The Stars Align for BIG Change

Some of you may know that the month of April is stuffed full of exciting astrological configurations heralding the opportunity for BIG change. I’m not an astrologer, so I won’t get into what others have already done. But I invite you to read/watch one of the following to learn more about the energies that are currently influencing humanity:

http://www.mysticmamma.com/grand-cross-april-2014-astral-insights
http://newparadigmastrology.com
http://www.divineharmony.org

That said, a few days ago, I finally bought my ticket to France!!! I did it despite the almost blinding terror that tried to keep me from doing it. And once I did, I felt sooooo gooood!

An hour later, I had a house showing, so I went to the park to do a walking meditation with the mantra, “Love transforms my body, mind and spirit.” My entire vagus nerve was lit up like…well…Vegas.

An hour after the showing agent left, I got a call from my agent on his honeymoon in Florida (bless him): “They are going to make an offer!” Cool, eh? Unfortunately, the offer was pitiful, but it’s a start…kind of like earning that first dollar or getting that first client.

I also listed my car for sale this week and had several calls. Had my first test driver today, and she put a deposit down! Now that I have a date of departure, so many other things are free to fall into place. It’s very exciting.

Still so much to do. Saturday is my yard sale. Gotta get on the ball with shipping.

Yowza! This is finally really happening!!!

 

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Wheel of Fortune

Hello my friends and followers! I’m feeling a little punchy today, so let’s see what results on this page. Hmm…what metaphors could describe my state of mind…

A bug caught in a spider’s web? Nah…
A trash bag stuffed in the back of a closet? Nah…
A resisting passenger on the Wheel of Fortune? Hmm…

When I was about 14 years old, I went to an amusement park with my folks. My dad took me on a ride like a Ferris wheel with these little pods you sat in that spun around independently.  In the center of the pod was this mechanism that controlled whether the pod stayed upright or went spinning around while the whole contraption of pods went circling around like a Ferris wheel. I thought from the ground that it all looked like so much fun. Actually living it, though, was an entirely different story.

While everyone else seemed to be able to control their pod, my father’s and mine was just out of control! After the first 10 seconds, I was scared shitless and sick to my stomach. My dad’s face was terror-stricken as he looked at me guiltily because he wasn’t able to control the thing. I screamed for the attendant to stop the ride, but I’m sure I was just one more screaming voice. It was the worse 5 minutes of my life.

I’ve been feeling like that.

What looks so good from the ground can be a totally different story once you’re on the ride. If I could just get a grip on that centering mechanism and stabilize the pod!

They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Yeah, but what if it kills us first? No more amusement rides, I guess.

Getting Rid of “Stuff” – The Process of Letting Go

With a month to go before my big overseas move, I am finally able to focus my attention on deciding what to bring with me and what to leave behind. It is a gift of an opportunity to lighten myself (I’ve been channeling St. Francis all week), but it does bring up a lot of emotions and attachments I’m having to work through. It’s a fascinating process.

I realize this process would be different for everyone. Someone who lives out of a backpack would laugh at the absurdity of my attachments. Someone with a household of big furniture and several children in tow would probably envy me. And the person who has never known want might pity me. That in itself is fascinating…the fact that we all have such different points of view. But this is my process…

It is amazing how identified I have become with certain objects…they mean so much more than what they are, if you know what I mean. Everything I own was hard-earned. And now, I’m selling it for a fraction of cost or in many cases, giving it away. It sometimes hits me as a terrifying process. It sometimes hits me that I have totally lost my mind. And then I remember how nice it is to be mobile and free. I haven’t quite made up my mind about it all yet, though.

I’ve discovered that it is extraordinarily costly to ship things overseas. If I owned anything of high value, it might be worth it, but in most cases, most of what I would take would cost more to ship than its worth. Ironically, though, it will still cost more to replace, so every decision is a weighed one.

As it is, most of what I want to take has now been reduced to the highly practical or highly sentimental (and even this I debate on a regular basis). I was shocked to realize that an 11 lb. box shipped USPS would cost me $82 smackers (and about half the value of what was inside), shocked again to learn that airlines charge anywhere from $96 to $285 per extra bag. Baggage forwarders can offer the median $154 per bag. But you can see, it quickly adds up. I could use a shipping company, which makes it more affordable to ship greater quantities, but my problem is, I don’t really have enough to make that worth it. Besides, there are tax and duty considerations. So…minimalism is key. Right now, I’m still not entirely clear on how many bags I will have. I’m estimating no more than ten. It comes down to this: the less I take with me, the easier it is and the less it costs to get it there.

Some of my pricier (but heavy) electronics will be hard to let go of, not just because of my identification with them as an artist, but because I know I won’t be able to sell them for what they are worth nor replace them inexpensively. The thought crosses my mind that if I don’t own a digital recorder, mic, and vocal amp, am I really still a professional singer? Will I hear myself crying, “Why oh why didn’t I ship that?” down the road? My mic is light, but whether or not I take it will depend on whether or not there is room for it. Will I find a way to replace it all when I get there? Or will everything else take priority?

