Home… Finally

autumn leavesSix weeks ago we made a move of 2186 miles… crossing the United States from south to north almost border to border… 4 stressed dogs, two blowouts – one on each trailer.. freak early snowstorm that forced an extra day of much needed catch up time and frayed nerves… but we made it.  I still face another round trip to retrieve my mate’s Harley and a second trip half as far to fetch my ponies home from where they are staying at my aunt and uncle’s farm…  At this particular moment in time it seems almost overwhelming… In the past six weeks my mate has started a new job, I have been hired for a position that is just not working out, found our new house and land and tomorrow we sign the paperwork so we can move in. In the moments between we have immersed ourselves in all that is so wonderful about our new home… It is those spaces in time that make every inch of every mile worth it and the reason I would do it 10 times over if need be. It seems that this move is much more than a geographic change for us… This has been a complete paradigm shift… how this plays out has yet to be seen but it promises to be anything but boring… My mate has quit smoking, struggled with the fact that life moves a bit slower here (even though that is exactly what we were looking for) and has allowed his outlook on life to be more open… As for me, I feel as if I am finally home.  I have only felt this way one other time in my life but given the choice between the two,this place would win hands down. It is hard to describe except to say that it feel as if I’m in my own skin… Even though at present moment I an earning a pay check in a manner that is very debilitating to my being, I know that it is short term… it will end…  I will find something better.  Most importantly – I am where I am supposed to be… To finally feel that I belong is the greatest freedom that I have known… No, we didn’t know anyone before moving here and we really haven’t had time to develop friendships yet but it still feels right… Even if I were to have no friends at all this would still be where I would choose to be because my heart, and soul are at peace here.

Life Paths

The past reached out this morning and caught me by surprise…                      Said “hello, how are you?”… brought a smile to my eyes…       At one time, we walked hand in hand and he had held my heart                      but our time together ended, our life paths moved apart.

autumn leaves

I got an e-mail this morning from an ex…  surprisingly, it was nice to hear from him. What was even nicer was the fact that I could call my mate and tell him all about it with complete confidence that he wouldn’t get upset…. he knows that not only do I love him but I am “in love” with him… I find it interesting because just this past weekend I realized that I have not a shred of doubt or jealousy concerning our marriage. It is a new feeling for me because I have always battled these feelings in past relationships. This all came about at an event we were attending at our local Harley dealership.  As is normal for HD events the bikini babes were out in force, washing the bikes, competing for tips and vying for first place in the requisite contest.  High heels and fabric scraps draped on beautiful, thin, young bodies…. and me, a windblown and disheveled, far from thin, granny.  Guess what?  I wouldn’t trade places with them for anything because strange as it may seem they don’t have anything I want…  It is a wonderful place to be… for my self and my marriage…  I can look back down my life path and see how the twists, turns and rough spots have brought me to where I am today. I am a strong, healthy, attractive woman who can work side by side with my mate and still be feminine… I relish this newly discovered freedom… another gift of time… this confidence in who I am coupled with the fact that I am truly loved has allowed me to be more alive than ever before. I know that the path before me is going to be shorter than what I’ve already walked…. I know that it will still have twists, turns and rough spots yet unseen… But I also know that I will traverse them with more skill and grace because of what I have already gone through.  So let the past reach out from time to time… I am now at a place where it no longer bothers me… I can say “hello” to it all and by choice, see only the good… most all the ugly parts filtered out by the distance… life is good and I enjoy walking with my mate since our two roads converged in an autumn wood…

Changing masks

wolf moon howl We humans are the only animals who don’t instinctively know what we are… or rather, who we  think we should be… We spend inordinate amounts of time and in some cases money cultivating a persona to show to the world so that every one else will see and judge us in a particular light.  Sometimes its not even what we want to be but what we “think” others expect of us for either better or worse… If we are not encouraged as children, told that we are “bad”, a disappointment etc then that is who/what we will strive to become… conversely, children who are praised and given positive feedback will tend to strive to be “good”…  and yet, we humans are unique in that we can consciously choose to who we want to be… Someone close to me recently experienced this first hand at work… one of his colleagues suggested that he do something a bit questionable… because he has a good heart he not only refused but was a bit offended. When I asked him why they would even approach him about something like that he said “it’s just the way I look…”  After some consideration I realize that to a large extent he is right… He grew up with an abusive alcoholic father who never gave him a dream of better things… no concept that the future could be more than existence in a bottle… He grew up believing that he had to be tough… “bad”,  taught that consideration of others equated to weakness…  For many years he walked down  a long rocky road … at the end of that road he turned around and by sheer strength and will power he climbed back up. Through it all he has never learned how to completely rid himself of the stained legacy of his father…  He has never accepted the reality that we humans are the ultimate chameleons…  only we can choose to become who and what WE want to be…. not only can we choose, but we can choose to be any number of things depending on our surroundings… while our essential being does not change the masks we put on will affect our behaviors and how we interact with others of our species…    We are all familiar with the expression ” a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” and that is exactly what I am talking about… the ability to blend in with whatever crowd you are with for as long as is necessary to obtain your  goal… and sometimes our goal is to be a different person than what we have been… Our essential being is much like metal… it can never be anything but ore yet it can be shaped into many things from brutal swords to delicate filigree’…  simply different shapes of the same element… one is not better than the other but one may be more suited to a given situation than another… We can not choose what shape others may take but we can show them options to guises that may be destructive or harmful… ultimately each person chooses for themselves what they want to be and where they want to fit in… I may not be what you think I should be but I am fortunate in that I know who I am and the path I walk.

