new international travel opportunity roused excitement in my soul and gleamed inspiration in my eyes. But in the end, after five years, two continents and six countries I found myself in a deep need of restoration and something different… and I wasn’t quite sure what that was.

The Dreamer Card from Doreen Virtue’s Angel Tarot

Here I am over a year down the road, and where does that leave me?  I have found myself lately feeling the need for a new dream but also feeling depleted, at a true loss for it and no inspiration in sight.

So recently I have been taking small steps to get myself into some new space. Ignite a new light. Perhaps open a tiny little door.

Last night I attended a Meet-Up group in Asheville called “Being in Business.” The idea behind it is folks who are interested in exploring and cultivating a spiritual element in the way and how they do and develop their work.  Last night our featured speaker was Lauren Foster, a “happiness coach.” As she told her story, I could really relate to her journey of overcoming many obstacles to reach her dream but also needing support, a new vision and assistance to continue to cultivate new possibilities in her life.

She had us do a simple exercise where we imagined our lives 3 years down the road and wrote down our dream in the area of joyful work. She encouraged us to let go of limitations. As I sat to do the exercise, it was almost as if my dreamer was dead.  She had been down this road before. My dreamer had been on high gear and worked over so hard for so long, it was hard to get her cookin’ again.

Poem by Shel Silverstein

Author Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story first offered by Mark Manson that each creative dream comes with a “shit sandwich.” And that if you really want something you have to be willing to live with the shit sandwich that comes with it. And the truth was, after five years of travel, I had grown beyond belief, had done things unimaginable to me… but was also fully aware of the downsides of it as well as my own personal challenges and limitations.

So where to go now? In doing the exercise at the Meet-Up, I couldn’t bring myself to imagine a specific goal… but I did allow myself to gently explore how I’d like to feel in joyful work in three years. Some images came to mind. Ideas. We then shared our dream with a partner and that made it even better!  What great feedback I received as well as my partner’s additional thoughts regarding my fledgling images, notions and inspirations.

One of the participants in the evening it turns out is international best selling spiritual author, Tori Hartman, who has just released a new book. How satisfying it was to meet someone who had cultivated that level of success in her own life.

I returned from the evening a little… inspired and more at ease. What a relief it was to meet my dreamer again. My dreamer was grateful that I wasn’t going to force her in the road ahead or insist that she live life this way or that way but instead make space for just a glimmer of a softer, gentler notion.

So for now, I am glad to merely have wooed the dreamer back in.  No big expectations. No harsh realities. Just a little tender dreaming that feels good and satisfying instead of just a more harsh routine that was trying to dominate me. Plus, a few concrete ideas of new stepping stones to take…. to keep the dreamer alive.

How about you? How has your relationship with your dreamer been lately? Have you taken just a moment to invite the dreamer in?  Sit him or her down for tea? I wonder what they might have to say. If you have a dream to share, even just a glimmer, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share them in the comments below or even send me a private message.

Little Magic

2 Jul

It’s a quiet Sunday morning.  Just what I’m in the mood for this week.  I am writing from a slightly different location than earlier Asheville posts.  A little over a month ago I learned I would have to move again.  So I prepared to depart from my cozy North Asheville abode to someplace… at the time still to be determined.

I have to admit when my current “landlords” and house-sharers told me they were leaving Asheville which meant I too would have to move, I felt that spark of excitement in being open to a new place to live and new territory.  After further exploration into the Asheville rental market, that spark diminished as I felt less enthusiastic and optimistic about what was available at a price I could afford.

After a little blood, sweat (no tears thankfully) and a lot of chanting, I was very fortunate to find a modest but cute, safe affordable little place in a neighboring town called Hendersonville.  Hendersonville is part of the growing collection of towns surrounding Asheville that are attracting new people and a growing transplant population.  Just 30 minutes south of downtown Asheville, it’s a bit of a quieter, slower older town with it’s own downtown and a spirit of it’s own. Admittedly, it can be a bit more “rough” around the edges than Asheville.  For example, there’s a Guns and Amo store located conveniently just down the street from my new neighborhood.  But the people are undoubtedly kind and friendly and I’m grateful to be here… for now… you know how that goes.

I am enjoying a much needed, deeply introverted weekend.  After a busy few weeks and recently learning of some big changes with my contract job and employer (including fewer hours for me), it stirs up ideas of what I want to develop with work and life at this time.  I went by the bookstore in search of a little inspiration.  I found my way to the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and so far it’s been just the ticket for some pretty thick reminders about creativity and life.

