We got back home last Monday evening, and I wanted to share with you some reflections as I'm slowly transitioning from what life has been like for the past 2 ½ months into “typical home life.” It's kind of fascinating to witness myself as if looking in from the outside. I've lived in this house for 4 ½ years and in this area most of my life, and yet I feel as if I'm meeting myself here anew this week.
Since January I've had no appointments to drive to, no people to connect with in person, and lots and lots of 1:1 time with Tom (my hubby). We've both worked virtually during that time - I have met with clients and participated in a number of trainings and professional development, but there's something different about getting back from the beach or out of the shower in time for a phone or Zoom call than having to get in a car to drive somewhere. Also, I have only driven about 5 times in the past 10 weeks! Life has had a sweet and simple rhythm and flow.
Now I'm moving back into our more typical way of being… as soon as we got home, I had to rush to eat my supper while Tom unloaded the car before I jumped into a 4 hour training. Our drifting into our own little worlds was already underway.
He brought all the stuff in and, exhausted from two full days of travel, we both agreed to leave bags and boxes to be dealt with later. I did notice how much easier it is to unpack and settle into the rental home than it is to unpack and settle back into our own space. In part because I have to fit all the traveling stuff into all the other stuff that's here. I have been very struck by a sense of “too much stuff…” Going into a rental condo is different - in that scenario we are adding ourselves into the space, finding places to make it our own, to create comfort and flow.
Forgetting How to Hurry…
By bedtime I couldn't sleep because my mind was still stirring and my body was uncomfortable and there was noise that disrupted me. I didn't sleep well and I woke up the next morning needing to get ready for a 10:30 appointment. As I began my preparations I recognized that I had forgotten how to hurry. That was both delightful (and something I want to remember to forget) and a little concerning because I did actually have to drive 30 minutes to get to my chiropractor.
Following the Heart and Soul…
Thankfully I moved quickly enough while still at a pace that worked for me to make it on time. In the waiting room I ran into a friend who told me how she and her husband had fairly rapidly followed a long-time dream and were moving to Florida! After starting to look at properties, within a month they had found and bought a house that meets both of their needs and desires, sold theirs (within 5 days after 60+ showings and 30+ offers…for a lot more money than asking price) and things are coming together beautifully.
Seeing her joy and sense of freedom reminded me what it's like to follow the call of the heart and soul! It's how I left my job and started my practice, how we ended up here in this house on the water, and how we've now wintered down South for 3 years! It seems that sometimes when you say “yes” and genuinely feel all in, there's a whoosh of energy that gets things flowing. It's not magic, but it certainly can be magical! It was nice to feel that in her and to share in her celebration!
Perspective and compassion
You might remember me griping about the “yelling people” downstairs who were definitely adding some stress and angst to our days and nights in Hilton Head. When we left I wrote a card to mail to them and resisted the temptation to be snarky or mean. Instead I simply offered them an anonymous loving kindness wish: “May you be peaceful. May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you live with ease" along with an invitation to embrace the beautiful moments in this new day. I'm not sure why I felt called to do that, but I did. Seeing this young family with 3 or 4 little ones crammed into such a small space did give me some compassion and I knew I had no idea what was going on in their life.
I had mentioned to our hosts that we might not be back because of the frequent yelling and screaming. Our host checked into the situation and discovered that this family were relatives of the owners who were staying there because they were unable to return to their home in Guatemala due to Covid restrictions. Whew… that could add a certain level of stress, couldn't it!? So glad I had sent loving kindness and not nastiness!
Just a good reminder that we never know what other people are going through and that extending love and compassion is always the best choice.
Transitioning and Adjusting
My whole being is happier and more relaxed when there is sunshine and warmth, so coming back to this grey bleak time of year is a little tough. I am very much appreciating a friend's picture posts of her trip to Hawaii and can feel the longing in my own soul for that vibrant color of flowers and water. I've lived here mostly forever, but each year I find myself less and less tolerant of the cold and grey (hence the whole wintering away!).
As I move through the house, I'm finding myself having to pause and remember where are the glasses? where do I put these clothes? What DO I eat for breakfast in the cooler weather? And I'm also assessing as I put things away, “Do you deserve to take up precious space in this little home?” I'm throwing things away and gathering clothes to donate. I can feel a strong desire for Spring cleaning and purging! I even organized the junk drawer in the bathroom and cleaned the shelves in the cabinet before unpacking and adding in what has come back with us.
Even though I am back home, it's an adjustment. Even though we are always in transition, these moments feel particularly clunky as I settle back in. I am meeting myself where I am in this moment, gently, carefully discerning with each appointment, are you someone I want to continue to work with? Do I need appointments as often as I did before? What feels right to me in this season of my life?
As I feel the “too muchness” in so many ways and the longing for spaciousness, for color, fresh air, and sunshine, for slowing down, I am choosing carefully how to spend my time. For instance, this evening I chose a walk with Tom over joining a group I love on Zoom - my soul just needed to get out there on this 62 degree day when the sun was out! Rhythms and routines are different here. We're finding our way. The kindness I promised myself this week is to not overwhelm my schedule and to unpack slowly and gradually while I also tend to the things that have to get done.
Good thing I forgot how to hurry! I am going to do my best to hold onto that. I look forward to less frenzy and more flow. (We listened to a great podcast on our drive home with Brene Brown and Dr. Shawn Ginwright which touches on this idea - you can listen to that here if you'd like)
And I offer you this poem, which has sometimes been used to pressure people to do more. I think actually the real intent and invitation is to do less… “to be idle and blessed,"… to not miss the simple pleasures and delights of an ordinary day.
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
This week's meditation is Forgetting How to Hurry, and it includes a reading of “The Rat Race” from 111 Invitations: Step into the Full Richness of Life. May it support you in taking a brief pause in your day.
More thoughts (and still seeking your input)! Blogging A-to-Z Challenge:
Thank you to those who shared some ideas with me for this challenge! I'm in! (I even bought the t-shirt so it's official!). Every day in the month of April, except Sundays, I will post a theme-related blog based on the letter of the day.
The working title for my theme is Question (Almost) Everything! Inspired by Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, I thought it might be fun to live into some questions – to look at our conditioning, the stories, actions, and beliefs we’ve bought into and why we do and say some of these things. Who taught us to believe this, where and when did we pick up this idea, and what might we choose instead?
What do you think? What questions do you have that I might explore? What conditioning are you curious about? What belief, cultural narrative, actions, or simple pithy sayings drive you crazy? Send me a note and let me know, please! I'll need some help coming up with something for every letter! And for some letters I have multiple ideas, so if this goes well, who knows? Could become an ongoing thing!
The blogs will be posted on my blog and will only be emailed to people who choose to receive them. Thanks to those who have already subscribed to this special list. Email me if you too would like to receive these A to Z posts!