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.

Posted in Challenges, Empowerment, Human spirit, Life

Warrior Spirit

Original painting by me, titled Warrior Princess.

Have you ever met someone that exudes a warrior spirit? Someone that seems strong, resilient and resourceful in the eye of adversity?

Truth is….

behind every warrior princess and every fighter, lies a wounded inner child who had to find their way to attain that strength. You could say that they very much earned that status d these days when I meet someone like that, I can’t help but wonder what their story is.

Those warriors have endured tragedy, loss, pain, and life changing events. Be kind when you encounter one and let them guide you as a role model. Becoming that very fighter they had to reinvent themselves, rising from the ashes over and over again.

Posted in Challenges, Chronic illness, Health

Metatarsalgia

January, a tough start to 2021 for me, with several health challenges. Surely had I identified some of my short comings just recently, but despite of it things only took a turn for the worse. Chronic pain became a constant, a daily companion and quickly it naw’ed away at me, leaving me feeling whiny and complaining for the majority of my days. Nights felt long with interrupted and little sleep and just turning from one side to the other caused pain. In prior times pain may have been noticeable in the hands and wrists, other times in the knees, the feet, the upper back, neck and shoulders which seem to be attacked quite frequently. Now it appeared that all areas where attacked all at once, and a few new ones made themselves known. One of them was the balls/bottom of my feet. Luckily only the right one and not both at the same time.

I had felt discomfort here and there but brushed it off to perhaps hiking too far or the weather. Surely my feet would recover after a nice hot shower and for the most part they did until the pain increased. It was always in the same spot and wouldn’t go away anymore. It was difficult to take steps and soon I adjusted my gait, walking with somewhat of a limp as to not put too much pressure onto the foot. And then I got tired of it all together and started to research what was goin go on. What I found is a condition that is called Metatarsalgia.

It’s a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot. The metatarsals are bones that connect the toes to the ankles. In the foot, there are small toe nerves between the metatarsal bones. When the head of the metatarsal bones presses against another, the small nerve is caught between them and starts to become inflamed. Putting weight on the foot can worsen symptoms, because with each step these bones rub together, increasing the inflammation of the nerve.

While there are several causes for this to happen, mine comes courtesy of my rheumatoid arthritis. Needless to say I’ve had to reduce my steps per week, ice my foot to reduce the swelling and do the best I can. Inactivity swells my feet which seems like a vicious circle and I hope nothing worse comes as a result from this.

At the moment the right foot is shot. There is an unbearable amount of tension and tightness in my shoulders, neck and upper back that bring with a headache out of this world. The hands are swollen and the fingers, especially the index fingers don’t bend that well right now. I’m a bit of a broken mess right now and I am restarting my kundalini yoga routine. Why did that fall to the wayside I ask myself. Strange how we forget these things when we feel well and how easily they fall to the wayside. Shouldn’t we instead recognize the great benefits we get from these modalities and maintain them, making them the utmost priority because they make us feel so good. What strange creatures we are at times, so here we go again and I hope to get the relief o find before.

January you are definitely kicking my butt this month, but you have to be this tough to put it into perspective for me. So with it I embrace the pain and learn the lesson for a smoother February ahead.

Posted in Challenges, Inspiration, words

Equanimity

Picture form yahoo

This week’s new word is equanimity (n) which stands for mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

I relate to this word and it’s meaning. Especially during the later part of 2020, I felt tested and tried to practice such equanimity. Honestly, it’s been a struggle.

The other day, (which by now was actually last year already) I had hiccups four times throughout the day. It’s unusual and I don’t remember this happening before. Just like everybody else, from time to time I do get it, but four times in one day, with such persistence, was something new to me. Mom always said that someone is thinking of you when the hiccups pays you a visit. Enough already, notice taken 😉.

During the fourth visit in that day, a bad headache like a migraine came to join the discomfort. Eventually my heart felt such pressure, that I ended up taking an aspirin and went to bed. I did a little research and got my answer of what might have been the cause for it’s multiple visits throughout the day. Let’s just say I wasn’t surprised, and then this new word arrived in time to remind me to do my best and practice equanimity, no matter how challenging it gets. It’s in my best interest and health to master it and turn it into a success story for me. The article indicates that the possible cause was emotional distress and I knew it to be true at that time.

Luckily 2021 has started out on a bit gentler note and the stormy sea has softened it’s title waves. For how long, who ever knows but for the moment at least and each day of smooth sailing is a gift.