Posted in Achievement, Challenges, Hiking, Moments

Profound “matters”

Here I am again, with yet another picture of me standing in “The Wave.” It’s been a week since the hike and never in a million years could I have imagined the impact this hike and this experience would have on me. Anxiety, fear and initial worry has transformed into astonishment, appreciation and gratitude. As the days pass, I realize that this was so much more than just a hike, than just an adventure, seeing a new place, pushing myself to once known now vanished heights, more than a road trip and getting out for some exercise. Little did I know how important this hike would become for me, and that it would be turning point and therefore the memory of a lifetime. In the end it would mark that very special moment that made all the difference. If you haven’t read about how much I cursed the hike initially while I was in the middle of it, you can do so here. Sometimes we just don’t understand what’s ultimately good for us in that particular moment. It takes hindsight and a different perspective. One that is much easier to come by when we are comfortable and don’t have to huff and puff, scaling mountains and physically exert ourselves. Who has ever enjoyed that? Believe it or not, some do, I just don’t happen to be one of them, although I often wished I was and that this feel good feeling didn’t require all that much effort. Deep down I know it wouldn’t stand for the same if it did, yet I have to remind myself of it in the midst of struggling to achieve that high.

One week later and with each passing day more clarity sets in and the gratefulness is growing to new proportions within, making my chest swell up like a proud parent. For the first time I am not ashamed or feel that there is something wrong with giving myself some kudos. For the first time I am not searching for ways, subconsciously or conscious, on what could have been better and how I could criticize myself. Now matter how much I dissect the adventure, there is nothing but appreciation. I am seeing this experience from all angles, in every way. I recognize all that it was and still is, and it is blown wide open, including my heart, with no secrets to hide, leaving me in amazement and awe. I have reached a different level of gratefulness and therefore this has turned into a profound “matter” for me. I am content, at ease with what I have achieved, and nothing needs to improve, nor does anything requires changing.

A week later I can see how much this hike has meant to me and how many others have lived vicariously through my experience. I have received cheers and congratulation messages. Compliment over compliment and many have stated that they have found inspiration and hope in my journey for dealing with their own chronic dis-ease. A week later the picture is still developing as new realizations find me and feed me with hope, pride, a gratefulness like no other, and a self love and respect that has come to the surface and never quite existed on this profound level. A week later I see this experience that others have named as brave and courageous, through a different set of lenses. Quotes such as “No guts, no glory” are embodied and lived, experienced word for word and the meaning is understood with a great new appreciation.

I have also come to realize that my journey with the RA always required that “profound matter” to carry me through the darkness. And it was a matter that was never given to me, but rather it was self created, self invented and self driven. It was self initiated, from a mind set that was not about to give up and has always believed, while keeping hope alive. When I talk of this particular darkness, I am talking about my bouts with the RA, overcoming it and sending it into remission. Within this week I’ve received comment in regards to my post about hiking the wave on social media. Others who fight the same battle as I do, and who have never been able to send the RA into remission. I count myself extremely lucky and blessed that I have been able to do so several times. “Why me” has taken on a different meaning as well and I am learning about the underlying reasons as to why. I believe that I am meant to share this journey. Perhaps to spread hope and shine a light for others stumbling through their own struggles. And if that is my purpose and my meaning, then I most humbled accept the challenge. Looking back on this now, I realize that it took something profound each time when I battled this pain. Something that would fill and sidetrack me with such intensity and interest that it allowed to replace some of that darkness with rays of hope and light.

After the initial onset of the RA and after being diagnosed with what felt like a death sentence, someone special introduced me to hiking. It felt crazy to think of hiking and physical exercise while I struggled to dress and complete basic daily functions. Why do something that inflicted even more pain, was my initial thoughts. But I did it and I learned that there was much more to life and working your butt off, having no time at all for yourself and no balance from day to day. I fell in love with Mother Nature and combined my time out with my passion for photography. I gifted myself that time out, made it a priority and it was me who put me into the foreground. It was me who decided that it was important enough and it was me who made it happen. I was presented with a gift, an opportunity, but I had to seize that opportunity and put it into action myself. Nobody could have done it for me. I got stronger, slowly, and eventually I overcame, with the RA going into remission. During a flare up, years later, and the RA coming back, that “profound matter” became my artwork and I started to paint. Again, the same happened and the RA subsided. Later it was writing and this blog was created. Yet later, I became an energy healer and certified as a Reiki Master. Expanding beyond Reiki and taking a holistic approach, co-creating my life, my nutrition and being actively involved was a great approach for me, but the past 3 years and many lifestyle changes have been extreme and brought yet another flare. The worst one and most powerful / painful one yet. I tried to rely on everything that I had learned in my battle with the RA, but it wasn’t enough and nothing really seemed to help and do the trick. I needed something new, an experience, an adventure, a hobby, another “profound matter.” It was time to level up once more and gather new insight.

