packing light: part II.

Most of us have heard of the geographic cure concept- the idea that changing location will magically cure our problems. It can be so appealing for so many reasons, and the reasons are not all bad- there is much to be said for having a fresh start and new surroundings.

My friend questioned me about this multiple times when I was making this move. “Is that any part of this move for you?” she would say.

All I knew was that I was certain I was running TO something rather than away. I had done the years of work, put in my time. It was time to lighten the load, which I had been doing incrementally for years, and take a step forward into the unknown and bright future that was calling me. I had cleared away the “wreckage of my past”, or at least made peace with much of it, and was ready to move on to what’s next. And sure, the thought of inspiring new surroundings was a big draw for me- I was hungry to experience more and have expanded influences that aligned with the person I was growing into.

One of my mentors, Dave, quotes Carol Dweck who says the future is “unknown and unknowable.” There are endless possibilities. Today, this thought fills me with hope and excitement about what lies ahead. When I was 22 and just out of college, it was completely crippling.

I’ve written previously about some of my “tricks” to packing light. As the years pass and the aging process marches on, the need for some things (such as the many self-help books I’d amassed) falls away. What I couldn’t grasp at 22 I now realize at 40 (hmmm, as of last week, 41...) and do not take for granted, all that life is with its magnificent gifts. With time passing, I don’t wrestle with the same thoughts that paralyzed me in my early 20’s. After graduating from the safe college cocoon I had mastered I was terrified, shielding my eyes from the big, bright, overwhelming sun of The Future. The world was my oyster...  and it was simply much too much to handle.

So I didn’t handle it. I stayed up until 4:00am watching movies and sleeping until noon. I had a box of index cards that I wrote movie reviews on for my own nerdy benefit, and I shed a lot of tears. Looking back, this was the best tool I had to process my emotions at the time. I was craving support and watching other people’s depiction of stories provided that. I made frequent pilgrimages to the movie store, my mecca, to rent VHS tapes that would offer me some insight and relief from the swirling, intense thoughts in my head.

I ate junk food and mostly avoided getting on the healthy diet wagon I was supposed to be eating for my chronic illness (I’m sorry, but who the hell wants “a nice lentil soup” for breakfast?!), pulsing with a strong undercurrent of rebellion. I laid on the floor of my Tucson house alone in what I remember to be the dramatic depths of despair and talked on the phone with my friend Corey (who was impressively "older and wiser") for hours, who had the difficult job of convincing me not to give up when I felt ready to. He was incredibly empathetic and patient with my episodes, and, thankfully, also talented at making me laugh in my sorry state.

One of my favorite quotes from Noah Baumbach’s movie Greenberg is “youth is wasted on the young.” And so it goes- I look around, all of a sudden somehow 40, no 41, wrinkly and bumpy, my fresh, easy beauty gone. My inner beauty, however, beams radiant and strong, freed of so many of the mental chains of the past that kept me stuck.

As we journey along on our paths, there are little lifelines and clues to cling to even as it seems we are stumbling around in the dark. When I was very ill and in the thick of my health struggles upon newly arriving in North Carolina, a yoga instructor told me that I had a very strong life force. This filled me with hope because I could feel that it was true. I always knew deep down that I had a lot to offer the world. My current coach would say that I just need to get out of my own way to unleash my potential, and I see now that’s what I was working to do all those years.
To get out of my own way. This gets to the emotional aspect of packing light. We will be continually faced with opportunities to challenge our old beliefs and let them go, to make room for the new, healthier present moments that await us.

Wherever you go, there you are.” This is what we encounter when we make a move, particularly geographic. We come with us, ALL of us, including our rich pasts, our unique way of viewing the world, our experiences that shape our perspective. Here's a recent personal example from this summer.

The internet had stopped working a while back for several months where I was living during a particularly busy work stint and I started staying at my partner’s place more as a result. He welcomed me with a gracious heart into his home which provided a quiet work environment, strong Wifi and espresso (three things that have come to be Very Important to me these days). I was humbled by the offer and went overboard doing my share and then some of the cleaning and procuring provisions because I wanted to “earn my keep.”

