Risks Are There to Be Taken

I love Paulo Coelho. He writes my favorite books. In By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept, which I haven’t read in a very long time, he writes the following pictured quote:

CoelhoI am beginning to understand this. Since December of last year, I have been going through what? An initiation perhaps? Something. I have been so afraid. Last year, Love showed up at my door and said, “Here I am. Take me.” At first, it was a dream. I was in a bit of shock…too much shock to muster up much resistance. I was still in the joy of the miracle.

When reality set in, when the changes I was facing became clear, when I began to realize (or my mind began to convince me) that I was losing everything I knew to gain a big question mark, a huge fear entered the picture…that very same inexplicable fear of which Paulo writes.

Of course, I gave it explanation because I couldn’t bear the inexplicable. I gave it a name and face and whatever else I needed to feel safe. And without even realizing it, I made this illusion, this golem, my partner. I invited it in and had conversations with it. I allowed it to counsel me, and I took its advice. But I didn’t know what I was doing.

I was talking myself out of a dream. I was squeezing the life out of my vision. To feel safe, I was posing every scenario, every possible negative outcome, every excuse not to change my life. I was waiting for the next step to appear because I wanted less risk, more assurance, certain non-negotiables in place. I was overhashing decisions, considering and reconsidering every angle.

I started to doubt what I said I wanted. I was creating the timeframe and locking myself into it. Since it wasn’t happening in my timeframe, I interpreted that as “it’s never going to work.” The instant I believed the lie that I couldn’t have what I wanted, I no longer knew what I wanted. I became confused. Everything became so much more complicated than it really was. I was trying so damn hard to control everything. And it was all me! I was standing in my own way, pushing away my own dream!

Somehow, I woke up from that. Somehow, through grace and inner work, I managed to see that it was pointless to allow fear to make my decisions, to keep me frozen in place, terrified of what might be waiting for me. Fear was robbing me of my ability to dream! It was filling me with rigidity and confusion. “A has to happen first. Then B has to be in place. Then C must be ready to go. Then D has to align. The E has to happen.” But what I was being asked to do was step toward what I wanted, no questions asked…no promises…just faith in my desire.

Stuart and I have been waiting for my house to sell since October of last year. We’ve also been waiting for him to find our new place in France. We’ve been waiting for finances to improve. And with each passing day, waiting has brought more waiting.

Waiting. For what? Nothing. I really thought we had to wait. But the only thing I’ve been waiting on is for FEAR to leave the room. I could have been waiting forever. As soon as I resolved to move forward, I felt such a weight drop from me. I felt elated. I felt on-track. We both felt a lot less stressed out. I got calls for two showings to the house less than an hour apart (and two more today). After weeks of moping around not knowing what to do next, the next steps became obvious.

We’re no longer waiting. I’m leaving for France at the end of next month. We’ll make due where he is and look for our new place together, and my house will sell when it sells. In the meantime, I will LIVE LIFE! I will step toward that which fills my heart with song even though my boots shake. Risks are there to be taken. Right, Paulo?









On Disappearing Planes

Something is happening to me.

I feel like that Malaysian airplane. I’ve turned off my navigation. I’m flying in the dark because I’ve realized there’s been a problem with my equipment. It’s been steering me in faulty directions. So now, I’m not quite sure how to fly. I grope while waiting for the upgrade to come like a miracle. There is no wreckage to explain my disappearance, and the rest of the world that once had me on its radar is wondering where I’ve gone.

I didn’t know, didn’t realize that the transition I’ve been in since meeting and marrying Stuart would run so deep. I know love changes things, changes people. It is turning me inside-out, that’s for sure.

Let me go back a moment. Let me speak about the navigation. As I disassemble my life here, certain things are coming into my awareness. As I grapple with impatience, indecision, fear, and surrender, I am seeing just how much I have invested in so many of the wrong things. I was investing in frustration, limits, and in “worse-case scenarios”, investments with little to no returns. I was investing in favored emotions, even going as far as to idolize my ability to feel so deeply. In reality, I was avoiding feelings, both the most abhorred and the most delightful.

My instrument panel was constructed of a slew of thoughts I adopted years ago as I began my spiritual journey; replacements for the thoughts that were implanted in me as a child. But even these upgraded thoughts fed the most comfortable emotions over and over again. I’ve been in a rut, wanting to fly to a new airport, but unable to navigate away from habit and comfort. This matrix of complexity, this web of beliefs has been my automatic pilot. But somehow, this autopilot developed a control-freak will of its own. It grew an “evolved” identity with the sole intent of preserving itself at any cost.

