a journey from the heart

Archive for September, 2011

post a day 2011

Something new, although not really

joining the “post a day” challenge

to tempt n’ tease the muse

and share the journey.

sunset on Spencer's Butte

Comments and likes

as always

are welcome.

Peace!

waiting

autumn's arrival

It is amazing just how challenging the simple act of waiting can be. Waiting to move, waiting for medical results, waiting to hear after a job interview. I am of course specifically referring to the latter, and I must admit it is taking every ounce of my faith, courage and conviction to wait. I have always been a little (depending on the event, a lot) impatient about waiting for things to come to fruition. Call me a control freak if you will, but I believe I am equally a part of my culture…that American social structure of instant gratification, instant results, instant oatmeal.

It’s like that bar of chocolate I buy that has eight squares and I tell myself I will be disciplined and enjoy one square each day, delighting in the firmness as I bite into it, savoring the chocolate as it melts on my tongue. And after that first square I find myself tempted to have another, and if I am not careful I have eaten the whole thing in one evening. While that may not necessarily be a bad thing on occasion, it still illustrates the dilemma of waiting.

Waiting for the results from a job interview, I find I am more frustrated with each day that passes, wondering, “Did I answer that question the right way?” “How many other candidates were interviewed?” “Will I be offered the job?” “Will I get home to an impersonal letter in the mail thanking me for my time and “good luck in the future.”  

stormy skies

Then the next wave of emotion crashes down, filled with questions of “Did I make a mistake giving up my jobs and apartment, packing up my life and heading west to a destination of choice, not based around a job, but a desire to live where I want to live?” “Was I a fool to traipse into the unknown with only a couple thousand dollars and no idea where I would land and what I would do when I did?”

Deep inhale….

I take a moment to consciously connect to my breath, to exhale slowly, to allow the next inhale to naturally happen, to slow down my thoughts by focusing on my breath and the present moment.

 

And what I find is peace.

Perhaps the need to cry….

Not to cry out of sadness, but out of fear of the unknown and simultaneously for the courage I had to actually follow my heart and make a bold step out into the world to follow my bliss. Yeah, I will admit it is scary and exciting, that it evokes anxiety and anticipation, that I have no idea what will come next… but I am willing to persevere and take the amazing opportunities, employment and social, that this journey has to offer.

opportunity

 

And so

 

I continue

 

to wait…

Simplicity

…it really is a rather difficult word to define. I find myself daily attempting to create a simpler life, which is rather ironic given that I am not sure that there is much more to do to make it any simpler. As you all know, if you’ve been following my journey, I don’t really have much in the way of material belongings. The only new acquisitions to my life since arriving in Eugene are a hydration day-pack and trekking poles for the weekly, or biweekly hikes I take, a bicycle and the appropriate gear to make it daily commute/weather ready and safe, and one book: Chanting From the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Monks and Nuns at PlumVillage. In truth, I am still quite capable of moving within the confines of my car, with perhaps a bike-rack attached to the rear.

I suppose I should preface my current delving into simplicity with the fact that for the first time since I left North Carolina I am in solitude. I have had the house that I rent a room in completely to myself (Orion & Thor included) for the last 24 hours and I am fully enjoying the solitude. I cleaned my room at 10:30 last night without worrying about waking a house-mate. I slept in this morning without being awakened by the landlady at 4:20am as she fusses about the house without regard for the fact that I am sleeping (she is deaf and therefore is not conscious of the amount of noise she makes). Okay, truth is the cats have me up at 5:15am everyday (who needs a clock), but by 7:30 they were curled up on either side of me and we all slept until10:30…absolutely decadent!

I have had the opportunity to lounge around the house, more than just my room, without worry that I would be interfering with someone else’s schedule, and without hiding from the landlady and her need to constantly talk and ask questions and make endless requests to do something or another for her as “volunteer” work. It has just been me, my thoughts and my breath.

Admittedly, I found that the better part of the afternoon I was restless in my own company. I had no hikes to attend, no need to rush out and do laundry as I did it last night, no need to clean (with the exception of the cat’s litter box and mat). I had the time to wake up slowly and quietly, to make pancakes and tea, to sit and enjoy breakfast and watch a movie. I have enjoyed a simple bike ride to smell some delicious purple roses a block from home and pick up some ice cream. And it is only now, some 24 hours after the realization of solitude and quiet that I am finally feeling as if the edge has been removed and I can enjoy the peace of my home.

While it is not exactly cold out today, 70 and mostly cloudy, it is definitely cool, and soup just sounded welcoming, like home. I found myself standing in the kitchen to cook up some chicken to put with my salad and realized that soup was really what I wanted. Whatcha Got Soup! I put a chicken breast with some rosemary and olive oil into the pot of water, added some yellow potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn cut off the cob, carrots, yellow bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, paprika, cracked red pepper, fresh ground back pepper, a little sea salt and a bay leaf and the aroma of a fresh pot of soup instantly transported me in time to days when life certainly wasn’t any easier or simpler, but as memory serves felt easier and simpler.

So now I have this wonderfully small, simple pot of soup on the stove (for those who know my cooking you would be impressed at just how small). And beside me a cup of lemon ginger tea as I ponder my life through the passage of my past as it leads to the present. I realize that it is less the concept of simplicity I long for and more the reality of stability that I am in need of finding. The illusory simplicity of the past is just that, illusion. Life back then was certainly challenging, filled with years of anxiety and stress, worries about the future, the past crashing down around me, threatening to suffocate me if I did not come out of hiding from it and deal, head-on, plunging into deep waters of emotion and grief and frustration and sadness and abandonment.

Today, that work is completed, with perhaps brief reminders to stay mindful and present when the seeds of habit energy surface and require my attention to breath and weed the garden of my life. What I find I am in need of today is the stability of permanent full-time employment, which will lead to finding a peace and serenity in living arrangements better suited to my personality (and the cats) and needs for solitude, quietude… home.

So for now I return to the present moment, this beautiful space of tranquility, and a fresh, hot bowl of chicken soup.

For truly, there is nothing but the present moment, and in this moment…life is simple.

bicycle

i forgot just how great it is to ride a bicycle. i recently got on a bike for the first time in nearly 5 years and a flood of memories rushed in. some of those memories came from my sore bottom after sitting on a bicycle seat for 2 hours. some came from the flow of wind rustling through my hair, across my face, whistling sometimes loudly in my ears. 

 i return to memories from my youth, growing up in a household where my mother could not afford a car leaving us to bicycle subsistence. i rode to trader joe’s last weekend and found i had not lost my ability to balance grocery bags dangling from the handlebars. at least now the bags are cloth and therefore do not shred, leaving its contents in the gutter, after catching the spokes of the front tire.

owosso bridge on the willamette at sunset

as i race down the river trail path, lowering my torso as low to level with the handlebars to pick up as much speed as possible through a declining set of curves, i am reminded of early morning rides racing down the streets from The Point in my hometown. the exhilaration of knowing that one wrong bump along the road and you are down for the count, road-rash and all; the roar of the wind as it rushes over my body, competing today with the rush of river to my right.

and then there is the memory of the first time i rode solo, no training wheels, no adult guidance or supervision, and drove my bike headlong in a hedge of roses, thorns and all. today though, there is no sting, only the joy of being on two wheels, my body working as it was raised to work, pedaling along this path of life.