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Plans

“The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
For promised joy.”
Robert Burns from the poem “To A Mouse”

The month of October was to be a feeling and writing month. The plan was to sit on the beach several days each week and record the changes in the ocean, the beach and the feel of it all as Fall settled into the coast. The idea originated with my love of the book The Outermost House in which Henry Beaton chronicles a year on the beach of Cape Cod (in the year 1928).

And so I began the first week in October first on the public part of the beach and another day on the beach in the residential section. That second day was extraordinarily beautiful: lots of sun and wind. The ocean was roiling and the windsurfers exuberant. There was a change in tone as the air seemed fresher and a quiet sense of calm and peace seemed to underlay all.

That day a herring gull stayed near my beach chair for a long time (there was only one other gull in sight). First he was on the right, left for awhile and then planted himself on my left. As I often do with birds and animals I carried on a conversation about the beauty of it all and asking questions I am sure. It was a strange moment of connecting yet so natural.

And then October 9, 2016 arrived and with it Hurricane Matthew apparently out to humble weather forecasters. At about 6:15 AM I was sitting in the living room writing in my journal when there was a tremendous crash and the house shook. Initially I was unsure what happened but ran to my mother’s room to make sure she was all right which she was. I realized I heard dripping in the dining room and ran around to find a huge hole in the roof with a tree on top. It was still dark out so the full damage was not visible yet.

If I did not know before I clearly know now the meaning of going into a state of shock. But wonderful next door neighbors quickly responded and held my hand and reminded me what to do even as the hurricane continued. In a whirlwind of activity buckets appeared to catch the rain, a tree company got enough of the tree off so that a tarp could be put on the dining room roof. The insurance company responded and the wheels of “taking care of things” began to roll.

So here we are more than two months later, after the house was condemned for living, after 6 weeks in a hotel, “settled” in an apartment 5 minutes from the house. The feel of life is still strange and the amazing thing is realizing how many things I thought were ingrained habits are forgotten. Almost daily something comes to mind. For example I began doing the Donna Eden Daily Energy Routine (highly recommend this to start to the day) this past summer. One day last week it popped into my mind and I realized I forgot all about it. Working out at the gym is one constant that probably helps me maintain sanity.

For me it is as though a way of life was lost and the new way is in the creation stage. That new way may be internal, external or both and in time whatever it is will be revealed I suppose. My main feeling about life right now is I am in limbo. Of course we are also heading into winter the time of rest and renewal. Maybe I will manage to participate in that. But what I realize is that plans are nice but that is all they are: “plans”. There is no guarantee of completion or even initiation. Attachment to outcomes of plans adds stress as that old “need to be in control” kicks in.

What keeps me going now are the moments that show up through Grace: turning and seeing a sunset that takes my breath away; hearing the sounds of the ocean; hugging my daughter; experiencing the beauty of the sky and more. Will I still plan? Of course I will but I believe I may not do as much of it and will try to remember to release attachment when I do. Learning to trust in moments popping up is my focus though.

Are you a planner? What happens when your plans get upset. What moments have you experienced today that fill you with joy?

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Perfection and Blame

Those who know me probably agree that in a good portion of my adult life I have been a perfectionist or perfectionism has influenced my decisions at times (I know my daughter and son-in-law agree). I mean I can spot a minuscule crumb on the floor from twenty feet away and must get it up. It is as though I cannot help myself as sad as that sounds🙄. Being a perfectionist makes me happy in many areas of my life but it has also led me to give up at times on creative ventures or adventures because I could not get it perfect.

