turn left at the cow

When friends visit me for the first time, I tell them, “Turn left before the blackberry bush.” And then I add, “You might see some sheep when you turn onto my road!!” These are the kinds of helpful details you don’t get from Google maps.

It’s quiet here.

lonely barn

Here is my house. (This, of course, is not my house. I’m not crazy enough to post a photo of the exterior of my place because although I like you, I don’t like you enough to want you to visit me. Unless you show up with a bottle of wine, in which case I love you very much.)

It’s what I wanted. Sometimes I hear roosters crowing, horses laughing, sheep gossiping, cows crooning. The wind picks up every afternoon, always wanting to show off a bit. Other times it is eerily silent. Hearing myself think can be pretty boring and often leads to no good. On a positive note, I’m able to hear potential killers coming up to my door. The crunch of gravel and dry leaves acts as quite an effective burglar alarm.

I always like to find the silver lining in all of my worst-case scenarios!

The best thing about living in the country is the nature and the space. And I realize that saying ‘I live in the country’ is relative. I know there are countrier places, but this is the countriest place I’ve personally ever lived.

country living

Every time I come home, I feel a sense of peace. It is restorative.

This is my happy place, y’all.

For more happy places, check out this week’s WordPress photo challenge!

Oh, before you go, I have a joke for you. Why did the turkeys cross the road?

we own the road

Answer: I have no idea. These turkeys stopped in front of my car and started gobbling the heck out of it. They were either trying to mate with my vehicle or pick a fight. Maybe both. I’m sure this kind of thing happens in the city (substitute the turkeys for people), too.

Advertisements

it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn

 

“Goodbye, Hell Hole!!!!!!!”

That’s what I shouted – because I’m mature and grown-up – as I drove away from my tiny, sweltering ex-studio. I was putting it behind me. Literally.

it's a new day

I’ve been living in my new place for three weeks now. I find myself smiling uncontrollably. I can hear sheep, cows, horses and chickens out in the distance. The most consistent sound I hear is of leaves rustling in the wind.

It’s all music to me.

blackberriescherry plums

I’m currently visiting my folks and packing my car with all of the things that wouldn’t fit in my old place. [I just checked the manual and yes, your parents’ house is supposed to act as a storage unit. Thought so.]

I’m excited to be bringing more personal items and much more kitchenware. My new place is inspiring and full of promise, and I am motivated to step up my game to expand into and embody the possibilities.

The past six months have been a mixture of stress and joy, of limitations and discovery. I still haven’t been sleeping well; I wake up at 4am, 5am, 6am and my mind starts whirring, but this time in a good way. There is so much to do, so much to make happen.

strength

I’ve always had difficulty figuring out where I was going: Where do I belong? What am I doing? Am I making the right decisions? But I think I understand The Force now. You can’t always use your eyes to see. If you know yourself, trust and have faith in yourself, you do your best to feel your way through while remembering to R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself. You recognize rightness in your bones and you go where they lead you. Dem bones be smart.

I’ll continue to stumble, to doubt, to hope, to practice gratitude. And I’ll try and hold it together if I need to juggle all of those things at the same time, but I make no promises. If you go to your local grocery store and happen to witness a small Asian woman sitting down in the middle of the potato chip aisle, alternately laughing and crying, please don’t disturb me. I mean her. She’ll be fine. It’ll pass.

It’s a grand ride, this life. Full of unruliness, stillness, sudden twists and turns, and the potential for laughter in the face of fear and joy. Better hold on tight. Or loosen your grip. You know what to do for you: The Force awaits.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” ~ Pema Chödrön

home

 

 

 

it’s an ephemeral life

into the fog

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.”

~ Pema Chödrön

When I discovered that Friday’s WordPress photo challenge was the word ephemeral, I knew I wanted to post some cool photos I took one foggy day. Then I started to think about fleeting moments. Then impermanence. Which led to the pondering of Buddhist concepts. And finally, my head burst into flames.

(My head is always doing strange and unpredictable things, like the time it fell off and rolled around on the ground. Well, I don’t need my head to write this post. Truth be told, I was barely using it for my previous posts anyways.)

I don’t consider myself a Buddhist. I believe and don’t believe in a lot of things. I simply decide what feels right and then try to apply it to my life. Intellectually, I get the ideas within Buddhism, but they can be difficult to practice for someone who likes permanence. When Joy enters the room, I want her to stay awhile. I ply her with wine and chocolate and the gyoza she likes from Trader Joe’s. But she always has somewhere else to be. She has a very busy schedule, that Joy.

i heart fog

Enter, Gratitude.

Photography is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. If you’re like me (oh, lucky you! the sweet realization!), you capture these moments in time and then – everything changes. You feel gratitude because what you saw and experienced will likely never happen the same way again. And if you’re like me (oh, dear. poor you.), you get secretly giddy over the fact that while you were living in the moment, you captured it and made it permanent. Take that, Buddhism!

In case you’re wondering, Buddhism can take this kind of ironic taunting.

Joy, pain, gratitude, disappointment…they flow in and out, in constant motion, and sometimes they are tangled up together. I suppose that’s what happens when you stay open – you allow more of everything to enter. It definitely helps to keep your sense of humor and perspective intact. So that’s why I’m going to end with the photo below, because photography also causes you to notice things in a different way, which is, like, totally awesome, Dude.

If you’re like me – twisted, easy (…careful…), head falling off all of the time but knowing how to play it off, and willing to laugh at yourself, then…Joy!! I proclaim that we can be friends!! Because honestly, this has all been a test of our potential friendship. Okay, okay…here’s the photo:

when trees photobomb each other

when trees photobomb each other

 

real {tiny} estate

"oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person. act now!"

“oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person.”

Friend: “How big is your new place?”
Me: “Um, the size of a hotel room?”
Friend: “So it’s about 300sq feet?”
Me: “…”
Me: “…smaller.”
Friend (politely): “Oh.”

Tiny houses are the new rage right now, so people who live in these small spaces (and even smaller) might call my 250sq foot studio a luxury.

I’m not complaining. I do have to share a wall with a 25 year-old who is going on 15, so if I sound muffled, it’s because I’m biting down on a stick right now to keep from bursting out in language that I only use when I’m alone in my car.

But I have the space all to myself. Hallelujah.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to live in a city I’ve been wanting to live in, be in my own place and have the opportunity to transform it into a nest, a place that represents me and the peace that I crave. It’s been a long time coming.

For years, I shoved my needs into the shadows and misguidedly threw them under the bus in my personal relationship.

The Dark: It’s pain I can never forget.

The Light: It’s made me strong and soft at the same time.

I am part of that population for whom trust and faith in oneself takes time to revive, renew, and restore. And our work is never done. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be done. I don’t want to stop learning from, growing up in, and experiencing the billions of moments in this dazzling, unpredictable life.

For now, I’m home.

I can’t say it any better than the incomparable Joseph Campbell:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

 

peace out

To experience more serenity, go to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge here.

I live in a stunningly beautiful part of the country. So it only makes sense that I leave that beauty and replace it with new beauty. I’m insatiable! Nothing is ever good enough for me!! I always want more!!!

breathe…calm yo’self…serenity…

I never get up and drive to watch the sun rise. But I’m on a little birthday getaway, and these are the gifts I received for stepping outside my door yesterday morning:

Canvas Ranch sunrisesheep

As I get older, I realize how important it is for me to have the peaceful silence of nature around me. It softens the hard edges, sheds light on dark corners, and clears some of the static in my brain.

It fills, energizes, and it is the answer to a lot of my questions.

It gives me joy.

And that is the best present, really, that I could ever ask for.