Happiness in the Face of Contrast

It’s pretty easy to keep a positive outlook and feel an abundance of happiness when my outside world is reflecting the same. I am overjoyed when I am staying in large comfortable mansions, surrounded by beautiful gardens and warm, supportive people. But what about when I’m not in these positive environments? Of course it is much harder for me to experience joy and bliss. Because I am focused on what is, instead of what could be. Which in turn only creates more of the same. I’ve sort of been stuck in this pattern since leaving Devon. Leaving the sweet dog, Amber who I will always love and miss. My next housesitting assignment had the most gorgeous pictures and I was very optimistic about it. I even did FaceTime with the owner but she only showed me one room of her place. Believe me, it is very difficult to know what I am getting into ahead of time. Many times owners take photos of the outside landscape and structures which are always beautiful. Only later I figure out the barn has been converted into 6 or 7 different homes. Skype and FT help, but it’s still impossible to get the breadth of someone’s home without actually being there in person. Anyway, Chewy and I were happy to go to Dorset for one week before heading to the Lake District. When we arrived, the address was titled “Laundry Cottage.” This should have been a red flag! The home ended up being a very tiny 2-bedroom apartment with only the dusty, clogged fireplace to provide heat in the main rooms. I don’t normally have a problem with a home that is smaller, but I was also sharing the space with a 2 y/o lab, Beetle, who hadn’t been trained much at all and demanded constant attention. My bedroom was upstairs and thankfully had a radiator that came on in the early mornings for a few hours. With the help of hot water bottles I was able to keep Chewy warm for most of the day. But more often than not he was shaking from the cool, crisp air that never left the small home. The thermostat was always between 50-60 deg Fahrenheit. The very cramped kitchen wasn’t very well equipped for cooking nor very clean. The water had some mysterious “minerals” that came out of the tap that I would accidentally crunch down on sometimes when drinking my morning tea. I would have assumed that due to the name of the place, it would have been suitable to do my laundry comfortably. Nope, not at all. The clothes washer didn’t appear to be working properly and there was no dryer, nor any space to lay out clothes to dry. So I held out and waited to clean my clothes until my next assignment. I was also in charge of a mostly feral cat who came in and out as he pleased through the cat door. On the first morning he came in with a large rat. I immediately screamed so he grabbed the poor disembowled animal and flew back out through the flapping door. All I could think of was, “Where the hell am I and how did I get here??”

Fortunately, during my stay here is when I dove into the teachings of Neville Goddard. He was a philosopher from the 1950s who centered around The Law of Attraction and Christianity. Here is where I began learning about how to change my outlook despite what the current environment was providing for me. Neville’s words teach about how we are all apart of God and we all have the ability to live our lives in any direction that we choose. Rich, poor, happy, negative, we have created it all. Most importantly, each of us already possesses the power to change this. His books center around specific techniques and compares passages of the Bible. Neville’s current following is bigger than ever despite his death in the early 70s. In his eyes, the bible never refers to actual physical people like Peter, Luke, John, etc. He saw these names, commandments and stories as a way for us to interpret this main belief. According to Neville, you are God, I am God, we are all God and through imagination and feeling we employ the most potent forms of expressing this Godhood. Neville goes through the bible and provides his translation, for example, the command, “thou shalt not take the name of thy lord in vain.” As a child, I was taught this meant to not say things like, “Goddamnit,” or one of my personal favorites, “Jesus Fucking Christ!” 🙂 But if we are God, then instead this would mean, do not talk against ourselves. Do not speak or think ill of our own self. I’ve said this many times, loving ourselves and experiencing self-compassion is THE most important thing I have learned. Period. Needless to say, Neville’s teachings hit a chord. Some of you that know me are probably thinking, “Why is Jess quoting the Bible?” Truthfully, I was very resistant to Neville’s teachings almost two years ago when I was introduced to him. That resistance was solely because of my judgements on Christianity. It sort of felt like going backwards. But the great thing about Neville’s teachings is you don’t have to be Christian. In fact, he says we need to let go of our prejudices about any and all religions in order to be free. His instructions and teachings are successful without the whole God affect. So if you are like me, just take away the religion and look at the meaning. The Time is Now. Live in the present. Everything I want and desire, I should just assume that I already have it.

