A lot can happen in a year.

I love Timehop. It would be so cool to have my whole life on it. Year by year, the journey unfolds. On Jan 3, I got the notification of what I wrote about 2015, and I thought wow, where has the time gone? So much has changed in the last few months that writing has been on the bottom of my list. But, here I am now!

New Year’s Eve, 2015: I was in a cottage in the country, drinking champagne and making intentions with my partner, Robert. I said I was going to leave behind “I can’t” and make having more compassion be my main intention. I believe I have been successful with the former and hope that I am making progress on the latter.

New Year’s Eve 2016: I was home, babysitting my three-year-old granddaughter while her now single mother worked. And Robert was also at work. Making intentions was the farthest thing from my mind. After the little one finally went to sleep, I was glad to just sit and watch a movie!

Caring for a young child twice weekly so her mother can make ends meet was not something I anticipated a year ago, or ever, for that matter. But, when circumstances change, what are you gonna do? Although at times it exhausts me, I am glad that I can be there for my daughter and have a special relationship with my granddaughter.

Speaking of grandchildren, 2016 brought me two more! The announcement came in early spring – my second oldest son and his wife were expecting twins! And they arrived, two healthy boys, in mid-July, right after I quit my job. And, with that freedom, I make a weekly 120 mile round trip across Houston to spend the day with them and give their parents a bit of a break. wp-1483928846636.jpg

In other very major news, Robert and I are now engaged! After three amazing years together, “in spite of it all and because of it all” (as he and I often say), we have taken this step of commitment. He asked me on November 29, on bent knees, and I said yes. I never thought I would want to marry again, but when I thought that, I hadn’t met Robert!wp-1484019838009.png

Then in early December, I got my birthday wish! I turned 60 and my deepest desire was to have all my children together. Robert threw me a wonderful party, and all seven of them were there,along with some of their spouses and all the grandchildren. It was quite a feat! My dear sister Ellen and her husband drove down to celebrate with us, and my closest friends were there as well. It was wonderful, marvelous, unforgettable!wp-1484019648440.pngwp-1484019669518.png

Biggest plan for 2017: we are going to move house. Going to go north of Houston, away from the city and the refineries I’ve lived by all my life. Going to where the air is cleaner, but close enough to the grandkids to continue the current relationships. It’s a leap of faith in many ways, but I’m ready for this next adventure!

I am continuing to study with New World Ayurveda, and applying what I know to my life and sharing with family and friends as much as they are interested and want to know. I  will finish this course in April and take another trip up to Maine for the final intensive. Robert is in this class too, so will travel with me. With the completion of the course, I will be qualified not only as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, but I will also be a Spiritual Counselor and meditation teacher. Since I am also certified and registered as a yoga teacher, I feel a sense of pride in accumulating these credentials over the last two years.

But since the priorities of my life have shifted unexpectedly, I haven’t started a practice as I had expected. And I feel ok about it, and whatever else may change. I am blessed to be able to work part-time from home doing medical reviews right now, because there’s just too much going on right now for me to start a business!

As I was readying the little one for bed tonight, and taking some time to hold and cuddle her, I was reminded that this is what is important. Just being, and loving, not always doing.

The message I have received in my spirit – my intention, my vision for this year and beyond:

 Whatever choices I make on the path of life, as long as love reigns over all, nothing else really matters.

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Semi-retirement and following passions

I went down to the lake this morning with a cup of coffee. It waswp-1473004970418.jpg a beautiful clear morning – birds singing, fish jumping – and it was nice for about 10 minutes. Then the humidity started creating a sheen of moisture on me, so I went back inside. It gave me enough time to decide to write a blog post.

If you’ve been reading here, you know that I recently quit my job. I decided that I would call myself “semi-retired” rather than “unemployed”. After all, I am of an age when many retire, and I do have that 401k, although if I tried to just live off of that, it wouldn’t last long. Anyway, I’m not unemployed. I am picking up some part-time hours doing medical reviews from home.

So, what’s been happening with me since I made the big decision? How does one adjust to not having the boundaries of a 40-hour-week job, after years of arranging the rest of one’s life around that box? It’s mostly mental, I think. (pun intended!)

Day to day life is great. Robert and I continue to find ourselves compatible and happy together, which is such an amazing blessing. I’ve started going to yoga class four times a week, and spend regular quality time with my grandchildren. I love getting to eat at home, preparing simple meals of grains and fresh organic vegetables from the farmer’s market.

Then there is the following of my passion, what I really care about. I am an Ayurvedic Practitioner, and have the intention of introducing those who want better health to a new way of living. (and being paid for it!) There are simple changes in lifestyle that can make a huge difference, that can help with stress, anxiety, digestive and weight issues, insomnia, and overall health management. But I find that I am a bit of a procrastinator, a little stuck. I know that I have something of value to offer, and it is just a matter of finding the clients who want to be committed to making positive changes.

So I decided to get some help to move me in the right direction, and am taking a course with Brian Whetten called Selling by Giving. The premise is that it can “transform the way I relate to my fears and inner doubts, and shift from judging them as problems to seeing that they are reliable course indicators showing me that I am heading in the right direction.”

And I’m not finished being a student. I am studying Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling with New World Ayurveda. I’ve got skills and knowledge about how to make diet and lifestyle changes, but most people are resistant to change. So in this course, I’ll learn how to “help my clients understand what is truly at the root of their obstacles and have the inner transformational skills needed to permanently overcome those blocks.”  I need this for me, first, because I am as resistant to change as anyone I may try to help. Change always has to start with me!

Sounds like a lot when I put it on paper! And it is, but not too much. I’ve found time to paint, to take walks, to have wine with friends. In the midst of all these plans and possibilities, I remember that what matters most is this moment – am I being kind, compassionate, and loving to whomever is around me, and to myself?

Cars and twins

The week started with my car overheating on Monday. Again.

Well, actually, it started with a yoga class at 9 am Monday morning. It was wonderful. And I’ve gone to four yoga classes this week, and definitely feel more balanced.

But back to my car situation…

wp-1469367557487.pngI’ve been driving a 1997 Chrysler Sebring for the last 3 1/2 years. My father bought it brand new when he was around 70, but when he was 85 decided he needed something new so I was blessed to get the car at a time that I really needed it, and it has been good to me. It only had 52,000 miles on it when I got it. I’ve doubled the mileage on it, and I think its got a few more on it, but decided it was enough for me.

wp-1469283408635.jpgSo Tuesday I bought a 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback with only 10,000 miles on it. I had rented one the last time my car was in the shop, loved it, researched it, and when I found this one I knew it was mine. I had been saving money every month in lieu of a car payment, so was able to pay cash, which was a great feeling! Now I have a reliable car to drive across Houston to see my grandchildren.

And just in time, since  twin boys arrived on Wednesday! wp-1469283351766.png

And babies make three grandchildren for me, all in the Houston area, but an hour across town.  I met them on Thursday, and they are adorable. I will be spending some time with them and their parents next week as they settle in at home. Doing the Grandma thing!

Now what?

Friday was my last day doing the job I’ve been at for the last six years.

wp-1468765867052.pngPeople have been asking me what I am going to do. What comes out of my mouth first is “sit in the sun”.  I haven’t been doing much of that, so I am going to start today!

What else do I want to do? More yoga, for one. I’ve already been going to the yoga studio down the street, and plan to step it up from 1 or 2 times a week to 3 or 4. I’m considering a week long yoga retreat in Austin in October, and maybe even yoga teacher training.

I am going to write more, paint more, play more, relax more, dream more.

I am going to continue to open myself up to whatever is out there for me to do. I will go to social and networking events and have opportunities to talk about what I love. Perhaps some clients will arise from this.

I will update my resume and work on a new website.

I will connect more with my family, and welcome twin grandbabies into the world.

I’m going to re-open The Artist’s Way and see where it takes me.

I’ve looked back at some of what I wrote in the early days of this blog, two years ago, and am really amazed at the journey. Starting this blog and putting myself and my inner world “out there” was a huge step, and I have no doubt that because of continuing to allow myself to be vulnerable in this way I have become more willing to take chances and face fear.

Here I am, world!

Ending and beginning

I have had an amazing week!

Just as I expected, the five day intensive to wrap up my ayurvedic studies was exciting, confidence building, wonderful, and intense! I got to spend 5 days with my amazing teacher and 20 like-minded people who became, in a very short time, my family as well as my friends – my “peeps”.

As I have been away from home, immersed in study and then for the last two days on a mini vacation, I have also been given inspiration on what to do next and looked at my present job situation with new perspective.

The first thing I am going to do is start a new blog which will be focused on ayurveda as well as my personal journey in finding it and how it can be useful in daily life.  I think it will be helpful to me to pull together what I have learned by writing about it, with the goal of being able to teach others and have my own clients.

Stepping away from my day to day usual routine and the job that provides me with a roof over my head and food to eat is always a mind bender, and this time even more so. I had set a goal a little over a year ago to quit my job in June of 2016, when I finished with this course. And here it is, June 2016. A few months ago I decided to stay, to not be so drastic, and then things started happening that make me think that I am being guided away. My boss quit, and I was evicted from the office space I’ve had for 4 years due to what is the equivalent of office politics in a hospital.  Middle management isn’t supportive, and upper management doesn’t care, and as I write this, it just makes me wonder what am I holding on to?

I’ve had a tendency to hold on to relationships and jobs long past time to let go and move on, and I think that is what I am doing. Fear, again. Uncertainty, as usual. As difficult as it is, it is the known. But I have a new tool that I gained recently. Instead of fighting with the fear, or running from it, I have learned to make friends with it, to look at it as serving a purpose. And so I will sit with the fear for a bit, talk to it, question it.

I will go back to the job.  I want to take a zen mindset with me. Zen as defined in the urban dictionary:

swans on the lotus lagoon

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.  

I’ve had a tendency to try to fight what is inevitable, to act as if I have some sort of secret power to change the minds of management if I just dig in my heels hard enough.  I think I’m done with that. I need to stop holding on to what doesn’t serve me well.

I know, deep down that the timing is perfect for great change. That there is nothing to fear. That walking away from a closed door is walking towards an open one.

You can’t win a battle against those who have no honor. There is no reasoning with closed minds and no persuasion that will open a closed heart.  – mystical Cat tarot card

 

And now I turn my heart towards home.