Posted in Inspiration, Life, My story, simple pleasures

A new level of simplicity

I once had what many would consider “All.” The white picket fence, a house, multiple toys such as cars and a motorcycle, even the successful career and financial independence. I had it all, but in reality I had nothing but loneliness and increased responsibility. I chased false ideals, instilled with the values of others, in the pursuit of filling a void, of doing my part to contribute and live up to my duties and obligations. After all, wasn’t life and success measured by such standards? Wasn’t it ultimately required to gain status which in return would bring acceptance from society. Wouldn’t your worth be determined by your achievements in material bliss?

After many years of fulfilling these ideals that were never mine to begin with, I started to uncover layer by layer, peeling back, simplifying my life in the pursuit of true and satisfactory meaning. Not the satisfaction of others, but the satisfaction and bliss of my own. It took courage but I can truly say that it was me making those changes. That it was me in charge. Changes that spanned over many years, but changes that made a difference over time and ultimately led to this point.

It started with becoming my best friend and caring about myself in a way I never had before. Society teaches us that we are selfish when we look after ourselves and too often we feel the pressure to put ourselves last. It took time to shed those beliefs and to muster the courage for a self love of the deepest care. I overcame the fear of being judged, misunderstood, and categorized. How you wonder did I do this? It wasn’t that hard once you realize that those things are not in your control anyways and happen regardless.

Life started to simplify once I’ve left the hectic retail management career behind. Not initially but eventually and I adjusted to a lesser income and also needing less, although the mortgage and the house represented a huge challenge. Material possessions started to lose their value and I realized that I simply had too much of a good thing and that those things didn’t make me happy. All those things that once earned status did nothing more than weigh me down in way that it felt like I was carrying a huge burden that was threatening to crush me.

Then there was still the matter of where I belong to and being torn between two countries. I had fought this battle with my estranged mother for nearly 30 years while she was alive. And what about my marriage that for the past 20 years was merely existing on paper, as roommates, sharing obligations and responsibilities! A failure that had to be faced. A love once close as best friends but now lost and history.

I continued to simplify my life in whichever way I could. I simply felt called to do so even if I didn’t have all the answers or knew how the story was going to develop. I was on my way to becoming a minimalist. Every possession had to hold value and meaning, it had to bring joy, otherwise it wasn’t needed. Slowly but surely I eliminated everything I used to cling to. Everything I had worked for all my life.

In the end, the house was sold, including one of my cars and my motorcycle. “Stuff” was donated or garage sale’d for a fraction of their worth and value. My life was summarized with a few pieces of furniture and around 60 boxes which a huge part was my crafting supplies for my Etsy products. A 24ft travel trailer would become my temporary but current home, teaching me to simplify at new levels. Thank goodness the process had started already and I wasn’t a total newcomer to it. Prior efforts would come in handy and prove themselves as useful.

These days most of my garments would be washed with the delicate cycle, meaning that I would wash them by hand, stringing them to dry on a clothing line behind the trailer, I called my backyard space. Old fashioned and like Mom used to do. I took comfort and offset the lost luxury of a washing machine by buying the best smelling laundry detergent I could find. I loved it and it even was soothing to my hands to work the suds. The wring cycle was a different story and I had to strain getting my hands to do the task. Yet I took comfort in the simple life although someone else could have easily labeled it a harder life. These days I was lugging water instead of getting it filtered out of the refrigerator. Cleaning the tiny abode was a breeze, but some spaces were absolutely tiny and required to step sideways around the bed when fixing the sheets. The fridge was on the small side too, but luckily I’ve always enjoyed playing Tetris and I was good at making things fit.

Life simplified day by day, stripped off modern conveniences, but happier and more fulfilled. And I was lucky to be in a place where others truly cared about each other. Having a neighbor drive by while being outside, asking if I needed anything from the store was a new one for me. How many years had I lived in my house and barely knowing anything about my neighbors that seemed to flee at the sight of anyone to avoid any chat or conversation.

I brought a jar of my Dragons-Blood elixir (Elderberry syrup) to one of my neighbors, an older lady, living by herself. Like me she is into holistic healing and a natural approach to balance deficiencies. She was so delighted and grateful, showed me her small herb garden and finally sent me on my way with a hand full of organic herbs. Some of which I used to cook and spice my meal that evening, adding the most amazing flavor to my meal. Later that evening I was still thinking about the kindness and the two gestures I had encountered. I remembered walking home, holding the herbs tight as to not lose a single stem. I felt emotional from a bunch herbs and I carried them as if they were my greatest treasure. Faith in humanity was restored and those simply acts made all the difference for me. Would somebody understood if I told them, or would they think that I have completely lost it? Would they understand the excitement about thunder and rain, to listen to it hit the metal roof? Could someone envision the joy derived from it? I contemplated the outcome for a moment, smiled, and nodded knowing it truly wouldn’t matter one way or another. This was my moment, something that had meaning to me and it didn’t require to be understood nor approved by others. It was simplicity at new levels that filled my heart, and this time was about me and only me.