“To be conscious of being poor while praying for riches is to be rewarded with that which you are conscious of being, namely, poverty. Prayers to be successful must be claimed and appropriated. Assume the positive consciousness of the thing desired.” Neville Goddard

Neville calls this starting from the end and this, my friends, is what has helped me through the rough moments that are currently within my experience. If I am having a hard time and not happy with my physical surroundings, I just imagine they are different. Harnessing the feeling of having what I want is the catalyst of it showing up in the physical. I get this seems a little delusional, I still have all kinds of mental blocks that I’m in the process of extinguishing. This goes against everything I was ever taught. But just like everything else that is new to me, I can’t judge what I don’t understand. I’m willing to try this out and hone in on the feeling of being in love with a wonderful man that is devoted to me. I am surrounded by friends that accept me no matter what and all the while I can enjoy the financial abundance that is within my power to induce. After all, everything we want is because we believe we will feel better in the having of it. What if we just feel better before we actually, physically have it?

Despite my rough start in Dorset I ended up having a good time. Beetle was a great hiker and I was more than happy to take her out 4-5 miles each day mainly to encourage her to not chew up my things! She was very sweet and the cat, Pudi was also a bit of a hiker as well. He often followed us pretty far along the trail. All in all I am grateful for the experience because I’ve never felt so sure about my future until right now. Once again I am grateful for all that life has given me.

 

 

Sometimes We All Have to Vent

The past few days have really been crummy and I’m having trouble alerting my mindset. Sure, I was ghosted by someone that I cared about. This brought up plenty of emotions and unkind thoughts, most of them were a waste of time. I couldn’t help but think of possible reasons for why Farukh decided to drop me. I noticed on more than one occasion the need to practice self-love since I didn’t like the reasonings I was coming up with. We are always our own worst critic and I’ve learned when thinking about myself in a negative light this only leads to more self deprecation. So I’ve been getting outside and doing yoga. I’m already hooked on the 30 day yoga challenge with Adriene on Youtube. If you were ever thinking about getting into yoga, this is a great way to begin. I’m trying to get over the feeling inferior hump, so I’m hoping that after writing a bit today I will be able purge any negativity I have left, out of my consciousness forever! HA!

