Dear Summer Santa …

Isn’t it strange how, if you think about it, we never wish for what we really want?

The point was driven home to me this morning in the shower. When I moved in, my roommates praised the virtues of the showers starting with “great pressure”. Well, that’s great if your primary purpose is to get scrubbed clean as quickly as possible, but that’s not why I take showers. My showers are like the exhale at the end of a long day. I love a gentle relaxing mist of warm water to envelop me and calm me. I don’t like being pummeled. But, I didn’t wish for a relaxing experience, or even for a different shower head. No, I wished for money: “I wish I had the money to get one of those adjustable shower head.”

money

“I wish I had the money to get a kayak” actually means “I wish I had a kayak”, which actually means “I wish I had the freedom to play on rivers and lakes at will.”

“I wish I had money to go see my friend Rich in Nantucket” means “I wish I could see Rich, which means “I wish I could feel the specific kind of companionship I once experienced with Rich and assume will still be there when I visit” which actually means “I wish for companionship, in general.”

“I wish I had the money to not work so that I would have all the time available to finish my book” –> “I wish I could finish my book” –> “I wish I could do with my time as I please, whether it is writing a book or not” and

“I wish I could finish my book” –> “I wish I could share my story”

“I wish I had money to pay rent, to buy food, to put fuel in my truck” –> “I wish I could stay in the house in the woods with my favorite roommates, eat well and take care of myself, and be free to roam as I please”

etc.

Our minds are so conditioned to think of wealth as that green stuff or that big number on our online statement. My big number right now is $11. But, I feel richer than I’ve felt in a long time.

I quit my job at Ragged Mountain this week. I liked working there, but I didn’t love it. What’s the point of being anywhere from which you wish to be elsewhere? I decided that I want to uphold the statement of purpose I wrote on my birthday to its fullest extent. I will only engage in activities that make my heart joyous and grateful and nothing less, regardless of financial consequences (for as long as I reasonably can). The old model is full of shoulds and musts in that respect. I’ve decided to not abide by any should or must, only to “oooooh – I want to do that!”

So far, so good. It’s been tight, but not dire.

Starting next week, I will teach two more yoga classes, for a total of 6 a week – I never wish to not be teaching yoga. I’ve also picked up a side gig as a nude model for a drawing class because it amuses me. It pays about what it cost in fuel to get there, to the mountains and back. With the spare time that has opened up, I have been roaming, hiking and kayaking in borrowed boats. Between all my activities, I earned enough for rent, not a dime more. I was fed meals, and invited in homes with soft misted showers. I charged a few groceries run on a credit card that still had a little bit of room until max, thanks to the money Rich gave me last month when I worked with him on Nantucket. I spoke with a man about working on an organic farm this week. I’ll be able to take home whatever organic vegetables I want for free. And I am sharing my story, right here and right now.

I have tried this lifestyle before, but it didn’t work because I couldn’t squelch the fear of running out. Within a few days, the discomfort was unbearable, and the Universe matched me. The more I worried about money, the more I had reasons to worry. Suddenly, my tires were delaminating, a large bill I didn’t expect came in, utilities were more than I expected, and my yoga classes were empty. Ugh.

I don’t know what shifted, but this time, the process seems more fluid, more organic. I see the gifts, every day, all the time, and I feel fully supported – maybe even a little spoiled. I don’t know how it will work itself out, but it’s not really for me to figure out. This isn’t a matter of the head, it’s a matter of the heart. Trust is all that’s required to pull it off. Whatever “it” is. Living fully? Living joyously? Checking out of the shoulds in the system? We’ll see …

I am open to my experiment failing. I am open to having to return to a job I don’t love in a pinch. I figured this is like learning to walk on your hands. Maybe this time I stay up for 30 seconds before I fall. It’s alright. Maybe next time, I’ll be up for a full minute. Eventually, I’ll be dancing on my hands, and it will feel effortless.

handstand

XOX – The Roaming Bobcat.

 

P.S: All images from Google Images. Thank you!

 

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Raw vegan recipes

I had a lot of mis-haps, but also a few successes.

Here are a few of my favorite concoctions. Click on the images for a larger view.

Dark blue morning go juice Dark Morning Wonder

It was worth going raw vegan just to discover this morning treat:
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1/2 cup coconut water
– 1 banana
– 1 fat Tbspn of raw cacao powder
– 1/2 to 1 Tbspn spirulina
– 1 Tbspn raw unfiltered honey

Mix and match the extras (I’ve tried all these, all good): 1 cup blueberries or one pitted peach, 1 raw egg or 1 Tbsp raw hemp seeds, 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or 1 Tbsp extra virgin oil.