I made jokes about being Vagabond Val, traipsing in with my plethora of bags each time- laptop and work materials, food, drinks, ergonomic work desk, clothes, toiletries, and so on. We laughed about how ridiculous I looked, a colorful pack mule crossing the street, lugging in all my stuff up to his apartment.
I was the one making fun at my own expense, a classic deflection. The next time I had a call with my coach she could tell the housing stuff was really weighing on me, and before we could move on to higher level stuff we had to address it. Shelter is a basic necessity, a Maslow's bottom of the pyramid survival element. What came up for me was some very old feelings of worrying about being a burden to those I love, likely stemming from longtime childhood illness. Not only do I feel more comfortable as the giver than the receiver in general, but I was overcompensating and in fear about even the small possibility of being a burden to someone else.

What my coach helps me realize is that I am depriving others of the opportunity to support and be there for me if I buy into this line of thinking. It can be quite hard to see it from outside ourselves, but I know if the tables were turned I would want to be there for the ones I love, no question, and would feel badly if I couldn't be. She suggested I write a poem about it as I worked my way through my thoughts. It was a helpful assignment and the words flowed out of me within 15 minutes. Here it is:


He doesn’t care about the crumbs
but I do

I’ve turned into my mother it seems

That’s OK, I declare
We all have our quirks

Or warts as Mom would say
We go right on loving them anyway

Grace grace grace
Give us some grace
I give you grace but not me

Bar is set higher you see

Old voices sting

Ring in my ears whispering
You’re too much

But what are we if not safe havens for each other?
Aren’t we all a bit too much sometimes?

Breathe.
Breathe.
Feel your feet in your shoes.
Let it sink in.

You’re safe. You’re here.
You’re VALued and loved
You deserve to take up space

You’re among the trees now
The stars shine bright for you
Look up and see
Beautiful and free

New kitty reminds me I’m enough

I’ve earned her affections
Like I earn them all-
With love, generosity and a spirit of the other

A genuine desire to foster acceptance and grace

Where does that leave me?

I’m creating this story
From dusty old yarns

It isn’t true, never was
But it’s familiar, well worn
And stubbornly clings to neural pathways

Screw the eggshells
They’re to keep chicks safe not people

Lay your burdens down they say

Lay them down at your feet

Allow yourself to be held
Take a chance on this love

People love me anyway
They love me although
They love me because

Listen up girl its true
They love you for you
You’ve got nothing to prove

I’m actually doing pretty good considering, I say
And its true

I’m doing pretty darn good anyway

And that’s enough for today.


~ VAS 7.14.17



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Rainbow upon arriving in California last year after 4 days of driving across the country.
Pretty good sign!


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sail away from the safe harbor...

I’m about to embark on a new life adventure and fulfill a longstanding dream deferred. In the early 2000s I went to San Francisco, CA for the first time with my soul friend Caitlin (this photo of me below was my first SF pre-cell phone camera selfie in the summer of 2000 Happy) I immediately fell head over heels in love with the city and returned several more times. I loved its breathtaking beauty, the hills, the trees, the water, the horizon, its diversity and culture, and most of all, its expansive healthy lifestyle and nourishment options on every corner. We were supposed to move there together in the great Unwreckable Journey of 2000 (made tee shirts and everything, complete with a fuzzy iron-on letter misspelling! Happy).

My twenties were a tumultuous roller coaster of severe chronic illness (Crohn’s) ups and downs, and while Caity made it out there, I never did. Life happens to all of us, and I believe it is the way we handle our circumstances that define us. Because I’m driven to continual learning and personal success, I admit a bit sheepishly my pride that despite my adversities I have been continuously employed since the age of 15, and graduated from college with honors after many hospitalizations and incompletes. More education may be in my future, but I am content with what I have already accomplished and embrace that I am enough, no matter how many twists and turns my journey has taken or how long it takes me to achieve my goals. We all have obstacles in our paths that challenge us and I am grateful for all of mine because they have chiseled me into who am today: a fighter, a survivor, and a person that I have grown to be very proud of. I haven’t always been able to give myself that grace.

