The pursuit of happiness

When I was looking for happiness and fulfillment outside of myself, I was unhappy. I couldn’t find real, deep, lasting joy in other people (husbands), my children, friends, or religion. This all began to change about a decade ago, when I started going to Alanon, in an attempt to save my marriage. A couple of years later I began discovering a different spiritual path which included meditation. Learning to explore the inner world rather than focusing on outer people, circumstances, and events changed everything.

The question came to me via the writing course I’m taking; what is missing from my life right now?  Hmm. Most of the time I don’t think anything is missing except for having an infinite passive source of money so I could quit working a job entirely.  I’d like to just explore my own interests and help people be well. I don’t want stuff. Stuff requires too much attention.  I have enough to live a good life.

A connected question: Do you feel like you are simply destined not to have some of the things you may want out of life?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!
We create our reality — but if you don’t realize or believe this is true, you won’t actively create. I can look back on my life, and now see that I was a participant in making it the way it was – and some of it wasn’t so great, but I learned from it.

Only other thing, and it’s not really missing because I’m working on it, is more friendships When you move to a new area, it takes time to find your tribe. I joined the UU church here, but hadn’t been a member that long when the pandemic showed up. We’ve just opened up again, I’m working on being more involved in some of the smaller groups. I’ve signed up for a couple of meetups, and, I have returned to work. I need people in my life.

I haven’t always felt connected to people and life, but of late I am more aware that sometimes my energy is open, and other times I seem to close myself off. And that it is ok.

I may have felt more connected to people, particularly other mothers, when I was having babies, was a La Leche League Leader, involved in the old church. But those are old interests. I was busy with children and trying to figure out life.

Another question: Do I hold the same values I was taught as a child? Another hmmm. Some of the values I was taught as I child are the same – although when I think about it, I don’t really feel that I was “taught” values. My parents’ life was the example to me of what I thought life looked like, or should look like – Husband went to work, provided a good living. Wife stayed home, took care of kids, shopped and cooked, sewed and pursued her own interests. Great camping vacations. Basically, be honest, work hard, take time off, retire early with lots of money. I started out my adult life with all that in mind, but found that my husband was not like my father at all. Turns out, I’m not like my mother in many ways either. So yeah – be honest, work hard — but I eventually divorced twice, went to work, and definitely will not “retire young with lots of money”!

I used to believe that each person has a path they have to find – a “right” path. Now I know that is hogwash!

We can be unhappy with our life and want something different, especially when we don’t feel fulfilled in any way. It doesn’t mean it is “wrong”, but it probably means it is time for a change.

Time to write, catching up with the grandkids

I discovered while on my road trip that if I really wanted to make time to write, I could. I drove all day, then, because I had made a commitment to myself, wrote a little and posted a mostly pictorial blog every evening. And still had time to chill.

I started a writing course on OM called A Year of Writing to Uncover the Authentic Self. The first assignment is to identify obstacles in your life. This is what I wrote:

Obstacles to writing –the answer would be making time, and I discovered on my trip that I can make time if I want to.
Obstacles to….. Actually, I feel like I am in a place of doing what I want to do, for the most part.
In the past, obstacle was fear – Fear of the unknown, of what people think. That was probably my longest running fear. Fear of change. I’ve come a long way, baby.

So, I put a date on my calendar to do each lesson. And we will see how it goes. One thing I have learned in life is not to fret if things don’t work out exactly as planned. Or, if I’m not enjoying something I’ve decided to do, it’s ok to change direction. But I hope this works out, and my plan is to write in my journal every day and do at least one blog post a week.

I’ve enjoyed the five days off since I got home. I was totally exhausted, and napped several times a day for the first two. Then I caught up with the grandkids, and rested some more after that!

Tomorrow (Monday) I will go back to work. I signed up to work a full week for someone who is on vacation, so my week will have a different focus. I’m still committed to write.

Happy Fall!

Musings from home after my 2 week road trip

I traveled 4400 miles in 15 days, and crossed state lines 21 times. Only two of those states were new to me – New Jersey and West Virginia. I think I’ve been in 44 of the lower 48 states now.

My time on the road, driving, was about 80 hours. I slept on 2 couches and a day bed for free, 3 hotels, and 9 airbnb’s. I spent $2200, about half of that for lodging, around $400 for gas, the rest for food and miscellaneous. Not bad, really, I had budgeted $3000.

I feel overstuffed with travel, kind of like that overstuffed feeling you get after a Thanksgiving feast. You look forward to the meal, enjoy it immensely, and afterwards think you might not ever want to eat again. That’s kind of how I feel about travel right now. Stuffed. Not only did I take this trip, I spent two months in Chattanooga and two months in Carson City (for work) this year. I looked forward to it, enjoyed it, but right now, I don’t want to make any more travel plans!

The best food I ate was that prepared by my kids. The rest of the time I struggled to find anything that was really good. I ate in the car on the road for lunch quite a bit – leftover pizza, cookies, and apples. The apples I picked in Massachusetts saved my life, I think. I got a really bad pizza in Niagara Falls. I’ve learned to really dislike eating out. Yesterday at home was lovely. Oatmeal for breakfast, omelette with the eggs and veggies I was given in New York for lunch, and a delicious butternut squash soup made by my husband for dinner.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live other places, and staying in airbnb’s gives a tiny taste of that. They were mostly great, but a couple of the beds were like marshmallows. My favorite, I think, was the one near Goshen, NY with the fabulous patio.

Most places have keurig coffee makers.I really dislike that kind of coffee. I did bring my French Press and supplies, but water heated in the microwave for coffee just isn’t the same. I was glad for coffee shops.

In this not quite post pandemic world, masks are still a thing. In some places, all the signs were down, in others, masks are required. I pretty much wore my mask when I went inside anywhere. Why not? Even though I’ve been vaccinated, it certainly doesn’t hurt me or anyone else to wear a mask, and it could make a difference for someone.

I didn’t do anything “touristy”. Even when I went to Niagara Falls, I only paid for parking, and spent time in the public areas. I didn’t go to museums or other attractions, although I sometimes enjoy doing so. Sleeping in a different place every night and having those experiences was really what I wanted out of this trip, after seeing my kids of course!

So now, I will nest at home. I will enjoy cooking, crocheting, playing with the grandkids, embracing the uncertainty of life as it unfolds. I will start working full time again, after the first of the year. I plan to keep writing here, just not as often.

And, no doubt, at some point, I will be on the road again.

A Day Off

Since quitting my full-time job in July, my life is my own. Or is it? What am I taking a day off from? (warning: this post evolved into total stream of consciousness!)

Starting from last Saturday, let’s take a look at my schedule for the past week, and most weeks. My 3 year old granddaughter stayed overnight with me Saturday, and again on Monday, while her mama worked. Thursday I spend with the now 6 month old twins. Tuesday evening is my Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling course. I worked, albeit from home, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, for a total of 18 hours.

Today, Friday, is the only day this week that I have nothing on my calendar. Not even a yoga class. So there you have it, a day off.

I always think I am going to “accomplish” big things when a day like this comes along. But what does that mean, anyway? I have in mind to get all my homework done, do some painting, do some writing, cook a delicious meal, go for a long walk, do laundry, clean the bathroom. I doubt if I’ll do all that, and I may do other things. It just feels good to have an entire blank slate of a day.

Right now it is the middle of the day and Robert is fixing lunch, some kind of garden veggie burgers, and vegetables and grains and it smells delicious! I guess if I’m going to cook it will be dinner!

wp-1484932347137.pngI got up at 6:45 and meditated.  Then I went back to bed for a bit. Got up and had tea, wrote in my journal, did some Yoga with Adriene, my favorite youtube yoga teacher. Ate my favorite breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and stewed apples. Took a shower and washed my hair. Threw some paint on a canvas, almost literally!

And I’ve been sitting here on the couch writing between doing laundry. I started a new blog this week, The Cat’s Advice – just for fun, check it out!

While we are on that subject, I also started Finding Ayurveda. It’s purpose is mostly for me to put together what I’ve learned into content that makes sense to people who don’t know anything about Ayurveda.

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Now it is after lunch, which is just as delicious as I expected. I sit here writing with my phone propped against the screen  skyping the aforesaid granddaughter. Lately, we’ve been doing this more frequently, just “hanging out” so her mama can have 30 minutes to do some organizing or whatever.  Precious time, precious child. I don’t post pictures of her at her mother’s request.

wp-1484942917585.jpgIn a little while, I will drive down to the nature trail and take a walk. Today it is a balmy 77 degrees, a beautiful summer like day in the middle of January.  Yeah I’m doing that instead of watching the inauguration. You’ll never find anything political here.

Whatever you do today, may you be happy and look for the good. Remember, whatever you put your attention on grows and strengthens.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Uninspired

I’ve felt uninspired lately.

I haven’t even been journaling as much. I sit to write and it sounds like the same stuff over and over. Additionally, I haven’t been making much time to read other blogs, even though there are several writers I really enjoy. On top of that, I haven’t painted or taken many pictures lately. Everything just seems sorta blah.

Every so often I’ll get on wordpress, read a few posts, and wonder how people write so much, some every day. I periodically wonder why I started a blog in the first place. Oh yeah! I thought I had something to say that was inspiring. Then I got all into Blogging 101 and Photography 101 and following other blogs and hoping people would follow mine. Now I look at the list of blogs I follow and I don’t have time to read all that.  I’m not getting new followers lately — but hey! I haven’t been writing much. Would just like the stats to say woohoo! you’ve reached xxxx followers.

Sigh. That’s bullshit. That’s no reason to write, or paint, or any other pursuit.  If, in the course of writing, I put something out there and someone truly finds inspiration, great. If not, I’ve expressed myself. This is what all the great writers and painters say- do it for yourself first. So if I don’t have anything for awhile, that’s ok. I’ll read and study and travel, and be curious about everything.

So. New resolution. Stop being so concerned about putting up a blog post for the sake of putting up a blog post.  And when in the course of  the journey of life inspiration comes, go for it, in whatever form it takes.