Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

“It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you do not know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known.” Anthony de Mello

Today marks one year since I moved into my place in the Sierra foothills. What a difference a year makes. I’ve traveled the four seasons here and landed back at Winter and snow again. For the most part, as long as my power stays on (I’m on a well, so it is a big deal), I am enchanted by the snow; its beauty and sublime quiet.

But, before I landed here, I had to make the decision to leave dear friends and a place I knew well that was fairly temperate, beautiful and convenient. Looking back, I find it amazing that I suffered with enough anxiety to upset my gallbladder and my sleep for two weeks before and after making the decision. What you will read below, in italics, is what I wrote a year ago November, but never published. On this first anniversary of living in my new home, it makes sense to take a look back and check in on how it feels to have made the leap. I’ll comment more on this at the end.

copyright(c)dec2013 Kathy J Loh

November 2012

I’m facing a challenge and I don’t need to give you the details, because you will likely recognize the dynamics no matter the particles. The questions are similar when we face decisions about career change, whether or not to have a child, moving, buying, selling, marriage, divorce.

When there is a challenge, I know I am at my edge, my personal frontier of movement. I enjoy traveling the frontiers of my thinking, but in physical reality, where everything is a commitment of form and solidity, I am slow to move.

Indecision is a pathway to decision and it is a detour. It depends on how you work with it.

In our multi-dimensional personality, many voices participate. Some truth is spoken by each as well as lies. I am bedeviled by the Trickster. I want to know before knowing is possible. I want “beyond the edge” to be fairly predictable and it is not.

While the heart loves and works its magic, the mind begins to question in response to the threatened body. I would be at the mercy of my mind’s paralyzing spin if I was unable to discern the energies behind the words I think. What is their source? To what are they responding?

When my heart feels sadness for leaving something, someone, or some way of being, behind, my mind wants to solve the emotional dilemma by telling me I didn’t like that thing, that person, that behavior anyway. It uses its “make wrong” technology to lighten a heavy heart. But, all it does is darken my spirit and fog my vision.

Let me simply grieve. Let me feel deeply the impact of my attachments.

Most of us really don’t change or make changes in our lives until it becomes too painful not to. I certainly hold a lot of compassion around that. We put our dreams on hold indefinitely, thinking there is always tomorrow. I hold a lot of compassion around that too.

The frontier, out beyond our edges, is vast and full of infinite possibility. It is where our dreams await us. We have, in our imaginations and desires, seeded that frontier with all we need to call us forward. What is left is for us to have the courage to leave our outgrown self-images, our old identities and old beliefs behind. We need the courage to face and be with the emotional impact of the chaos that is created by stepping over the edge; that line in the sand drawn by fear. The consciousness of the You that lives in that future already has different beliefs and identities. It has already discovered new ways. You know that, because you’ve seen it in your visions and felt it in your bones even if your personality/ego of today is blind and resistant.

First we dream and dreaming is not enough. It’s time to have the courage and take some form of action.

And so, using my free will, I enter what my current ego self perceives as “the chaos,” wave at the gatekeepers as I step beyond my edge of comfort and current knowledge.

And that is where I left off when I filed the notes away on my computer saving them for a possible blog post that, until now, never again saw the light of the computer screen.

The dilemma was, of course, whether or not to move. More than that, it was whether or not to give myself that long-cherished dream of being what one acquaintance called, a “mountain angel,” living among tall trees on a good chunk of property.

So, how did I fare after I waved to the gatekeepers and made the leap? I was blissfully happy my first several months here. I remember telling everyone that I have never been happier in my life. I don’t know what it was, but I was lifted beyond my expectations. Maybe it was the snow, the elevation, the newness, the proximity of Tahoe and the Sierra Buttes. Maybe it was my local friends and one in particular who keeps me active with snow shoeing and hiking.

Mostly, I suspect that exhilaration is what we feel when we step out into the unknown, because that frontier is the territory of heart and soul and it has been calling for a long time. When we respond to that call, we are received with “welcome home.”