Thanks to Farukh, I have a new red flag to be aware of when I begin dating someone. I am absolutely not interested in spending time with someone that is addicted to their phone. It’s much bigger than a person just checking their likes on Instagram. Let me try and explain. Our phones have become our masks. As soon as we glance down at them, we completely tune out to what is happening in the present. It’s the most convenient way to hide oneself in plain sight. Why do we need to be protected? There can be 100 people in a room and if the average person doesn’t have someone to connect with, their default is to view something random on their phone phone that they’re not going to remember after five seconds. It’s like we’re given a free pass to not have to participate in society. However, it doesn’t take much for us to realize that we are the ones that are suffering exponentially. I used to be more active on social media so I get it. It feels good to get a “like” or someone laughs at a post, etc. I also get that it can be easy to be lazy and not get out of my comfort zone. Twenty years ago, we would have had to get up and go talk to one of those 100 people in the room just to pass the time. Imagine, before having an electronic mask at your disposal and your choices at a gathering are to just sit and watch people or assemble enough courage to talk to someone. Maybe you would come up with a clever starter on the spot! Yikes, it was hard. It sometimes would create rejection or odd looks. But the point is, we were practicing relating to one another. I don’t think it would surprise anyone to say social media makes us terrible at developing authentic connections. I believe we all know this. I’ve had this very conversation with people who were simultaneously browsing with their phones. Because, I say this with experience, something we definitely succeed at in our society is denial. At what point does this become a real problem? We all know this doesn’t make us happier in the long-term. Many of us know that society will probably have some serious long-lasting repercussions. Yet, we still don’t stop. Most people don’t even slow down. If you look through the generations of “unacceptable” behaviors in large doses you could say, people can watch too much television or drink heavily or play video games. These activities were/are easy to identify that they need parameters and can’t be indulged in 24/7. However our phones are showing the opposite to be true. Individuals aren’t putting limitations or restrictions, if anything we are sharing apps and showing one another posts as a way to interact. Again providing only these superficial conversations. We hold tightly to these because we’re afraid I think. Even though we know a puppy GIF isn’t going to make us “really” happy, we don’t know where else to turn to fill this void. So we’re okay with the false sense of happiness while in the meantime we struggle in our real lives to find our true joy. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who don’t even know where to start on living a happy life. Because we’re already so bad at keeping these connections with each other. We show up to work to talk about the weather, the game, drinking, The Bachelor etc. We have no one to talk with about our fears, dreams, or what we strive to become. But when it comes down to it, humans are pretty easy to understand. The thing we all have in common is, we all want to be seen and heard and preferably understood. If not, then what’s the point of existence? Unfortunately, this is something our society is so out of practice on, that we don’t even realize it’s missing. Those of you that are currently working in an office/cubicle right now, could you imagine asking the next person that comes up to your desk, “What single event has had the biggest impact on your life?” They would probably look at you like you are taking crazy pills. What comes up for you just thinking about asking someone, who you spend almost half your life with everyday, this very question or one like it? Yes, it feels very edgy. But also, don’t you kinda want to know the answer? We are all incredible and unique beings that are all very special in that no one else shares our perspective. The most efficient thing we have to bridge the gap of understanding these individual perspectives is the spoken word. I look back on my life and I was far better at having these conversations with people when I was in college. In fact, some of the relationships I still have from these days have completely changed direction. Twenty years ago we would ask one another questions like, “What makes someone truly evil?” or “What keeps you up at night?” and my personal favorite, “What lies do you most often tell yourself?” We would stay up all night discussing these different themes and all the while, we were creating a stronger bond between us. Today the people are the same, but the conversations are much more superficial. You could say that’s because we are now living our life instead of just pontificating on how it could be. But this seems like an excuse. We don’t because we’re just bad at it. We haven’t practiced talking to others like this in a while or maybe ever.

I am certainly not the best at striking up deep conversations with complete strangers, but I’ve recently realized that I miss these types of exchanges. My friend Bernice commiserated this with me since we are both traveling. She challenged me to work on having more meaningful communication with others. Sort of like researching the best methods of conversing. Then we’re going to report back on our findings. It’s not until this very moment that I really took this seriously. I’m going to practice this! There’s only one way to get good at something or learning a new skill. Perhaps you should try this too? It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but I promise you, we will all benefit from having deeper connections with one another.

Surrendering

I am in the process of recovering from a nasty bout of strep throat. I’ve only had strep one other time when I was about 16 years of age. Fortunately, I was well enough to drive Traci to the airport in London and back on Friday. I can’t help but wonder, how did I catch this? It’s not like I’ve been around tons of people lately, none of them have been sick. Now that I have embraced the fact that all of life is made of vibrations, well, why did I attract this? Not to mention a whole host of other oddities I have also attracted the last couple of days, but I’ll come back to these later. What I often learn from being sick is to just slow down. I was doing so much driving while Traci was visiting. Which I was more than happy to do. We saw and experienced so many things while she was here. We went to Stonehenge on the Solstice, played on the beach, visited Otters, got tattoos, enjoyed London, hiked with the dogs many times, shared amazing food and spent time with some incredible people during her stay here. Christmas morning was such a great memory that will forever be embedded into my mind. Traci, Farukh and I all opened presents and shared stories and memories of the past. Traci started talking to Farukh about the Law of Attraction and other interesting things we are currently practicing. We went for a hike with the dogs while we waited for the local pub to open. Once it opened we chatted with a few locals and then quickly figured out they weren’t serving food. So we left and drove around, calling place after place, not finding anything open on Christmas Day. We finally came to an Inn about 4 miles from the house and we asked a couple if they were serving food. They said no, but the “Welcome Stranger Inn” had setup a feast for anyone to come and join in. Perfect! We arrived and there was a full turkey, potatoes, seafood, cheese and lots more. It was incredible. All for free. The three of us sat down enjoying the splendor and hardly believing our luck at having found such a wonderful place. When we returned back to the house, it wasn’t quite the same. We had to say goodbye to Farukh since he had to make the arduous drive back to London to be with his son. Little did I know that this goodbye, was much more abiding than I ever could have imagined.

Today I am on the couch with two dogs, watching Netflix and taking my cough syrup, tea and Lemsip every couple of hours. I’m still recovering from some shocking news that happened the night before. My friend for over 12 years decided to no longer continue our friendship. She had already began being very distant from me since I left the country. It always felt like a struggle to call or get her to text me back. I guess I just thought she’d be one of those friends who would always be there for me. She stated, surprisingly in her text, that our relationship hasn’t been healthy for either one of us the past few years. Wow, I certainly didn’t feel this way. There was no other explanation given. Now the old me, would have immediately taken this news personally and quickly become the victim of not being good enough and huddled into a messy gooey pile of shame and abandonment. The old me would have hurried to the nearest dispensary to smoke all my troubles and despair away. Not this time. I’m proud to say that I had my moment of sadness and tears, but not for long. Very quickly, I chose to see this as an opportunity to grow and look at the situation from a different angle. There are no mistakes. My friend, had her own perspective on our relationship and she was certainly allowed this even though it was not lined up with mine. Friendships sometimes end, even close ones. That is okay. This gives us both the space we needed to welcome and enjoy new friendships. Ones where we share more commonalities and are able to be heard more effectively. It’s better for all of us to enjoy friendships that we are more aligned with. I’ve learned within the past month that if I am in a relationship dynamic that is somehow holding me from my desires, then it is no longer serving me. I have to let it go. Surrender, stop holding onto it for the sake of not feeling alone. If this is how my friend feels then by all means I won’t make her feel bad for making a choice that was right for her. If anything, I am proud of her. She will always hold a special place in my heart and we never know what the future holds. Perhaps we will meet again someday when we’re older, grayer and wiser. 🙂

Which brings me to my most recent attraction which has been going on for several days, but I am finally able to to see it for what it is. It seems the most common way to end a relationship in today’s society is to never actually end it and to just disappear into the void. Farukh has been radio silent since last Thursday. After nearly 8 weeks of daily iterations of, “good morning” and “good night” texts. Since December 28th, I have received nothing. Which of course, left me wondering if I spent enough time with him while he was here or was I too distracted by the dogs, or was it a mistake to finally give him the site to my blog, then again maybe he just finally got tired of making the tedious drive to come visit me. I’ll probably never know. What’s even worse is, what if he was hit by a bus? I’ll never know. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am 40 years old and have just been ghosted. But I can’t write what I did above about my friend without having some understanding as to why this happened. He, just like my friend, had to surrender and let go of what was standing in the way of him reaching his own desires and happiness. I would never want to willingly be this obstacle to anyone. It is disappointing that he didn’t have the courage or believe I had the understanding to be able to end with a conversation. But I guess, we can’t blame others for taking the easy road. If anything, it provides more evidence that his decision was better for the both of us. Thank You, Next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savoring