Random Howls

wolf moon howl

“… for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.” – Doreene Valiente

Sometimes what we find within is a wound, a need… something that needs to be addressed… something that needs to change so that we can grow and thrive on our journey.

It’s not all about me, or you… it’s about what we choose to do for others that gives meaning to our lives… One of the many things I’ve learned in my time on this earth is the act of giving… As a child it seems counter intuitive when we hear the old saying “It’s better to give than to receive” but it’s true…  in the myriad small things we do for others there is real satisfaction… For me, it’s as simple as making sure that all within my gates and under my welcome are cared for before I rest… hounds, horses and humans…  and if we are favored with friends and family in our home then, even though it requires more effort,  the satisfaction that comes from making sure everyone is fed and sheltered is a greater gift… Not that I am some sort of paragon of virtue or selflessness but doing little things like keeping my home in order so as to be welcoming or preparing a meal for those I care about makes me feel good… Funny thing is, I can’t cook for people I don’t like… Since among other things I am a kitchen witch, there is more to my culinary efforts than just following a recipe… I tend to add my feelings and intentions with the spices… I give a part of me to those who I share it with… the sublime satisfaction of  seeing my gift consumed with joy makes every effort in the preparation worth while… and not just for the humans in my life… there is a wonderful peace in standing next to my horses as they contentedly graze on their hay… arm draped over a back or neck, fingers tangled in their manes… listening and feeling the rhythmic chewing and smelling the heady aroma of horse and hay… nothing beats it… seeing the joy of the hounds at a full dish of food and the sigh of contentment when sated, they circle around thrice before  happily plopping down next to me… Checking on the ponies, and making sure all is neat and secure in my small corner of the world at the end of the day makes it easier for me to rest each night…  In Maslow’s hierarchy, food and shelter, security so to speak, are a large part of the foundation for a self actualized life…  If, while under my roof, I can provide this simple gift to others than for me it is indeed better to give because of the good things I receive…

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana…

In order to be part of a strong relationship each person needs to be strong… that means taking care to ensure our needs are met… only then can we meet the needs of the other in the partnership… if we are not involved with those that help us grow and nurture us as individuals we are destroying ourselves… Love has nothing to do with it… Period. You can love someone with all your heart but if they are not meeting your basic needs then that relationship will destroy you… I am a fairly strong person but my strength was hard won many years ago and I will not let myself be beaten down to become a pathetic cog in a broken machine…  Steel is malleable, it can be bent and with an effort re-straightened… however,  bend it enough in the same place and it will break…

Growing old is optional… Growing up is not.  I would like to think that I am still growing up… reaching for my dreams and although my body is aging, my spirit is as young as ever… I may be getting long in the tooth but I have found that because I can now look further back I see clearer into the future…  I know less than I once thought I did because I understand that there is so much more to learn… I don’t have all the answers and I’m not always right and it’s good to ask others and to truly listen to their reply… I am not perfect … and that’s O.K.