I was searching and looking everywhere, not really finding anything. Until I became complacent with my days and the same routine. My new circumstances were wearing off and I was searching for my purpose, about what’s next, about the next chapter. I had taken the first steps to create the new, but then I was hanging there, in mere limbo, existing, with the days passing by, just making it, for another day of the same. That could not be my purpose and what was in store for me. I never believed this status being “it.” I was dwindling into the rabbit hole, a routine, a sense of just waiting for things to change, to get better, to adjust to my new, of coming to terms with all the changes, of people leaving in the midst of it, of ending relationships and a big part of my life, and trying to understand it all. I became very vulnerable, very soft, very raw, fragile, emotional almost unstable at times. I needed to break and shatter to prepare myself for what was next, only I couldn’t see it while it was happening. Again it took hindsight and not resisting. To let it unfold, to go with the flow, to trust, even when the path seemed unclear. And then I started doing the work. The hard stuff, the inner work, facing the shadows, the darkness, the less desirable aspects of being human, of being me. I became actively involved in my future, the things that needed to acknowledged and worked on. The things that needed to change, the things that needed to be healed foremost to lay a new foundation. By then my awareness, as well as my consciousness had taken on deeper meanings as I leveled up once more and started to see, feel and experience things at a new depth.

When it comes to the RA, I still believed that anything was possible. That it came on it’s own and that it could leave on it’s own again. Many would consider such an approach as foolish or naive, but then again this was my way and by no means would I recommend it to everyone. For me it fits and for me, it has worked and that’s all that matters. What I needed was to not create an environment where the RA wanted to hang around. You see it thrives on stress, fear and worry. It loves misery and it steals your hope and otherwise positive outlook. It’s a battle to see the bright side when you are riddled by pain and there were times I didn’t know how to make it out of the hole I found myself in. Luckily for me, the slightest break, even if just for a few hours, brings the biggest motivation and a will to go on that is unmatched and surprises me to no end. Despite of all the uncertainties, and this pain potentially being my new future, I surrendered the need to force and control the outcome once more. But I refused to believe that this fate was meant to be mine and if it was, then it was out of my control anyways. All I could do was trust.

A plan was put into action and I forced myself to walk more, gritting under pain every step of the way. I needed to build resilience for Germany as I surely need to go. I understood that everything had transpired the way it needed to, that nothing and no experience could have been spared, missed or fast forwarded, it was needed and everything had it’s place,b coming an essential lesson in my learning process. Now was the time and I started walking. More and more, building myself up and falling back again. A fight that was motivating at times, yet a vicious cycle of defeat during other times. You know the story and I don’t need to elaborate. I have recorded my struggles, challenges and victories well over the months of this year and beyond. And then “The Wave” came into my life and you had a chance to read about this as well.

Now a week later, I see that experience as one of these “profound matters” and exactly what I needed and what I had searched for. Could I have done it earlier, while I was searching to find that one special thing that would carry me through the darkness!!! We know the answer to that all happens on their own schedule, in divine timing. You have to be ready and be prepared on all aspects of it. The foundation has to be laid, the mindset has to be right, and the opportunities have to be recognized and seized. Further it requires physical and mental strength, a willingness to go on and that special extra to carry us through. To me this was more than just a hike. I have gone on more difficult challenges and longer ones in the past that instilled equally a sense of pride and accomplishment. But this one marks a turning point for me. The end of the extreme suffering and the limitations that this period has brought for me. This hike has reminded me that miracles happen every day, that anything is possible and that rewards will follow when we don’t give up. When we surrender and express gratitude for what is. I went into this hike with zero expectations and whatever was meant for me, I would gratefully accept. No regrets, no guilt, no shame, all replaced by motivation, a will to try, to be actively involved, to giving it my best. That was enough, regardless of the outcome. And now, once more this hike has shown me what wonderful things can happen and what gifts we receive when we drop those poisoning expectations that so often bring negative outcomes to so many situations. This hike has fueled me and motivated me. To sit in this magical place has been a spiritual experience that has restored and tipped the balance of light and darkness. For now it has laid a new foundation, one that I build upon daily. It has provided that turning point even if the actual point was created slightly before to make it physically possible. It was the moment of realization, the moment that enabled what’s to come. A moment I will never forget and that will always remain as one of theses “profound matter.”

Posted in Adventure, Challenges, Hiking, Mother nature

I made it…(with support and help)…and I’m here to tell my story

2021 has been a year of many different endeavors and adventures, but when it comes to hiking this is my biggest and my only one to report this year. It still seems surreal that I got to experience this place and that I made it. This is my story of what it was like.

