Challenges

Keepin’ the dream alive

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, Liveaboard, Sailing, Virtual Assistance, Wholehearted | 1 comment

A decade ago my hubby and I envisioned a different life. A life that represented freedom and as off the grid as we could imagine: we wanted to live on a boat and travel. I solved the income challenge almost immediately. I discovered the ideal mobile business and have successfully worked from different states and Canada, even from a sailboat for a short period, as a Virtual Assistant—and I love what I do! So why hasn’t the dream become a reality I ask myself? Life happened. Unexpected major events that we’ve handled surprisingly well and bounced back from—wiser but not deterred from our dream. And that’s okay. I get that we’ve only hit the snooze button. But some days I feel unmoored. Are we on the right course? Do we need to adjust the sails? Doubt for our North Star seeps in. We recently found a fixer upper sailboat that met 90% of our must-have-list on the hard (out of the water) in a marina near Tarpon Springs (a doable two hours away instead of in Oregon!) It had been the owner’s dad’s project boat but his dad had died before seeing it complete (sadly this is a common tale). Fixed up this boat would sell for five times the asking price. We enthusiastically set out the next day with our cash deposit in hand. I climbed a wobbly aluminum ladder (my faith in hubby’s hold on said ladder complete) to step on board into almost shin deep rain water in the cockpit! I waded to the companion way and braced myself as I slid the hatch cover back and pulled the slats out. I could hear water running inside like a faucet in a bathtub— she was full to the bottom of the galley cabinet doors. Oh, NO! I was able to clear the cockpit drain obstructions and get the water flowing out. From the algae and gunk build up it was apparent this had not happened recently. The boat was already a big project for our experience but we were game—but this—this changed everything! Fresh water rots and mildews wood faster and more effectively than saltwater—any water inside a boat is undesirable but long standing fresh water is a deal breaker. I snapped photos for the unsuspecting owner and for Jeff, my heart sinking. Once again—this was not our boat. And I was saddened from the high spirits of expecting to have found and made an offer on a boat—finally! But also for the boat herself.  I grieved for her, for the loving work undone, for her obvious neglect, that I couldn’t help her beyond alerting the owner and marina staff. Sad. That. How do you determine if the obstacles between you and your dream are the Universe’s way of steering you clear of a rocky shore or only mighty storms to be weathered to prove your passion and commitment to your dream?  We brainstormed to see if there was something else we’d rather do—a third option we’d overlooked. Or was it only our ideal boat was still waiting for us to ready for her? What do we need to let go of to make room for her? For me I think its attachment to an extremely comfortable and privileged life: I’m deeply attached to electricity, hot water, indoor plumbing, and air-conditioning! Detaching from these comforts seems a small price for the freedom and adventure inherent in the live-aboard lifestyle! It took a few days but we buoyed ourselves up and we’ve reached out to a sailboat seller again on the Gulf coast and he offered us...

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resisting my neighborhood

Posted by on Jul 6, 2012 in Challenges, Inspiration, Wholehearted, Writing | 0 comments

