“The nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us, are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” ~Elizabeth Lesser
I feel blessed being able to say that I have learned not to resist anymore. Or at least I think so that I don’t and perhaps there are times we do it without even noticing until much later. Maybe it is an auto response programmed into us and all I can do is to choose wisely when I am aware and in a conscious state. I actually feel like going with the flow is one of my greatest accomplishments and I recognize and acknowledge the work it took to get here. I see it as a valuable tool that adds wisdom and knowledge, a tool that bestows more peace, harmony and inner stillness. I don’t know exactly when and how it happened, but it just did.
At once I knew that by resisting I would only inflict more pain and hardship on myself. By the time I arrived at that point I had found a new compassion and self love for myself. I had done much personal work and it took many experiences not even knowing that self love and care was the goal here. It made me the protector of myself, trying to keep all harm away. It was one that was induced by what I call the pain body, my chronic autoimmune disease. I knew that resistance = stress, and stress = increased pain and flare ups. In time I became my own best friend, one that understands me best and one that is unconditional. With it I unknowingly bestowed a great gift, one that gives myself a fighting chance not to resist the nature of life whenever it is in my power to do so.
A sucker for quotes and inspiration I am. Here are a few that spoke to me this week. A few, relevant for these times, this journey and where I relate myself to be. Especially the last one. I must have turned into a good traveler. I no longer have a arrival destination or deadline, but I look forward to a collection of moments and memories with each passing day on this journey. I hope you enjoy.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed in the things that you didn’t do than the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from your safe harbor. Catch the Tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intend on arriving.”
Some woman arrange flowers, I arrange feathers haha. My point is that we are all different, bringing different qualities to life, and still, do we feel like we belong?
“It doesn’t interest me if there is one God or many gods. I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned. If you know despair or can see it in others. I want to know if you are prepared to live in the world with its harsh need to change you. If you can look back with firm eyes saying this is where I stand. I want to know if you know how to melt into that fierce heat of living, falling toward the center of your longing. I want to know if you’re willing to live, day by day, with the consequence of love and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat.”
Mother’s, nurturing, caring, protecting. Someone that embodies an unconditional and undying love for their loved ones. Mother’s know best, and are a guiding light in our life. I realize that not all are that lucky to have a relationship like this with their mother and until the end and Mom’s passing, I was one of those people.
Throughout my years on this planet I have encountered many others with t he qualities listed above. These qualities are just some that came to mind and are by no means inclusive. Some of these women never brought a child into the world and yet they possessed these qualities we often identify mothers with. Today I say that you don’t have to be a mother to be a mother. Today a statement from Cheryl Tamburri comes to mind I’d like to share with you.
“There is a tribe of warrior mother’s. Their fierceness is the stuff of legends – their weapons are spears of knowledge; shields forged from pain; courage and strength. They world them against powerful forces they cannot control, to fight for their children struggling to fight for themselves. Neither fear nor exhaustion can extinguish their spirit for there is a tribal well from which they come to drink, made of love, tears, and solidarity from their sisters – powerful, healing, and restorative waters which sustain them through unconditional love. Any who challenge them soon learn these women are formidable warriors, not to be trifled with. Their way are a mystery to the uninitiated – they do not apologize, explain, justify, nor suffer fools; yet they open their arms to embrace all who seek rest and comfort. They are The Heart Of A Warrior Woman – they are my tribe, these are my people, and we are made stronger together. 💙🙏🏼
Whether you are a physical mother or not, have you ever felt a bind this strong for someone, not your child or related by blood? Is it possible to feel this kind of compassion for humanity, someone, a stranger, a person in need, or just anyone?
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.
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.
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.
I am almost reluctant to mention it, to say it out loud, and to talk about it. I realize that today’s vibes, just like like the pain body can change in an instance and by the time you read this things might have changed already. Still, I find it necessary to record the process, the struggles as well as the highlights, with a hefty dose of the emotional processing. It is my outlet and if I’m lucky it helps someone else.
All I can say is that I am doing my best at any given moment and it will always be enough. And yes I did bestowed myself with that kind of kindness and forgiveness. Life, nor a situation has to be perfect to reap the overall bliss of it all. All it takes is to drop your expectations, go with the flow and be willing to be surprised with what life has to offer. Take joy in the little things and pretty soon everything takes on a magical meaning.
It took about a week and a half to adjust to my new home. The dust was slowly settling and more and more peaceful moments came as a gift bearing bliss and serenity. By now I’ve been here nearly three weeks and the progress continues. And yes there are still emotional moments and it will take awhile, or perhaps will always be this way. For now I recap painful moments, lonely moments, grateful moments, and peaceful moments. All had their place and time, but now that the shock and survival mode was slowly wearing away, retreating once more to hopefully not to be seen for a long time, the peaceful moments nourished my soul and replenished what was so badly needed. I was banking on it healing the pain body and I was hopeful. I even looked slimmer. Surely I wasn’t consuming as many calories and there were only a few times I actually cooked something in addition to just eating salads, but what I truly wanted to believe was that the stress had reduced greatly, lowering the extra cortisol production and bloat.
Wifi was still an issue, but it’s true what they say about the woods not offering wifi, but you’ll always get a better connection. I wasn’t a prisoner to my gadgets, constantly checking email, stats, statuses etc. I had plenty of leisure time to write on my notepad, to copy and paste my thoughts into a post at a later time when wifi was available. By now, I was taking Cinnamon on daily walks to cool at a nearby lake. I had found a nice little spot where the signal was a little stronger. Strong enough to post, but it wasn’t that I had to rush to that spot or felt obligated. It just so happened and it was far from being perfect, in the sense of biting flying nuisances, called mosquitos who love my rare blood type. Ah can’t have it all can you? And with that said I am realizing that I haven’t had chocolate in almost two weeks. 😳
I haven’t even watched TV and staying up until 10PM is becoming a stretch. There just wasn’t anything to do, other than just to be and to go with the flow. It’s a quiet place here and people have embraced me into their routines. Mainly keeping to themselves, respectful, sharing a common passion for solitude and just being. I felt as if a natural balance was slowly being replaced and instilled once more. I believed it was all part of coming home, home to myself. Many deadlines and pressures had fallen off by now. Sure it would be nice to catch the occasional program and TV show, but not as a routine and to replace the current moment, to breathe deeply and to be fully present. Life was beginning to reveal new meaning to me. Once again I was a newcomer, a student, to the adult life I once felt confident about. It’s like a new life all together and my prior life successes such as my career and other accomplishments I once deemed important, became old news, a thing of the past, no longer applicable or relevant. Much greater treasures and meaning was waiting and each day brought new glimpses.
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
Me: I’m falling apart. Can you put me back together?
God: I’d rather not.
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!”