Today had us twirling and dancing in the kitchen, skipping and hollering during our hikes, and singing in the shower, too. We are bathing in a deep sea of relief and diving into our expanding inner peace – though it took some time and many tears to get here.
I’ve been telling Curt for over a year that I’ve been wanting to quit smoking cannabis – or at the very least, create a new relationship with it: one of ritual as opposed to habit. I’ve been smoking regularly since 2012 and have noticed a drastic shift in its effects on my mental and emotional health over the years. It used to be a source of respite, creative venture and inspiration, motivation to explore, while serving as an aid in easing my anxiety and depression, and most important of all, helped with my insomnia. Almost ten years later, I’ve noticed a reversal in its effect – though it still helps get me to sleep (most nights), I find that it now feeds into my anxiety (especially social), makes me unmotivated, and acts as a creative block opposed to an inspired open door. And there’s the dang munchies, my god. It makes me wonder if maybe I’m experiencing the more negative effects of cannabis use due to the fact that I’m abusing it instead of using it as a tool (which is what I believe it is designed to be, a natural medicinal tool for various ailments).
Alas, over the last couple of months we have steadily and drastically decreased the amount we are consuming on a daily basis, and have created comfortable boundaries with our smoking. I haven’t yet reached a place within that is willing and ready to completely let go.
Like with social media – another addiction I’ve been battling since, honestly probably the age of fourteen. It started as building websites as a twelve year old seeking friends and peer approval, then I moved on to Myspace and tumblr, then it was facebook and Instagram. It’s been many years of creating various profiles, tiny images and bios of myself, as if we could all be fit into 140 characters. Which are the perfect words to describe someone who loves and reaches for all things? I’ve kept myself up at night going over the best combination of words I could use to, in essence, sell myself.
In the last year especially, I’ve struggled with my online presence – taking multiple short breaks, creating and deleting multiple online accounts, re-writing my bio several times a day as if describing my life (again, selling myself) in ten words was my God given mission, and of course, like I’m sure every single one of us falls victim to doing, I compared myself relentlessly to other people, instead of getting off my phone and being active in my own life.
I recently found the will within to create my first boundary with my social media habit for the first time in almost fifteen years – while also committing to a habit I’ve been wanting to start for a very long time – i committed to a small morning routine. Looks a little something like this:
Wake up between 4 and 4 30 am, snuggle Summit and Curt for about ten minutes before letting Summit out to pee. Most mornings we return to bed to cuddle, and sometimes (almost all the time) Curt lets me sleep in another hour or so, until about 7. I will drink water, go pee, brush my hair, wash my face, spray rosewater on my face, and brush my teeth. Then I’ll lay out the yoga matt and listen to my bodies cues during my morning flow – different every day. Then I’ll write in my journal – and wait at least an hour after waking up before turning to my phone. Phone time in the morning is now dedicated to productive action : creating content, blogging, etc. No scroll apps allowed.
The other day when I signed on to start my daily check in and feed scroll, I felt something very heavy and gross lurching around me. Clear as day a voice rushed into my mind and said “get out of there.” Can’t say that I’ve ever felt that before. The longer I stayed on IG (about three minutes following), the ickier I felt (I really don’t know what other words to use here, it felt dark). So I got a few numbers from some distant friends that I met online and deleted the app. I know this warning was needed as I was pouring far too much of my energy and time into being on my phone, and consequently have been missing out on opportunities to make memories, be present, and work on myself. I’ve been needing a realignment!! Here it is, and I am grateful.
And truly, spending less time on your phone – as easy as that habit develops in the middle of winter while living in a tiny apartment, enables you to truly reconnect to yourself – your body, your heart – and to your life – to presence. Something that’s much easier for me to do when we are living off the grid, in the park, or on the farm. But, there is always much to learn in any situation we find ourselves in. In this case, I’ve finally been able to face two addictions that have had their grasp over various aspects of my life for several years. It’s a journey, of which has only just begun – and I’m nervous sometimes when I consider only having a joint before bed or switching entirely to edibles as a sleep aid and menses relief – but I recognize ultimately that resistance to these things reveals fears that are long overdue in acknowledgment, and that those same fears hold the keys to my own freedom and inner peace.
Two weeks ago, we spent two days at the cabin. It’s funny how you can feel a difference in your energetic weight when you drive around this one specific corner right before hitting the bridge – it is the deepest sigh of relief you can lions mane breathe out – you feel everything drop off. You become weightless. You cross over the water, really letting the elements work their magic here, and let it wash away your worries. You get to the cabin, this otherworldly dream, this ethereal reality that I’ve had the great opportunity and privilege to call home for the last three years. Looming pine, fir, and aspen over the abandoned tapper’s cabin. It is a total fairytale, and you feel the storyline play out in your favor when you’re out there. A full embrace without pause. The morning we were coming back to town, I felt myself sinking into our bed wishing on the possibility that we could spend just one more summer out there.
We packed up and made our way back to our small community, tiny apartment attached to my old job, train horns honking up to 30 times a day winter home (I’d rather call it lodging lol). What a difference. The moment we returned to service I opened my email to an eviction notice. As I was no longer staff, our landlord asked us to vacate as soon as possible (a story for another day, see future post “Working for a Narcissist”). I’ve never been evicted before – my body froze and for some time I was unsure how to react. Curt is in the drives seat consistently reassuring me that everything would be alright. He was right, he always is. Don’t tell him that though.