Her book brings to light some things I’d kind of lost track of …. in my recent busy-ness tending to regular life, work and deadlines.  She reminded me about the gentle importance of curiosity and that when exploring new options and opportunities it’s much easier and more fun to explore my curiosity rather than trying to “get it right.” And she’s also reminded me of the joy of being open to the inherent creative nature in all of us and the magic in life that comes with that. Tapping in to that in some way is a really important part of being happy in life.  I know it is for me.

She shared a nearly unbelievable anecdote about a “big magic” experience she had with author Ann Patchett and her book State of Wonder.  I was totally lost in the content of her story and then was startled to notice that the very book she was talking about was sitting right next to me on my bed stand –  a gift from a friend waiting for me to read.  A little bit of magic right there.

As I explore additional/new work opportunities and options, in addition to other things, I have added a new “page” to my blog highlighting my writing skills and experience.  In addition to writing for marketing and business, as well as writing this blog, I realized recently that I really love to write for people and help them communicate what’s important to them in a fun, clear or interesting way.

In the spirit of curiosity and exploration regarding future work opportunities and ideas, while I have my own thoughts…I am curious… if you have any ideas to share. Knowing a bit of my life and work experience and looking at what’s next… what would you further explore and/or develop in the realm of work life?  Any ideas or even opportunities to share?  I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share in the comments below or write to me via my contact page.

With that I leave you for now… to my day of quiet introspection and little magic. If you’re curious to check out the book Big Magic, I highly recommend it.  It’s a satisfying reminder of the limitless opportunity for creativity in all of our lives

Reflections

29 Apr

It’s a quiet Saturday morning in Asheville.  I am enjoying a morning of just feeling more at ease and good in my bones and can’t help but think of the long journey that brought me here.

I have to say, it is good to be in the United States for now and in some ways I am starting to feel at home and appreciating the many fortunate simple things I presently have in my life.  But I am also aware that it was my epic journey around the globe that brought me to this point.

I have always loved travel and been drawn to it.  A child of the midwest in a community with little interest in international exploration, looking beyond our borders and having an adventure were always things that excited me.  If you’ve followed my blog you may know that my 20s brought some unexpected challenges my way and I ended up on the anti-depressant Paxil for over ten years.  When I went off of it the withdrawal/discontinuation symptoms nearly flattened me and it took me years to get some small semblance of “I’m alright.”

A few years after this when I began my international journey,  I was thrilled to consider something that brought excitement back into my life and truly lit me up and inspired me.  At the same time, I was still just a shell of myself and experienced many persistent issues that made daily living and “normal life” hard for me.

So here comes the benefit of my journey.  While traveling – my unexpected epic five-year adventure to Germany, France South Korea, Austria & Thailand – lit me up and brought me to life in ways I can hardly express, it was also extremely challenging for me.  Daily I was pushed in small and large ways.  The beauty of this journey and experience is it forced me to grow and develop in ways that I NEEDED to do to begin to get my life back after the impact of Paxil and also the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The scared, limited, wounded shadow person that I was after the impact of Paxil withdrawal and other life challenges slowly began to chisel away, shift, develop and take new shape.

And so with my gratitude for a bit of ease and restoration on “home” territory also comes my appreciation for all the excitement, struggles and challenges along the way that brought me to where I am now.  A new plateau.  I am aware that while I still have my challenges, my abilities and capacities that are serving me now are the fruit of my journey.  This growth could have only happened in foreign territory.  A life abroad helped me to drop my “regular” paradigm and demanded that I adapt and grow to new ways of being. This ultimately brought me some freedom and allowed me to drop some of the limiting patterns and behaviors locked into and stuck in my more familiar environment.

So if you are someone who wants to travel, should travel, needs to travel but hasn’t for a whole assortment of reasons… just know that it’s possible to travel, no matter what your circumstances.  Surround yourself with good grounded people who will support you in this idea.  And know that challenges don’t mean travel (or whatever it is you want) is not for you, it just means that overcoming those challenges will be part of the equation.  And that’s okay.

Not long before I left on my epic journey I had just begun chanting with the Buddhist organization SGI.  I was chanting for true change and growth in my life and that is exactly what I got. Through the excitement and inspiration of my travels as well as facing and working through the MANY challenges I experienced daily, I grew.