———————————-

What calls to you? If you have a tough decision to make, if you have been putting off your cherished dream(s), you will benefit from coaching with me and certainly a one-year walkabout would get you over that edge and well on your way. Everyone needs support. Let’s talk about how I can be that for you. Email me at kathyloh@coachkathy.com and we can set up a time for that conversation.  Don’t wait another moment. Moments add up to years.

Copyright © December 2013, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved, including images

Read Full Post »

Another #reverb10 post – today’s prompt is: What (or whom) did you let go of in 2010? Why?

I’ll answer the last question first: because it’s time.

As for the what (or whom) ….

Take a look at the tag cloud over to the right there. See the words Letting Go? The larger the word, the more times I’ve used the tag. If you click on it, you’ll get plenty of past posts about letting go. Four of them were written in 2010:

Movin’ On (Take 3) – Un-boxed and Settling In

How the Universe Conspires with us to Awaken

From Performance Anxiety to Co-Creative Bliss

Open Hands, Open Heart

What I noticed while reviewing these posts is that letting go can be a cyclical process.

  • Realize something wants or needs to be let go
  • Decide to let it go
  • (possible detour of waffling about letting it go)
  • Let go
  • Notice the energy of it remains or has returned
  • Let go at an even deeper level

Sometimes it feels like what I release has a bungee cord attached to it. I let go, it bounces back. I let go, it bounces back. Eventually the cord wears out and snaps. No more letting go, simply gone.

I suspect that the bungee cord is made up of spirit (energy), heart, mind, body or some combination of these aspects.

Something is lodged in my energy field and needs purifying.

Some emotion is churning in my heart and needs to be fully felt.

Something is spinning in my mind and needs fierce truth and stillness.

Something is lodged in my body and asks me to pay attention to what has yet to be digested by spirit, heart or mind.

Then, I wonder …….

Every time we exhale, we let go

Nothing stays the same

Change is inevitable

There is no holding on

So, if there is no holding on, why are we so preoccupied with letting go?

 

[ pause]

 

I could get all Rumi-like on you here, but I’m going to shift gears. Can’t help myself, being a Gemini and all. So take a breath and relax (oh, that’s about letting go too) and when you are ready, read on…

Sometimes you just have to get irreverent and drop the spiritual correctness and the sentimentality.

This one, by Jo Dee Messina, says it all. Get your moxie and your dancin’ shoes on. “Buh-bye now!”

 copyright (c) December 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Read Full Post »

It has been 2 months since I posted.  I’ve been enjoying quite the social whirlwind since I returned to Marin: dinner dates, movie dates, parties and hikes. I’m having a blast.

I’ve written so many posts in my mind, but none have made it to print. So much to say. Where to start? I’ll start here:

The question people most ask me these days is, “Are you all settled in?” The first two weeks the answer was, “not yet.”  I was pining for the trails, the beach, the owls, the dogs, stars and quiet. I was worried that the din of neighborhood traffic and star-minimizing light pollution, including the glare of numerous street lamps in the area, would be insufferable. I feared I’d made a horrible mistake.

As I investigated that fear, I discovered that the only mistake would be beating myself up for the decision I’d made, not letting myself off the hook. Once I realized that, my fear dissipated as I promised myself that no matter what,  I’d be kind to me.

For those first weeks, most of my “settling in” entailed getting things out of boxes, many of which had been stored for nearly 5 years. At my old place, every time I’d set aside a day to go through the boxes I’d hit an obstacle: workers in the yard, new roofing over the garage, a party on the ponderosa, something else to do, that kind of thing. Most often, though, the obstacle was the sick feeling in my stomach whenever I opened one. The overwhelming aroma of memories and uncertainty would send me reeling out the door and down the hiking trail for some fresh air. I cultivated a strong sense of “manana.”

copyright (c) 2010 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

Moving van on moving day

When I started getting the urge to move, I promised myself I’d muster up the courage to go through those boxes. I did not want to pay for their portage to a new garage.  But, the opportunity to move came more quickly than motivation and so, they moved with me. Truthfully, with all the space I have now, I’ve discovered that there isn’t that much to release.