The funniest thing is that all this time, I thought, I truly believed I was flying free. I haven’t been free at all.

So now, the groping. I’m up in the air, between airports. I have no equipment. What else can I do but pray? I’m unclear about my final destination, save that it will be a very different place for me. My investments will change from things that haven’t been bearing any interest whatsoever, in fact, costing me, to things of truer value…things that give returns…things like compassion, acceptance, and trust. I want to invest in Truth, in that unnameable, unknowable, indescribable mystery. I want to live my life in a state of surrender. I want to pull my faith from thought and emotion and put it into a giant question mark. What is love? I don’t know. What is God? I don’t know. Who am I? I don’t know. Who are you? I don’t know. What is real? I don’t know. What will I do in this moment? I don’t know. And this one? Won’t we all be surprised!

To the world I’ve known, maybe I still appear the same. And yet friendships are changing, priorities are changing, and interests too. If not seen, this can surely be felt. Surely there is panic as the many nations that comprised my personality send out search parties with the intent to rescue.

But what is there to rescue? Nothing. The plane is lost.

Missing Someone

I wrote the following post last week and never posted it. I knew the intensity of the feelings would lift, and I wanted to be able to look back upon it from a stronger place. I’m posting because it shares another facet of my long distant romance. I know I’m not in this alone; there are a growing number of LDR (long distance relationship) couples out there. Speaking as one, it sometimes it feels like this:

* * *

I have a heart. I feel. Today, I hurt. I miss my love more than I can say. This pain is unlike any I’ve ever know. It’s its own unique blend of powerlessness and grief, frustration and ache. I’m kind of taken aback by the power of these feelings today. And I’m even more pissed that no one seems to get it. I just want to be with the person I love. That’s all. Is that too much to f&#*ing ask?

Some days, it’s not so bad. He’s living his life. I’m living what’s left of mine. There’s shit to do. Today, however, all I can feel is the total lack of satisfaction. I want to throw a tantrum. I want to scream and destroy things. Anything not to feel this dull ache and void. Anything not to be in this awful waiting.

Do you, you people in relationship who see your honey on a regular basis, do you appreciate that you do? Do you appreciate the fact that you can not only get a hug, a real hug, but that you can feeeeel it…the body heat, the muscles, the softness, the energy of love? Do you appreciate the fact that you can get on with your life because you’re not in some kind of god-forsaken limbo waiting for all the pieces of your puzzle to come together?

Stop what you’re doing. Just stop. And make a beeline for your love in the next room. Touch each other and look into each other’s eyes and appreciate what you’ve been given. Appreciate it for all of us who are separated from those we love. Drop to your knees in ecstatic gratitude for the simple pleasure of a caress and know you have been given a privilege and a treasure more valuable than gold.

* * *

The fact is, I may call this time a “limbo” but there’s a lot going on here under the surface…stuff beyond my understanding. I just have to trust the process. Now, I can say that going into that dull ache and void wasn’t so bad after all. It passed. I’m still here, but I’m a little less attached to time and a little more surrendered. What else can I do? Feelings come and go.


Lessons in Selling a House

I haven’t posted in a while. I have a good excuse. I’ve been working my website blog at DielleCiesco.com with a 36 day exploration of Divine Guidance. But I don’t want to neglect International Daze and the progress…or lack thereof…that Stuart and I are making toward my eventual move overseas.

As you may know, I am selling my house here in the states. Once that is sold, the way is clear for me to leave. This past week, with the help of a friend, I realized that I was giving into a lot of negative perceptions. We also determined that I needed to find a new realtor. Without getting into blame, I realized that the energy between my current realtor and myself was off, and I knew that she wasn’t going to be the one to sell this house. Fortunately, we came to the mutual agreement to terminate our contract. I was going to start again and see if I could create something with a lot more heart and a lot less fear…conscious real estate.

So I set out first getting referrals from people I know for other realtors. I also happened to have lunch with a friend who had just completed a psychic intuition training, so I asked her, do you know who I should go with? She said, “No, but I have this. There is a question that when you know what it is will make it clear who to go with.” How very provocative! But how to come up with that question?

When my ex-realtor came to pick up her signage an hour later,  we talked for a while at my door. One of the things she said before she left was, “Well, selling a house all comes down to the money.” When she said that, something in me cringed. In that instant, I knew my special question.

I then interviewed my top several candidates. It was a mixed bag of results. One person told me there was no way I was going to make what I needed to pay off the loan. And when I asked my special question, he looked blank and said, “What do you mean?” I didn’t respond and so he took it in the direction in which he was oriented…giving the answer he thought I wanted. I’m very perceptive when it comes to a person’s underlying motives and wasn’t impressed.

The second realtor told me to get a lawyer. I never bothered to ask her my question because she clearly had no interest in listing for me. I was really thinking at that point that I was going to wind up foreclosing. In hindsight, I realize she may have been operating on some incorrect information. Whatever the case, these options were taking me back into fear. It was a rough couple of days.

When another referred realtor called me to set up an appointment, I was feeling pretty hopeless and didn’t want to even bother meeting him. I decided to persevere and meet with him anyway. His name was Hart after all (I kid you not). He turned out to be the one! As I wrote later that day on Facebook:

I now have a new realtor! He passed my special question test: Do you think selling a house ultimately comes down to money? Without a hitch or a double take came the winning answer, “No…” I know for a lot of realtors out there, that’s exactly what they think it comes down to. It doesn’t leave any room for magic, heart, or love. Sure, money is an aspect. Of course it is. But it isn’t the ONLY aspect. And the person who is selling my house, whether consciously or unconsciously, has to leave space for it.

I don’t know how all this is going to turn out. It’s a bit of an experiment. I want every aspect of it to feel good…for me, for potential buyers, for everybody involved. I certainly hope the house sells fairly quickly and that I can make back at least some of the equity I put into it over the past 7 years. If not, well, I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

At least now, I feel both some hope and more aligned and readier than ever to release myself of my attachments and responsibilities to this house and land, grateful for the challenges and growth and celebratory of the triumphs I experienced here. In fact, I have another friend coming over next week to do some ceremony and energy work with the land.

Customs – Not Just A Kiss on Each Cheek

Here’s an important piece of information I almost missed. Customs! In order to ship by belongings to France, I need to collect some documentation and submit an application for something called a Certificat de Changement de Residence from the French Consulate. This form allows me to clear my belongings through customs without having to pay taxes or duties.

Here’s a portion of the email I received from French Customs when I inquired:

“You may import personal effects (wearing apparel, jewelry, toilet articles, hunting and fishing equipment and similar effects) as well as household effects (furnitures, carpets, dishes, linen, libraries, pictures and similar household furnishings) free of duty and tax, provided you meet the following conditions:

-those articles have been for your use for at least 6 months before the date of your change of residence (Yes, no problem!)

-each of those articles is itemized in a comprehensive list, in duplicate, signed and dated, of the goods you are importing into France as part of your moving (in one or more shipments), with the identification of their value (Ug! Sounds like such fun! Does it need to be in French?)

-you are in a position to prove, to the satisfaction of Customs, that you have been living outside the European Union for at least 1 year prior to your moving to France (No sweat!) and that you are going to settle down in France on a permanent basis, e.g. by producing a French Resident Card (“carte de séjour”) or a letter from your French employer (or in my case, a marriage license to a UK spouse living in France).

They referred me to the consulate for forms, and I have yet to hear back from the consulate. However, as I understand it, I will need the following to accompany my application:

  •     Copy of my passport
  •     Attestation de Non-cession (basically stating I’ve lived abroad for at least one year, owned all household goods items for more than six months, and that I won’t sell them for at least twelve months)
  •     Proof of residence in France (lease?)
  •     Marriage license
  •     Inventory of goods in French valued in Euros dated and signed
  •     Household goods Inventory must indicate contents of each carton (electrical items listed separately with serial numbers and original receipts)

These items will need to be translated into French. And to be safe, I’ll need triplicates of everything, I suppose. C’est le moyen!

Having learned all this, I now have more questions than when I started. Does the Changement serve as proof of residency or do I need a lease (in which case I can’t apply until Stuart finds our new home)? How detailed does my inventory need to be? Do I need to list every pair of socks, for example, or each sock? Or can I say “10 pairs of socks” or better yet, “clothing”? How on earth should I assign value to 10 pairs of used socks? I’m happier than ever that I’m not bringing much with me! Guess I better get crackin’ on those lists and translations.