Admittedly, I am still under development and my life is still a work in progress.  But I am aware that I am in a better place today as a result of my journey.

I appreciate my current location and being back in the US, but I also look forward to cultivating a life where adventure and international life are again a part of the landscape… in my own time, in my own way.

So for today, I am just feeling grateful for and acknowledging the ride, the challenges and journey that brought me to where I am now.

Heavy Groaning Doorways

2 Apr

It’s a spring day here in Asheville.  Thank God.  I think I have had enough of winter’s coldness and ready for some softer spring energy to come my way.

I am still here in Asheville making my way in my somewhat reluctant American life.  Although I have been back for a year already, I am still hesitant to load myself down with too many belongings or make big plans. This American life is filled with appreciation for some of the easier ways of living here but also some conflict about what to “do with” all the colors and experiences packed in my body from my life abroad.

While I still get a little glimmer in my eye when I see and consider locations abroad, for now that spark is quite dim and a larger part of me wants to be more settled in some way.

I can recall my Reiki teacher, Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin, advising me that when I returned to the States I would have to practice not getting in a rut. And alas, I find that is true.  When I returned all I wanted to do was relax and just lunge deeply into some of the more “normal” and “comforting” things of American life. But I find it’s a fine line and I have to be careful not to lunge and lounge too deeply for too long.

With Spring arriving in Asheville, it’s hard not to smile with the sweet song of the birds outside my door and the gentle blues skies and warmer air.  But at times I am not yet at home here and adjusting to my somewhat regular rhythm of work and more ordinary life.

This morning was a nice time for me with a positive burst of energy from my local SGI meeting.  It’s always good to be lifted up by the spirit of the organization and the feeling and reminder to never give up, whatever that means for me at the time.  Historically it was that never give up feeling that launched me from one international adventure to the next and supported me as I faced my own challenges with anxiety and more while working and living abroad.  And now, back on American soil I still turn to it as I feel somewhat uncertain what I want and where to put my efforts now and also sometimes shy and sheepish to go out and explore.

Today at the meeting a new friend and experienced SGI member shared a bit of her story overcoming deep challenges with bipolar disorder and PTSD to reshape and rebuild her life.  I am forever inspired by such people as I know how challenging life can get and feel sometimes.  How wonderful to be around people moving through those challenges, lifting themselves and others up, and never giving up on themselves and their circumstances. (You can check out her award winning memoir here!)

I am reminded that this year, 2017, is a number 1 year in the world of numerology (2+1+7=10 1+0=1).  It’s coming after a number 9 year, a time of big change, and now with the 1 it is a time of new beginnings.  After big changes for me in 2016, I am certainly in the midst of new beginnings in 2017, rebuilding and unsure of what it will hold.

I will end with a wonderful quote I found recently by SGI President Ikeda that really spoke to me.  It says

  • You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.

And so I leaves you now from Asheville, the land of unmistakable beauty and… a few of my own heavy, groaning doorways.  But thankfully also some good connections, fresh spring air and an easy relaxed Sunday afternoon.

A New View

19 Feb

It’s a quiet Sunday here in Asheville.  I am slowly settling into my new space gathering up the little things I need to feel more at home. Now with a place to live and regular work, life seems a bit… normal… well sort of. It’s funny I’ve been back from Thailand and my epic five-year escapade for almost a year now, and despite my current somewhat “normal” circumstances, I am still surfing through life since returning and the spirit of “what’s next…”

In many ways it is an earnest treat to be back in the US and also to be here in Asheville.  There is a quietness and easiness here that I appreciate and need.  On good days I can feel the settling in of my body to a deeper and deeper place of ease.  Ahh! There are many simple things here that I have been craving that really feed me in small ways on a regular basis – great affordable yoga classes that aren’t just exercise but truly inspiration for the mind, body and soul; ease of access to nature around every bend, sometimes unexpectedly breathtaking; and a general feeling of laid back community and culture that supports me feeling a little less on edge after five years of constant change and life in foreign territory.

