Geographic Cure

by Carol Hess on July 23, 2011

I haven’t been able to sleep the last couple of nights, and it’s because I’m so excited.  Remember when you were a child and you were so excited you couldn’t sleep the night before something big – Christmas, your birthday, the family vacation trip?

Well, that’s how I’ve been the last couple of nights.  Why?  Because I’m probably moving.  It’s about 80% sure at this stage.  My cautious nature that protects me from disappointment doesn’t usually allow me to get super excited about something until it is a 100% positive thing.  But not this time.  Maybe I’m starting to have more faith these days.  I’ve learned that, if something I really want doesn’t work out, it’s usually because something even better is in the works.

I love to move, and I’ve done it a lot, but most of my moves have been geographic cures.  You know what I mean.  If I change my geography, somehow my life will change.  And it does.  Somehow I will change.  And I do.  But it’s never quite the gigantic sweeping change I envision.  My life doesn’t become perfectly magical, and I don’t completely reinvent myself.  Yes, I’ve moved, but I’ve also still taken myself with me.

But I still love to move.  I love to throw out the accumulated junk while I’m packing.  I feel cleaner and lighter.  There’s something quite soul-satisfying about seeing my possessions so neatly packed in boxes.  Maybe I hope the tidy organization of my possessions will somehow translate into the tidy organization of my emotions and my life.  

I also get to take measurements in my new place, make diagrams to scale of the rooms, and figure out how I’m going to place the furniture.  I can do this for hours and hours and do, even when I’m not moving.  It’s one of my favorite things to do. 

Then comes the actual move.  Okay, that part’s not so much fun.  Especially because I tend to move either in the middle of a snowstorm or on the hottest day of the year.  I also usually end up with at least one of the movers out of commission because of an allergy to cats.

But eventually the truck gets emptied as does my wallet, the movers depart, and it’s just the cats and me in our new home.  No doubt I have had offers of help for this part of the move, but I have declined them.  I love this part and prefer to do it alone.

First I let the cats out and introduce them to their new home, pointing out the feline highlights – food, water, litter box, and the perch from which to look out the window until the day they are allowed outdoors because they now know this is home. 

Once the cats are settled, it’s time to unpack.  I find my two Open First boxes, the contents of which will tide me over for the first night in my new home.  The theory is I will just unpack these boxes and go to bed early because it’s been a long day.

But that’s not what happens in practice.  I end up unpacking well into the night because I can’t resist.  This is when I get to lay the energetic foundation for my new home, and I do so sacredly.  This is when I focus in on its potential and promise and meditate about what I want to create here.

I start with the kitchen.  How shall I best use these drawers?  There’s the perfect place for my cookbooks.  Where shall I put my knives?  As I work, I visualize the romantic breakfasts for two and the fabulous dinner parties I’ll be enjoying in my new home in my new life as the new Carol.

This move, however, is feeling a bit different from my other moves.  First of all, it isn’t a geographic cure.  I’m not running away from anything.  I’m running toward something.  I’m moving because I’ve decided I deserve to live better. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve loved my funky little house on the edge of the woods with my lovely landlady and her two terrific boys just across the driveway.  But the property has been sold, and Bonny, Nicholas, and Lucas have moved out of state.  I’m sure the new owners are very nice people, but I don’t want to rent from someone who has never been a landlord before.  I deserve to deal with a professional management company.

And the neighborhood is changing.  These days the woods next to my house are filled with the noise of chain saws and construction equipment as yet another housing development gets started.  I deserve peace and quiet and no road running through my front yard.  The wildlife do too, but unfortunately they don’t get a vote.

Also, a recent birthday has reminded me it’s time to trade funky in for comfort and convenience.  I deserve to let someone else shovel the snow and deliver my trash to the dump.  I deserve not to live in a drafty cold box during the long Maine winter.

I start to realize I am choosing a home and a lifestyle that are gentler, easier, and – dare I say it – more self-loving than what I’ve chosen in the past.  And that has me wondering.  How can I create even more self care and self love in my new environment?

What about one room dedicated just to meditation, exercise, and journaling?  A room that gets the morning light and is full of plants and soft music and the scent of sandalwood.  What a luxury.  I haven’t even had space for a guest room, much less a Carol room.

How about a well-stocked pantry? All the whole grains and legumes in lovely glass containers with nicely lettered labels.  Organic oils and vinegars and seasonings awaiting my culinary creativity as I transition to a different way of cooking and eating.

And maybe do something different with the living room?  Perhaps add bookshelves full of my favorite books and lots of personal photos everywhere.  I’ve always relegated those objects to my office and my bedroom.  But I think I’m ready to reveal the real me right there in the living room.

What about taking my morning walk at the beach close to my new home?  I’m not me when I’m not seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, tasting my beloved ocean every day.  I’ve been away from it for far too long, and now I don’t have to be.

Then there’s my new neighborhood – much more lively and diverse than my old one.  And only a few minutes and a bridge away from downtown Portland.  I can expand my life and join a vibrant community, if I choose to do so.

And isn’t that exactly what it’s all about?  Choices?  I certainly don’t have to move to make or change my choices.  But a move heightens my awareness of the choices I’m making.  It wipes the blackboard clean and asks, “What will you write on your new slate, Carol?  What choices will you make?”  And it’s the answer to that question that has me so excited that I can’t sleep.

If you were moving tomorrow, what new choices would you make?

by Carol Hess

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Categories Healthy Lifestyle, Personal Empowerment, Self Care, The Art of Star Polishing

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