This need for perfection I know drives some folks crazy so I always blamed it on being raised by a perfectionist mother. Oh it is so nice and easy to blame someone else. The other evening my mom and I were eating dinner. For some reason she brought up the fact that even as a young child my bed had to be made up perfectly with all my dolls lined up on it a certain way and nobody better touch it. My initial reaction was that cannot be true when in my heart I knew it probably was although I conveniently forgot about it. The truth is I probably came into this lifetime with perfection as a part of me.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do not see it as a bad thing if tempered with a hefty dose of reality and forgiveness. But this post is not really about that. It is about conveniently blaming someone else for traits we somehow see as bad or negative in our personalities. How embarrassing to realize this. But it was also amusing to picture the 4 year old me already declaring my perfectionism and need to control. Thank goodness I can laugh about it (for the most part). And I also realize that blaming keeps me from fully honoring and loving all of me including idiosyncrasies.

Are the aspects of your personality you discredit or blame on someone else? Are you willing to consider taking ownership? Even more important can you honor and love all of yourself and have a sense of humor about it?

Let me know if there are other stories about aspects of life you want to read.

The Move Part 2

I heard nothing about the sale of my home for several weeks. However, some belief within me saw it moving forward and I let my family know about the possibility. I felt a calling to Virginia Beach even after my so easily dismissing it as not the place for me to be. What a reversal in thinking. I talked with my mom about moving my things into storage for a time and living with her while I decided where I might want to settle. She was pleased with this idea but concerned about my not having “my things”. My thinking was that the biggest adjustment would be living with someone else. But what amazed me the most was the peace surrounding the decision to return to a place I really never saw myself living again after leaving for college. But there was the ocean waiting for me. In some ways it was very amusing.

After several weeks I was contacted by the realtor and an appointment set for the realtor and her client’s son to see my house. It was a pleasant experience with the son taking pictures to send to his mother. Later I was contacted about pursuing the sale and another appointment with the realtor was set. I asked my daughter to sit in since she has a background as a legal assistant. The meeting went well and at the realtors suggestion I decided to represent and complete the sale “by owner.” Before the contract was completed and signed the daughter-in-law walked through the house and agreed with her husband it was perfect for his mother.

In quick succession the contract was signed and inspection done. There were only a few things identified during the inspection that needed to be corrected and a general contractor was hired. A closing date was set that was about 4 months after the first contact. I had sold my house without putting in on the market. I found a wonderful mover and with the support of my daughter got the packing done as well as shedding “stuff” I no longer needed. For me it was all due to getting out of my own way and being willing to flow with the Universal process.

And I need to say a word about the exceptional real estate agent. From the instant we met there was a heart connection. Yes, she is a business woman and protected her client’s interests. However, she clearly saw the synchronicity of what was occurring and open about knowing there is energy and flow beyond what we see with our five senses. But I should not be surprised that I attracted that type of person to this process. I am ever grateful to her and her positive assistance.

So moving day came. The movers loaded and delivered some bedroom furniture to my daughter that I did not want to keep or put in storage (it was actually hers before she moved and got married). I spent the last night in the Richmond area at her home. It was an emotional experience to drive off the next morning but reminded myself I would only be a couple hours away. In many ways a new chapter began in both our lives.

The drive to my new city went smoothly; I met the movers at the storage facility and the unloading went smoothly also. The next day the legal assistant for the closing called to let me know it was complete and my money was to be wired the next Monday after the sale was recorded.

Part of the reason for doing these two posts is a friend commented that I just completed a major life transition and she is interested in learning how I made the move with such ease and grace. I think my first reaction was to laugh as I did not see it as a major life transition and am not sure that I do now😉. But I do agree that for the most part it definitely flowed with ease and grace. The main reason is I was willing to let my heart speak and inform my mind rather than allow the chatter of the mind to throw me off what I was feeling. Had I let my stubborn belief that I did not belong in Virginia Beach whether or not my beloved ocean was there I probably would be unhappy still trying to figure out where I am to be. What an incredible gift my parents gave me moving to Virginia Beach when I was 15 and giving me my first glimpse and connection to the marvelous ocean. Also, the fact that I was not so attached to my house made it easier to leave it. I loved it and was grateful for the peace and beauty it gave me. However, I just never really get attached to the places I live (maybe that will be different if I ever live right on the ocean). Could it be that the fact that I moved several times growing up be a positive there instead of the negative it seemed at the time. And the fact that I clearly rejoice in an opportunity to be of service to my mother adds to the grace of the process. Will I stay here forever? I do not know but celebrate the present and look forward to all the experiences waiting for me here.