Posted in Anxiety, Challenges, Life lessons

In the heat of when disaster strikes

It is in those unexpected moments of disaster that we don’t always think clearly. What is a given any other day becomes the unthinkable and anxiety grips a hold of us.

I remember a few years back when a couple robbers tried to break into my house while I was at home. First came flying a rock, shattering a window, to see if the alarm system on the house would sound. It was clearly advertised on a sign in the front yard that this house was protected and monitored. Of course nothing happened as I was at home and didn’t arm the system. I panicked though, and all I had to do was hit the distress button on the system that would have dispatches the police, but it didn’t even cross my mind and a state of anxiety, fear and stress rushed over me. Let’s just say that everything worked out in the end and I got away with a broken window and a half kicked in door and frame. The thugs ran once I started to yell, threatening that the police would be here any minute, (even no call had been made), the dogs were saved and so was I.

A similar moment happened the other day as the check engine light came on in the Jeep. I panicked, caused myself the worst migraine and couldn’t think of the simplest trick that I knew, but totally forgot. Turn the ignition three times and a Jeep will throw an error code to let you know what’s wrong. All you have to do is look up the meaning and you have a better idea of what you are dealing with. This could have been helpful and saved a lot of trouble, but no, for three days I suffered through the unknown, although Friday when it happened was the worst day and I improved after that. Still a ugly, fear driven side emerged and I can’t help but to acknowledge what little control I had over it. It turns out that it has a HVAC leak and the gas cap was loose. An easy fix and at least I know now that I can drive it, not ruin the engine and head into town to replenish my pantry along with a few other errands. What a relief, I can’t even tell you. Such a relief that indeed I got emotional and cried. It reminded my of the fragile state I am still in and that I just need things to go right for awhile until I can handle the unexpected disasters again. An appointment is scheduled for the 16th and I’m still not out of the woods with a oil leakage somewhere, but for now I’m relieved to know that that was caused by a lose gas cap.

After getting the bad migraine that day, a pictures crossed my path pointing out that the body often knows what the mind has yet to process. Headaches are caused from a feeling of being overwhelmed. A difficulty of coping with a new demand and this was definitely the case. The rational mind went right out of the door, throwing all caution and reasoning to the wind. Maybe it’s the price of being human. I can see it in hindsight but I don’t know how to correct it the next time. Perhaps step back and take a few deep breaths could do the trick. Hopefully I’ll remember it the next time and give it a try.

Either way, there is still a leak I will have to have checked, the code needs to be reset as the light won’t go out by itself, and a oil change and good check up will hopefully keep me running a little longer in the “Liltank.” In the end it’s nothing money can’t fix isn’t it, and instead of stressing I should consider myself lucky to have the means to fix it. What is it for otherwise! Well that’s a whole new topic to discuss. Thank you heavens and my guardian angels for watching out for me and gifting me with mostly smiles again.

Posted in Inspiration, Life, My story

Next phase loading

Looking back it’s clear as day that I have gone through a few phases over the past couple of months, perhaps all of my life, but then…don’t we all? For a long time it was a scary phase, a stifled environment that shifted to an almost panic phase. Next came a survival phase just making it through each day, fighting, arguing, just doing what was needed while trying to keep inspired and positive. It was a phase of merely living and my purpose was found in the outlet of writing and my creative endeavors such as my Etsy store Youniqua, which is not offering any products at this time. Each phase could easily be divided into several sub-categories that brought each their own set of emotions and feelings. But I knew that this too would pass and not last forever. In fact I had been here before, at an earlier time, during my first adulthood that held the values and morals society and my parents had taught me.

Leaving it behind me, I was looking forward to the next category, the next phase, perhaps once learned and lived, but at a different level with new insight. It had it’s place then and was important already, but it’ll be magnificent in what was lying ahead as another layer was shedding. Perhaps there was more shedding’s to come, each increasing in value, understanding and meaning, who knew. I was ok with it, actually looking forward to it, and each layer allowed me to see a little more of my true self. For the time being, life was holding a different magnitude, with more experiences, more wisdom and knowledge to feel it all. New adventures were around the corner, new experiences and new freedoms not previously experienced. Once again I was looking to the tail end of the phase when it all comes together, when you feel that you have entered a threshold of being truly alive vs just living and existing. The difference is indescribable and has to be experienced to be understood.

Posted in Animals, Humor, Love, Short Story

Love at first whiff

She keeps a close eye on him and it’s no secret that she fancies him. For hours at a time she sits at the window, waiting to get a glimpse of him. More hours pass waiting at the door, looking into the direction he might appear at any given moment. She is dedicated, committed, she is in love.

It was love at first sight, undeniable, animalistic, direct, to the point, and in your face. She never made a secret about it and she made sure that he knew how she felt about him. Somehow she always senses when he comes around. She feels him, senses him, lifts her nose into the air as to pick up his scent. And then she catches a whiff of him, distinctly him and it begins, the yearning, the animal attraction and the need to be close to him. She whines and cries for him, she has trouble to stand still, she is begging him to come near her but he acts casual.

She is young and inexperienced, a virgin. He is her first love and she doesn’t have a grip on her feelings. She definitely does not believe or even knows about the game playing hard to get. No, she makes it easy. She is not a lady and her intentions are clear. She’s a bad girl, a wild thing, chasing what she loves. She wants him and that’s all there is to it.

He on the other hand seems much older, collected and well put together. When they meet and she kisses him enthusiastically, he neither returns her kisses nor does he walk away from them. It’s unclear if he fancies her in the same way she does him. Maybe he just wants to be friends. Perhaps she is too young for him. She doesn’t care about the age difference and something is drawing her to him. He drives her crazy and she wants more. She doesn’t think that she is too young and she is ready and able. Maybe it is him who is playing hard to get trying to teach her a lesson. I wonder if a love story will develop from all of this or if the first heartbreak is only around the corner.

Help, my little Cinnamon Girl (my dog) is in love for the first time, and she is acting like a little b…h. 😂

Posted in Inspiration

A blessed day

It was Independence Day and it turned out to be a blessed day for me in many ways. Just two days prior, my world was cast into dark storm clouds that brought worry and despair. A trip into town to replenish groceries and run errands was cancelled after driving less than a mile when all of a sudden the check engine light came on in the Jeep. “Now what?”, was the initial thought which would only be the beginning of the downward spin I was about to enter. The repair shop was closed for a four day holiday break and it was uncertain at this point if it even was worth repairing the Jeep with 241k miles. The timing could have not been worse. Oh wait, yes it could have been and I could have been stranded half way into town with a dog in tow and us both struggling with the heat. So actually, I was lucky it happened only a mile from home and I could turn around. It’s called seeing the silver lining in adverse situations and I was usually pretty good at it. Usually….

However, I had been in a lot of chronic pain lately, and pain clouds your optimism drastically. Soon I would have a terrible migraine headache I couldn’t shake all day. I couldn’t let go of the situation, nor my headache. I was glad when actual storm clouds were building in the sky and a thunderstorm and downpour lowered the temperatures. I hoped the rain would help with the second fire near me that broke out only a few days ago, consuming many acres already. Luckily the wind blew it away from me vs towards me, but every once in awhile I could still smell the smoke and the low air quality.

I would have to walk Cinnamon instead of driving her to her favorite watering hole to frolic and jump around while giving myself a break. After the rain slightly led up, we were on our way. The sky looked dark and more rain was scheduled. I didn’t care if I got a good soaking but that never happened. Instead we wandered through a soft, steady rain that was actually peaceful and enjoyable. Until the pain from walking caught up. There was no doubt I was walking way too slow for Cinnamon who regardless of her 8ft retractable leash was all over the place, excited, but pulling and jerking me every other minute, making me wince in pain each time. And then I mustered all my strengths and yanked her back as she did it the next time. She looked surprised and it was a moment that would haunt me later and send me further down the rabbit hole soon enough, feeling like I didn’t deserve her and what a bad parent I was, bringing her to live in such a small place, mostly leashed, with this heat…etc. etc. I cried a lot that day. Mainly for my own struggles and not necessarily hers. For various reasons, all emotions mixed together on this cloudy stormy day outside and within myself.

It’s only two days later now, and the storm clouds dissipated, letting us enjoy a great day. For the past two days thunderstorms were present each day which helped with the heat. By now I had walked Cinnamon three times already, each time a little further, trying to rebuild our strengths…well…mine, I suppose. We managed 2 miles today, which is nothing, but a beginning for me. How many times had I been here! It seemed like I was facing the same challenges of rebuilding my strengths each year. Most importantly, I wasn’t in much pain today and it brought a different quality to my life. Cinnamon was feisty and playful and I matched her mood, except the lizard chasing. I left that one up to her. Today we got to meet two boy dogs in the park and she even allowed a lady to pet her. A big improvement for a rescue pup that is very cautious when it comes to other animals and people. I saw it as progress and it warmed my heart. I know she is well taken care of, that she is loved beyond measure, has a good life and enjoys where she is. The dark thoughts from the other day disappeared and perhaps they were only there because of my own adjustment struggles. But for today, the Jeep, my means of travel to civilization still needs fixing, but life was good and I felt peaceful. For a moment I thought it would be the perfect time to work on chores. Surely they’d come much easier with minimum pain and I should take advantage of it. Believe me, I truly contemplated it for a moment trying to talk myself into it, but nah, I feel too good to waste the bliss on tasks and chores. Let me just marvel in it for awhile and enjoy it to the fullest.

Posted in Life, My story

Adjustments, wins and losses

Over three weeks have passed since I moved and adjustments, wins and losses came in all shapes and sizes. Luckily the losses were at a minimum and perhaps couldn’t even be called a loss. I knew that in actuality they were gifts and just another form of adjustment.

Life had taken on a much slower pace and if you looked at my step count for the day and weeks, reminders would flash most daily that there was still time to get more steps in. I didn’t care, I was more concerned with listening to my body, and even the pressure of meeting my daily quota fell to the wayside. Good or bad, too little or too much, who knows…I just went with the flow and looked at it as a chance for my body to recover from the strenuous months I had put it through. The Metatarsalgia was not causing any issues as I was wearing wide, loose and open shoes mostly. Even the calcium deposits on injured joints such as my big toe and both elbows were receding and not as pronounced anymore. Not that I’ve been walking on elbows, but some stress some pressure had been reduced and I was healing in that sense.

I was back on over the counter meds to manage the pain body, and perhaps that had something to do with it as well. Slowly the tension relaxed and to some degree a new life quality was infused even if meds are not my choice of drug. I could comb my hair, even put it up in a ponytail. Dressing was not as painful and manageable. I knew that for the time being I needed them and “temporary” was my key focus in the matter. Now if it could only cool off a bit.

I quickly learned that it was best to cook in the mornings and enjoy a lunch, vs cooking in the evening, adding more heat to the already toasty tiny abode. I could just run the air conditioning, but even here I reduced my footprint and my use on the environment, turning it on only when I really needed to. A $39 electric bill were the fruits of my labor and I know the next one will be higher. This concept would have to be revisited, because my “need to” threshold was causing a borderline suffering through the heat. But in fact, I cooked when I felt like it and enjoyed plenty of fresh salads in between. I had enough groceries to sustain me, besides the perishables like salad and veggies.

Due to the heat I postponed my trip into town for replenishment, knowing Cinnamon would have a hard time with the heat as well. So far I had met my husband each time I went to town, so he could watch her and provide an air conditioned environment in the car for her. “I missed you guys” he said the first two times we met after the move, but by now, even for him life was settling in anew, perhaps with the realization that life was moving on, without me, which seemed at some point impossible to grasp for me, but now he did just fine. Life wasn’t all that bad with a gained freedom. Actually life was good and life without me wasn’t the end of the world but a new opportunity, and a new beginning. I think he was finally coming to enjoy his freedom.

By now he purchased a new home, paid it with cash from the proceeds of our other house, which mainly went all to him. Talking to him, I perceived it as fun to go shopping for a new couch, a new dining set and other needed things to furnish the new castle, although he never fully admitted to it. It wasn’t something to share with me. He was never good with money, but always great with blowing through it quickly. Perhaps it was what I said in the end, telling him to be smart with his money, that he had the opportunity to retire and never having to work for someone else again. Either way, the sale on his new house would closed this week, he has taken procession, and the movers were scheduled. Less than a month ago, items were placed into storage and now he was preparing to move them once more. At least his share of boxes and furniture. Mine would remain there for quite a bit longer, at least until spring of next year. There was a time when he was unsure of where he would settle, always talking about moving south, and in all actuality I was a little surprised that he decided to stay. Perhaps it was fear of being to far away, alone, knowing that if he called I’d come to help him in any way. Well, mostly in any way. Now, with having a local second parent, joint custody for Cinnamon finally became a possibility, and we were getting along well enough to help each other wherever possible. At least for now.

I was getting ready to shop and explore plane tickets to Germany. It left me feeling with mixed emotions, not ready physically and on the health front, about mandatory Covid vaccination standards and about what was waiting ahead of me, dissolving a household, a home of three generations and a ton of work all over again, including another deadline of getting it done. Pressure and stress, the enemy to my existence and contributor of inflammation and pain. I was yet to weak to go into this endeavor with full gusto. Maybe next week will look better.

Posted in Freedom, Independence

Freedom revisited

Happy Birthday America

Today, we are celebrating Independence Day, and I can’t help myself but to feel the meaning of freedom just little more in depth these days. Perhaps it has become more personal in my circumstances. There is a different meaning and choices are waiting to be made. Choices on how I will use this new kind of freedom I have encountered. On how I will apply it towards the future. Up until now it’s been more of a survival mode, making it through each day, dealing with chronic pain and a heatwave. I realize that I am in this position for the very first time in my life. To make choices and decisions, armed with the wisdom and knowledge I have now. Surely I have always been a co-creator, to create the life I see fit for myself, but I also realize that this is new territory. That it has never been at this level and that the freedom to fully create the future has always been limited. It is now that I don’t see myself as a co-creator any longer but the sole creator of what’s to come. And yet I am learning that there are trade offs. Just like our horse spirit for July is forecasting, I have free reign, free will, free power of choice and it’s up to me. “Freedom is yours” it said.

Posted in Feelings, Trauma

Your trauma is valid

I’ve said it before and I say it again. Have you ever noticed how trauma and adversity is one of our biggest teachers. But how do we deal with it in the moment? When it stings and feels like our face gets a good sandpaper makeover? When our hearts are heavy and the skies are grey, when everything looks hopeless? Do we compare ourselves to others, only raising the bar and pressures for ourselves, only making things tougher? Do we feel unlucky and that life is simply out to get us? Do we encounter emotions of being left behind, lonely and confused, trying to make sense out of something that often can’t be explained and perhaps never will be? Do we blame ourselves, are we too hard on ourselves, to the point that we think something is wrong with ourselves?

Just recently I read a little something by Daniell Koepke called “Your trauma is valid.” It served as a reminder that our trauma is valid even if other people have experienced “worse.” It’s not a matter of who is off worse, of who is to judge, of who is to make that determination anyways. Every instance is different, and it’s becoming highly personal when it happens not to the next person but to us. It’s one thing to hear about it happening to someone, and it’s quite another when it knocks on our own door. It intensifies tenfolds, giving it a whole new experience.

Even if someone else went through the same experience that we did, and is not left feeling debilitated. Perhaps it appears that they have passed this challenge with flying colors. Perhaps the whole incident could have been avoided…a dear hindsight and the “what if” syndrome. Maybe it’s an incident long passed and we carry the scars of it that still beg to be healed. Perhaps we kept this secret to ourselves and nobody even knows the battles we fight most of the time, just trying to make it through each day.

You should remember that your trauma is real and valid, and you deserve a space to talk about it. It isn’t desperate or pathetic or attention seeking. It’s self care. It’s inconceivably brave. And regardless of the magnitude of your struggle, you’re allowed to take care of yourself by processing and unloading some of the pain you carry. Your pain matters. Your experience matters. Your trauma is valid, and your healing matters. Nothing and no one can take that away.

Posted in Animals, Oracle Cards, Spirit animals

Horse Spirit – Energy for July

Past month and spirit animals that have supported the energy for each month. Please have a look and see if it applies to you as it has to me. Here is what we can expect for the month of July.

“Freedom is yours” is our motto and here is deeper look as it relates via Colette Baron Reid.

When horse spirit appears, you are gifted with the spirit of movement and freedom. It is a time for travel and adventure, whether that means a trip somewhere or taking a different type of journey, one of freedom of choice. Horse spirit reminds you that no matter the circumstances, you have free will and choices that can take you far away to a better place, a better situation, a better state of being, for there is no one but you to rein in your will to make a different decision. You are capable of making powerful choices that will affect you for a long time to come.

Horses are social animals known to be a friend to mankind, willing to carry us forward when we need it. Horse spirit reminds you that help will be available to you whenever you need it and companions will be by your side wherever you choose to go, whatever direction you choose to travel. Life is an adventure, and Horse Spirit wants you to know that whatever choices you make, you have Great Spirit within, invisible yet holding you up and always walking by your side.

If your inquiry is about a relationship, you can set your heart free to experience love in all forms. Spirit whispers to you that the gift of freedom is yours if you allow yourself to break out of your perfectionism and stubbornness. Make a move and enjoy the freedom of letting go of the need to control.