And so, sixteen years later, I now have the opportunity to make this dream come true and move to the Bay Area in early October of this year and I could not be more excited. Many of you have heard about this over the past two years and supported me in a variety of ways as I have worked to forge a path for this to happen.

Today is my last official day at CCL. I will remain closely connected as a consultant and they will be one of my biggest clients. Little will change as I will stay on my two current primary projects, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows and the Young Women’s Leadership programming and see those through. In addition I will be working to grow CCL’s social sector work and already have some promising leads. The good news is I will be back in North Carolina several times over the next year for a couple weeks at a time so will be able to stay connected to my community and family here.

It is the right time to take this leap and build my net on the way down. I have expanded my consulting business, vallmark* LLC (
www.vallmark.com) and am currently accepting new clients. My passions include helping build and deliver leadership programs for young people, empowering young women, coaching, writing, communications and speaking.

This shift will allow me the flexibility to be open to possibilities that present themselves as I find my niche out West. Yes, it has changed a lot in the 16 years that I've been longing to be in its midst, and the irony is not lost on me that I am a low-tech grassroots gal drawn to this current hub of innovation and massive growth. I am interested to find what is calling me there, whether its to be a grounding source for community work, a person/people, learning opportunities, all of the above... I remain open.

Over the past 9 years I have been so privileged to be surrounded by incredibly intelligent, caring, thoughtful and dedicated colleagues at CCL who continually inspire me, motivate me to dream bigger and bolder, and who have become trusted friends and advisors that I am beyond thankful for. I'm happy that won't change!

Meanwhile- little old Greensboro, NC over these almost 13! years since I was “banished” here from Austin, TX to get well- has grown into a place very near and dear to my heart. I now know I came here to meet some of my best lifelong friends who have been, quite literally, crucial to my survival and development into the most fully realized version of myself yet. I am getting verklempt... Really, just a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you for what you have given to enrich my life in all ways.

My sister and I have joked that over the years we have followed my parents around the country as they move- they keep running away and we keep following Happy. This is the first move I’ve made on my own and I know that in order to be the best family member I can be I have to follow my heart, even though it will feel hard and far away at times! I love them to pieces for loving and supporting me unconditionally.

Are things perfect? Of course not. Its true what they say about not waiting until everything is to do something. Do your research, prepare as best as you can, hedge your bets and jump in! Because #onelife, #yolo, and #betterlatethannever right?

How the West was won almost two centuries ago is a great narrative of facing and overcoming adversity on the quest for exploration and navigating unchartered territory.

It was during my Girl Scouts program almost 4 years ago where something clicked and I reached that state of flow and pure joy in my work. I realized that in order to be a role model, particularly for young women, it is of the utmost importance to live my fullest, most authentic life, no matter how scary that might feel to do, and to share my story and truth with others. I fight my humility by remembering I also owe it to all those who have not been as fortunate to see their dreams manifested. So with that, here I go…

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ H. Jackson Brown’s mother

SF post

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i had so much i didn't know what i had.

The culling process continues, in earnest. I sold furniture and got rid of some big pieces last year and also had a yard sale, and amazingly enough I still have a house full of stuff somehow! Gasp So it continues on. I've been in the music mix making process for someone and got out some tunes, and am discovering stuff I've never listened to and didn't know I had. I honestly think this applies to a lot of what I "have," or what has had me.

Simplifying life/reducing one's possessions allows the things you really love to be front, center and enjoyed. I'm starting to see that now. I have had this thing where I SAVE things for later... absorb compliments later, read things later, look at things later, use things later ... and later might as well be never. :/

I had so much I didn't know what I had. So here's to discovering things for the first time right here in my possession. I have all I need. And to moving all I can along so that I can be even more present for my life and the important things in it, like people and experiences.