 

If I let go of the flatware I’ve been using since I was a child (and they just don’t make it like that anymore), will I later long for the weight of it in my hands and resent the cheap stuff that has taken its place. Yes, I realize I’m assuming the worst here. That is one of the things coming to light as I go through this. I have to keep reminding myself that it is possible something better will take its place!

Some things are just too big – my bed, for instance. Every night, I slip into that bed and thank God. I will miss it dearly. It took me 9 years to finally buy it for myself after years of sleeping on air mattresses, rock-hard foam, and even my massage table. But I simply can’t take it with me, as comfortable as it is with its yummy cream flannel sheets and super-thick cotton blanket. A comfy bed to two will be one of our first priorities now that I fully understand the value of such a treat.

I just went through my clothes yesterday. What a project! I kept having to take breaks every 10 minutes because it was so overwhelming. I’ve been reading about minimalists who own 1oo things, and I can’t even get my clothes down to 100 things. I will say, I did manage to discard about two suitcases worth. It felt really, really good. I consigned some of it, put aside some pieces for a friend, and gave the rest away.

As for the kitchen, I won’t need most of that. The only things I’m finding an attachment to here are my spices. I know I can get spices anywhere, right, but for some reason, it just seems like such a waste. I also have some really nice health supplements I hate not to take because I have no idea if I’d be able to find them in France.

Selling my car will be hard. My car is a symbol of my freedom, my ability to care for myself, and my security. Still, I’m enjoying the process of cleaning it up and preparing it. I have to remind myself it will go to someone who really needs it. It will improve his or her life and really, it’s the only thing I have that will actually give me a nice chunk of dough for the trip over because I actually own it. I wish I could say the same about my house, but as I bought it right before the market crash, I’ll be lucky to break even. That wasn’t how that was supposed to go! Regardless, I’ll be relieved to be out from under it.

That pretty much sums up this experience so far…a heady mixture of relief and grasping, opening and clenching, releasing and accepting. It’s intense.

I can’t take any furniture really – not even the Colonial Hunt chair and small table that I grew up with. The rest I don’t really care about anyway. It served a purpose, but I’m not attached.

I spent a month or more converting what I could of important papers into digital form. But I still have a filebox full of papers and notebooks I will absolutely have to take with me. I also spent a week or so transferring my entire desktop computer to my laptop. The desktop, which I had made locally and has served me flawlessy, will remain behind. (Anybody want to buy a desktop?)

I’m also taking my newly sorted clothes, shoes, some personal items, 2 stuffies to keep me company, a few kitchen items I know I’ll miss in France like my American unit measuring stuff, I’ve reduced my books to two (so sad), my Qwerty keyboard (so I can use Stuart’s computer without wanting to pull my hair out), some small electronics and software, and essential sound healing tools and power objects. That’s about it. And if I wind up with a little extra space, hmm…maybe I’ll rescue my books.

I’m curious. St. Francis, how did you do it? How did you just up and walk out naked one day and not miss that cozy sweater and warm, fuzzy socks? You were lucky not to have an American washer and dryer to mourn. I’m no St. Francis, but I’ve always wanted to know what letting it all go feels like. Bit of a mixed bag.

It’s funny, really. Compared to so many, I have had so much. I have lived so comfortably. Have I been blind? Yes. In many ways, I have because I have fallen prey to an ingrained materialistic mentality. And I’m grateful that this process has revealed just how much I have already been given to enjoy in this life. What boggles the mind is how little it has been compared to so many others who think they will never have enough. The truth of it is, I’ve always had what I needed…not much more, but never much less. Letting it go is easy when I remember that.

Money and Moving Overseas

Today, Stuart and I have finally sat down over Skype to face the reality of our financial life. I’m feeling extraordinarily depressed over the whole thing. Love across borders isn’t cheap. In fact, it is just about out of our means. Part of the problem is that I am saddled with a house for which I paid $150,000 which is now worth significantly less. Having lived here only 6 years, I don’t have a substantial enough equity to make anything on it. I’ll be very lucky if I come out even. Plus I’m not making much money right now while in transition; my little savings won’t last much longer. On top of that, we’re looking at expensive moving and immigration costs. There’s plane tickets, shipping fees, mail forwarding service, paperwork processing fees, accountants fees, and on and on and on…

Brake!

Is looking at the big picture in the way I always have done really necessary? Helpful even? Because all I feel is drained by it all. Is this an outdated habit that repeatedly confirms to me concepts of limit and impossibility? By letting myself see this current “reality” in detail, am I discounting the miracles the universe has in store for us? Shouldn’t I be putting my attention on creating a buyer at my asking price? Shouldn’t I be focusing on creating future income streams? Where’s the love in figures? Where’s the joy? Love , joy, gratitude…these are the creative and manifestive energies of the universe. How do I pull my head out of the butt it’s always been in and give it some fresh air???