Are you currently experiencing any life transitions? If so how do you describe the process? Do you have questions about a way you can flow more easily in your life? Send a comment or question if you want to get a dialogue going around any of this.

The Move Part 1

For over a year I experienced thoughts about selling my house but I did not reach a decision as I was unsure it was what I really wanted to do. My mind went the route of telling me I was being irresponsible and even un-American not wanting a real estate investment and after all this was part of the American Dream and on an on. In fact it played the “you need to be grateful for what you have” card as part of this process.

During this time I was led to work on a project to possibly identify an area on the the Atlantic Coast that was calling my name as a place to live. This project involved sitting quietly and feeling or imagining myself in different areas. I really skipped the Virginia coast. In North Carolina I landed on the Outer Banks where I spent many years visiting twice a year but not for the past few years. My assessment was that I was complete with what I learned there which in essence gave me the opportunity to realize my affinity for the ocean and awakened my passion for growing spiritually or actually remembering who I really am.

Next in my visioning I moved down to South Carolina and landed in the Charleston area. I spent time several years ago in Folly Beach where I learned some interesting things about myself and a past life influence. Again I did not feel strongly about returning. Then I landed in Florida and the Gulf Coast side. I spent quite a bit of time in the area of Sarasota, Siesta Key, Venice, Punta Gorda area. As part of this practice of feeling into geographical areas I learned much about the Gulf Coast and realized a strong connection to sea turtles to add to my already strong connection to pelicans. I was sure Florida was the spot for my next adventure.

However, I got distracted by life happenings and left that exploration. I did not stop thinking about it being time to sell my house and figured In the Spring a decision would come. In quiet time I turned it over to God and the Universe saying I was tired of thinking about it, so I surrendered it to them.

Right after the first of this year I arrived home to find a typed note on my door. It was from a realtor explaining she had a client interested in living in the area but there was nothing currently for sale. She requested I call her if I was interested in selling my home. My first reaction was incredulity. Was this a scam. Then I think I looked up and said out loud is this a sign? I checked out the realtor and firm and discovered they were reputable and called her. I left a message and then I waited about a week.

When she called the explanation was that a client was moving from Florida to be near family and my style townhome was what she wanted. The realtor put letters on the doors of several homes. I explained I was considering putting my home on the market in the Spring and was willing to entertain selling it. I told her she was welcome to come and look at the house. The plan was she would get back with me to schedule a time. Several weeks went by and I heard nothing. I went inside to my center and set an intention to wait and accept that this might not work out. But I did know selling the house was a right decision.

See Part 2 next for how the flow continued.

Are you in the midst of making a decision? How are you guided?

Maine Journey – Part 3

It has been two weeks since I arrived home from the Maine vacation and it is taking time to adjust to not being there. The last two weeks of the trip flew by with a walk up Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, a ferry ride to and hiking on Monhegan Island, a visit to the Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage as well as a stroll through the Farnsworth Art Museum. And in between these trips were walks into downtown Rockland and the Breakwater.

The last weeks were filled with the continuance of grace as I was enveloped by much beauty and touched by the people I met. There were more opportunities to laugh at myself such as during the climb up Mt, Battie. As I kept stopping to catch my breath I wondered why a short mile hike could seem so long and deciding dying on the side of a small mountain in Maine wouldn’t be so bad (working out at a gym does not necessarily prepare one for steep hikes). But I made it to the top to partake of not only another beautiful view but to connect with another lovely family. They were from New York and reflected both awe at the beauty they were seeing as well as a quiet sense of peace. Of course there were also families dealing with tired whining children and whining adults complaining as their expectations were not met. All a part of the human community and our various stages of being.😉