Letting go of "stuff" allowed the world to collapse behind me as I moved, so I became nothing more or less than who I simply was: Me. ~ Dee Williams

When you don’t get rid of things you aren't using, you are blinding yourself to a critical part of the consumer experience: what happens to things when you’re done with them. When you have the habit of periodically getting rid of things you aren't using anymore, your brain begins to create links between the beginning (buying) and the end (selling) of all of your stuff.” ~ Tynan, Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time


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a short and slightly mushy essay on why i love my parents.

Looking back, its clear to see that if I liked something, my parents almost always liked it too. This includes politics, and before we knew it we had 3 Nader supporters on our hands deep in the heart of Texas! Laugh

If I like someone, they like them too. Always and assumed.

It reminds me of a very important book that I have given to a few special people in my life called
I Like You, that expresses this same sentiment so purely- you must get a copy and read it, and I dare you to not give it to your special people straight away!

One of my favorite things about both my 'rents is that if I show support for something or someone, they do too, and immediately incorporate it or them into the welcoming family fold right away. I think I might have taken this for granted for a time (although it was always appreciated and I knew how amazingly nice and cool they were) but it hit me today when my Mom was giving me an update about one of my dearest friends with so much love and care and concern in her heart, what an incredible gift their unconditional and unwavering support is. My people are
their people. My causes are their causes.

When I met and liked my birth family, my parents liked them too and were interested and loving. When I got to know them further and really liked them even more, they embraced them with open arms!

It makes me smile thinking about it and I had to pull open my laptop and jot it down. I didn’t realize or just didn't consider that the reason they do this is because they trust and like ME implicitly, and wholeheartedly believe in what I think is right and who I vouch for. A crazy and beautiful revelation to have. As my Godsister Hannah likes to say, #lovebreedslove! This is an aspect of many true friendships of course as well, those core people who have our backs no matter what. But I think my parents embody this radical acceptance and love more than anyone I know.

I love you Marge and Norm!

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Here are the lovebirds themselves in 1969 Happy


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counting the days.

This beautiful, colorful calendar was gifted to me by my dear friend Kara, who knows me well enough that she gets me perfect, inspiring, and functional gifts all the time, like containers to hold my supplement powders, and special lotion for my very dry hands for example Happy I have a handful of people that do this really well (Cori is another one, and my sister and YoungDoo too, and Gabe with his super fun and impressive mixes!) and with my 2nd love language tied for receiving gifts (check it out: http://www.5lovelanguages.com)- these thoughtful gifts mean so much to me! I love seeing them everyday and reminding me of the giver. Thank you for the happiness you bring to my life!

This calendar has brought me such joy and delight this year, because it was something I got to do each day, punching out the circle for the date, and as I watched the year unfold it got more and more rich and beautiful. And what a beautiful year it has been!! Wow. So cool right?! It also helped me be aware of how quickly time moves, and to continue pushing and working towards the goals I am set on. Time flies whether you are having fun our not, as the saying goes... Going to miss this calendar this year but I am sure I will find other ways to track time Happy


photvvvo

Another perfect gift- Cori found this at a YARD SALE, and fought for it for me! I see it every day and smile, amazed at how incredible it is that she found it (it's my motto!!!!)
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place in this world.

For some of us, it is not the easiest thing to find our physical place in this world (important song from my formative years), what feels most like home. For me, it is an amalgam of lots of special, favorite places that I've been or dreamed about. I've discovered that geographic location/environment is an important value of mine, and while I've lived in a variety of places and settings, I certainly haven't thrived in all of them.

My utopian community would currently make up the best combination of: London and small town England, Austin, San Francisco, Portland, lakes and parks of Vermont/Upstate NY, Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Aruba, Costa del Sol, Spain, and New Zealand. Coincidentally these are almost all places I've lived in or spent time traveling to. Laugh I enjoy other cites too: NYC, DC, Philly, Boston etc. but I'm trying to be specific about exactly what calls to me.