Tell it you love it and let sit in the fridge overnight. OMG! Like chocolate mousse for breakfast

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 IMG_1025
Apple pie for breakfast (without the pie)

Variation on the theme above. Another breakfast worth getting up for:

– 1 cup almond milk
– 1/2 cup coconut water or raw apple juice
– 1 banana
– 1 apple, skin and all
– 1 fat tsp cinnamon
– 1 dash of vanilla extract

Mix and match the extras: 1 Tbsp raw hemp seeds, 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil.
Tell it you love it and let sit in the fridge overnight. You’ll need a spoon to “drink” this one.

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 green goddess
 Homage to the Green Goddess

I packed this one for work. Lunch break can now be taken while walking through the woods.

– 2 cups coconut water
– 1 cup kale
– 1 cup spinach
– 1/2 avocado or 1 banana
– 1 tsp spirulina
– 1/2 lemon, skin and all
– as many mint leaves as the plant is willing to let you have

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 Cloudy Cucumber
Cloudy Cucumber
I packed this one on a hike. It confused my hiking partner’s dog – no sandwich to lust after.

– 1 cup kombucha (homemade!)
– 1 cup filtered water
– 1 cup spinach
– 1 cucumber, skin and all
– 1/2 avocado or 1 banana
– a handful of parsley
– as many mint leaves as the plant is willing to let you have

Note: I also tried this one with chard … not so great.

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 hummus
 Sprouted mung beans hummus

These are my pride and joy.
Sprout the beans:
– 1 cup whole green mung beans + 3 cup water, let sit overnight.
– In the morning, drain the water, say hello to the beans, and place a wet cloth on top
– That evening, see that the sprouts are ~ 1/4 of an inch.
Make the hummus:
In your roommate’s blender place
– 2 cups raw sprouted beans
– 2 fat Tbsp tahini
– 2 fat Tbsp extra virgin oil
– 2 large garlic cloves
– 2 medium lemons, juiced
– 1/4 pure loved water
– 1 tsp cumin
– 2 tsp coriander
– 1 dash of cayenne pepper
– Himalayan salt as you like

Options: replace the cumin with turmeric. The far one was made with turmeric, and as you can tell, half of it couldn’t wait for the photo.
1 cup dry mung beans makes 4 cups hummus.

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Interlude: A very brief love story

helium balloon

This morning at the Be Kind festival, a smiley face helium balloon – one of at least a hundred tied to various posts, plants and tables – detached itself from its string to come fly straight in my face.

I grabbed it with both hands and looked it straight in the eyes. With several witnesses’ concurrence, I decreed that balloon mine, or rather, since it had chosen me out of all the people under the tent, maybe I was its. The lady in charge of the festival happened to walk by with scissors right then – don’t worry, this isn’t a morbid love story. When she heard of our serendipitous encounter, she promptly cut part of a string from another balloon so that we might tie a knot to keep us together.

Oh, we had such a joyous time, for a short while. We socialized, took walks in the park, smiled in the face of dark clouds and rainy weather. I still don’t really know why my new friend left me. It surreptitiously cut its string as I reentered the tent, and flew away. By the time I realized it was gone, it was already high over the city and heading straight towards the mountains. I watched it get smaller and smaller. It seems happy there, or at least it was still smiling. I was sad to see it go, but also, I understood.

“Yep, that was your balloon alright.” were the only words of comfort my friend could offer.

balloon in the sky

 

 

Did I even have a choice?

[warning – this is a long, esoteric one, but it’s got some good bits ;-)]

Do I even have a choice? 
A meditation on 4-dimensional manifestation 

The quandary: How long have I been coming to New Hampshire (NH) before actually getting here?

The Path

Inevitable path to New Hampshire?

In the physical realm – that comfy place we call home during incarnation -, I’d say I’ve been coming here since December 7th, 2013. That’s the day when I left Bellingham to drive 5,500 miles to NH. But, do you know that feeling you get before a vacation, that feeling that your head is already there even though your body hasn’t left yet? I always leave before I leave and linger longer than my return. My energy doesn’t actually stick to my physical envelop. I go places in my mind. When did I leave for NH in my mind? I’d say October 28th, the day when I worked through my resistance to a Fortune Teller’s prediction that I’d end up in NH, meet an equal partner there, grow roots and build a home (See  The Fortune Teller – Part I and part II). That is the day when I mentally made the decision to come here.

Ah, but, how did the Fortune Teller know I was going to NH? Well, she sees the future, you say? I don’t believe that’s what happens. I think psychics and other divinators are just really good energy readers. I saw Michele on October 27th. So, even though I mentally decided to move to NH on October 28th, I already had NH energy about me a day prior. I was already going to NH before I knew I was. So, when did that energy kick in?

