Wednesday, August 3, 2016

There are flies on the windscreen...

Partial lyrics from Depeche Mode "Fly on the Windscreen"

"Death is everywhere
The more I look
The more I see
The more I feel
A sense of urgency ..."

Death is sobering. Today I learned a younger cousin of mine died, unexpectedly. Earlier this year my oldest cousin died. (I have a large extended family with many first, second, and third cousins). We sadly lost two friends here in Merida this year. There was a beautiful and brave, young woman Jill Conley who fought cancer. I was following her story and she lost her battle this year. People die all the time, along with the famous ones like David Bowie, and Prince.

We feel the pain of losing someone. (The closer the relation, the harder and longer to grieve and cope understandably.) But we also remember what is truly important to us. How does this affect or change our behavior? It's so easy to get caught up in the daily dramas, or what I sometimes call nonsense, and does much of it really even matter? Maybe sometimes, but not usually.

Life is hard, and also beautiful.

What matters is to let people know how much they are loved, and their importance to you. To try and do the good we can each day. Whether it's an acknowledging smile to a stranger in passing, holding our tongue when the words might start an unnecessary conflict, to pray for others, to help when asked, or maybe greater actions with greater resources, and to also be kind to ourselves. We are usually doing the best we can, right? Sometimes it takes the right perspective, and choosing to make the effort because we never really know when our time will be up.

Once I heard a sermon on the love passage in the Bible  (1COR 13:4-8)
The suggestion was to substitute 'love' for the name Jesus, which I believe that He was all those qualities. Then try substituting 'love' with your name and see how you pan out..... well, Andrea can be patient, kind, etc. but not all the time, nope, not this perfectly-imperfect human being. But it's a good direction to aim toward.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (NIV version) - 

In the end, how would we want to be remembered?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Review and Contemplation

In a month-and-a-half, it will be two years since we left Oakland for good. The first year was spent traveling cross-country in the U.S. (twice), then to Mexico, the Caribbean, the UK and Europe. I am still grateful for all the experiences in new places and my husband's skillful planning, decision-making, and our good luck for that successful year.

I vividly remember Monument Valley at the Arizona/Utah border and the beautiful sky,
Monument Valley

Monument Valley

 I remember the warm beach at Isla Mujeres, and freezing in Iceland.


I was influenced by styles and colors in Greece, and Spain.


View from Salvador Dali's house, Cadaques

Joan Miro park in Barcelona
There is so much more and that is documented on our travel blog. I am grateful for the first-hand impressions we have that influence how we design/decorate our house & backyard in Merida. I believe that most people in the world are genuinely helpful and kind, from my experience. 

The second year has been spent mostly in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, with a couple trips back to the U.S. We have had a lot of work done at our house and are both enjoying it (but there is always more to do). It's a small house which is a perfect size for us, in a good location.

I again am grateful for the new friends we made here that make this place feel like a close-knit community. I recently started attending a yoga class with a friend, and am so glad we found Kate, our new yoga teacher, Yoga, circuit-training, prayer, good reading, along with writing, are the practices that continue to sustain me. Mind. Body. Spirit. I hope to add a regular meditation practice too. What practices sustain you?

Learning Spanish has been a challenge for me and I have a long way to go. It is so necessary, and time to make it the priority it deserves.

I am still confident our decision to leave California was right for us. One of my intentions was when we left, and still is, to discover, or create a new livelihood that is soul-giving, instead of soul-draining. I know I have something of value to contribute.This is also the longest break I have ever taken from working. As nice as a sabbatical is, it won't last forever. I am not very entrepreneur-like, so it will take more effort to figure out or find something.

 I don't know how long we will reside in Merida, or if it will become a part-time home if we find a second residence elsewhere that is sustainable. There are more question marks which are continually part of this adventure in life. Have you heard this quote before?

 "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." -- Gilda Radner

I know other people who have decided to shake things up in mid-life. It can be a good time because we still have good health and some youthfulness, life experience, and hopefully some wisdom in our favor, but it's not for everyone. I like to think I have learned, and continue to try, to 'trust the process' more, and lessen my grip of (perceived) control and remain open to new ideas and opportunities.

These are my thoughts at the moment. I may add more insights and questions along the way as a continuation of this subject. Especially since I am approaching 50, which feels strange, but is worthy of some contemplation too. Like Mary Oliver said in her poem, The Summer Day, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"