I love the history, charm, way of life in England (and the accents!), the live music community, food, and outdoor life in Austin, and its inclusive, active culture of all ages. Among many things, I love San Francisco's vibrancy, hills, healthy food/quality of life, diversity, retro and vintage shopping, public transportation, cool weather, coast, and trees. I like how I can be myself. I spent a good amount of time there in my early twenties visiting my best friend from college and her brother, and didn't get a chance to move there like we had planned.

I love Portland's creative energy, inspiration and walkability. The rolling hills, lakes, and neighborhoods of Vermont and Upstate New York feel like home to me. I hail from the northeast, and that is definitely baked into my soul, with a love of cloudy cooler weather and four seasons, older homes and buildings, and overall aesthetic. Arizona, for example, while I lived there and enjoyed many things about it, did not feel like home to me, just a unique place to visit.

The European presence and friendly, fun vibe in Playa is amazing, the soft Aruba beaches and breeze is the best combination, and Costa del Sol is brimming with tasty food and the Mediterranean laid-back lifestyle. I haven't been to New Zealand yet, but I crave its calm, beautiful, nature and health driven culture.

No doubt as I continue to travel I will find more and more spots to occupy little pieces of my heart (Italy, I'm coming for you Happy)! No place is truly a home without people, and that is an important factor as we get older and close friends and family become scattered about the globe. We make sacrifices with the environment for people sometimes for sure, and for good reason.

We owe it to ourselves to determine where we best fit, where we most come alive and fully express our best selves. Moving and trying different places is part of figuring it out; even by process of elimination, core needs come to the surface about what kind of community we want to be a part of (from the pics I found, clearly food is an important part of my equation ;D)... When do you know you are
home?


GF orange almond cake at Vegetalia's in Spain, May 2005
veg

My friend Ry guy and I eating Dosa in San Francisco this week, August 2014
ry


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inbetween days.

After being sick this entire holiday break and quarantined in my pajamas, with one happy exception on Christmas Eve, (my work is closed for the holiday season until after the New Year), I'm back to the grind of purging and sorting.

It is draining, emotional, lonely, wandering through the hallways of the past. It is necessary work. It is also incredibly poignant, fun, and daunting. Feeling the feelings as they come and allowing them to pass through me. The deeper I get, the closer I get to me. This is the cool part. As strange and
in-between a process as this is (I could use a good dose of The Cure right now, the anthem band of nostalgia), I know I am marching towards my most authentic and true self and destiny, and that feels exhilafrightciting, to use a phrase created by someone I used to know. Swimming in the depths of nostalgia, scraps of thought, kind words from loved ones, glimmers of who I want to be, things I want to explore, and old shit, it is like walking the pages of a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

I took a mental break this evening and saw
Dallas Buyers Club, and something Ron Woodroof's character said rang very true for me: "Sometimes it feels like I'm fighting for a life I ain't got time to live." I feel like I am playing catch up so much of the time that I don't get a chance to stop for a minute, catch my breath, and just be in the present. I try to reassure myself with the thought from my doctor that I have indeed been living, all these years, just like everyone else, just doing different things, and learning in different ways. I may not have been out "playing pinball" as he put it, but I was living and learning just the same. That comforts me.

I've connected on a deep level to the HIV and AIDS movement since the early nineties, when I was very ill and could relate to so many of the struggles faced by those afflicted. It's worthy of a separate post sometime, but this raw passion for health, born out of experience and hardcore empathy, is an important chorus that rattles around the chambers of my heart, and physical space, present in books, articles, notes, people, and knowledge. It was a nice reminder to supplement the deep dive explorations I'm doing in my surroundings. A few finds from today:

Consent for treatment, 2002.
photo 1
Dreams.
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My very first Apple product, my PowerBook G4, circa 2005, is being laid to rest.
Bon voyage, silver bullet.
photo 4
My cute Momma helping me sort
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I've carried this thing around from state to state over the years. Must be I liked what it said...
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cover

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"getting organized."