For the first time in 5 years, all of my books are on shelves. All of the music equipment is up and I have plenty of space to spread out. Even my belly feels better with the space between me and the furnishings in my larger home. I have been calling this the “let’s see” house. Let’s see which of all my past identities, and the tools of the trade that go with them, will survive. I’m not going to force anything.

The boxes hold memories, but they also hold surprises. I forgot I had water goblets and dessert glasses. I rediscovered some artwork, most of my cookbooks, table linens, décor and candles. It was like getting married all over again without the hassle of a husband. I actually like most of these things, so I’m glad I kept them during my “downsized” years.

I feel the same way about me and who I’ve been and become, before and during my five years of relative solitude. I’m rediscovering neglected delights.

Here I am, in the house I lived in 15 years ago, revisiting my past in so many ways. I’ve done healing work with the younger me who lived here in those years. I’ve rediscovered the walks I used to take in the neighborhood. The same neighbors live here and remember me (as I do them). I’ve rewound and spliced. The new story (of which I wrote in the last post) is taking shape.

There’s one box that surprised me; a box bigger than all the rest (and paradoxically smaller). It’s the box around me. I’m discovering how rigid I’ve been with myself; all these rules and opinions; what’s OK and what’s not. When a possession has been in a box for five years, it makes sense that re-connecting with it will lead to observations of what’s the same and what’s different about the me that lived with it then and the me that is choosing to live with it now (or not).

I find myself musing over and over again, “I used to think (fill in the blank). What was that about?”

One of the rules my rigid self holds is that I have to get rid of things. Once I decided to let go of having to let go, I no longer worried about my identity. If my ego wants to identify itself by the things I own, it follows that I either have to use them and be that or let them go and be something/someone else. But today, I see it as just stuff. I’ll use it or I won’t and it will go when it’s time. I’m just me being who I am and the more I settle in to that, I suspect my relationship with stuff will shift without forcing anything.

Even my social activities are informing me of how I’ve changed. I’m more extroverted than I thought. I’ve gotten used to neighborhood noise and actually find it somewhat comforting. I like living within walking distance of a small downtown. Today while I was sweeping the leaves, the neighbor was mowing. Something about that makes the work easier. At night, the once dreaded streetlamp creates beautiful dancing tree silhouettes on my walls.

As I reflect upon the process of un-boxing my belongings, I realize something is happening to me too.

I am un-boxing my belonging.

Post-script:

I now have a small room dedicated to meditation. In my contemplation today, I visualized myself in a box. The paintings on the inside of that box were all the things I have told myself is me and images that represent the rules; right down to how to dress for my figure type and other women’s magazine advice.  Above me was the ceiling I have put on joy, prosperity, income, happiness.

I imagined the box falling open, looking much like the diagram of how a box looks before it gets folded up into six sides. I watched the unfolding as the top blew off and the sides shriveled up and fell off like the petals of a spent rose. There I was, standing atop a stem, naked to all possibility. For a moment it was a bit unnerving; too vulnerable. I understood, in that moment, why I created the box; the illusion of safety and security, a sense of belonging that is represented by the box and everything in it.

Then, the stem fell away and there I was with no sense of past or future, no sense of beginning or end. My mind wanted to go to form. “What does it look like? What can we have? How can we get that? Who can we be? How do we become that?” I was aware of my thoughts and how enticing the bait was, aware too that the bait dangled on a very sharp hook.

At the same time, there was so much peace, so much safety, security and true belonging in this un-boxed, undefined, unlimited presence. Ego also wants to say, “This is perfection, this presence. How can I get more of that?”

More bait.

Settling in and getting un-boxed, I am watching when I dig in and when I vacate. I notice when I put up pretty murals that tell me who I am and how easy it is to replace one box with another even if the ceiling is higher. I am aware of boxes others like to put me in and how they subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) request that I police my behavior to keep them comfortable and make them right. I notice how I am tempted to comply.