Don’t get me wrong – life isn’t “settled” or perfect… I still wonder and consider…on practically a daily basis, what is evolving for my life at this time.  I hear an inner pull to have a base… but within that also comes the implication that a base is a steady place from which one can fly away… and return.  Sometimes I find I am just too “used to” exploring what’s next… I feel a little… confused about what role that now has in my world.  And other times, honestly, my body still forgets it’s in the United States… including glimpses of forgetting which side of the road to drive on…

And then there are just the regular life challenges of living someplace new and not yet knowing many people here.  My current contract job is mostly remote, which in many ways I love.  But often I find it is just me and my computer which can leave me feeling a bit… disconnected… in my new community.

Ah, but just the same, for now I am really glad to be here.  Today I am enjoying the relief of some simple time off to relax a bit.  A new place to live with a change of scenery and a new view. Also appreciating my weekly meeting yesterday with the Asheville SGI group which often inspires me , lightens my load and just frees me up in some way.

For now, on this overcast quiet day, I’ll leave you with a little inspiration from my travel past.  I’ve been revisiting my journey lately and have picked out a few favorite pics and memories.  You can check them out on the right panel of my home page under “Travel Memories.”

Thanks for reading and coming along for the ride!

 

Featured photo – the “new view” from my current “home” in Asheville, NC.

Expanded

22 Jan

Last weekend was moving day for me… again.  I departed my original landing pad and headed in a slightly new direction.  Just a little northwest really, to another part of town.  As I pack up my belongings I can’t help but notice the “one-carload” life that I arrived in Asheville with has already expanded beyond that.  As I somewhat hesitantly dip my toe just a little further into life back in the States, I am already a far cry away the neat and tidy two-suitcase life that was mine for several years.

I arrived in Asheville with a little work in exchange for a place to stay (through helpx.net), a need to find paying work, and a curiosity for the area.  Now almost four months later, I have a job originally offered as part-time that quickly burst into more. Consequently, I was no longer able to keep up with my original work/trade agreement and as a result had to find a new living circumstance.

I have to note I couldn’t have been more fortunate with my landing living arrangement.  The residents of the house where I lived have been kind, generous and gracious to me.  The young couple who lived here for much of the time have moved on to their next adventure in New Orleans.  But while they were here they were fun, kind and respectful.  As I too head on to my “next experience” I am grateful to be spending more time in the Asheville area.

While I am earnestly not sure yet if I can call Asheville “home”, how long I will stay, or what the landscape of this next phase of life will look like, I can say there are plenty of things that are good for me here.  Recently after our “big snow storm” that left us freezing and covered in snow for a few days, I was so grateful when the cold broke and it was nearly 60 degrees.  That morning I headed out of the house and made my way to the park.  It’s so great to be in a community of like-minded park goers.  When I arrived at about 9am on a weekday the parking lot was nearly full. There were circles of school groups being led in environmental education by teachers. A photographer pointed out to me the new duckling swimming in the water with a white beak.  And of course I can’t forget the rushing river water, mountains and blue sky surrounding me that always makes me feel just a little more at ease.

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The new year has come and gone and as I drift into 2017 I try to keep in mind some of the wisdom I received for this new year.  My Reiki community hosted a world-wide webinar that I “sunk into” on New Years day.  Phyllis Lei Furumoto, the grand master of the Reiki Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition, spoke and what struck me most was her message of the importance of being authentic.  It reminded me that this is one of the gifts of the practice of Reiki – a gentle healing energy ushering you into the depth of your true self.  Sometimes slowly like a wave.  Sometimes quickly like being thrown into the deep end.  The depth and breadth of Phyllis’ own journey and her years of experience with Reiki brought to life the fullness, wisdom and growth available through the practice that happens… sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but accumulates over a lifetime. I am really grateful to be on that journey, sometimes gracefully, sometimes less so..melting into the space that is my own.

The other night I went to a local SGI meeting with two desires – the need to chant and gather with others and honestly the need to “get out”.  As is so often the case, I was so grateful that I went.  After an easy hour of chanting and conversation, when I departed that evening it was as if a load was taken off my shoulders and I just felt like I could breathe.  It felt like for the first time in a while I could relax for a bit and see in retrospect the quite large and expansive journey I have been on.  In the moment I heaved a sign of relief, laughed and took in the fullness of it.

It’s a rainy Sunday in Asheville and I am here in my new space, decor style let’s just call it… minimalist.  I am grateful for a new landing pad, the patch of forest there to greet me outside my doorway, and the gentle sweetness of the new community and landscape surrounding me. A little new beginning in the New Year with my expanded belongings as I continue my own journey of growth and expansion.

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