I remember talking to my Dad on the phone when I was away at college, and whenever he asked me what I was doing, the answer was usually "organizing" or getting organized" - you can ask him. Happy I'm still at it! After examining my values through a tool we have where I work called Values Explorer, I know that 2 things I always value are knowledge and wisdom, so that seems to be part of it- I've been hoarding bits of knowledge for decades now, organizing it, and then eventually planning to share it I suppose with the world, and at the least use it to make me a more effective, directed individual.

I think it also explains why I have a hard time getting rid of these kinds of things, such as books, newspapers, informational articles, resources, etc. because I value them so. I know some people who couldn't be more opposite in this regard, and they value other things more. For me, there is always something to do, something to learn, something to discover. I could remain in this house for the rest of my days and I wouldn't be able to read all that is currently in my possession. That's something, seeing as I'm still in my 30's... Laugh

I'm learning the balance now of amassing and digesting knowledge, and then releasing it, to move on to the next thing. So much is constantly changing and improving anyway that it is hard for any of these things to remain static. There are some classics that just are, of course, or sentimental. But other knowledge is time and date sensitive, and there's always new material being generated. For someone who values this stuff so highly, this can create quite a tension and stress, trying to keep up with it all and not wanting to lose the history of the old. I definitely resemble many professors I know in this respect. Knowledge is power. Wisdom is a goal. But if you have so much of it that it becomes difficult to meander lightly through life, its time to lighten the load.

A friend was talking last night about how the internet available at any moment to us has changed our learning and existence, in that kids don't feel they have to learn as much any more, because they can just look it up. That was an odd concept to consider. It's both freeing and frightening. The thought of our brains atrophying because we no longer seek to learn, just look up. Perhaps different skills are being harnessed in this technological era (I hope). A mantra that comes to mind often for me when considering this work is from a Be Good Tanyas song:
Keep it Light Enough to Travel. Ultimately, I'd rather absorb and process what I can and store it in my mind, and release the rest so that things can flow on, but I know this struggle will always be one I wrestle with. For now, I'm working to trust as much as I'm able to technological archiving and sharing sites such as Pinterest, and then my electronic filing, which basically is a black hole that I am 99% sure I will never look at again. Old school paper sometimes is more in your face, tangible, and accessible, especially after spending most of the day on a computer - I just am not very inspired to do it at home as well.

I'm down to 2 (admittedly very large) bookcases, 4 filing cabinets, 2 closets,
1 dresser/console, and 1 trunk of books/paper Happy
sdfsdfdsf

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val's in da house

So, it's back to the house. Teresa, my friend of almost 10 years (gulp- cannot believe it has been this long!!), and her beautiful daughter Skyler, have resurfaced in my life at an opportune time. They are thoughtful, funny, caring, hardworking and dedicated to a fault. Where I flounder and freak out in overwhelm, Teresa lays down the law and "gets it done." She is hardcore and actually accomplishes things and moves forward in life- what a concept! Laugh

For those of us that are Ns (iNtuiton in the Myers Briggs type indicator), we envy these results-oriented Sensing types. They DO things and are known as the masters of action and implementation, out there living life, whereas iNtuitives are more abstract in their worlds of ideas and reflection, and we may take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to actually do anything concrete... and may not realize it because being in our heads, making connections and philosophizing feels like doing something to us! Being pushed into motion feels exhilarating to people like me and I highly value the support of my friends, and the other fellow Ss in my life (my Mom and Grandma), even though we spar over this key functional difference sometimes of course.

Thanks to Teresa and Skyler, I am in motion again after a longer than I would have liked hiatus. We tackled ONE drawer, and then cleaned up and restored the place to previous order. Definitely not the way I would have worked if I was running the show, so I was very grateful for some guidance to keep me in check! It's great to have a team - Skyler very quickly shred a ton of old bills and statements, put things to keep in clear plastic sleeves, and filed folders. Teresa challenged me on items that I might have contemplated keeping, (mostly things years old that I haven't read, probably never will, and that are only making me feel guilty- what's the point of continuing to lug that shit around?) with "It's 2014 Valerie!"