I was pleased with the bird, cloud, snake prompts even though at first glance I didn't see how I could write them. Writing them expanded me as much as my view. The next writing prompt was to walk our neighborhood (a quarter mile radius) and capture what we see. I resisted for weeks. Eventually I got over it by writing about my resistance: My quarter mile circle expands way beyond our neighborhood. I am glad. I do not wish to lace my sneakers and walk the aged asphalt roads littered with dark patched potholes like a carcinoma on freckled skin. I resist seeing the for sale signs on rickety posts with their hand lettered pleas swaying in the breeze. I ignore the encroaching weedy lawns with dandelions dancing carelessly in a once tended yard.  Either indifference spreads faster than weeds or the hardworking Joes and Janes have despaired of ever having the time to dream of freshly mown grass, children running through a lawn sprinkler, or backyard barbeques.   Mostly the windows yawn empty in tired walls under tin roofs browning with rust. Lost hope is a wildfire whose flames cannot be contained but must be doused before they ignite the very heart of our community. My neighborhood houses a melting pot of souls from college students to retirees on a limited income. We each eke out a home next to each other and offer a good morning when we wheel our cumbersome lookalike trash containers to the curb. We nod or wave at the postal center under its little A-frame roof—rows of four inch square metal doors concealing the next piece of paper that may be a family’s salvation or surrender. I do not want to see my neighbor’s worn faces in the early evening dusk or the smiles that do not reach their dull eyes as they suck deeply on a cigarette and sip from a brown beer bottle gripped in tired fingers aged well before their time. The city has encroached on our once hidden community and location is key for those who call my neighborhood home. They may need to bike to work or walk to the corner bus stop but most drive ailing cars which they back out of their driveway in a haze of gray exhaust gunning the barely idling engine and praying it will keep running on fumes one more day. My neighbors may bring you your meal on an oversized china plate and pass you a cloth napkin and inquire if you’d care for more wine. At home they use paper towels and share french-fries with their kids out a greasy white paper bag. My neighbors probably bag your groceries in colorful cloth bags and offer to push your cart to your car even though you are perfectly capable of completing this task yourself. My neighbors sweat in a factory  breathing in chemical solvents so that their neighbors have clean uniforms with a pristine name tag on the breast pocket ready to wear when they change your oil or jack your car up to remove a flat tire. Yet, look. There’s the cashier from Walmart  sudsing a late model car with soapy water in a blue plastic bucket, her older daughter, barely school age, sprays water from a bright green Kmart hose, her younger sister runs through the arc in a tiny pink bikini. Mini droplets of miracles rain down along with the peals of their laughter. And there—I spy a newly planted flower bed, filled with lilies and mums wearing hope in multi colored petals. Listen. I hear a lawnmower roar...

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starting where I am

Posted by on Jun 11, 2012 in Challenges, Connections, Creativity, Wholehearted, Writing | 0 comments

Start where you are, Patti said to us in VerbTribe. Here I am halfway through the year approaching my forty-eighth birthday and I am beginning to write again.  I wrote through March on my screenplay and slapped on a to-be-continued ending and pronounced it done. My fellow WriteNiters sagely called me on it and said they wanted an ending with oomph not fizzle. I have been in a funk since the end of April feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, and resistant to writing—of any kind. My journal lies unopened on my bedside shelf; my blog languishes from my absence. My resistance has taken on the form of not showing up. I’ve been on auto-pilot gliding over the surface of my days. I’ve felt disconnected and de-energized and I catch myself turning to look for something half remembered behind me. My muse, my creative spirit hangs her head and quietly trails me from room to room. I have the time in my schedule, I have the space to create—I am simply allowing fear to make my choices for me. I may fail spectacularly. I may succeed spectacularly. So what!? Do it anyway. Instead of dragging around like a husk of a passionate creative writer just write. So what if it’s crap? It’s still writing. Write through the crap to get to the good stuff. Writing is a huge part of my life I have not shared on my blog until recently. I want to face that edge and not back down. I commit to sharing writing prompts or portions of my screenplay here regularly, anything goes. Yes, that scares the heck outta me yet at the same time it makes me stand up taller and say, Yeah, I wrote that.  I am starting where I am. Resistant yet determined to dissipate this funk. Sharing and connecting with you dear reader is the most loving step I can take for myself in this moment. Here’s a poem I wrote for a prompt of being a bird: Krak My body is the night blacker than pitch. Imagine the evening sky, stars snuffed out like candles. I am soaked in black my feathers reflect iridescent purple.   Bold am I. Bodacious. Raucous. I scream at my crow cousins. I am mighty— They are minions in my kingdom.   Raven am I. Maven of heaven. My intense inky eyes blink rapidly on either side of my head. Monocular vision— so foreign to you, allows a view of ALL.   I am always alert, ready, poised. The branch sways I hold my head still to triangulate. What buoyant substance is sealed in these hollow bones? Which make my body lighter than the air that kisses it?   I am not shackled by gravity my wings spread in a shadowy embrace my legs thrust I point my beak to the rising sun. Close to the ground I swoop and loop over my crow cousins. Krak, krak I call to remind them I am here. Always watching. Their dark master.   I lift on a current like a branch in the sea and surge upwards a black smudge in an azure sky. My belly is full. My wings are strong I beat them up then down steadily and feel the wind shoot me higher.   A thermal! I bank right. The heavens are devoid of other life I circle the funnel of air feathers streaming eyes seeking my wings stroke the air. krak, krak alive, I scream. I am...