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” – D.H. Lawrence

shaman drumThe problem with marching to the beat of your own drum is that it may be, and in my case generally is, different from the drum most march to… Fortunately my mate hears the same drum… Granted, my hearing is more acute than his when the drum sounds and so others may believe that it is mine alone but happily he hears it too… So, the question then is this… why are so many people unable to simply accept our choice of where to live? Ever since we began telling family and friends of our decision to move we have been besieged by those who “know what’s best” for us… Either through outright statements about how ridiculous it is or through the pointing out of the supposed “flaws” in our chosen local… although they sincerely believe that they have our best interests at heart all it does is cause us to want to draw away and it doesn’t change our plans… When my daughter and her husband got married and announced their intentions to move 2000 miles away I didn’t like it but after telling them that I was concerned because they were so very far away from family and friends we sent them off with our blessing because, like it or not, it’s not my life… I don’t get to decide what is right for anyone else… that’s in spite of the fact that I’m the self-proclaimed  “Queen of the Universe”…  I get very tired of all the hand-wringing about how “sorry” people are about us selling our house… Why is everyone else so upset? It’s our house after all…  When I ask why they are so “sorry” everyone says something about how hard we worked and how “nice” it is and “oh woe is you”… Yes we did work hard, and yes, it is pretty nice but guess what… It’s going on the market and all that hard work will translate into dollars giving us the ability for us to do what WE want to do… not what everyone else wants…  I know that most of the time these comments are meant in love but it makes me so much more grateful to those in our lives that express support for us and our decision… those who encourage us to not just march, but even dance to the beat of our own drum… you know who you are, those most precious ones who respect that we are marching in the direction that is best for us…   Tolkien wrote “not all who wander are lost…” and for those of us who choose the road “less traveled” sometimes the journey is a bit circuitous… Don’t worry, we’ll let you know when we get there…

Drumbeats

Carpe Diem

raven

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear… And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear is gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert

My mate rode his Harley to work for the first time yesterday… leaving in the dark before dawn… in a thickening fog.  Almost 2 years ago a co-worker of mine was killed as he rode his Harley to work… someone crossed the white line into his lane and it was all over for him.  Knowing this I couldn’t help but feel a little worm of fear trying to work it’s way into my psyche… stomach clinching, muscles tensing… and then I remembered the quote from Herbert’s novel ‘Dune” about the “little-death”…  As I drank my first cup of coffee and prepared for work I thought about that quote and how true it is… I know so many people who have made statements about how they “wouldn’t allow” their mate to ride, or how their mate “wouldn’t allow” them to own a bike, or jet-ski, or muscle car or… you get the picture… but life is NOT to be lived in a bubble… to live is to meet fear head on, to seize the opportunity to do the things we love or try new adventures. As I was running these thoughts through my mind it occurred to me that my favorite passion is seen as crazy to many – I ride mustangs – and  to me it is as natural and necessary as breathing… yes, they are large animals and yes, they could easily kill me and I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone is afraid of them. Same goes for the Harley… it is part and parcel of the man I love and for me to refuse to acknowledge that, to let my fear cause him anguish, would be the killing of something integral to who he is… and so we ride, he iron horses and me wild horses… we both share in each others passions but each of us is a little more cautious when engaging in them… and that’s O.K.  It would be so much worse to let fear circumscribe our lives. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet  desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”  What symphonies lie buried in the earth from fear? The opus of a life extinguished… passions forced to the back of the mind… moldering in the corners of the heart… brought out and examined only when no one else is around…  a tragedy that becomes a travesty of a life. Not for me. I choose to sing… to raise my song not because there is never fear but in spite of it! I will sing and I will encourage others to sing… to step outside of the safe boundaries of family and society in pursuit of their passion… to be part of the great chorus or those that choose to face their fears and live… I am blessed that I have a mate that understands as well… who helps me sing when I meet my fear so that I may seize not just the day… but life itself.

Turning Seasons

stonehenge solsticeThe winter solstice has passed… almost imperceptibly we feel the days lengthening… and yet, even as the light lingers the grip of winter seems to tighten… This is why, I suppose that the calender shows the solstice as the “first day of winter” instead of what it truly is… the Mid-Point of winter, the zenith of winter, the longest night of the year.   We are all familiar with the fact that the temperature is lowest just as the sun begins to  rise and we all know the saying “it’s darkest just before the dawn” so why would the seasons be any different? Perhaps it is our culturally conditioned need to be in control that led us to make a specific pronouncement on the day winter “officially” begins… Who knows? I only know that it makes absolutely no sense to me… After all, isn’t it logical that winter would begin earlier in more northerly climes? Here in central Texas we have virtually no winter… a couple of chilly weeks and that’s about it whereas in North Dakota the snow and cold come much earlier and stay much later… the only consistent part of these very different winters is that they both pivot around the shortest day of the year… Conversely,  our summer comes early, stays late and generally refuses to go quietly…  like winter, it is centered around a specific point… the summer solstice. I simply put this out here for thought… If you are like me you will “know” when autumn comes or winter or any other season… for me it is a change in the air… I can’t describe it but the air will taste and feel different and I will find that my mind shifts with it… as the daylight hours increase my soul becomes restless…. like the seeds beneath the earth I feel the need to stretch myself and expand outward… at the opposite end of the spectrum as days become shorter I feel the need to retreat into myself… gathering close to the hearth… nurturing the fire of life… And I do… as I grow older I give myself more to the turning of the seasons, the marking of time to the song of mother earth and in doing so I find more peace and harmony in my life.