I’m sure there were tiny incidents I overlooked, but let me back up to the previous potent one.

On June 12th, 2013, I left Sedona with the intention of driving north in search of mountains. My primary destination was Banff, but I didn’t know where I was ultimately going. I was looking for Home – since apparently Sedona wasn’t it. I had meant to drive to Denver in one shot, but I stopped too many times to celebrate my return to the mountains and was still several hours away by nightfall. I took a random exit to a small town in the Rockies, hoping to find a stealth place to park my truck for the night. On my way into town, I caught a glimpse of a pub’s enclosed backyard. There were people drinking, dancing and having fun. There was a young woman with a fiddle and a tall lad with a guitar. It looked like just the kind of scene I had craved in early-bedtime Sedona.

Going north to the mountains

Journey North, in search of mountains and Home.

No sooner had I grabbed a Kombucha from the cooler and sat myself to watch the band that a handsome young man started talking to me. Our Kombucha conversation quickly turned metaphysical. Never mind the man’s youth – he must have been no older than 22 – the down-to-the-butt dread-locks, the ragged looking clothes and the unabashedly red marijuana-eyes, he was the real deal. In one short conversation, sitting at a pub, surrounded by a full crowd of merry-makers, he elucidated some concepts with which I had struggled for years. He was writing a book under the guidance of a philosophy professor at Berkeley. The focus of the book was humans’ timelessness and multidimensionality – A discussion of our true nature, including a full description of each realm and how to make the mental leap to each subsequent dimension, although he himself could “only” conceive of 7 (most people are hopelessly stuck in 3D), and some empirical evidence for his claims. I was tickled pink with fascination! We had so much to talk about that we decided to leave the pub for a less public venue. We drove up some dirt road to a viewpoint he knew well, sat on the tailgate of my truck (where he proceeded to snort a line of coke while giving me a detailed description of the process for my own trivial pool of knowledge and in full respect of my choice to not partake), watched the moon and stars and talked until well past midnight. I don’t remember his name and I never saw him or heard from him again. He was just a one-time unusual yet profound teacher on my path.

Multidimensional timelessness - or something like it.

Multidimensional timelessness – or something like it.

But, he’s actually not the one I need for this story – sorry I digressed, but that bit was just too good not to share. Right before we left the pub, the dread-locked man’s best friend joined us briefly. Both of them oozed gentleness and friendliness, and I enjoyed talking to the friend just as much. He had his own marijuana farm, made a living from it exclusively, and also drank kombucha. He asked where I was going? And where was home? I told him that was a trick question, that I was on a journey north, looking for home. He took my hand between his two palms and said “oh, it looks like you’re going to New Hampshire. Do you have a connection with New Hampshire?” I didn’t at the time. NH was nowhere on my radar. I wasn’t opposed to NH, I just had not thought about it. So, that could explain where I got the NH energy that Michele read. But where did I get the NH energy that the dread-locked man’s best friend read?

Again, I’m sure there is a myriad of small incidents I didn’t register because I wasn’t aware I had “I’m going to NH energy”. There was an incident though, that I do remember well. It was December 2009. I led a very different life back then. I lived in a big house, I had a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study the active crater on Mt. Baker. I adored geology, my mountain, and the bright scientific future I could see straight ahead. This one day of my old life, in the bathroom, I read an article in the Alpinist Magazine. The woman who wrote the article was from New England. She had shown a talent for climbing in her younger years and had decided to move out west where the big mountains are. But, eventually, she missed her family, so she moved back east, to NH. In the article, she discussed how she found that she actually climbed a lot more here than in the west because of the accessibility. In NH, you can climb in the morning and go to work in the afternoon. You can have a lazy Saturday morning, climb something rad and epic, and still be home for dinner. That article stuck to me. I couldn’t imagine what that would be like, living in a place where you have ice so close that you can climb it on your way to work. I never did anything about it, but I did casually think about that article often.

Have I been going to NH since 2009? Have I been going to NH since I was born? Did I even have a choice in this? And, what happened to the bright future as a scientist I had in 2009? What about the future of finding a home in the western mountains back in June of last year? Was I going to NH all along and any other future I imagined was just a fantasy? The Universe must have had quite a kick out of me, if that’s the case. “Oh, look how cute? She thinks she’s going to be a geophysicist in Fairbanks. Let’s not tell her she’s bound for a retail job in Conway. She probably wouldn’t take well to it right now. She needs to grow into it slowly.” Or does the future change as we change? Does each moment, each small “Now”, hold its own future, an ephemeral inconsequential target?

