Back in Texas

10 Oct

I’ve been in the Austin, Texas area for about a month now. I have to admit that my landing has been a little less than elegant. A series of car issues and just a feeling of “adjustment” have had me feeling not quite on my feet.

I lived in the Austin area for a few years in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Known as an “evacuee” at the time, it was a powerful and transformational period for me. Returning almost 15 years later is quite a trip. Austin has, shall we say, exploded! Honestly, it was a bit of a jolt to see the maze of new highways, strip malls, building and shopping developments in the town I lived in and called home for a bit. As I’ve been here a while longer I have had glimpses of the town that I loved and the place that for a little while felt like “home.”

One of my favorite places to return to has been Unity Church of the Hills. This church was a bit of a refuge for me when I lived here post-Katrina. It’s where I first heard Gary Renard speak (author of Disappearance of the Universe) which had a major impact on my spiritual thinking. It’s where I went to a sound healing session and got my first truly deep restful nights sleep in the wake of the upheaval of hurricane Katrina. Years later, with new ministers at the helm, the church is as dynamic and alive as ever. Their message is so gentle, powerful and loving. It is a great community to take a dip in while I am here.

Black Tourmaline

After a year of traveling and house and pet sitting in the US, while in many ways I am so grateful for the diversion and new scenery (and still want more of it!), I am also a bit exhausted from the constant change and travel. More recently here in Austin I have found myself in need of a bit of an “attitude adjustment.” Stumbling upon a few friendly reminders like “laughter yoga” and the importance of laughter for health and even a “chance encounter” with a powerful healing stone, black tourmaline, to lift off some of the negativity (in myself and the world at large) have made a difference.

Some of the people I turn to for wisdom and advice talk about this time in general as one of great change and spiritual shift. Perhaps even an inner revolution of sorts. Can you feel it? I know I feel that myself, my world and the world are being rocked in a deep way.

When “the going gets rough” I turn to my favorite trusted resources to help smooth out the ride.

Young Living Oils Lavender and Valor

  • Young Living Essential Oils  These oils are my constant companion, especially when things feel a bit rough. Valor and Lavender (among many others) are a few big hitters that bring some groundedness, soften some of the anxiety, and restore a bit of equilibrium to my mind, body and being. Would you like to learn more?
  • Healthy eating.  Wow, it really makes a difference. I have to be honest, when I am stressed or feeling a lot of emotional intensity I want to run for comfort food. But I do my best to make good choices in times of stress. Eating a healthy base makes such a big difference in my body, mind and mood. It’s critical. Recently I’ve been revisiting the site of Kris Carr (https://kriscarr.com/), cancer survivor and wellness guru. I’ve especially loved reading about her meal planning tips (https://kriscarr.com/blog/kris-carr-crazy-sexy-meal-plan/) and exploring some of her recipes!
  • Spiritual Nourishment. I have to say, I love God. And for me spiritual nourishment, connection comes in many forms. My daily reiki practice. My buddhist chanting practice of Nam-myoho renge kyo. Time in nature. Being inspired by the beautiful music of “Celebration” at Unity Church of the Hills. It’s all good. And for me, it’s all needed, helpful, useful and inspiring. What do you turn to for your spiritual nourishment?

When I feel like I am in the dark, I also appreciate pulling a few cards. Sometimes this means a tarot reading from my own deck or a professional reading. I also enjoy getting a quick burst of insight from Collette Barron Reid’s online card ap (https://www.colettebaronreid.com/). I am amazed at how often her cards deliver a morsel of wisdom that helps me refocus, regroup, realign in way that is meaningful and helpful.

Here’s wishing you a little peace, wisdom and laughter wherever you are in the world, whatever your journey!

Landed

10 Jun

My world has been in motion! Since my apartment flooded in October 2018 and I loaded up my car and flew the coop I have been in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts and Michigan. My recent series of house and pet sitting appointments have served me well – some downtime, new scenery, BIG personal growth, old & new connections. Each location has been a burst of fresh air in its own right (and at times a burst of cold air… brrr… with chilly spring temperatures up north) plus appreciated doses of natural beauty.  