Later on that night, we found out that due to regulation changes, we would no longer be able to stay at the cabin (our off grid paradise) without approval (the land is privately owned and not by us). That news broke my heart more than anything else. Memories of my first night with Curt flooded into the forefront of my mind and then began the waterworks. Curt built a book shelf with pieces of driftwood we collected together. From it we have a bag on a hook that holds all the love letters we have written and recited to each other over the years – we are hopeless romantics. And my worry was, where on earth could those letters go? Our regular morning view and sit down coffee/tea time would forever be changed – this would literally be our last summer at Yellowhead. Now I felt like we were teetering on the edge of homelessness.
Back in November I found an ad in the local paper for 18.8 acres of land near Clearwater, “Attntn SETTLERS” it said in bold ink; it leaped its way out of the page and into our dreams. We visited the property in November, and again in March when we convinced ourselves it would be our new home. When the eviction notice came, we jumped into high gear to make that reality come alive. We spent hours walking the property line, imagining all the places we could build our home, bunkies for family, tree houses for our kids, medicine wheels in the fields, our greenhouses and chicken coops.. we had it all planned out through our thick, rose colored glasses. I even convinced myself that the shit show employment stunt that I underwent for the four months/the whole reason for living in this community was to put us in this space and time where we would find this piece of land. Guys, a piece of advice : don’t ever set yourself up for that kind of emotional disappointment. I get faith, but that was a stretch. Ok, an Olympic leap.
I’ll skip the bulk of the bullshit – we didn’t get the land. We took the rose colored glasses off for a few sobering minutes and we didn’t like what was presented to us. Far too much work than we could dream to afford to accomplish in good time (a year) – along with the realization that… we are really not comfortable with having giant hydro lines passing through our land. The glasses were so thick we somehow missed that red flag entirely.
Curt may not see it yet – but I have a strong and clear vision that our homeland will be on water. I’m willing to wait.
With the eviction and lack of property sitting in our hands, I started to feel a little panicked. This moment begged on my motion and commitment to trust and to fully surrender.
The truth is, I had been praying to God for months (praying, begging, you know how it goes) about our living conditions, asking Him to please help us get unstuck from this place. To help us find a place to be that would serve our highest good, that would be beneficial to our growth, that wouldn’t keep us in a state of high stress during the day. The eviction notice may have been a surprise, but it was the shock we needed to get our asses motivated, to propel us into forward action. To take initiative over our lives and start making things work. It got our attention and our energy and that is exactly what was necessary. For some time it felt like God was trying to send us off, far away from the Park, making us question and reconsider our employment options. As much as we loved the land and the idea of being out there alone, something didn’t feel right about it, and I am entirely grateful that we have learned all that we have, helping us decide to refocus our energy. We started asking ourselves what we really wanted to do, not what was forced.
Looking back – the job didn’t matter nor did it matter that I had to resign. The news clipping with the land didn’t matter – there was no divine connection here. What was given to us was shelter during the winter months, instead of constant stress through challenging and often dangerous travel conditions (which is what we have been doing every winter since we met). The best that I can think of – is Summit. We are unsure if that would have been a possibility had we not moved to town. And that alone is terribly hard to imagine. Summit has been our rock amidst all the terribly random chaos. Additional to his presence in our lives, we have met some incredible people in this valley and have developed lifelong friendships with other healers, open minded truth seekers, farmers, and people of the like. We are starting to feel more and more at home.
I told Curt that I’ve had a childhood dream of living out of a trailer for a summer – we shared articles and images on remodeling and nifty organizing tips, we day dreamed on outdoor bath building plans… we started getting really excited about that prospect. So we started looking for a trailer. Within a short time of that decision, a great friend of ours offered her land for us to park the, our future, trailer. We had a walkabout on the lot above her farm and started getting ideas about where we could set up shop. Within about a week of that night, we found our trailer and placed a deposit.
It will be on the farm come May, and I promise to upload pictures of our outdoor bathing station the moment its completed. It has over eight windows and ample space for the three of us and my excessive craft gear. We are very happy campers!!!!!! Yep had to do it
This month called on my trust and patience – my reason for not blogging as my heads been in a whirlwind of places. But at the end of it all I’m sitting here looking back in total gratitude and in honor of our commitment to radical acceptance.
Things may not happen when we want them to or the way that we want them to – maybe several aspects of our lives are being challenged at once, but that doesn’t mean that the whole foundation is cracked and in need of repair. It means you’re being called to do two things:
Take note of all the greatness of your life. All the things and ways in which you find immense joy, love, peace, happiness. What are you grateful for?
Surrender. Wholly and completely.
If I could share just one thing my grandpa taught me throughout my life and through his extensive list of trying experiences and set backs – it is to remain positive – find the light within the dark. It’s always there.
God doesn’t present us with anything that we can’t handle. Have faith, have trust, be patient.
When life presents challenge, pray
When life gifts joy, pray
All the best my friends. We’ll find a way and we will make it through.