An ephemeral future of one of my past Nows

A glimpse of an ephemeral future of one of my pasts

Well, get this …

Here I am, having just the kind of life the woman described in the article in 2009. Last weekend, I took a vertical ice climbing clinic for women. I got up, had tea, drove to a climb, felt epic on some scary vertical ice and was done by 3 pm – plenty of time for a shower and a relaxing evening at home. On the way back to the vehicles, the instructor, Majka Burhardt, asked me how I ended up in NH. I told her I wasn’t sure, but that it might have been on my mind for longer than I am aware, ever since that article I read back in 2009. I told her the story of the woman who had returned east to be with her family and found herself climbing more than on the big western mountains. She turned around and said “Are you messing with me right now?”. Huh, no, I most certainly wasn’t. “I wrote that article!” She said. I was flabbergasted. I’m still not quite over it yet. My instructor for the clinic was the same woman who wrote the article that led to my moving here, so I could take the clinic, five years later. Seriously!

Go East – Alpinist Mag # 29

That just seems like a lot of weird coincidences to me. I had actually forgotten about the men I met in the Rockies until I realized I might have been on my way to NH since 2009, after talking to Majka. I was remembering not only the best friend’s prediction, but also the dread locked man’s explanations of timelessness and multi-dimensionality.

If time isn’t linear, then this series of event makes a lot more sense. My love of being here would be a potent energetic imprint on the plot of my lifetime. Three-dimensional beings don’t have a lot of elbow room about what they can create – though we try! – but a 4 or 5 or -12 dimensional being would have access to all times simultaneously to create this Now.

Here is a quote from Liz Gilbert that touches on the same subject:

“My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into a tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well-the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.”

Oak manifested

Oak, manifested

So the Melissa who is currently in NH is pulling the 2009 Glacier Girl and the 2013 Roaming Bobcat into her current existence because she is having such a great time that she really wants to exists. This would mean that each Now not only has its own ephemeral future, but also its own ephemeral past. The intent to be me now is placing strategic acorns in the ground at key moments in my linear past (which all exist simultaneously in a timeless realm) to create a consistent linear plot line. I’m right now dropping an acorn in 2009, here is that article by Majka, which I know will stick in my mind because I can add the energy of just meeting her as fertilizer. Here is the acorn that will make me choose the freeway exit to ensure I meet the two Coloradans. And one that leads me to the Fortune Teller …

Acorn Unmanifested

Acorn, unmanifested

Holy smokes!!! Am I the only one here whose mind is boggled by this? If with each Now we are simultaneously creating our past, our future and our current reality, the possibilities are endless.  I already have the LaSportiva Evo climbing boots. Poof! – somewhere three months ago, someone is buying boots that are going to be too small for them, so that she can put them on sale on ebay where I will find them (I did!). Why stop there? I’m already a successful published author in my linear future. Poof! I just dropped a bunch of acorns a few years ago to nudge just the right editors and publishers in my direction. I’m already in a healthy, harmonious, vibrant, loving relationship with a man I’m just about to meet. Poof! I just created a past where I went through the ringer with other relationships to clear obstacles for the one who’s already on his way, and I dropped an acorn in Michele’s tarot cards on October 27th of last year, as a teaser – and because I know it’ll make a good story, because I’ve already written it. Awesome!

Oh, the things I’ll create!!

You should too. Get to it!

P.S: I found Majka’s article. I haven’t reread it yet: Go East, by Majka Burhardt

View from home

View from home, NH, until the next Now kicks in.

“Hi, I’m The Bobcat, I’m here for the ice.”

I’ve waited to write this story to see if it stuck. Now going on week three, I feel it’s stuck long enough for me to tell you this little bit of magic …

One of the main reasons why I came to New England is for the ice. I live smack in the middle of an ice climbing Mecca. Banff, in Alberta or Cody in Wyoming might offer the sort of easy access to world-class ice climbing that North Conway offers, but I couldn’t work in Banff, because I am not Canadian, and Cody felt too transitory, a place to visit, but not a potential home. So, I drove 5,500 miles, I found the room, I found the roommates, I found the jobs, I found the ice, I found the town, I found the life I wanted. But, I could not find a climbing partner.

Several people said they would take me climbing, but the problem with living in a world-class ice climbing mecca is that world-class ice climbers don’t necessarily want to burden themselves with a rusty-WI 3 (Water Ice 3, meaning not all that hard) climber. I grew more restless each day. I could see the ice on my drive to work, and still, after two weeks, I had not gone climbing once.

