Ode to Albuquerque

Tomorrow is my last day in Albuquerque, often referred to as “the land of enchantment”, or in my case “the land of re-enchantment”. When I was very little, my father headed west with the dream of moving his family to San Diego. He never made it that far. He got to Albuquerque and said, “This is it!”

Albuquerque is “still it” whenever I am at a crossroads in my life…I’ve been back so many times I’ve lost count. This time, even though I tried to make it my home again, it respected a different path. It had a role in ensuring I didn’t find an apartment, didn’t find a car, didn’t find a job, didn’t have to give up so easily on my heart’s desire, and didn’t have to live so far away from Stuart (and with an eight-hour time difference) for long.

abq snowI am filled with gratitude for this place, because instead, it gave me lots of space to stretch out; it gave me its big beautiful blue sky, hikes in the foothills, snow, and plenty of time to learn to dream again. The powerful, purple Sandias gave me a grounding strength and reconnected me to my own inner strength and the home I can never lose…the one in my heart. (It gave me medicaid too, my first health insurance in over 10 years…even if it was only for three months!)

I want to thank my sister and her frequently-belly-laughing family for their patience, generosity, support and compassion during this big transition in my life. You’ve been such a huge blessing to me in ways I could never fully express, except perhaps to say, my faith in myself has been restored through your kindness…and that has to be the most important of gifts we are ever able to give others.

I also want to thank the people I’ve met here who have had angelic roles (Jeff, Jill, Tonita) in my rebirth whether via their friendship or healing abilities. Thank you for being there for me…and most especially, for helping me to embrace this transformation happening to me and for the most empowering of sendoffs!

Sweet ABQ! I will miss you, but I suspect I will be back…whether for a visit or to stay….one day.

Advertisements

Why Albuquerque?

I said in my last post that I’d write about my reasons for being back in “el Southwest” in another post. What can I say? When I came back to the states, I knew I had to go somewhere.

While I was still in Virginia, I went to bed one night asking for very clear Divine guidance about where I was supposed to be irrespective of egoic wants and desires. (Look what happened with France! I didn’t want to go from frying pan to fire.) I asked that it come in such a way that the answer would be completely obvious to me and remembered upon waking. The next morning, I awoke with a memory of being with my sister in New Mexico.

I wasn’t that thrilled because going west seemed to be going further from Stuart. But I couldn’t ask for and then just ignore my dream when it was so bloody obvious. Since I grew up in ABQ and my sister and her family were there (albeit them Fox news and conservative talk radio enthusiasts), I thought, “Why not? Go for a visit and see what you think.”

My sister gave me a very warm welcome with flowers waiting for me in her old office/now exercise room set up with all the comforts of home. After bouncing back and forth like a yo-yo from one place to another, this provided a welcome sense of place and privacy surrounded by cedars and junipers and pinons as far as the eye could see.

But I’m finding Albuquerque to be a mixed bag. When I drive around town looking at neighborhoods, I enter these pockets and just start feeling really poor and depressed. These states can at times feel overwhelming blending and mixing with my own challenged internal states. Then I’ll hit another pocket and instantly light up, feeling potential and opportunity.

After having a house, the thought of apartment living curdles my stomach, must needs must. The first few places I looked at had me quite worried. I had hit one of those pockets and was in the wrong neighborhood…a nice neighborhood, but not the right neighborhood. So, I drove to my old stomping grounds southeast of the University. Wow! Places sure can change. Everything was quite run down including my old apartment building. Feeling even more discouraged, I had to talk myself into heading downtown. Once I drove under the freeway, I felt better. Downtown felt good to me. The closer I got to Old Town, the better I started to feel. I ended up looking at a complex that was new to me right across from Old Town built during my time in Asheville. It was very nice, but they didn’t have any one bedrooms coming available. My conversation with the manager somehow cheered me up despite that. She wanted to know my story, so I told her. She was very empathetic, and I left feeling like I could make this place my home after all.

When I got back to my sister’s and told her about it, she said something I didn’t expect. My mother and father had lived in that very complex! My dad passed away about 7 years ago, but now I realized his presence was still here. Going there and speaking to the manager felt like some kind of gift…a validation. Maybe I wouldn’t live there, per se, but I would find something somewhere.

What was I looking for? A duplex or casita for privacy and quiet that fit my budget. Good feng shui. A washer and dryer or at least an easily accessible and clean laundromat on the complex. Good light. Something pretty to look at out the windows. And most importantly, the feeling of safety. I seemed to be finding things that almost fit the bill but never quite entirely fit the bill. It is a delicate balance between not giving in too soon to something that “almost fits the bill” and not waiting so long that I have to take whatever I can get.

This past week, I thought I had finally found the ideal place that I could move into next week. I could afford it because it was income restricted, it was brand spanking new and clean, had a view, and with the exception of being an apartment, had everything I wanted. The woman said she would hold the studio for me over the weekend. I went back Monday to turn in my application, but that’s when I learned that while I met the income restrictions as an individual, because I was married, they would have to include Stuart’s income too thus pushing me over. Forget the fact we live in two different countries and don’t even file together. (Ironically when I tried to get a car loan at the bank, they couldn’t have cared less about Stuart’s income when it would have actually helped! No, I didn’t get the loan.)

Quite recently, I would have thrown myself into “why me?” mode and cried over the injustice of it all. But a year-long string of this kind of absurdity is seasoning me; I actually felt unphased when the leasing agent told me. I felt nothing. I said, “I understand. Thank you,” and then headed to the car and thought, “Now what?” That was it. I just went on to the next thing…

…Ha! which was a test-drive of an inexpensive car that I was pretty much all set to buy from an individual until he backed out on our agreed-upon price! This too rolled off my back. “Whatever.”

As nice as it has been to stay at my sisters, after five or so weeks, I’m starting to feel like an intrusion (not to mention alien from a liberal planet). I have yet to get a car so I’ve been relying on her graciousness and schedule to house-hunt. It doesn’t always work out. I had hoped to see a place today, but she had things to do. I’ll have to wait until next week and the apartment may be gone. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t have been right anyway. Who knows? Maybe I’m not even supposed to be here.

As the days pass and I have yet to find a place to live and a car, I am doing my best to deal with the feelings of being unsettled, discouraged, dependent upon others, a pain in someone else’s arse, etc. I just have to allow myself to feel whatever comes up but not indulge in it. It’s quite a balancing act. I must remind myself to focus on what I want, not what I don’t even if that’s what keeps manifesting (which has been the challenge all year-long). And most importantly, I have to trust that whatever the hell is going on with me, it’s all working itself out in God’s timing (crazy ‘ol bastard!).

 

Together Apart

Yes, I realize I’ve been quiet. Things have been sort of…unpredictable, uncertain, and intense. This has been a time of letting go. That seems to me to be the lesson again and again. Let go of every concept of how I think things should be. Let go of any and all expectations. Learn to live by a sense of what feeeeels right in the moment even if it seems to be going in the opposite direction of where I thought I wanted to go. The Universe seems to be providing me with immeasurable gifts to hone my intuition, to improve my ability to communicate, to see and release negative habits and thought patterns, to open up to synchronicity and learn to trust it, to learn better and better self-care, and to constantly refocus myself from a place of fear, lack of trust and self-doubt to one of love, faith, and confidence. They are proving to be the hardest lessons of my life. Some days, I just want to leave the planet. Others, I feel more hopeful.

Since arriving back in the states, I’ve spent a good portion of my time in Asheville, the city I lived in before I went to France for three months. I also spent time in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and presently, New Mexico, where I grew up. All this moving around has been rather disorienting and wearing on my nerves. Being back in the Sandia mountains is helping to alleviate my sense of groundlessness.

Stuart and I have both learned a lot during this intense time of separation. Mostly, we’ve learned that we don’t have control over everything (and probably anything) that happens to us. The only place we have control is over our attitudes and interpretations about it all…and that can be the bigger challenge. One thing is certain; we both have to do what we can to keep ourselves sane and happy right where we are…even if it feels like our lives are growing apart.

Who knows why things have gone crazy apeshit? Who knows why we’re even further apart now than we were before we even got married? Seriously, who knows? I know I don’t. Life is a constantly swirling mystery. I can’t explain it.

Partly for the grounding I mentioned earlier and for other reasons I’ll save for another post, I started an apartment search here in Albuquerque. Talk about swirling mystery! WTF am I doing here? It’s a lot of stress, this current situation. For one thing, I’m up against the crazy catch-22 of “can’t open a bank account without an address; can’t get a car without a loan; can’t get a loan without a job; can’t get a job without a car, etc.” The more difficult part is knowing if I commit to a lease, that’s pretty much the death of some dreams I had when I met and married Stuart. It’s going to cement a lot of moving pieces into place…including me. I’ll be buying a car, furniture, finding some work, setting up my business again. Stuart’s and my relationship will change. Everything will change…again.

“What about Stuart?’, you may ask. “What about France?”

Life seems to have other plans. And that’s okay. That’s just the point. Something really weird is happening, and I just have to trust it.

Will we even stay married? Honestly, we don’t know. We just don’t know. We’re both trying to find our way to the light right now after a year of unbelievable stress loads. It sucks. It hurts. It’s scary. Where are we both supposed to be? What is the nature of our relationship? Nothing has been clear. Then again, I could write a blog in two weeks saying I’m going to France after all. That’s how WEIRD life has been, so I’ve finally cried, “Uncle!” and stopped trying to figure things out. The only thing we know is how important we are to one another…that we love and serve each other in completely mysterious ways…that we can’t imagine our lives without our connection. How it ends up looking though, that’s all in the mystery.

As Stuart said earlier today, tongue in cheek, signing off of Skype, “Go do what you do there, and I’ll continue to do what I do here. And someday, we’ll be where we’ve gotten, and it’ll all makes sense.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

Perhaps the deepest lesson I’m coming to appreciate is that all I really have is me, here, now. My relationship with myself is ultimately the one that matters most. So, I have to allow myself to live where I am. I can’t keep trying to live where I am not nor wait for the day when I am. And I have to constantly de-emphasize all the unwanted things that keep happening instead of thinking about them constantly, trying to solve unsolvable problems. I must focus on how I want to feel. Stuart has to do the same. To do anything else would just be insane and create more resistance and more of what we don’t want!!! On the outside, it looks like we’re falling apart. So what? I already know appearances can be very deceiving. Maybe we will fall apart. But for now, we’re just riding the waves…the crazy, ludicrous waves…together apart, as gracefully as we can.

There is an anonymous quote that says, “Your soulmate is not someone who comes into your life peacefully. It is someone who comes to make you question things, who changes your reality, somebody that marks a before and after in your life. It is not the human being everyone has idealized, but an ordinary person, who manages to revolutionize your world in a second.” I would add, “It is a person who unknowingly pulls you inside-out, forcing you to confront every last remaining shadow aspect that keeps you from loving what is.” Thank you, Beloved. I am doing my best to embrace your lessons.

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patience is Not My Virtue!

Stuart is back in France, and we are at a bit of an impasse while we wait for El Universe to reveal our next step. We’ve laughed pretty hard over our brilliant plan…which is to get one. There are many moving parts, and until they move in a more coordinated way, I am stuck here. Not only do I have the house to sell, but Stuart also needs time to find us a place there and sort out some business/tax stuff. So when will I finally leave? I wish I knew. March? April? May? And once one piece snaps into place, we are at the mercy of El U for the next piece to snap into place. I was expecting, or at least hoping, to be outta here by now. It’s a rather uncomfortable limbo.

