Thoughtful Living – A whole year

journalAs the summer comes and goes, it is difficult in a number of ways to believe it was twelve months ago (July 4th weekend) that I helped my roommate of several years move out into her new home, and set my sights on learning to make my way, on my own. I knew I was going to have to reexamine every habit, every assumption, if I were going to not only make ends meet but make the most of my solitude and independence. At the time, the burgeoning piles of boxes that moved in as storage spaces were emptied was daunting; but the clutter they caused was more than offset by the blessed quiet.

I had done my best, back in early July of ’08, to stockpile provisions, tighten up my cash flow to include money for household and vehicle Murphy-isms, and promised myself that I would not let the practical concerns of holding a home together keep me from my spiritual practice and creative growth. Have I been able to do that? Yes, for the most part, though of course there have been frustrations.

The tractor being out of commission (something electrical) prevents me from doing the large-scale mowing that would keep my land well groomed as I prefer it.The lack of an extra pair of hands to help work on the cabinetry and woodworking means that the finish of the interior of the house is going painfully slowly and at times, feels overwhelming.But I try to see these as temporary circumstances.And temporary things change; but the truly important things?Those are moving in good directions..

I and my animals are well and healthy; the mechanics of my home function well, I have neighbors who I have learned are keeping an eye on me and care about my safety, and a number of the friendships I forged years ago that for a long while sat on a back burner prior to July of ’08 have deepened and blossomed in the light of attention and intent.Perhaps best of all that has come out of the quiet is a growing awareness of connection with Spirit that I could not hear at this level before this time last year.I’ve also learned some things about myself.

The day I saw a young military woman pumping gas into her beat-up light truck, fishing in her pants pocket to see if she had enough money and I left an extra $10 with the clerk to thank her for her service to our country taught me that I have a brand of patriotism that is personal.The day word went through the department at work that a friend was in the hospital, prompting me to have a religious artifact blessed so I could take it to him, taught me that spiritual practice, regardless of its flavor, is something I value in others.Perhaps among the most important:the pages upon pages written at all hours of the night when I’ve been inspired and willingly gave up sleep to finish an idea have taught me that I know my purpose.The question, “what do you love so much that you’d be doing it even if you didn’t make money at it?” has been answered.

So what’s ahead?The provisions that I had hoped would last a year have turned out to be quite adequate; and while I still shop for perishables, there is much that will probably take me a good way into the next twelve months.I’ve been able to take the dollar bill off the hot water faucet, so ingrained is the habit now of thinking twice before turning it on for everything.The window quilts, which kept the windows from chilling the air inside my house last winter are being rethought with an eye toward a summer version that will cut heat gain on the south and west-facing windows, and I have fine-tuned my budget to accomodate a pay cut, as have all state employees as of the beginning of this month.I may well end up working some hours at a second job to fund materials for the cabinetry and finish carpentry projects, but I’m determined to keep my eye on my goals and not get so mired in gloom at the economy that I miss all that is going right.

In parting, I’d like to repeat a quote that I read attributed to Tiger Woods:

“This isn’t a setback – it’s a test.”May we all pass with flying colors. My best to you all,


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