Finally, one perfect climbing day when I was left to sit at home while all my potential partners were out playing on the ice, I sat down with myself and wrote my question in my journal:
“What is the resistance I feel from the ‘Universe’ to my climbing ?”
I wrote “Universe” in quotes because I don’t believe in outside causation. The Universe isn’t doing anything to me. The world, its people and all events I perceive and interpret are merely mirrors of my internal state. So, I knew the resistance was mine. But why would I resist what I wished for the most? This made no sense.

This is the answer I received:
“There is no resistance but your own. You are worried you will be inadequate, never good enough, a dead weight to a climbing partner or party. You fear being slow. As long as you believe yourself unworthy of being taken out climbing, no one will take you out climbing.”

As I wrote of my inadequacies, I knew I believed them, and I knew I had found the source of my resistance.
“Yes. I see that” I wrote, “This feels all true, I do feel I am too slow to climb with the boys. I do feel I am somewhat of a dead weight because I can’t lead yet. But I would not resist a truth, so this must be a mistaken belief. Is this a mistaken belief?”

The answer reminded me of many other conversations I have had in my journal:
“Any belief is a mistaken belief except for the 4 laws*. You can be as good of a climber as you wish to be. There are no age or scope restrictions except for those you place on yourself.”

IMG952691wk

“How? How do I become the climber I wish to be?” I asked.

A list appeared
[I added the comments to explain each concept as I understood them when I wrote them. ]
1. Impulse of desire.
[ A desire is never born in our heart without the means to achieve it. If we can dream it, we can have it. ]
2. Set your intent.
[ Ask and you shall receive always starts with ask. The act of asking enables us to clarify what it is that we are in fact asking. It cleans the clutter around our desire, exposes ego-based wants, and focuses our mind on our ideal. The focusing, I think, is what starts the process of creation. Where the mind goes, the energy flows. ]
3. Trust in the process.
[That’s it. We wish upon the star, and then we let it be. We don’t continuously pester the star about our wish, because it’s not polite and it interferes with the star’s magic creation process. ]
4. Be grateful and mindful of opening doors.
[Once an intent is set, the creation process is in motion, but often we fail to see new open doors because we are so focused on closed ones we assume or hope will open. Here we need to remember that the Universe has more imagination than we do, and be ready for unexpected twists in the plot. ]
5. There is nothing for you to “process”, just experience with awareness.
[This is one of the greatest pitfall for those of us on a spiritual path. We think we can solve resistance to intents by “working through” it, when in fact, we feed the resistance energy by focusing on it. We are here to play. That’s it, that’s everything, and that’s enough. ]

In my quest for climbing, I had nothing to lose, so I followed these instructions to see what would happen.

I already had the desire to go ice climbing, bad enough to drive all the way around the country and move here.

I wrote an intent in my journal. I found that, at first, I was murkier than I expected about what I was wishing for, but eventually I found the core of my wish. I asked to value myself and be valued by others as a climber, and to derive joy rather than feelings of inadequacies from climbing. I wished for a steady climbing partner with whom I could have fun and gain skills, a partner who would benefit equally from our association. I wished to climb biweekly on aesthetically pleasing lines. I then hesitated and decided to not ask for that climbing partner to be a romantic partner as well, in fact, I wrote that at this point, I’d prefer to not have to deal with that aspect quite yet.

I trusted the process. I had asked, now all I had to do was nothing. I just had to stay open to whatever happened, knowing that it probably would look nothing like what I could imagine.

As a token of faith in the process, I sharpened my tool and my crampons in anticipation that I would be using them shortly.

The next day was sunny, crisp and cold and I was off from work. I decided to go at least see the climbs. I laid my White Mountains map on the floor of my room and made a list of the best climbing venues within an hour from my house, then packed all my gear and drove to the first ice wall, a mere fifteen minutes away.

On the way to the first wall at Cathedral, I realized that I had already broken the resistance. Nobody was taking me climbing because I wouldn’t take myself climbing. The world is a mirror. Here I was, taking myself climbing, therefore, the world would take me climbing. I was pretty sure of it, but sometimes divine timing doesn’t make sense to our linear-time minds. It could be a while before a partner actually appeared. I was fine with that. I could solo tiny ice falls for practice. At least, I’d be climbing.

I didn’t solo tiny ice falls for very long. Less than half hour after I arrived at the wall, another solo climber walked up to ask if he could share the wall.

Alan likes to joke that our climbing partnership started with “Hi. I’m the Bobcat. I’m here for the ice. Do you have a rope?” It was something like that …  I hesitated at first. I assumed that if he was soloing ice, he must have been clear out of my climbing league. But on the other hand, he was playing on the same wall. I asked him if he needed a belay. He did. I asked him if he had a rope. He did.
“Are you here by yourself?” he asked.
“Yes, I was hoping this would happen.” I pointed at him.
“Can you climb on weekdays?”
“I can ONLY climb on weekdays?”
He smiled. “YOU are my new climbing partner.” he pointed at me.
We had not even learned each other’s names yet, but I knew magic had just unfolded.