I know. I know. Have faith. Think positive. Focus. Unbending intent. But just for now, I rather feel like a bone in the mouth of a dog. It spits me out, all covered in slobber, then picks me up again and carries me off somewhere, chews violently for a bit, only to drop me again under the couch… forgotten, dusty, and dreading the inevitable grip of incisors returning to my midsection.

I simply keep doing what I’m doing: write, meditate, workout, learn French (in a sort of “what’s the point when there’s no one to speak it with?” way). I miss my clients. I miss singing and leading workshops. I miss having things on my calendar! Granted, none of us really knows what tomorrow will bring. But I think most of you have a reasonable idea, enough so to plan events and set dates. I, on the other hand, have to keep turning things down because I don’t know whether or not I’ll be around. I was invited to teach a workshop in May. Sorry folks! The Pure Heart Ensemble is doing a concert in April. Sorry again! Event in California in March? Maybe, we’ll see.

Okay, I’m feeling sorry for myself. I just didn’t anticipate this long of a goodbye… which, when I think about it, makes me question what in me isn’t ready to leave; I start to lose faith. Obviously, though, this must all be part of the plan, the lesson, the adventure because here it is. It crushes my self-importance into dust. It forces me to find some patience within and to muster all of my courage and faith. It compels me to let go of more and more… to empty.

This morning’s anonymous Facebook quote: “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.”

Doing my best.

 

Happy New Year & New Beginnings

While many of my posts are personal, this one is extremely so. Wasn’t really sure how to categorize it, but I’ve put it in “Deciding Where to Live”, metaphorically speaking. As 2013 shows its backside and 2014 emerges, rather powerful energies of purification seem to be in operation.  These energies call to mind the question, “Where in my own mind do I want to live?”

The last three or four days of this year have been a sort of exorcism for me…the casting out of the demons of a lifetime. I’m not sure how to share this; I’m not even sure I want to, but something is still typing, so there you have it.

In the year 2000, I began in great earnest my healing journey along the Toltec Path. One of my earliest lessons was that I was not responsible for others. I needed that lesson…then. I needed to free myself from a lifetime of misplaced responsibility.

But perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that in our cycles of growth, lessons must evolve with us. If we cling to the lesson, it becomes adulterated by the mind that wants only to preserve its sense of self. Tricky, that.

For awhile now, I’ve been misusing that lesson. I’ve used the idea of others being responsible for their own feelings to excuse my own terrible, Tazmanian devil behavior. I have been so irresponsible with my psychic energy, throwing it haphazardly like a child in tantrum. It was simply a lack of maturity on my part. I couldn’t see it, and I didn’t know another way.

Now that Stuart has entered my life, old ways of being in relationship are reemerging for me. I see how I have treated those I love with aggression and rudeness. I have pushed and tried to ensure they don’t come near me because I couldn’t handle the “intrusion”. I’ve tried to ensure they stop loving me, being affectionate with me, because it was too out of my ability to see the demons they were bumping up against. It is no wonder I’ve always been happier alone. I needn’t have faced these aspects of myself. I can’t believe I still have to fight these voices of abuse and destruction…these Nazi voices that hate, hate, hate. It becomes impossible for the tiny voice that longs for it all to stop to cry out, “Help!” And really, what right does it have to even ask when that same voice yells, “Fuck you, assholes?”

Embracing one’s shadow is never an easy task, but it is always the most rewarding. These last few days have plunged me into the darkest of nightmares in my mind, the relentless inner war, the deepest of schisms. But I’ve re-emerged humbled, grateful, and determined.

Now with this dam broken, a ripple effect is still reverberating. So much to heal, so much to embrace.

The habit reveals itself:

I feel myself wanting to be comforted and see myself not allowing it. It is a deep, internal rift inside…an unconquerable divide. Why do I not allow myself the comfort? Why do I writhe ever still the feral cat ready to claw. I tell myself it would confuse the process. Is that true? Or would it just confuse the ego…or this hurt emotional body? I also want to reach out and comfort, and I see myself at the pivot point always choosing the worn road of backing away and going the other direction…to the computer, to the kitchen, to bed. In the instances I try to choose the other direction, it feels stilted and unnatural to me.