An exhibit at the Farnsworth reminded me how extraordinary what we see as ordinary often is when we open our eyes, mind and heart. Currently there is an exhibit “Andy and Kosti” that displays works by the painter Andrew Wyeth and the photojournalist Kosti Ruohomma. These men were great friends both with a love for Maine. The exhibit features photographs by Kosti paired with paintings by Andy. A striking talent of both was to take “ordinary” subjects and help us see their extraordinary nature. This led me to think of all the many entrepreneurs in Rockland at the local bakery, coffee roasters, spa, art galleries, grocery co-op as well as clothing and gift shops. To me the risk taking, following their passions and giving to their community is beyond ordinary. I am sure at times it is highly stressful but also produces times of joy as they share their talents with us. I pray to never again look at small business owners as ordinary or fail to acknowledge their heart.

As you probably see places and people filled my heart in Maine. There was more clarity of vision and feeling I believe because I was free from my “Virginia” routine and responsibilities (whether real or perceived). That supported the ability to relax, live more in the moment and be more light hearted. So what did I discover about my self- nothing new😊. What I knew before this trip is that I am love and at my core is peace and joy. This adventure let me experience that more fully and freely especially on the feeling level. It is a gift that I now will strive to integrate more into my perception and action of daily life.

What do you see in your life that is extraordinary? Might it be you? How do you see yourself connected to both people and the Earth?

Maine Journey – Part 2

As I look back at last week I think it served as great practice for living in the moment. I explored the beauty of Owls Head Lighthouse and rocky beach area. I walked into town most days, window shopped and sat drinking coffee on the sidewalk observing the “tourists” as well as natives. But the highlight of the week was the three days of volunteering at the Maine Lobster Festival.

My job at two different gates was to put the bracelet on folks after they paid to get in. In case you are not aware the festival just finished its 68th year and goes on for five days and is located in Harbor Park in Rockland. It is an amalgam of entertainment, food, carnival rides and a large number of artist and craft booths as well as children’s activities. This year the USS Tortuga Navy ship anchored in the harbor and attendees were ferried out for tours. Also, a young woman lobsterman and a young fisherman tied their boats up to one dock and talked with folks about their life and work. Both the Navy ship and the talking with those who supply seafood were huge hits.

Working at the gate for four hour shifts gave me a great opportunity to greet people and find out where they traveled from to the festival. They were from everywhere including Europe and Canada. I met a couple from Italy and people from California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, and even Virginia Beach where some of my family live. I do think most states were represented. It is amazing how a brief interaction putting a paper bracelet around a wrist can even briefly establish a heart connection. As the mix of ages, gender, ethnicity and culture walked into the Festival there were many smiles and I was uplifted as I said many times “Have fun!”. And for me the focus was on that with no thoughts of back home or the next day or even the next minute.

The Navy sailors and Marines coming off the ship for shore leave were also a blend but most seemed so young. Time after time it was “How are you ma’m” or “Thank you, ma’m” and at some point I realized I could be the grandmother of most of them (and when did that happen?). But the most poignant moment for me with the military was looking out on the ramp that folks took to the boat ferrying them out to the Navy ship and seeing a young woman sailor with an AK-47 cradled in her arms as part of security. It was a moment of gratitude and heartbreak.

Being in the moment fostered camaraderie with those who volunteered with me. Some were local, some from other parts of the country including sailors who volunteered. There was much laughter and suspension of judgement as we stood in the energy of the sun and the wonderful waterfront. In moments when the incoming crowds thinned there was time to chat and find out a little about each other. We were all so different yet thrown together in the exuberance and craziness of the festival. But I also realized I was feeling compassion while being detached from the stories and the typical political infighting of a group running such a huge enterprise. It reminded me so much is the same wherever you are and that brought more laughter for me.