Huh. You know, clearly, as strange as it sounds, I do not yet have a grasp of year or decade. It's that Rip Van Winkle syndrome thing I have from feeling like I've missed years of time due to survivor mode illness- I just feel like it's earlier than it is. This process makes me feel good because it gets me one step closer to the present, which is the real gift. Punny but true! We also made lists so I can cross off the drawers/boxes/bins/cubbies as I clear them, and celebrate my progress catching up! Incredibly, in doing just one drawer we uncovered some important and very relevant writings and other finds that will help support me on my next steps.

Goodbye 1997 John Cusack! It's been a great 17 years...
(I can't believe I got this when I was 19!! Now that feels like a long time ago...)
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Waking Life (Richard Linklater) movie rental, 2004.

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Super efficient filer and shredder Skyler at work
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1 drawer cleared= 1 bag of shredding and 5+ pounds recycling!
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the gift of the present.

I feel alive. Present. For the first time in quite a while. I have a migraine, and vision in my left eye is blurry. But this is mostly a big nuisance- I still feel this clear feeling. It's a lovely summer evening, 8:25pm, and I've got the front door open, shades up on the window, and have reached out to neighbors I've lived next to for years and haven't officially met. I'm putting myself out there, and am more available than I've been. It is an energy shift. A happy one!

Maybe it's because I'm on the cusp of finally digging into the thing that my life has been waiting for me to do. It's finally time, and I have arrived at the place where I'm ready to move forward, instead of just wondering and thinking about it.

One thought is that there are NO MORE DISTRACTIONS. It's interesting how some of us have to push ourselves to the brinks to launch the change we have been desiring for long periods of time. I have no financial distractions, because I have no money to spend. It's peaceful in a way it hasn't been previously. I know that it is leading to the next step for me. I have no relationship distractions. As I've mentioned in a recent post, my life has been eerily quiet (my cousin, recently visiting from Spain, called Greensboro "Spooksville" Happy!

This is the first time in I don't know how long that I am home at a reasonable hour, no where to rush off to, taking the time making a semi-proper evening meal for myself. I found a bottled spiced apple cider in the fridge, and am making a club sandwich. Seems crazy I'm sure that these things would be remarkable, but most of the time I don't slow down long enough to breathe. I'm appreciating the little things that could be taken for granted, and it's a really nice feeling. The absence of some things makes other things more apparent.

My club sandwich
Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 9.52.16 PM

Tonight's view from my back steps
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back in the saddle again

Since I got this fantastic IKEA Norden birch table (with hidden leaf):

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I’ve camped out in my living room and have used it every day for projects, bill paying, computing, and life. The downside to this is that my office has been feeling a bit neglected! So, now that the newness of it has worn off a little, I’ve officially moved back into my office, and I’m rearing to go!

Val_068

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the bookcase.

Four words: the bookcase didn’t fit! After 12 hours of IKEA-ing and building, must formulate plan B tomorrow. Happy UPDATE: We had to get a 2nd smaller bookcase, as this one, pictured below, would not fit down the hallway (it was intended for my office). So another trip to IKEA later, and more building (thank you infinity John, who’s idea it was to get the bookcase(s) in the first place...) we finally have success. And now plenty of extra room!

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This behemoth stands in the living room - mirrored doors, so fancy!

This is the new smaller bookcase for my office- in love with the smooth sliding drawers and doors for the cubbies!
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the transformation.

Ok, so I’ve told you a tiny bit about me and now I will share what I am up to. While this rainbow world is born out of wanting to document my struggles and triumphs over a twenty-plus year battle with Crohn’s disease, most of my time and thoughts are spent thinking about and doing other things, and I find it all sort of inexorably bound up together, such that I don’t know how I could have a single focus.

Rather, I see it more as a kind of lens which informs the rest of life I am involved in, and thus will share those other aspects here too-- and as the Brits say, you can like it or lump it, or as MJB
sayz, you can hate it or love it... what what!

The latest is trying to get my home organized. Oh boy.

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