If you follow this blog regularly, then you know that on the physical front and health wise 2021 has been a huge challenge for me. I have encountered one of the most powerful RA flare ups, which had rendered me unable to hike and accomplish normal daily tasks. For months, days were filled with pain of different levels and just walking on slightly uneven ground presented a huge challenge for me. Walking was hard, period, and I felt stiff and uncoordinated. And then came a break and I managed 2 miles and then 3 miles before the trip. Two days before the “Wave” hike I made it to 4.2 miles and 4 Miles the next trying to build up my endurance. My feet felt like they had gone through a meat grinder which didn’t help ease the anxiety I had about the hike. From the beginning on after learning that we had won the lottery and permits to hike the wave, my excitement was muffled about this rare and at times NEVER in a lifetime opportunity that I was presented with. I had my doubts that I make it, that I would be physically able to do it. I was nervous all the way up to the trailhead and beyond. 4.2 miles was the furthest I had managed so far and what was ahead of me was a 6.4 miles round trip, another 2.2 miles. I should be able to make it if I take my time I convinced myself. Too late to turn back now and I knew it was now or NEVER.

The trail started out in a wash, a dried up riverbed that can flood quickly and at any time during flash floods. These floods can occur rapidly and suddenly, carrying a wall of water, 12 ft high from storms that often occur far away. Challenge #1 keeping an eye out to not be taken by surprise or off guard should such a thing happen today. This was not the way I planned on being swept away today.

A half mile later, following the wash, a trail was leaving the riverbed, leading into a short but steep rocky climb to higher elevation. I took my time, huffed a little and thought that just recently I would have not been able to made this climb. Overall I was glad to be at higher elevations as this 12ft wall of rushing water was still in the back of my mind. What followed next was a good stretch of sandy path that was actually easy on the feet. Cinnamon loved it and pranced around with temps still on the cool side and an overcast sky. Partly cloudy was the forecast in the mid 60’s. By the end of that stretch my phone said that I had gone nearly 1.5 miles already and I felt confident that I’d make it. After all I was halfway there already while assessing my energy levels and current condition.

The sandy, soft on your feet section ended across another wash that appeared wet and just recently flooded. In front of me was a moderately to steep rock wall. “What, we have to climb this wall” is what I recall myself saying and it was in that very moment that what was described to me as an easy trail taking on a different meaning. Easy? Apparently your type of easy and mine are a lottttt different I thought. You got to be kidding me. Slow and steady does it and I climbed the wall, feeling then already that a few times I was hitting my physical limitation. Yeah it was cooler which is better for me to hike, but going from 0-100 in practically no time of adjustment was something else. This would push my limits at the end of a major RA flare. Pure adrenaline pushed me on, but this was only one way and I would have to make it back again as well. I remember fearing that I’d exhaust all of my energy, that I’d run my tank on empty, but that 6.4 miles round trip number still brought some comfort. Hopefully some time of rest would be enough to recover for the way back.

What goes up must come down and on the other side of the rock wall that I had just climbed was waiting the descend. Worse than going up for me with the arthritic knees and having to step sideways down the steep “Paul Bunyan” steps. And of course I made that as well. Further hilly stretches of ups and downs, with sand and slippery rock followed where you either follow the footsteps of others who came before you in the sand or the pictures on a map you are giving that shows landmarks along this mainly unmarked trail to the wave. 4 miles had passed, aren’t we close yet? I should have arrived already. “See the people (the tiny dots) ahead of us….that’s where we are going. “You got to be kidding” made a reappearance and by now I started to feel anger, frustration, fear, worry and doubt, all rushing in at the same time. An encouraging “I am proud of you and you are doing great” was shot down by me saying that being proud had nothing to do with this. That this was borderline stupidity, that I felt in danger, at risk of getting hurt, of doing more damage to my joints, that I had no health insurance if something did happen, and that it might was a bit much for Cinnamon to manage as well, since she had never gone this far in her little short life. Again, just like before I called for higher protection to be able to make it and to keep me safe throughout it all. This was not what I had signed up for and I felt that the decision of whether to be able to attempt that hike was taken from me and had never been mine to make. How foolish, I thought, feeling misunderstood with no clue of what I endured with this relentless disease so far this year. It’s so much more than just a little arthritis pain. It’s excruciating, debilitating to the point of that it is deforming your joints and bones. Not to mention the fatigue and all the other side affects it brings along with itself. Honestly, had I known, I most likely would have not gone, and I’m sure it was no secret even though the words were never spoken. But like always anger always passes, and in all my big achievements it was better for me not to know what was ahead of me. Perhaps I would have doubted myself, not believed in myself enough to make it, stressed myself out prematurely or what have you, despite of my strong believe that we can achieve anything if we put our mind to it.

The tiny dots ahead of us were scaling another rock wall. Steeper and more daunting yet, than the initial one and prior ones I had climbed. Between us a sand dune with deep sandy parts and another descend. Wet sand, wet and dry rock and sheer cliffs caused extra need for caution. It was slow going with one step forward and two steps back in the sandy, climbing parts. Having reached the rock wall we took a break and it was suggested that we don’t have to go any further. I was still fuming at that point, but frustration was turning into desperation, fear and another prayer. How could I have lived with that decision and the only way I would have stopped, denying myself and everyone the view of the destination would have been if I felt Cinnamon was at risk. We were so close, stopping or turning around was not optional, I would have never lived this one down. On we went to the final stretch, the final climb, dousing Cinnamon once more with water along her backside to keep her cool. The overcast sky had cleared to partly cloudy and it seemed like the temps had shot up by 20 degrees which caused part of the difficulty. Unbelievable, in November, and I can’t imagine hiking this in 100+ degrees that it easily reaches in the summer month.

The final ascend was the hardest, steep and slippery. Here I was in my new shoes, men’s walking shoes to accommodate my wider foot now that had spread out over the summer, courtesy of the RA. In my opinion the sole and profile of my shoes seemed non sufficient for such a task, too flat with not enough profile and it wasn’t proven as secure yet that they could handle such terrain. Not to mention my own ankles and agility. I don’t know how many times I thought that any minute I would roll my ankle over the uneven ground and having to walk sideways, over the angled rock. All while keeping my eyes peeled for rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions.

And then we had finally made it. We had arrived at a (for me) once in a lifetime opportunity and stood at the entrance to the wave. I knew this would be my only time seeing it and that I most likely would never make it back here again. Here I was 5+ miles later with another 5+ to make it back to the trailhead, grateful and overcome by this natural beauty. How many times had I been in this position before, cursing, on the brink of wanting to give up, on the edge of tears and anger, somehow finding the courage and strength to push on and be rewarded with something that is always worthwhile in the end. You just can’t drive up to a location like this and the most stunning views require hard work to get there. Before the hike I knew and thought to myself that this adventure would definitely show me what I am made off, although deep down I already knew the answer to that. It’s amazing what we can achieve by sheer willpower, when we don’t set our own limitations and believe that anything is possible. There truly is no guts and glory in the passive, in waiting, but it is in the daily choices we make for ourselves and we are always one choice away from a completely different life.

We were able to stay a few hours and take as many pictures while enjoying as many angles of the wave as possible. In the end we had it all to ourselves which was my favorite part. Listening to the silence and feeling the magic of this place that definitely holds a healing vortex, I sat in stillness, grounding and replenishing myself for what was ahead. Eventually leaving, we allowed ourselves plenty of time to make it back with breaks and before darkness would hit. Getting back took actually a bit longer and I chalk it up to just being tired from having walked so far already. I was extra cautious to not make mistakes and get careless because of fatigue. Surprisingly my feet felt decent with the extra cushioning of the metatarsal pads I was wearing inside my roomy shoes, but they were tired to say the least. Back at the trailhead and 10+ miles later, it felt surreal that I got to see and experience this magnificent wonder. That I had made it and could mark this off of my bucket list, being given that second chance after missing my first one as I left for Germany to care for my sick mother in 2018. That I could share this adventure with someone special and that I had help and support through the sketchy parts. Surely I would have made it on my own if I had to, but it would have been far scarier, with additional time requirements shortening my stay. It will be an experience that stays with me forever and a testimony of the human spirit and making not even the sky your limit.

Now a few days later, I made two posts on social media in hiking with dogs and another group, with this very picture and a much much shortened version, basically just expressing gratefulness of being able to hike it after my major RA flare up this year. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring and support and the comments I have received. I am humbled by how many people have been touched by this story, how many still have this as a lifelong goal on their bucket list and how extremely lucky I have been to have seen it. The responses have shown me that we all are in need of a good story to motivate us and to keep us going. That we all carry each other home and that we are the co creators of our own such story. Keep shooting for the stars my friend, you have just witnessed that anything is possible.

Posted in Challenges, Hiking, Mother nature

The Wave

It’s been a year of abstinence for me. A year that lacked the announcements of physical achievements, of climbing mountains, and exploring other never before seen trails within Mother Nature. It’s been a year of abstinence from hiking and my Camera Roll is missing the spectacular images that are added year after year, except this one. I simply wasn’t able to hike because of health reasons and a major RA flare up. Recently, my life has shown improvements with the shedding of some burdens, responsibilities, trauma bonds, wounded inner children that were integrated and healed, shadow work, adjusting to my new life, the help of new shoes and metatarsal pads, loving support within family and friends and probably even more, not listing here. I am working on gently and carefully rebuilding my strength without doing too much or causing further setbacks. It’s a delicate balance, one of which I am still an eager student to and which I still haven’t figured out completely. What seems to work one day, doesn’t the next and therefore the statement that not all days are equal still remains in effect stronger than ever. Finding out what is too much and what is not enough requires an intimate relationship between body and mind and I am listening closely and feeling with every fiber of my being. Either way, I am venturing and I am daring to take the next step.