The Lobster Festival now is added to the many gifts I am receiving here. And the funniest part is I am not a festival attending person usually as the crowds, fried food smells and energy are too much. So what a joke on me that getting immersed in the moment allowed joy to move in and little thought was given to any negatives. It was the adults and children I touched as I affixed bracelets to their arms that stirred me, lifted me up and kept me experiencing the present moment.

Are you practicing living in the moment or is it already easy for you? What do you think this adds to your life?

A few pictures from the week.

The Maine Journey – Part 1

More than a week has passed since I started on my adventure to Maine and there are some observations I can make at this point.. First let me say I am beginning to understand the true impact of remembering we are peace at our core. I started the trip feeling at peace and the travel to Maine was extremely calm and peaceful: even through northern Virginia and even when the GPS took me straight through NY City on I-95. It was as though the way was being made for me which of course it was. I stayed the first night in Highstown, NJ and in my first blog about the preparation for the trip I had a picture of a many colored house from that city that I found through an internet search. Well, I drove right by it on the way to dinner and was delighted with the sight of it and several other old Victorian homes. Nothing compared to it however! What a delight knowing there are no coincidences.

The rest of the trip proved just as smooth and I arrived in Rockland excited and grateful. The house I am renting is warm, inviting and best of all across the street from a wonderful view of Penobscot Bay. In this first week I walked downtown numerous times, walked the Rockland Breakwater out to the lighthouse and spent 2 ½ glorious days in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. I rode the free propane powered bus to most of the places I wanted to see in the park and drove up to stand atop the incredible Cadillac Mountain. While in the park I had lunch on the lawn at Jordan Pond with the bees(another story in itself) and walked around the pond. They told me it was close to 4 miles but luckily I did not know that until I was more than halfway. The next day a park ranger led boat tour from Bar Harbor to Baker Island was another highlight as we traveled over gorgeous Frenchman Bay. As with many areas on the Maine coast on the island a walk through the woods ends with a walk out onto rocks with the water in front of you. On Baker Island that huge area is known as “the dance floor”.

What I am discovering so far is a tremendous sense of connection with both the Earth and with humanity. Our planet is constantly giving to us, supporting us, embracing us. Yet how easily we forget as we get absorbed in our lives, our fears, our distractions. But I am brought back to the truth as I look out over Penobscot Bay, Frenchmans Bay, Cadillac Mountain and as I walk the forest around Baker’s Island and Jordan Pond. All first brings a sense of awe and then overwhelming gratitude to what this wonderful planet gives to us regardless of we treat it. What gifts I receive over and over. And then I realize there is really no separation. I have moments of feeling the oneness with the Earth and that I can give to it.

And what of this connection with people? Everywhere I go there is a wonderful mosaic of people of many cultures, ages, gender and ethnicity. Since it is summer many are families. Their have been moments of sweet observation. A French family with 3 children were on the island tour. The parents were incredibly attuned to their children encouraging their curiosity and exploration and alive with their own joy and laughter. Another mother was on the tour with 3 teenage boys. That family too was enthusiastic and respectful of each other obviously having a good time. Several times folks stopped to help this “old lady” as she navigated rocks and on Jordan Pond a woman from Missouri said she could not believe I was doing the whole walk. Of course I was not sure if it was a compliment and tried not to think about how old I must look. I was quite glad her hand was there when I needed it. I can go on and on but those are just examples of interactions observed and those in which I participated in both in Acadia and here in Rockland. These have been such a gift as I am reminded that amidst all the horror we see and here about there are loving people filled with light which support all of us. As I make contact with others I am reminded we are all a part of “Life breathing life” as Gangaji says. We are all connected by our Creator and whether we believe it or not all are One. I am privileged in this journey so far to be experiencing the beauty of the Earth and the beauty of those that inhabit it.

As you move through the day are you seeing the beauty around you? Where is it showing up for you? Do you think there is a message it what you are seeing and feeling? Are there ways you need to be connecting more in your life?

The picture gallery this time is just a glimpse at the beauty and fun.