Friday, November 15, 2013

Moving Through Change

Paul and I just spent a week in Toronto. We packed up our house that we have been renting out for the past 2 years. 
The packing included all of our own belongings from the past 7 years since we moved into that house, the 15 years of cohabitation before that in our big suburban house, the 40 something years before that, and even remnants from both of our parents’ homes collected after their deaths.

It took us four days to pack up, give away, send off, sell and move our stuff! The job is done!

I’m not sad about leaving Toronto. It’s a very busy city! I feel it the moment our airplane touches the ground. There is a constant buzz in the air and people walk around seemingly planning their next step each move they make. Miserable faces lead me to believe there is little ‘living in the moment’. If happiness is based on being content, how can we be content if we’re constantly looking towards the future? I am noticing more and more the beauty of living in the moment that is now! Toronto served its purpose during all the years we lived there, brought up our family, and nurtured the relationships that have enriched our lives. It is definitely time to move on.
I have many incredible friendships in Toronto. Those relationships will change, no doubt! Some of them will even become deeper because of the ways in which we’ll need to connect in order to sustain them. I welcome that. Phone calls, Skype conversations, simple and quick ‘chats’ on email and Facebook will be the ingredients for more intimate and ‘quality’ visits. For those friendships I feel deeply blessed.

This morning I woke up so early, I needed a lantern when I went to the washroom. It was windy and quite cold and damp. I had stoked the wood-burning fire before I left the yurt. Inside it is toasty warm and oh so comfortable. Outside the winds howl, the trees dance and the darkness smells of the lingering night air. Now I can say, “I don’t have a house.” Of course, now that we have the cash, we intend to build a house on our property. We want to do it slowly, carefully and with precision. We want to be completely involved in the process and we expect to be fully ‘hands on’. That’s why we intend to hire our friends to be the builders.

We’re in no rush. For now, life in our yurt is just where we want to be. Building will come in a timely manner, and, along with our needs, it will include the desires and needs of our many children. We want our home to continue to be a gathering place where all feel welcome and safe and comfortable. Our son says, “That’s easy. Just make sure there’s a real toilet!” We’ll have to think about that one!

From bustling Toronto to quiet and wild Gabriola Island, from a downtown, spacious brick, 5 bedroom house to the simplicity of a yurt, from the hubbub of people scurrying from one ‘thing’ to the next, to the peaceful and calm delight in Nature….I have to say….I’m happy!

Next steps… Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

There's a Kinda Hush

There’s a kinda hush on our land this morning. The power has been shut down to replace the Hydro poles that stand on South road and provide electricity to the entire island.

We’ve known about the power outage for a few weeks. There have been several reminders to help us anticipate the 12 hours that power will be shut down. We’ve been preparing a little. Last night we filled jugs of water to use throughout the day. We made extra coffee yesterday morning, so we could reheat it on the propane stove today. We’ve done all our laundry so we can pack for our trip to Toronto starting tomorrow morning. And we’ve cleared our computer ‘desks’ of all work that needs to be done before we leave.

I am aware of how heavily I rely on electrical power. And, although I appreciate all that electricity provides for us, I think I take it a little too much for granted. So I am grateful for the reminder of how our life used to be. It feels a little bit like Yom Kippur. For one full day we fast, doing without food and water for about 24 hours, so that we might un-clutter our souls and pray with clarity and simplicity. Today I intend to pray differently.

I am writing! I have somehow cleared my ‘busyness’ to allow for time to express. Lately I have been feeling unmotivated and blocked. Sometimes I think I just have nothing to say that’s worth sharing! That stops me from writing! Recently a good friend gave me a book to read. It’s called, Wabi Sabi For Writers by Richard R. Powell. Using beautiful poetic prose, Powell glorifies the imperfect beauty in the world and the ways in which we choose to relate to it. We are, in fact, all imperfect, and our imperfect natural surroundings are profound in their beauty and power. Sometimes, it is the absence of beauty that makes it so beautiful. I wonder if that is also true with the absence of electrical power for a day!

Today we’ll work outside in the gardens, tending to last minute harvest and lovingly putting the rest of the grounds to bed for the winter. It’s a great day to be outside. There are no electrical currents flying through the air. The gentle breeze does not carry electrical charges that energize our phones and wifi, and pass through our bodies and brain cells in the process. There is no buzz that permeates the atmosphere. The birds’ cackle seems clearer, and echoes through the emptiness of the breeze. There is a kinaesthetic calm and no unseen interference. I get to ground myself, quietly and undisturbed in the earth.

There is anticipation that some people might react poorly to the absence of electricity.  The organization I work with on the island (PHC-People For a Healthy Community) is providing a special lunch and social gathering for anyone wanting to come out. In one of the buildings with a generator we will be making soup and sandwiches and will be available for people to come together. For some, just the disruption in ordinary daily routines creates stress and angst. As a community, it is wonderful to be able and willing to anticipate the challenges that others might experience and do something proactive and generous to deal with it together.

Paul and I leave in the morning to begin to make our way to Toronto to finish the closing pieces of the sale of our house there. Our early morning ferry will get us to from Gabriola to Nanaimo for the big ferry ride to Vancouver where our flight originates. Today is a perfect opportunity to pack and ready myself for the week we plan to be away. I look forward to seeing our kids who live in the east, visiting with friends and community, and closing up a wonderful and enriching chapter of our lives on Vermont Ave.

Life is busy right now. Juggling the move, preparing our living space for winter, working during the week, carrying on a rich social life, and also making plans to travel starting next month is sometimes overwhelming. For now, I think I’ll just enjoy the hush and know that all will get done in time. For now, I will simply enjoy the moment….quiet and still.