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my left hand

Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Caretaking, Challenges, Love, Wholehearted, Writing | 1 comment

Day 14 of Verb Tribe we were invited to write our daily prompt, ten minutes on a paper bag, with our nondominant hand. I met this invitation with full resistance which looked like closing the prompt and doing everything else but write with my left hand. Eventually I came full circle and returned to the prompt and to the page, or bag. Here's what I shared after the prompt: Oh resistance! Huge crooked letters…and then an in rushing of sadness…this is how mom wrote at the end…oh how this frustrated her…I wrote through the sadness and struggle until the end of my bag. Then I flipped it over and with my right hand, wrote this: Say It's too hard, she says. Keep at it, I encourage. It looks like chicken scratch, she says. I can read it…kinda. Pfffffft. She says. Mom—you can do this. She picks up Mount Pen. I don't say it is chicken scratch. Her cursive handwriting was the first to go Along with memories of where she lived and who I was. She moves Mount Pen incrementally the letters of her name printed like a kindergartener. Great job! I say. If you say so, she says. I...

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the phoenix rises

Posted by on Apr 2, 2012 in Celebration, Challenges, Inspiration, Intention, Learning, Wholehearted, Writing | 1 comment

On Day 30 of Verb Tribe, this was our prompt: Gather up all your writing from this class–all those paper bags, all that filler paper. Take a photo ofeverything you have done.And then burn everything.Writing is process, not product. I couldn't do it. I'm a keeper. I rationalized that I wanted to make a piece of art out of them. Reality: I was attached to outcome and product. My proof. I took photos of every page. I made blog posts out of several of my favorites. Then yesterday, weeks after this prompt, I shared this with my Tribers: I've been clearning for the past few weeks (cleaning and learning) letting go, giving away, repurposing. I gave my mom's shells to a young woman I had seen doing crafts in front of a local cafe. Huge letting go. Today, April 1st is the anniversary my husband and I celebrate; the day we met twenty-nine years ago. Last night at midnight I tapped the final words of my screenplay—a year long endeavor wrapped in the last 31 days of March. All of these moments coalesced and today I was ready to release my words to the elements. I clutched my pages to my chest all the way to the grill on the patio. Dear God it's like letting go of a child… I lit the brown paper with my Zena Moon matches and whispered a prayer to my muse and the universe and my dead loved ones. Here is my offering. Here is my heart—be gentle. Once the pages caught I was giddy with seeing the colors and patterns and reading words before they ceased to exist. The brown paper bloomed into a fiery rose and cooled into an ash cabbage before wisping away on the breeze. Gorgeous. Exhilarating. Realization dawned. I could burn my book and start again. Knowing that the story was IN me was a breaking open AHA moment. The phoenix rises from the ashes. I am grateful I waded through resistance to gift myself with this glorious burning...

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to tattoo or not tattoo

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Authenticity, Challenges, Creativity, Family, Intention | 0 comments

I've been considering getting a tattoo since I turned forty. HA! That was seven years ago and I still haven't committed. Back then I suggested to Brin that we get the same tattoo and she loved the idea. She already has beautiful butterflies and a huge tree on her back with 'imagine' in its branches. She mentioned 'our' tattoo the other day so I've been pondering my procrastination. One of my friends recently opened Ocala Ink & More for tattoos, body piercing, and more. Next my co-worker showed me a gorgeous Hope tattoo (her first) on the inside of her wrist that she designed. Finally this week Jeff showed me a website that had photos of tattoos made with ultraviolet reactive ink so they only show up under a black light. Kinda cool, eh? This feels big—it is a forever decision. Tattoos remind me of the novel The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant where 16th century sisters find an unsettling and intimate tattoo on an elderly nun's body after she dies. Loved this story! One day I want a tree. One day a poem. Maybe a quote. I want it to be intentional and embody a life lesson like: choose love. Choosing is the hardest part. And then there's the decision of where I want it. Private just for me or am I declaring to the world and puttting it right out there? Is a tattoo's significance related to where it is placed on one's body? I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts dear reader—if you do or don't have a tattoo, why or why not? If you do—how did you choose what and where to place it? Does it still speak to you over the years? Would you do it again? This tree of knowledge with it's roots wrapped around a book really resonates with me:...

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