Back in 2018 we won lottery tickets to The Wave in Arizona which is a sandstone formation in Arizona. Each day names are drawn from a lottery type system to keep traffic down and to preserve this natural phenomenon. Only 20 people are allowed to visit each day. To win requires luck with a persistence and determination to try over and over. Well, we had won, but I couldn’t go because an emergency presented itself and I booked a flight to Germany to be by Mom’s bedside. I was sad to have missed this opportunity, seeing this magnificent place of which pictures never do it justice, but I had no choice and it was neither optional, nor was it here or there not booking that flight. It was the right thing to do and I did without a question or hesitation. I just wished these dates would have not crossed. Ugghhh…Murpy’s law would have its own way.

Three years later, good things come to those who wait, or those who are patient and persistent. We won tickets once more, what are the chances? Instead of jumping up and down for joy, my excitement was initially very stifled. I didn’t think I could do it and some doubt still finds it’s way into my mind. Not going is not optional I was told as these opportunities may only come once in a lifetime, if ever. How lucky to be presented with such an opportunity for the second time around. We are embarking on a 6 day trip to visit “The Wave” and other sights within the area. Short little hikes are planned with some sightseeing directly from the car. It will be different no doubt, especially with a dog in tow and plans have to be made to visit dog friendly parks as well as accommodations. My fingers are crossed tightly that I manage somehow and I will be careful every step of the way. Hiking to and back from the wave will be my biggest distance challenge since last year and although daunting a bit, I trust to make it and keep positive. I will approach this journey with no expectations and whatever I get to see and experience will be a great gift and a bonus. If I need downtime and have to miss a day, it will be ok as well and gratefully I accept what is for me at this time. This will be my one and only adventure this year and it couldn’t be to a better place. This time of year the temperatures are comfortable for me and the sweltering heat has subsided. It’s the off season and hopefully tourism is much slower than during the summer months as well. I can’t wait to report back to you and share some of my own pictures. Our visit to this monument is scheduled for November 1st although I will be gone from October 28th through the 2nd of November. Fingers crossed all goes well. I am packed and like at any sleepover or trip my toenails are cut and other grooming rituals have commenced. Yeah don’t ask, it’s something learned from Mom as a child, something that apparently will stick with me for the rest of my life. Funny how all of this seemed to have happened on auto pilot. A given routine that doesn’t require a conscious thought or a plan, it just happens 😜.

My posts are scheduled and responses might be a little slow but what else is new and this happens even when I’m home, haha. You know I value you and I will always get back to you. Much love to all of you beautiful souls.

Posted in Anxiety, Challenges, Life

Home sweet home and one of the biggest responsibilities of all

Picture credit: Pinterest

I’ve talked about it many times before, my upbringing as well as that, that applies to conventional society and the expectations that are placed onto us . I am not the only one who was raised with certain standards, programs and expectations so we can grow up to be responsible adults. These programs consist of values passed on from generation to generation, sharing the wisdom of what is important in life, meant to guide us on our way. Fact is, that it often takes years and years, sometimes even a lifetime to learn that these teachings are not in line with our most authentic self. From there we spend a lifetime unlearning what we have been taught in order to find ourselves.

We are trained to do well in school. Later we search for a job that pays great, that offers a successful career so we can acquire “the toys” to validate our hard work. These possessions include cars, material wealth and the biggest burden of all, a house. While it’s nice to have your own roof over your head instead of putting money into someone else’s pocket, the many years of sacrifice it takes until you hopefully own it one day, often go unseen. The years it takes until that lucky day comes, are often swept under the carpet. It’s just the way it is, and one needs to work hard for the luxury of owning a house, to provide a place for themselves and to raise a family. The long hours of work, the years of budgeting, and the monthly expenses are accepted in silence, they are a part of it, and simply the price one has to pay. Here in America the average loan takes 30 years to pay off. 30 years of your best life. What is instilled into us is to work hard, to have something to show for (the material things) and to uphold certain standards. This pressure can amount to such enormous levels that we see ourselves in constant competition to keep up with the Jones’s.

Until just recently I was paying for a mortgage too, and it would have taken another 15 years to pay it off until I could fully call it mine. I’d have to wait until I was 71 to finally enjoy financial freedom. To travel, be able to retire with enough to make a living and enjoy whatever life I’d have left. Today’s youth is growing up differently and smarter in many ways. They know much earlier what they want and where to invest their energy into. There is not a lack of people wanting to own their own house, but we are finding alternatives such as tiny living and embracing minimalism for financial independence. We no longer become slaves to our financial obligations and we are finding a way to push a healthy work-life balance into the foreground as a must.

After Mom’s passing in 2019 and being the only child, I inherited her house in Germany which now is mine. It’s been on my mind constantly since. Shortly after Mom passed I was asked about what I will do with the house. Will I sell it, will I keep it, what was next! How lucky I was to have inherited it the begin with, given that it takes 30 years of hard work to pay it off in most cases. And some people never even make it and get that lucky to own their own home. I was definitely better off than most. Here I was paying for my home in America while inheriting one, fully paid in Germany.

It seemed impossible to come up with an answer, let alone consider the possibility of selling it. I was undecided and torn. During my 10 month stay to care for Mom in 2018 and the 3 month in 2019, I surrounded myself with the walls that held Mom for so many years. The walls that shielded her from the outside world, made her somewhat of a hermit, living in the past and that became her time, decades that stood still. It was those very walls that knew her story, which had seen her pain, the tears and her loneliness. It was the walls that held the memory of my father who died tragically while the remodel for the house was still underway. It was the memory, a memorial to my Dad that remained unchanged since 1974, and perhaps these walls were the last place where Mom considered herself happy. I felt close to her within those walls, a closeness I have always chased during her living years, and here in her most intimate quarters, I felt it all. The heaviness and all the emotions surrounding it. She always wanted me home and in a way it was as if my being there was saying “your girl is finally here, I have finally come home.” Too late to enjoy this time together, while you were alive, but home, taking care of her castle, the house that meant so much to her.

For quite some time, I honestly believed that I would return to Germany, renovating and living in my parents house. A house stuck in the theme of 1974, the time Dad passed. Not having a mortgage, no longer paying these monthly dues was appealing, and I thought that I could leave behind my adult life of 30 some years spent here in the States, to find peace and serenity in the countryside of the small village I had left behind so many years. It wasn’t that this grown up country girl had become a city girl and couldn’t see herself in a small village anymore. It was quite the opposite and by now I was yearning for the silence Mom embraced for so many years. Not the loneliness, but the serenity and the absence of noise. I didn’t mind to be in a small village. A place everybody knew everybody, a place that sometimes enjoys a bit of gossip, (the very thing that drove me nuts growing up there) and every time I was back “home” I found it hard to leave again.

More than a year passed after leaving the house empty and wrestling with the subject of what to do until I finally could sort my feelings. By now two years have passed and my findings are still the same. The house is always on my mind and I constantly worry about it standing empty, a shell of what used to be, a reminder of loneliness and pain. Despite of feeling the vibrations and emotions of pain while I stayed in the house, it never discouraged me and I always thought that my love was stronger, and that it could replace and fill these walls with happier emotions. I still feel the same and I know I could, but I lack the motivation to turn it into reality. I am tired and I finally realize that it will always be my parents house instead of my own. It doesn’t matter that it is in my name and that I am the sole owner of it, it was “their thing”, their goal, their dream, their hard work.

I no longer want to hold on to a house that was my parents dream, but not necessarily mine. I know that if I moved back to Germany, it would be to uphold their vision and deny my own. I don’t want to compromise anymore and I am late to chase my own dreams. In my decision making time I struggled with Mom seeing me as most ungrateful, perhaps feeling that I was not deserving of inheriting her house. Perhaps she would feel like she should have donated it to the church like she mentioned once in a fight, and perhaps this is all warranted and true. But it’s out of my control if I want to be true to myself. I am most grateful for the opportunity to live there or to sell it so I can chase my own sanctuary. It has not been easy, struggling with all these thoughts of what to do, the guilty feelings and wanting to do the right thing by her. In the end I realize that the right thing in her eyes would be something that holds me back. Moving to Germany would have been fueled by the yearning to be accepted by Mom, doing what she would have expected. I was looking for her approval, something I had chased all my life, the approval from someone that was no longer here. I realized the motivation behind my thoughts, to finally do the right thing and redeem myself for all the years of being gone and having disappointed her. I was too late, she was gone, or could it be that she would smile down from heaven in approval, finally giving me that sign.

For the longest I wanted to hold on to my house here in the states. I’ve worked so hard for it and it had many custom and special features. But that mortgage was definitely a ball and chain that kept me on a tight leash, unable to live life as I see it. Selling it to move to Germany was hard to envision. Leaving all comforts for a house that needs to be remodeled just to meet today’s standard was a daunting vision and a costly one. Shelling out all that money just to have something that was never my vision, was hard to imagine. And not having children of my own to pass it on to some day. Yes I could have sold it and applied the money to the mortgage I had here. It would have made a big dent into the remaining balance but even that was no longer me as I was downsizing, not needing all that space anymore, nor wanting the responsibility of it all. I was well on my way of becoming a minimalist.