I have been climbing with Alan for three weeks now, and I could not have imagined a better climbing partner for me. His systems are bullet-proof, his anchors look straight out of a climbing manual, and he can lead about exactly what I can second. His belays are tight and I feel safe on his rope. He climbs smoothly and is easy to belay. We both climb in the rain, we both climb all day. We are the first ones on the wall, the last ones to leave. We like fat beautiful waterfalls, which we often have to ourselves because we climb on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We both aspire to the same level of harder routes as a goal for the end of the ice season. And, I actually like him as a person. This is the perfect fun yet challenging, drama-free climbing experience I needed.  We climb several times a week, always mid-week. He climbs with his girlfriend on the weekend while I work. It is perfect. Absolutely perfect! Right before I met Alan, if I had been asked to describe the climbing partner I wanted, I probably would have described a driven, hard-climbing, ice climbing guide, instructor or god. Scratch that. I want exactly what I have. Thank you!

I had never before been so aware of the steps involved in the process of manifestation, the process of creation from desire to physical reality.  So, just in case it is useful to someone else, I have shared it here under the pretense of talking about ice climbing. 🙂

XOXO!

The Somewhat-stationary-Bobcat.

IMG_2699

*four laws:
❖ Number 1: You exist.
❖ Number 2: The all is one, the one is all.
❖ Number 3: What you put out is what you get back (the mirror effect)
❖ Number 4: Change is the only constant, except for the first three laws which never change.
(The four laws of Creation by Bashar)

Well … that was weird …

Right after I wrote the last post (Trial by Ice and Loss of Freedom), I had to get to town to teach a yoga class. The snow was (and still is) falling thick. Less than half a mile down from our house was a man who had driven his SUV into the snow bank and was stuck there. He asked if I could help. We hooked my truck to his SUV and I tried pulling him out as he tried driving out. But, for all my truck’s might, the road was too slick to get enough grip to pull. I told him I’d have to get my chains on to get him out, but that I’d be late for work. He said that he had a friend he could call, and thanked me for my help.

Did you guess yet what was weird? Yep. That was a green Bronco. 🙂

Small epic. Check.

Trial by Ice and the Loss of Freedom

I am happy here. I am happy anywhere, but this new home, here, in particular makes me happy. If you’ve read the previous post you already know about the two amazing jobs, excellent coworkers, wonderful roommates and breath-taking scenery. I’ve been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. And it finally kinda did. But it didn’t really drop. It floated down like a fat snow flake and landed on the side, where it wouldn’t be in the way quite yet.

snow flake

It all started in my dreams. By day, I’m happy as a clam, but at night, I have been finding myself in the grip of woes. My dreams these days are all lucid to some extent. Some are so vivid that I might question which world I’m exploring, the dreaming or waking world, but I still am aware at some level that I am dreaming. For the first week I was here, I had difficulties falling asleep. I laid in bed for hours it seems, grateful and happy to be here, but not sleepy at all. Once I did fall asleep, either my truck or I would get stuck or hurt. The truck and I are the same entity in my dream – you’d be confused about the distinction too if you had lived with yours 24/7 for the past year and a half.

Over the course of the first week, the dreams escalated. First, we were stuck in snow, then we were entombed in ice, then we drove down some narrow scary road along an unprotected several-thousand feet cliff and had to make a U-turn. In this one in particular, I remember thinking “Oh man, I really hope this is a dream, because if it’s not, this really really sucks”. But, dream or not, I knew I had to turn around, so despite the fear gripping at my belly, I engaged the 4×4 and spoke to my truck as I do in the waking world, and slowly and carefully, we managed to turn around and drive out. That same morning, as I set to drive to work, I discovered that our driveway looked like an angled ice skating rink. I felt exactly as I had in the dream. I walked the path I was about to drive to estimate the scope of the adventure at hand, and found it as slippery as I feared it was. I took a deep breath and remembered that this reality is nothing but a dream too, and that we create it. I don’t fully understand the mechanism by which we create reality, but I know that if I fear getting myself or the truck hurt, I am more likely to create that than if I adopt an attitude of cautious trust. I sat in my warmed up truck and took a minute to calm my crazy beating heart with more deep breaths. I was scared. I don’t get scared very often, so it struck me as interesting. In the midst of being scared, I enjoyed being scared, and noticed that I was enjoying it, and that made me happy. Mostly, I felt very alive. I engaged the 4×4 and told my truck that I love it, and thanked it for all the care it takes of me. I do this every morning, regardless of the road conditions, but I really meant it that day. We rolled out without sliding even once all the way to work. Oh, that felt great! Alive in all senses of the term.

Dream world

But the next night didn’t go so well. In the dream world, I was driving out of work on freshly fallen snow. The road was slick, but we were driving it fine. It was cold outside, but the heater in the truck was on, and I felt warm, cozy and protected. Next, I was walking on the road, in traffic. As I said, this wasn’t strange, because the truck and I are interchangeable in my dreams. Suddenly, WHACK! With a big pain in my back, I was thrust forward onto the car in front of me. I had the classic slow-motion moment of realization that I had just gotten hit. I had been rear-ended by a large green Bronco. I felt the pain of the impact in my dream, sharp and deep. This was a full sensory dream. I was cold, hurt, and worried about being broken. I went back to dark. In the next dream, I was surrounded by a group of friends, my roommates, Ana, others. I was recounting the incident of how I was hit by a car in a dream and how I could still feel the pain from it as a physical sensation even though I was now in a new dream. I received nothing but mild interest to that story. Nobody felt sorry for me. Ana got up, danced and sang. The dance was beautiful, the song’s lyrics recounted my epic encounter with the Bronco. I went back to dark. I woke up in pain. Three days later I still was in pain – a dull soreness in my back, right where I got hit.

The fourth day after the dream was the last day of the year. It was snowing and I had to drive an hour to Bethlehem to help teach a special yoga class – 108 sun salutations in a row to bring in the new year. I was nervous, but nothing happened. The truck took care of me, there and back. The sun salutations fixed the pain in my back.

Since the truck was taking care of the driving, I let my mind explore all these strange dreams on my way to Bethlehem. Why, in my current state of ecstatic flow ,was I getting scared and beat up in my dreams? The truck was being stuck and hurt. What does the truck represent? Freedom. Ah, so, lack of freedom. Loss of freedom. Riiight. Suddenly, it was so obvious that it seemed strange that I hadn’t seen it before. I wake up in the morning and I go to work, then sometimes I go grocery shopping, or I stop by my mailbox, then I go home, cook dinner and sleep and do it again. I am no longer at the mercy of my fanciful whims, I am at the mercy of Rob, the man who makes the store schedule. But, am I? I mean, nobody is making me work. I could quit. I assumed I was there because I wanted to be there. And it is true that I want to be there. I love my job. But still, we have free will, so I could quit. But then, I’d be back to having $21 in my pocket and a maxed out credit card, so I couldn’t really put fuel in my truck to go somewhere else, and if I’m stuck here, trust me, I want to be able to afford a place with heat and warm food in my belly.

caged

Okay, so I cleverly created a reality where I no longer have a choice about my daily actions. I don’t  believe in accidents, so I must have had a reason for choosing to make myself stuck. I pondered this for a while, and found no immediate clear resolution besides the physical world’s obvious reasons – like needing to get out of debt, wanting to experience rest from roaming, and having a steady place in which to finish my book. The next day, thinking about freedom further, I remembered that freedom is a state of mind. So, there is no physical reality constraint that, in theory, could make me feel less than optimally free. There are no outside limiting factors. Thinking further, I remembered that sometimes, in my free-form roaming journey, I felt less free than I do now. And, I have in the past put myself in situations (I’m thinking of one relationship in particular) where I abdicated all freedom of choice, and sometimes of movement, yet felt completely in compliance with my need for absolute freedom.

So it’s actually not about freedom at all for me. It’s about scope and size of life. It’s about epicness. I can be trapped doing something epic and still feel free, or I can be free to be mundane and feel trapped. So, it would make sense, given my physical need to pay off a credit card and finish my book that I would chose to trap myself here. If I weren’t trapped, I might have unconsciously driven back south looking for warmth and safer driving conditions, and I would have never known about all the epic goodness I would be missing. Every day right now is a brand new experience for me- it’s like living in Yemen, you just never know what will happen, you just know something will happen. Since my arrival, there was the ice day, there was the ice with snow on top – even slicker – day, there was the big snow day, the day when it was -16, today the high is 0 F. I still do and I still go, and nothing is ever mindless, because I am making it up as I go. And I’m loving it. I stopped at the gas station today to see about getting some de-icer for my windshield wiper fluid, and left with a warm bread right out of the oven. Small daily miracles. Small daily epics.

Is it epic enough? No, not really. It’s never epic enough. I am plagued with inspirations of greatness. Just yesterday, I was complaining to my friend Ana that nothing story-worthy is happening. She replied that I had just told her five stories. I’ve been here for almost two weeks. I have not gone ice climbing once yet. But then, it’s been the holidays and we have been inundated with tourists at work. It was good and challenging, and I’ll be able to pay rent this month. Things should slow down a bit from here on out. Maybe then I’ll go ice climbing. Maybe then I’ll feel epic enough.

Two nights ago, I switched my mattress around so that my head is now pointing east instead of west. I was hoping that changing the fung-shue of the room might be conducive to better sleep and dreams. I fell asleep as soon as I turned my mattress around. This morning I was dreaming that I was ice climbing. The route was difficult, probably a grade V or VI. I was soloing it, without tools. I just had crampons. I made it all the way up without trouble, but on the way down, I was really sketched out, wishing I had tools or something to help me grip better. Then I thought “well, it’s just a dream, so I’ll be okay.” I was cold, but not miserable cold, more like mountain cold. This was also a full sensory dream. As I was climbing further down, I started to wonder if this was really a dream, or if I was awake and climbing. I wanted to know because I felt the stakes would be considerably higher if this was my physical reality. But then I thought “What’s the worse that can happen? I fall and die. Well, I’d rather live fully and get a shorter incarnation than short-change myself on anything life has to offer.” Then I went back to dark.

I woke up from that dream just in time to drive on slick roads to teach my first yoga class at the studio, and it all went great.

XOXO – Mel.

Ice Climbing Mt. Washington

Photos from Google images

27 reasons why I love my new home.

Recent Facebook status:
“Reason why I love my new home #27: There was so much ice on our road up to the house that i hitchhiked into work. It took two rides to get there, with very nice people, and I was only 5 minutes late. I love weekday adventures!”

Answer from my friend Russ:
“I missed the first 26. Can you repeat?  ;-)” 

I actually had picked a random number for my status, but alright, it’s on:

# 26 – Sometimes it’s minus-something outside, but I have a warm room that is all mine.

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#25 – I get to be epic just getting out of the house.

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#24 – Internet at home, and plenty of book writing happening. Much easier than when I was writing at libraries or friends’ houses.

#23 – Ridiculously cheap rent with quiet, respectful, fun, outdoorsy, awesome roommates. Couldn’t have dreamt it better.

#22 – Finding a yoga teaching job, not as a sub, but my OWN classes, on my first day in town.

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#21 – Getting hired at Ragged Mountain, on my first day in town, without having to ever look at Craigslist.

#20 – Finding the pile of free sand and salt mix for residents behind the town hall and feeling like such a badass for being a local of a place that even requires sand and salt.

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#19 – Really awesome piece of bark I found hiking in the woods yesterday that is going to become a lamp shade. Oh yeah!

#18 – The man that opened my new bank account said he’ll call me next time he goes ice fishing and give me a fish, and I believe him.

#17 – The lady at the local organic market is growing her Scobi to give me part of it, so that I can make my own kombucha. People are awesome.

#16 – I was invited to a cookie baking party by a beautiful tattoo artist. She postponed it because of the ice, but it’ll happen. She said she has ice-climbing friends I should meet.

#15 – The man at the grocery store who remembers me from last time and calls me “trouble.”

#14 – Snowshoeing right outside my door.

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#13 – Ice climbing here, there, everywhere, and right around the corner.

#13 – Free skiing for Ragged Mountain employees.

#12 – I get paid to flirt with handsome ice climbers and help outfit people for their adventures.

#11 – The basement at Ragged Mountain is filled with material for make-your-own projects, fabric, sippers, buckles, patterns, everything I need. I found enough blue fleece in the dumpsters to make 3 jackets.

#10 – Simplification. I have exactly what I need, and nothing more. Just a few coffee shops, just a few theaters, just a few pubs, and everything else is woods, mountains and rivers. Perfect.

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#9 – Public ice skating rink in town, under the stars.

#8 – Kayak and canoe rental places hint at all the fun I’m going to have this coming summer.

#7 – Absolute and complete silence in our house. No city noise, traffic noise, neighbor noise. Just woodsy silence, enhanced with the sound of fresh falling snow.

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#6 – My PO BOX is in the country store, so I have to go past rows of freshly baked goods and roast chickens to get my mail.

#5 – I get to wear cool hats, scarves and my sorrels everyday.

#4 – Living with an artist. I LOVE the subtle art, rows of shells and rocks on the shelves and little plants growing in jars in the house.

#3 – Living with climbers. I LOVE having gear everywhere. Ropes and boots and crampons, oh my.

#2 – Two jobs, one small rent, no other expenses. I might actually get to pay of my credit card. Woah.

#1 – Living in New Hampshire is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. New scene, new trees, new people, new everything. That alone makes it worth it.

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