I watch.

I notice.

I become aware.

It’s a practice.

Copyright © August 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Read Full Post »

Let’s make up a story….

Let’s say you’ve been married 10 years and you’ve not had much luck getting pregnant and you find out that someone else did and your husband is the father.

Let’s say, after much drama and therapy, you decide to make a go of it imagining that, if the marriage survives, it will be an amazing kind of love story.

Let’s say, you move from Southern California to Northern California and you start your life over. You find a house, in a delightful neighborhood, that accommodate your dog and cat; you settle in and the landlords become friends of yours.

Let’s say that part of that new life leads you to more seriously explore your creative talents instead of opening up your old business in a new location.

Let’s say it turns out you just pressed a pause button and that, with lack of support from without or even within, you succumb to your inner critic and return to that money-making business with which you had success before.

Let’s say that the marriage does not dissolve, though your creative dreams seem to, and you move from the transitional rental home with the big question mark aura around it to your pride-of-ownership let’s-put-a-period-on-this-thing home.

Let’s say things go along swimmingly for another tenyears.

Let’s say a shark in the waters and a large rogue wave rudely awaken you from a very long swim and you face the facts that the marriage never fully repaired itself and you become something of a wanderer.

Let’s say that wandering takes you to house-sittings, road-trips, more workshops than would fill a catalog, and roommates until you settle in a rental in a quiet mountain location with a beach nearby.

Sanctuary Home copyright (c) Dec 2008, Kathy J Loh

Mountain Sanctuary Under the Moon

Let’s say that place you landed became your place of healing and solitude; that when you were ready to emerge, you knew you were going to give your all to your creative endeavors, even if the actual forms of those endeavors had changed; that in this healing place you also tamed that inner critic and fully supported yourself regardless of the opinions of others.

Let’s say in that emergence you crave community and commit to moving back to the old ‘hood.

Let’s say you get a call that leads you to a rental in that old ‘hood that has much of what you want in terms of natural surroundings and a pool, but the house, well, the house is old and the floor and windows have some “quaint” angles to them, the kind that make the inner ear question reality.

Let’s say you plunk your cash down anyway, go home to your little mountain sanctuary and then find yourself tossing all night. You know your body is sending the message loud and clear – “I can’t do this!”

Let’s say you call your old landlady, the one who is still your friend; the one who rented you that first house in N CA and ask her advice regarding how much is actually fair rent for a decent place in the old ‘hood.

Let’s say she says “If you are willing to spend that much [the amount you plunked down on the quaint and crooked place], you can have my house. I was going to charge $300 to $500 more for it, but if I can rent it to you I’m glad to reduce the rent to meet your price.”

Let’s say that house she is offering you turns out to be the very same house you lived in when you were deciding whether or not to stay married; when you were attempting to honor your creative talents and pursue your passion, but quit.

Let’s say, you say yes.

Well, that’s exactly what happened to me.

The way it happened, a phone call, a deposit, a sleepless night and another phone call all within 36 hours is what tickles me.

Someone asked me if I was nervous about being in the house and the energy of my past being there.

I’m not at all. I’ve been in the house. As soon as I walked through the door, I recognized the smell (as each home has its unique fragrance). I “saw” the ghosts of my past and I didn’t feel any anger or sadness toward them, only compassion. This is a good sign that I have truly healed. I also saw the opportunity to offer to the ghosts, especially the ghost of me, great comfort from the future. I love me and who I’ve become and all I would want the past me to know is how happy and loved she truly is; that she can be who she wants to be and create what she wants to create, fully supported.

Now this house has become the fork-in-the-road house, where two paths diverged. Back then,  I took the road more or less traveled. Now I cycle back and live into the choice, the one that has to do with me and not my relationship, from a new place as a new me.

It’s not about arrivals, make goods and do-overs as much as the sacred and amazing opportunity to continue to be an explorer in the mystery of life.

