Tag Archives: asheville

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.

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.

Settling In

3 Nov

I had my first taste of the mountain fog this morning.  I ran an early morning errand for my current host and found myself driving cautiously through the curvy, shadowy streets.  Slowly I am finding my way in, around and near Asheville, still blindly following the persistent and mostly reliable voice of my GPS navigator.

It’s hard to believe that I have been in Asheville for about a month now.  In truth it’s been a bit of an adjustment for me being here, navigating new space and relationships. Drifting again in uncertainty while life rearranges itself around me.

I am currently sharing a house with two lovely travellers, a youngish couple, themselves making their way via helpx.  They are here for the short-term caring for the home and dogs of the owners while they are away.  And me, well, while I am living here, I am doing an exchange with the homeowner’s daughter and family who live not far down the street.

If you don’t know, helpx.net is an international network that connects hosts willing to offer room and/or board in exchange for some needed work with travellers looking for a creative and affordable way to travel.  Helpx has been an important link for me on this mega-journey.  It offered a way to stay longer in Europe opening doors to working and living in France.  It afforded me a way to connect with and see a bit more of Germany when I was watching every dime that I spent. And it was a bridge when I needed to come back to the United States for just a few months to apply for and get my visa to teach English in South Korea.  And now, here I am in Asheville!

My helpx trade here is a pretty simple one.  If you read my blog, you know by now that I pay special attention to my diet, something that doesn’t work in all households.  So, for this trade I am doing a modest amount of work in exchange for my place to stay and handling my food and meal needs on my own.  It’s a start and a great way to land and get to know Asheville.

This past month has slid by as I have been preoccupied with finding my own rhythm in new circumstances, exploring Asheville a bit, making an effort to connect with and meet new people, and of course looking for work. Along the way I have managed to explore and see some pretty great things. Here are a few highlights…

 

A Sunday Ride Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Wow, I truly love this.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is literally just up the road from where I am staying.  A few weeks ago I took a longer drive up the Parkway and was bombarded turn after turn with breathtaking scenery.  I couldn’t take the smile off my face.  As the Parkway noodles through town, it’s a road I can hop on to go almost any ol’ place…  Just yesterday I was heading to a meeting about ten miles from here and lucky me, four miles of my journey was spent on the Parkway.  A remarkable diversion in the ins and outs of everyday life.

 

Getting Out in Nature

20161019_140528

This is one of the things I have truly been longing for – to live someplace with easy access to nature.  What a wonderful treat!  This little trail here is just a few miles from where I stay and meanders along the Swannanoa river.  It’s beautiful, pristine and literally a breath of fresh air. (Trailhead is located at Charles D. Owen Park, 875 Warren Wilson Road in Swannanoa, NC. )

 

Meeting the Neighbors

meet the neighbors

My current residence is part breathtakingly rural part small town/suburb.  Meet some of my new neighbors!   Just on the outskirts of Asheville, it takes only ten minutes to get to town with access to healthy stores, eclectic restaurants and shopping.  While Asheville is the heart of much of the attraction and activity here, it is surrounded by an assortment of little towns and communities many thriving in their own way.  So far it seems an interesting combination of folks from new age transplant to conservative native.

 

The Serious Business of Finding a Job

View Grove Park Inn

It’s not everyplace that you can go for a job interview and end up here.  This is the view from the Grove Park Inn, one of the grandest hotels in Asheville with, as you can see, a spectacular view.  It was a real treat to go there, meet and connect with folks who had worked there for decades, and also get the window seat in an elegant meeting room with a million dollar view.

 

Out and About Town

Asheville Flea Market

Little by little I am finding my way around town and slowly connecting the dots of the flavor and color that is the Asheville area. Last Sunday I stopped by the monthly flea market at Salvage Station, pictured above, filled with original crafts and flea market treasures. Much to my surprise I even ran into a “familiar face,” an unexpected treat when living in new territory.

 

ashevillecommunityyoga

Yoga!

And yes I simply can’t forget YOGA! Tonight I went to a class at a studio called Asheville Community Yoga. Don’t let it’s simple unassuming appearance deceive you – the vibe and energy of the place simply blew me away.  It felt like coming home to the mother ship.  After many years of travel often without a yoga studio that felt like home, or access to yoga at all (other than my own personal practice) it was a relief on so many levels to enter into this warm inviting yoga space.  I look forward to spending more time there.

 

It’s been surprisingly warm here in the mountains of Asheville, with fall brimming in the trees but misleading almost summer-like temperatures.  My new-to-me Honda CR-V and I are prepared for the coming winter as I am almost longing for the break that winter affords after my recent hot-hot year in Thailand.

Good-bye for now as my journey and “settling in” continue in the quiet, summer-like fall in the hills of Swannanoa.