My life underwent a transition phase, one that was reevaluating what is truly needed, where I see myself in the future, what dreams I want to chase, downsizing in the meantime to a little place of bliss and happiness. It is ever evolving and new doors continue to open whether I am ready to walk through them or not. I was leaning towards something radical, to sell both places and to truly pursue my happiness. The “The Tiny Abode” surely was something radical and it’s more and more becoming a home, although I don’t see it as a permanent one. The decision sounded right, logical and perfect and yet it’s been a complex endeavor but also a fun process. It feels right and I know that I am working towards my dream, my peace, what I deserve, being my own boss, and never returning to that rat race again. It means financial freedom to collect moments, memories and experiences versus material things. Now that I finally see the path clearly I need to go to Germany and take care of a house that is a ghost of the past. A house that is in dire straits, a house that is falling apart and a house that is keeping me from my destiny.

Posted in Challenges, Confidence, Faith

Never trust a Mirror

We look into the mirror every day, but what is it that we truly see? Is it a quick glance to check our appearance, do we give ourselves a quick wink, or do we look at ourselves with a critical eye? Have you ever given yourself a pep talk while looking into the mirror? Maybe that critical eye is not just for the way we look, but a close, deep, in depth attempt to see who is looking back at us. This brings me to a little statement that says to never trust a mirror, because a mirror always lies. It makes you think that all you’re worth can be seen from the outside. Never trust a mirror, it only shows you what’s skin deep. You can’t see how your eyelids flutter when you’re drifting off to sleep. It doesn’t show you what the world sees when you’re only being you. Or how your eyes just light up when you’re loving what you do. It doesn’t capture when you’re smiling where no one else can see, and your reflection cannot tell you everything you mean to me. Never trust a mirror, for it only shows your skin, and if you think that it dictates your worth, it’s time you looked within.

~e.h.

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 Challenges, Inspiration

A conversation with God

Out of the blue I remembered a tarot card I once drew, asking about what was ahead on my journey. This was a few years ago and I don’t remember which card it was that came up, but I remember the message. The memory of it came crystal clear into mind today and told me that I would prevail in the end, but that I would have to use all resources I could muster and then some. Only then would I escape being broken, lost and shattered by a hair. Believe me there are broken pieces, pieces that have been glued back together, pieces that are shattered, but not to point of being lost. I feel that those pieces have enriched me. Those pieces show the journey, the survival of hardship, and that we don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes it actually is those broken pieces that make us perfectly imperfect.

The thought of it sounded scary at the time I drew the card, although it came with a silver lining and that I would make it. I could have not imagined what was lying ahead, how hard the road would become and what huge obstacles fell into my way. I’ve fought like a lioness, I’ve defended where it was needed. I have been patient, forgiving, wiser and compassionate in a situation that didn’t always deserve kindness. I’ve been that Phoenix rising from the ashes and now looking back I fully understand the magnitude of this card. There were times I did feel lost, when I prayed to God, to the universe, to my guides and spirit helpers for help. It’s been a process stretched over many years of experiences and letting go. This poem sums it up nicely as I enjoy the process of becoming.

Me: Hello God

God: Hello…

Me: I’m falling apart. Can you put me back together?

God: I’d rather not.

Me: Why?

God: Because you’re not a puzzle.

Me: What about all the pieces of my life that fall to the ground?

God: Leave them there for awhile. They fell for a reason. Let them be there for a while and then decide if you need to take any of those pieces back.

Me: You don’t understand! I’m breaking!

God: No, you don’t understand. You’re transcending, evolving. What you feel are growing pains. You’re getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down. The pieces are being put in place. Relax. Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need fall down. Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer for you. Let them fall. Let them go.

Me: Once I start doing that, what will I have left?

God: Only the best pieces of yourself.

Me: I’m afraid to change.

God: I keep telling you: YOU’RE NOT CHANGING! YOU’RE BECOMING!

Me: Becoming, Who?

God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. I made you for so much more than those shallow pieces you decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear. Let those things fall off you. I love you! Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become! Become who I want you to be, who I created. I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember.

Me: There goes another piece.

God: Yes. Let it be like this.

Me: So….I’m not broken?

God: No, but you’re breaking the darkness, like dawn. It’s a new day. Become! Become who you really are!”

John Roedel

Posted in Challenges, Fear, Fire, Inspiration

Close to home – The first fire

We had the first fire close to home, and all of a sudden fire sirens pierced through the silence and idyllic settings. I was taken by surprise to hear such a sound, here, on a dirt road, and it wouldn’t be the only time a “what the hell” moment was visible on my face for that day.