And so now, I am living into this new perspective of:

Rewind – Splice – New Ending

Rewind the tape to that moment in time

Splice it and store away the old story

Write and live into the new story

Sure, what happened in-between happened and whether or not it needed to is moot, because it did.

What I do know is that I don’t need to tell the old story anymore and that living into the new story, rewrites the past anyway.

I know this new-old house served as a transitional home in the past and will do so again.

And I know that I’m excited about what’s possible  in this one-delicious-moment-after-another now.

And you, dear reader, what is the story that’s grown stale and what is the new one that wants to emerge?

I welcome and relish your comments.

If you’d like to explore this by way of coaching, drop me a line and let’s see what we can create together.

copyright (c) May 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Read Full Post »

The first guy to show up was kind and connected from his heart. He looked through all my things, opened cabinets somewhat gingerly and asked a lot of questions. He told me stories of the others in his life and how grateful they were for his integrity and caring. He took his time and lingered. He seemed to leave no stone unturned. He said he’d take everything I had.

The second guy to show up was late; caught in traffic; and this, after a reschedule. He barely took into account the depth of my closets and he opened all the cabinets while pretending to talk to me about other things. He judged my furniture – “nice piece,” “ particle board.” He said “I don’t do plants,” as he waved his hand dismissingly over my potted flowers. He told stories of the others and their quirkiness, the dust in their places and the only time he wasn’t cynical was when he was talking about his upcoming trip to Italy. I swear he had no interest in me at all and was just going through the motions. I wondered why he bothered.

I met the third guy online, recommended by a friend. I have yet to hear back from him after I filled out his questionnaire asking me all kinds of questions about what I have in every room. I suspect he’s busy this weekend.

No, I’m not dating. I’m moving and these were the three very diverse estimators I encountered this week.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more vulnerable.

For just over four years I’ve lived here and never unpacked half of my boxes. This place, as healing and wonderful as the location has been, has always been too cramped. A grand piano has a way of eating up space. Most of my things ended up in closets and the garage. For the first 6 months I lived here, the garage was inaccessible while the roof was replaced. Everything in the garage was under blue tarps getting damp and moldy. By the time the roof was on and the tarps removed, I could no longer face going through the remains of my still-in-the-process-of-divorce-twenty-four-year marriage. It just made me miserable.

Between the cramped quarters and the garage-of-painful-memories, there was nothing to do but to hike the trail outside my door. I developed an incredibly intimate relationship with nature here. I lived as much outdoors as in; as much in my imagination as in the real world. It was all very healing.

And now it’s time to go.

Sunset Soquel CA copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

I'll miss these sunsets

So, the moving guys came and they opened my cabinets and closets and made me feel more naked than if I were standing before them with no clothes on. I saw the tattered remains of my life through their eyes. All the ways I’ve been stingy with myself; my frugality and hesitancy to let go of much; all my coulda-shoulda-woulda-willsomedays. I recognized my compassion in the first guy, my judgment in the second and my complete detachment in the third.

Today, I drew the rooms of my new house to scale on graph paper and cut out little pieces that represented my furnishings. It took me a couple of hours to complete the puzzle to my satisfaction. I made a list designating where each piece of furniture and every box will go on moving day. I also started to throw away things that are from my past life. I even drove to Watsonville to take two boxes to a free shredding event.

At the same time I rediscovered things that got stored and ignored because I had neither the bandwidth nor the available physical space to deal with them; my electronic music equipment being the most notable.

In my new home I will have an entire room dedicated to music and another to creative projects. I am more than doubling my space. I won’t have the trail at the end of my driveway, nor those gorgeous sunsets outside my window, but I will be more interested in what’s going on inside my house than I have been for many years.

There’s more to tell; in particular the story of how I found this new place and what it means to me.

Stay tuned!

PS – I suspect that the guy who moves me will be the one who connected from his heart; took his time and lingered.

copyright (c) May 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: