I had some fear come up today while at my storage unit, and also a kind of stealth fear has been an undercurrent for me these last few months— I’m scared of the changes I might really need to make, scared to take that next big leap into the life i want to live, because it means letting go of all sense of security and familiarity….In general, I’m a pretty big fan of The Middle Way, but I’ve been middle-waying it for years, in what has felt more like half-assing it. When I was at my storage unit, I, again, became overwhelmed by the boxes and boxes of stuff, and the burden of having to move everything to another storage facility 20 min. away b/c it’s significantly cheaper…and then realizing, I can’t afford to hire help anyway! and even though $50 a month doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s more than I can afford now.
And then if/when I *do* move into a real house, I’d have to come back out here and go through the whole cross-country moving process *again*.
So I think to just get rid of e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
And that scares me.
I take great comfort and joy in the few things I have left. They are beautiful and well crafted and i love my art, both stuff I’ve made and acquired. But the task of sorting through and downsizing becomes more and more challenging with each progressive downsize, as there’s less and less “fluff”. And then there’s stuff I don’t love per say, but would be very expensive to replace it all, en mass, or even half of it. The new age adage is, “let it go, and new and better things will flow into your life” but I haven’t always found that to be true. And then there’s the non-stuff Stuff– like electricity and running water.
This morning I heated up a gallon of water on the propane stove and stood in my shower/tub cubicle and poured cupfuls over me; it was nice. 1 gallon was almost enough to get all the shampoo out but not enough to do a condition and rinse, but it wasn’t awful. Using that little water fits my values. Something about heating up a big pot and carrying it to the tub is both simple and more time-consuming. But its the kind of time-consuming that feels quality, and more connecting than just turning on a knob and having hot water come out of a hole in the wall. Then I thought, what if i didn’t use shampoo? what if i threw some herbs into the water as I heated it and cleaned my hair that way? A part of me has always secretly and not so secretly longed to live with the natural rhythms in that way. I long to step out of city life and driving in traffic and in rhythm with nature.
Something wonderful happens to me when I am in the wild. I become more of my self; freer, less self-conscious; less indoctrinated. My body moves in un-quadriled sways, melodies and chants emanate from me unbidden, and organic ritual unfurls as naturally as a fiddlehead fern. I relax into somatic confidence and natural strength of an oak and become limber like a willow. But I don’t want to live a more natural life as a hermit; my soul deeply longs for deep and spontaneous human connection. I want to be around others who are free to connect and co-create.
I remember one time I was in a store and joking around with the cashier, a man in his mid-20s, and I said, “you’re fun to play with” and he got all bent out of shape, as if it was some kind of sexual come on (it wasn’t). I want to live in a world where I feel liberated to say things like that without the other person taking it the wrong way, or even if I was flirting romantically, that would be cool too. I want to live and work and be around people who are naturally energized and grounded by Gaia’s rhythms and unlearned of the ways of our industrialized culture.
And yet, I sense something holding me back too. I feel shackled by this world full of student loans and taxes and vehicle repairs and numbing myself with tv and Facebook and news… I spend so much time filling my mind with this stuff (and some of it is worthwhile, you just have to sort), that I don’t have to BE with myself and my mind. I avoid the thing I also prize Presence. I numb myself with processed food and wheat and dairy, so i don’t have to feel the raging anxiety of the choice that’s in front of me; of the choice that’s not really a choice at all, b/c I cannot go back to the old ways, to some “reasonable” compromise of a life, complete with house and job and drinks with the girls after work. I tried that and was roundly booted out by whatever Greater Organizing Principle seems to be calling the shots in my life (which I suspect is but a mere magnification of what my soul really and truly wants).
So the only way is forward.
The only time is now.
Do I keep hemming and hawing and procrastinating and spending another month dealing with the relics of a former life, with the archeological remains of my blood lineage the video cassettes of my parents honeymoon and early family Christmases? Of the beautiful woolen kilt my mom bought me when we went to Bermuda for 4 days b/c she had postpartum depression after having my brothers, of time-worn envelopes of school drawings and exams. Of beautiful hanging and table top lanterns for a home that has room for such things. Of the 30 lb. pickle crock that looks like an ancient mother goddess, that I loved into being with my own hands and heart?
Who will I be with out these things I love and these things that fill me up and keep me from being present, and am I ready to find out? Will the remnants just blow to bits with the 1st strong wind? Who am I if I have nothing to hold onto? What will comfort me from the profound sense of alienation I feel on a near daily basis? I want to be this person that my soul longs to be or is at its core, but yet in practice I am still someone who loves the thrill of a bargain and shopping. Today as I was returning something at a store I bought a few years ago (found out the item was recalled for safety), I found myself very tempted looking at all the baubles and prettys.
How ridiculous that is when I’m already overwhelmed by the stuff I have and literally do not have the money to pay for all the RV repairs needed, nor to renew my driver’s license, etc- yet the pull was as sure and predictable as a 4 pm undertow. This is not *who* I am, this does not embody my values, yet pretty things help me avoid–what? fear. disconnection. anxiety. emptiness. loneliness. confusion. And yet, here I am, standing on this side of fear, while everything I want and believe in is on the other side of fear.