I turned and could see the plume from the lake where Cinnamon and myself were cooling off. Black smoke rose to the blue sky, coming from the same direction of our new home. I had cooked chicken earlier before leaving and I’m not sure why it even crossed my mind, questioning myself if I indeed turned the stove off. Of course I did, I had cleaned up afterwards and I would have noticed. I would have burned myself. Either way, we cut our visit short and drove back towards home and the direction of the ominous plume. I was relieved to find the fire extending further south, but it was still close and the breeze of the wind could shift and push it through the miles in no time. I had to know where it was coming from and how bad it was.

Apparently it was a downed power line that started the fire in a nearby village. Fire crews were able to get a good handle on it and contain it within a few hours. I’m not sure of the damage but I’m sure glad that everything ended relatively harmless compared to the thousands of acres that burn during wildfires. And it is that season, which brings me to my other “what the hell” expression.

A few party people arrived the other day. Loud, drinking, partying until the morning hours, with little consideration for the otherwise pretty quiet surroundings and neighbors. It was early evening that a few decided to do some target practice right next to the park. Single shots, and rapid fire echoed through the silence, lasting a good 20 minutes. Now that was a sound I wasn’t expecting to hear, especially here, and it took me equally by surprise. It definitely added a different element to lying in the hammock, relaxing, looking at the trees. It was just the sound I wanted to hear. While a fire was raging just miles down the road, wasn’t anybody thinking about that shooting bullets into a dry, high fire danger, could ignite a spark and therefore another fire, this time far too close to home?

Posted in Challenges, Chronic illness, My story

Tangled up mess

I am planning to make weekly trips into town, for groceries, perhaps laundry, check the PO Box, the storage shed, and anything else that needs to be tended to. Such a trip is coming up for me on Wednesday, one week after our initial move.

We signed the final papers for the house the Tuesday before. Wednesday we vacated the house, and a final walk through with the buyers was scheduled later that day. Not that we had to be present during that time, but we were aware of it of course. Thursday morning we signed off that the house was accepted and all contingencies have been met. Our checks (separate checks from the house sale) would be ready by 2PM and I had to come back to sign, accept and deposit the check. Well it happened to be that there was no two separate checks, and the check was issued to both of us. Surprise, surprise, despite filling out a form about the proceeds division. Needless to say the entire check was deposited into my husbands account after we both signed it. With a two day hold nothing would be done until after the weekend. So here we were trying to figure out how to get me my money and bypassing the daily max of $2500 that can be transferred. A cashiers check it would have to be and I hope to deposit it next week during my regular trip.

In the meantime, the husband had found a house already and made an offer on it. I truly hope it works out for him and the offer is accepted. It sounded like a nice place for him with the potential of Cinnamon staying over, especially when I have to go to Germany. That would be a big load off of my back knowing she is taken care of and with someone she knows. As far as for him, I’m truly happy and hope this place can give purpose and a new outlook in life. Either way my fingers are crossed and I hope for the best.

Posted in Anxiety, Challenges, Courage

Braving the storm

Today was one of those days again. A day to brave the storm and with 5 weeks left until ground zero (when we have to vacate the house), the storm clouds have become much more reasonable. It has been realized that getting ugly and mean about things won’t change a thing, but in fact diminish and take that little shred of hope that is being held on to. Maybe that shred will dissipate in a few weeks when all hope is gone and nothing is left to lose, but I like to stay optimistic and hope we can handle this in a civil manner.

Today Cinnamon came into the equation again and it was stated that if I don’t want to have a part of a future together, then I need to go and leave her behind so he at least has someone. Strange it was exactly what I was considering initially as she came into our lives. I never thought the timing was right but perhaps she would give him purpose. For him to have a reason to go on, something, or someone to be responsible for. Everything panned out exactly as I might have expected so what’s the problem?

I should have known that Cinnamon would bond to me more and that I wouldn’t stand a chance to only love her so much and not get whole heartedly swept up by her. I guess I was willing to take the risk, to allow it to break my heart in order to save his. She is like a child to me, the child I never had and he is asking me to give her up.

I know I will have to go to Germany as soon as I can to handle my affairs there. Taking her along would be stressful for all involved and probably set me back from what I have to accomplish. I know she’d be in good hands with him as he loves her dearly, so why is this so hard? It is true that I will do whatever it takes to provide the best outcome for her, even if it means losing her to him. I also know how much she enjoys her weekly hikes, her adventures and outings with me that he cannot provide for her. It breaks my heart because she deserves it all. I also know that I won’t be able to provide such adventures while I’m in Germany, so either way, she won’t get that time from him, nor will she from me. Today is one of those days and today just knowing that we might have to part in less than 6 weeks is sending the emotions through the roof.

There is a quote by Haruki Murakami that says that once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain, when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about and what I know that I am not the same anymore, I look to the day the skies are blue and without a storm for awhile. I am tired.