My most recent trek found me leaving Ann Arbor, Michigan and on to my current nesting spot where, happily, I will be for the summer. I have landed in a charming college town in the heartland, not far from family. My last few days I have been busily undoing a bit of my travel-self tucked up in my SUV and settling in… just a bit more with the luxury of a little stretch of time.

I am pet and house sitting for a senior woman off for the summer in her rented cottage in France while I happily stay here with her kitty and tend to the modest needs of her home. My mind and body relax just a little as I hurriedly rush around unpacking but then – catch a glimpse of the trees, hills, open blue sky and lush green land leaping inside from the window.

I have just dipped my toe in the new scene of my summer abode. You know the standards… a visit to the local farmers market and neighborhood food coop – both lovely and satisfying with high quality and a friendly easy atmosphere.

My mind and body are still somewhat on the go as I do my best to coax them into a little stillness. Tending to a little old business, a little new business and a new furry companion who is friendly, but definitely still keeping an eye on me to see if I meet with her approval. There is a downstairs room filled with a Steinway grand piano where I try to coax out a few songs from the memory of my childhood hands that so loved to play.

And so the journey continues. Landed for now in a soft and sweet spot. Here comes summer!

The Adventure Continues

22 May

I am cuddled up in my quiet new digs in the latest stop on my house and pet sitting adventure. This new journey that launched me from Dallas, Texas has taken me to the coast of Wilmington, NC and the busy Virginia “suburbs” of DC. Next, I landed in the Boston, MA area where I happened upon a series of pet sitting opportunities which kept me in the beautiful but “a bit too chilly” Northeast for over month. I departed just recently and am now happily resting in Michigan for a few weeks caring for a fluffy friendly kitty and an enthusiastic assembly of hens.

In my travels and meeting people who travel, I was always curious about exploring house and pet sitting. When I landed in Asheville, NC for a few years, as I got a little restless, it was steadily on my mind. So when it was time to leave my temporary abode in Dallas it seemed only natural to throw my hat into the house and pet sitting ring. It started with securing one gig… then another and another.

So far, my traveling times as a pet and house sitter have been of the satisfying mellow variety. I’ve enjoyed the simple happiness of residing in “four new walls,” the steadfast company of some friendly furry creatures, and the leisurely exploration of my new scenery and surroundings. In a lot of ways, it’s been and continues to be an important time to regroup – lean on the spiritual practices I love including Reiki, get rest and nurture myself, and continue to tend to the fires, challenges and interests of my “inner world.” Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with a few welcome faces from the past.

It’s been fun from time to time to take a little outing, a trek to someplace new in my latest temporary hood.  Whether it’s connecting with a local Art of Living group for long Kriya, taking in a little jazz at the local piano summit, or diving into the beauty of nature… “getting out” and “getting away” in an easy, “no-stress” way is an important part of the journey.

As always, the rhythm of my life and journey is met with my own challenges with overwhelm, anxiety and fatigue. Being a steadfast caretaker of my health in ways that feel natural, supportive and healthy to me are a big part of my daily way. No matter where I go, I rely on the simple things like my joyful geekiness in seeking out the local natural and organic stores (there are about FIVE or SIX DIFFERENT ones in my latest location!!).

More recently, in the past year or so, I have added Young Living Essential Oils to my daily natural health dance. It is a true joy to be so gentle with myself using and experimenting with the oils to soften the constant nervous tensions often locked in my body. Recently I made an essential oil spray from Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Panaway and Copaiba Young Living essential oils combined with a natural fractionated coconut carrier oil. It makes such a difference to start and end the day with them. Since adding this practice I have days and moments when I am just so aware and appreciate the ease present in my body that simply wasn’t available or accessible to me before.

It’s a mostly rainy day today in my latest abode. There’s been a lot of rain lately. I am using it as an excuse to take it slow and am fortunate to be sitting in the midst of a beautiful glass sunroom as I peck away at my computer.

So long for now from the “it’s a little too chilly for Spring” land in the Northern US.

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!

Turning Poison Into Medicine

20 Jul

It’s been a bit of an odd day. I have worn myself out with my share of emotional excavation. I am tired.

This time in my life partnered with a few situations that have me feeling all twisty inside is moving around my emotional furniture – and you know what a pain remodeling and redecorating can be. At times, it’s been an overwhelming day with situations that have me feeling bent for reasons I do not fully understand. But then while chanting today I remembered an important element of my Buddhist practice – turning poison into medicine.

I had almost forgotten about it. But as I sat chanting in front of my Gohonzon it came to mind. The idea behind turning poison into medicine is that any situation, no matter how painful, can be transformed into something that can be of use -helpful even. Remembering this set me free just a bit because it’s a reminder that in circumstances that are troubling to me I don’t have to be a victim. I can choose to transform it to something that will truly serve me and my life.

I appreciate bringing my challenges to the Gohonzon and being able to place all of it there. I don’t have to hold back or be embarrassed. I can bring all my troubles there no matter what they are. And I can begin to transform them.

In SGI Buddhism the way to change poison into medicine is by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I also chant chapters from the Lotus Sutra. How grateful I am to have a practice that opens a door to a little bit of freedom instead of feeling trapped in my circumstances. It’s like a powerful lantern when I feel I need to find my way out of the dark.

So just appreciating this access. It’s sort of like a trap door when you’re not sure how to get out. Turning poison into medicine gives us power in the big and small challenges of life’s journey.

Opening Doors in the New Year

1 Jan

Happy 2018!  Well, time is rolling along and I can hardly recall where 2017 has gone. It’s fun for me to remember that while it’s 2018 for many of us, in Thailand it’s the year 2561 with a calendar based on the Buddha!  That was one thing that traveling always offered me… just when you thought a thing was “so” – it gave you an opportunity or experience to see that it just wasn’t the case.

I am here in Hendersonville somewhat bundled up with the chilly air outside.  It’s been a satisfying and at times quiet holiday season for me. While in some ways I am used to spending the holidays on my own with my years of traveling abroad, I find I tend to approach this season a bit tenuously not always sure what to do with myself  and in some ways just doing my best to “make it through” until it comes around next year. This year it’s been a pretty nice balance of connection and independence and I am grateful for both.

Last week I took just a couple of days to visit the Art of Living Center in Boone, NC to spend some time with the head of the organization, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I first stumbled upon the Art of Living in post-Katrina New Orleans as they were there offering courses to support the community in the aftermath of the storm. Something about the energy of the organization caught my attention. I attended an information session to learn more and when the wife of a favorite minister joined the session as an experienced participant with the group, I knew I was in the right place.

I took their foundation course called the The Art of Happiness and their practice called the Sudarshan Kriya quickly became part of my morning routine. In the craze and aftermath of life post-Katrina, I took a little refuge in the peaceful feeling of this organization and periodically attended their evening long Kriya’s, gatherings and service opportunities.

That was over ten years ago. Since then I’ve been fortunate to stay connected with the organization and the practice. I’ve connected and practiced with local groups while traveling including Vienna and Kansas City.  To my amazement and delight, I was also able to attend their World Culture Festival in Berlin in 2011 while I was staying in Wettenbostel, Germany.

Sri Sri has brought yoga, meditation and practical wisdom to millions of people in over 150 countries. I was encouraged by a trusted friend to take their second flagship course, Art of Silence, in their European Center in Bad Antogast, Germany in 2014.  This was an opportunity not just to grow further spiritually through the framework of this course, but also to meet and share a little space with Sri Sri who would be at the European Center for a few days of the course.

Since that experience in Germany, I keep in mind that it’s a good idea not to miss an opportunity to be in Sri Sri’s presence and that is why I headed for Boone over the holidays.

Sri Sri was in Boone teaching an advanced course to students who had taken at least eight Art of Silence Courses (I have taken one) and have practiced with him for many years. The evenings were open to the public for chanting and an address from Sri Sri and that is where I fit in.

When I first arrived, making my may up the windy roads to this somewhat secluded mountain escape, who do I see walking solo down the road but a small Indian man.  Is that….?  I thought… and sure enough it was… it was Sri Sri walking down the road apparently taking some respite from the intense teachings of the day. What do I do?  Uncertain… I slowed down, rolled down my window, waved and said “hello!”…

At first, it was a bit of culture shock seeing this tiny spiritual man dressed in robes coming straight from the throws of more regular American life. But it was a good reminder to shift… to turn the dial just a bit and take things in a little differently.

With over 1000 students attending this course, I joined the busy dining hall for a modest meal of Indian fare, rice and dessert.  I sat with a few folks participating in the class who have been long-time students of Sri Sri.  They talked of spending time with him over 25 years ago at the simple Ashram in India and noting the many differences and shifts in their life since then.  I also met a woman who lives in Asheville, also a long-time student of Sri Sri, and a great reminder of some of the benefits of these practices in the long-term including a youthful spirit and demeanor.

Then I headed to the large meditation hall where I joined the 1000 plus participants as well as other guests, friends and family. Sri Sri eventually came and took his place seated on the stage up front. He didn’t speak for long, but his simple and refreshing words were a great reminder to me about this whole thing called life. He started by asking us to imagine all of the conversations we’ve had, thought, participated in, watched on tv… and then to imagine that we were separate from that.  And to consider that all of that, this changing world of conversation, beliefs and opinions, can distract us from experiencing the unfathomable joy and beauty found in our inner depths. He encouraged meditation as an important tool on this journey. All in all, he just reminded me that half the things I was worried about, considering, trying to figure out were in many ways distractions from the very opportunity he was talking about.

I left from my time there reminded of this. Of course I still think too much, still need to make life decisions and don’t always know what to do… but this simple message and his presence reminded me to continue to explore opening a door just beyond on all that… and that journey is always available to me no matter what I may or may not choose to do in this life…

And so, here I am, trying to enter a bit more gently and mindfully into 2018.  Sometimes gracefully, sometimes less so. Trying to not take all the conversations in my head and with others too seriously.  And just taking it from there.

Here’s wishing you a little extra dose of peace, happiness and well-being this New Year!  And may we all find that little door within us, in our own time and own way, that opens us up to greater gifts of joy, wisdom, peace, freedom and happiness!

A Walk in the Park

2 Dec

What sustains you when all else falls away?  This was a question asked of me during a particularly harrowing time some years ago.  I thought about it and for me, some of those things were very simple – the feeling of the sun warming my body and shining on my face….and walking.  Those are a few simple things I can count on no matter where I am or what I am facing.

So over the years, I’ve done a lot of walking. I can remember walking the streets of my old neighborhood in New Orleans during a particularly challenging time faced with much uncertainty.  I didn’t know what would unfold in my life and I felt a great deal of anxiety.  So, I walked.  I’ve walked my way down streets and alleyways in many places around the world now.  Through twisted backroads in the French countryside. Along the erratic and hot cement sidewalks in Chiang Mai when noone else was foolish enough to walk in the afternoon heat(except the monks!…).  And among the potato fields in the snow in Germany.

When there is uncertainty… I walk.  Which means essentially, where there is life… I walk.

So here I am now in Hendersonville, North Carolina surrounded by the mountains, woods and lush nature…. and walking. I walk in the abundant trails and walkways surrounding my current home.  Sometimes alone.  Sometimes with others.  It’s like a constant that forges a passage from one phase of life to another… big or small.

 

How about you?  What sustains you when all else falls away?  What are your simple comforts and joys the move you through the uncertainty of life’s many passages?

It’s always great to hear from you!

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.

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