As my mentor has shared with me, “Everything can be healed.  Go for the stilted, because it is the avenue of the novel and your efforts will be rewarded and become a new pathway.  You have been in a rut, but the avenue can always be repaved.  Of course it will take work, but once you know the price you pay for the old, you will make the effort.”

I know the price. I’ve seen it in my work, my finances, my creative pursuits, all my relationships. I’ve seen it in Stuart’s eyes.

It is no longer worth it.

With the voice of my father, plagued by many of the same demons, echoing in my head, “We hurt the ones we love the most and don’t admit it,” I know this great internal divide must be breached starting now. So, I humbly apologize for the misuse of my energy.  I forgive myself, too.  And I forgive others  who, like me, cannot see or simply don’t want to see where inner demons are hiding.  I stop judging them for not doing their “own damn work” because I know the depth of excruciating pain that accompanies it.  May I see with compassion beyond the demons to the angels beneath.

As both my friends Will and Suzannah reminded me today in separate instances (just to make sure it sunk in):

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.  ~Gospel of Thomas

I will bring it all forth. My greatest act of love…for myself, my loved ones, and the world in which I live.

As Astrologer Bill Attride recently wrote:

You are called to remember,
Beaten Paths are for the broken and beaten…
It is time to be a Trail-Blazer again.
To know and to believe in the Power of New Beginnings…

Here’s to a courageous 2014, everyone. I hope you join me and decide to live in Heaven on Earth, no matter what must be brought forth.

The Heart’s Choices; the Mind’s Battles

At various times in our lives, we all face really big decisions. How do we make them? Do we create elaborate lists of pros and cons? Do we flip a coin, draw a name out of a hat, or pick a number between 1 and 10? Maybe we consult with experts, or if we’re inclined, consult astrology or a psychic. There is always that moment of reckoning though when we must either choose A or B or accept the consequences of our indecision.

In my last post, which was actually quite a while ago, I wrote about the confusion that Stuart and I, a newlywed international couple, had entered regarding “where to land”: France or the US. We had, a couple of months ago, decided upon France, and then Stuart proposed that perhaps it would be easier for him to come here instead. We started to re-think.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though perhaps a bit taxing on energy reserves. It’s what the mind does. It’s function is to reason, to keep us “safe”, to foresee and solve the problem. So, in that, it was just doing its job and doing it with the usual fervor. The mind is not a terrible thing, though there are those who would make it out to be; it is a miraculous and necessary thing to take action in the world. That said, when not tempered by the heart, it can wreak havoc on all that remains “essential and invisible to the eye” as St. Exupery put it. A list of pros and cons in a fickle mind can go on and on. The debate inside can outlast infinity…if we let it.

I started to wonder whether Stuart really wanted to come here, to the US,  instead of me going there, to France. Of course, I still really wanted to go to France (God help me). But neither one of us would ever want to deprive the other of opportunity, so we had stymied, unable to make a decision, each of us waiting for the other to proclaim his or her heart. That made me start to doubt my own decision about France too. My mind began to reel: If Stuart has doubts, maybe the US is better. Maybe he is genuinely tired of the red tape over there. Maybe I am being selfish and need to detach from what I think I want.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that how I’m thinking not only colors my world, it becomes my reality. If I’m in a sour place, the entire world turns sour. If I’m feeling open and receptive to what is, beauty reveals itself in everything. If I allow my mind to take over this decision–any decision really–I will be handing the reigns over to an insane thing as moveable as the clouds in the sky, incapable of really “seeing”. And to quote Exupery once more, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”

Stuart is visiting the states right now, and we have since reaffirmed our decision to settle in France, and yes, that’s the final answer. The heart is back in charge. We are proceeding with plans to get me over there as soon as possible…one step at a time.

What’s one of the most difficult decisions you’ve ever had to make? How did you make it? Did it turn out the way you expected?