As always, I am enjoying myself immensely here in England. I have completed 5 weeks out of the 7 total weeks living in my current house in Devon. I have become very attached to the house owners’ dog, Amber, and am not looking forward to our inevitable parting when I am off to Dorset on January 7th. We have been keeping busy with walking and hiking everyday. Amber is a Hungarian Vizsla so she has an enormous amount of energy. I have been driving her (sometimes with Chewy) to the beautiful idyllic settings that Dartmoor freely exhibits. We recently drove about an hour to Hope Cove and Amber was able to play in the seashore. There was also a great hiking trail that followed the coast onto the next village. We walked for hours and loved every minute. After a satisfying day we ended up at a pub and I had the best chicken fajitas so far since I left the states. I am having such a great time with Amber! She is also very attached to me, which the owners told me ahead of time that bonding is very common for this breed. I left her with a very familiar neighbor for a few days while I traveled to London to pick up Traci from the airport. Only to return to a very excited, while simultaneously distressed, dog who slept very close to me that night. I vowed to not be parted from her again during my stay here. While I was in London I took advantage of the beautiful local parks. Many are paid for by the UK Lottery system. I know we have city parks in the US but they don’t really compare to the ones in England. Here the parks are often huge and include miles of trails to roam around in. The dogs are always able to be off their leashes which is a nice bonus for me. 🙂 It’s easy to spend an entire day enjoying the immense surroundings and chatting with the lovely, congenial people the park brings together. When Chewy and I arrived at a park known as Bushy Park, there were hundreds of people dressed up as Santa Claus walking past us towards their cars. I later discovered there was a Santa 5K run that just took place. It seemed very uncomfortable in the beards and heavy clothing, but there were so many smiling faces I couldn’t help but smile myself. Unfortunately, I arrived too late to provide photos of the event. However, I hope the general splendor of the area is more than enough to satisfy.

Now that Traci is here time is just flying by. We’ve spent a lot of time driving from place to place with the dogs. We’ve been enjoying the local food and chatting with the very pleasant residents of this wonderful country. Traci keeps mentioning how nice people are here in England. I couldn’t agree more. There is always a friendly face nearby who is open to questions or just random conversation. It probably helps that we have American accents as this is always a good ice breaker. Yet, it’s much more than that. Since I have arrived in the UK, I’ve continuously felt that the people here live a very happy and harmoniously life. I know that’s a large, broad statement based entirely on anecdotal evidence. But I am also going with my gut on this one. I have now spent a good amount of time within seven different locations within this country. I believe, the quality of life for the people in England is quite good. The closest town I am currently in proximity to is called Exeter, which has a population of about 180,000 residents. I easily spent more time talking to people within the town in one day than my entire four weeks in Spain. Granted, there was a language barrier, but it’s deeper than that. The people here are joyful, just generally in good moods and happy to be of assistance. It could also be due to Christmas being only a few days away. Although, I’ve been here since mid September when it was still warm and was consistently greeted with the same cordial inhabitants. No, I truly believe I have found the genuinely cheerful mecca of the world. These experiences with others have made an impact on how I view my own joyfulness. I tend to savor my experiences much more here. It is incredibly easier to feel happy even if I am having an off day. We live in a global society that values the quick, micro bursts of pleasure. I was, and at times still am, just as guilty of this. I find a cute cat gif and then immediately move on to the next one perpetually searching and searching. Not really sure what I am searching for honestly. If you aren’t yet familiar with Chamath Palihapitiya, he is definitely worth checking out. He is a Facebook founder that is very open about his tremendous guilt regarding the behemoth he helped create and the implications of how consumer internet businesses knowingly exploit the psychology of individuals. It comes down to companies understanding how to manipulate the user in order for them to “like” something to provide that very fleeting dopamine hit. I don’t want to just pick on facebook as there are many outlets for this same compulsion. Yet, something that is consistent among the users is that these short-term feedback loops become an addiction. This is also where the money flows endlessly in creation. More and more resources are devoted to finding the “hook” except, when it comes down to it, scientifically this doesn’t make us any happier than when we started. Personally this made me feel more empty inside. Don’t you personally find this to be true? Endlessly clicking on quotes or PNGs that will sometimes inflict a brief chuckle before promptly diving in for more. This doesn’t create happiness and we know it. This is also precisely why I do not attach my blog to any social media platforms. Yes, the growth is much slower and it takes more commitment, but the end result is something I can be proud to deliver. Life isn’t about the instant gratification. I’m learning that the enjoyment of our experience comes from actually taking the time to earnestly savor and relish the moment for weeks, even months or years down the road. Something I can receive from a slice of delicious cheesecake or a stroll in the park. How incredible life is when we stop looking at our phones and sit back and bask in the encounters that are freely offered. It’s very empowering to truly not giving a damn about what people think or how many “likes” or “follows” are acquired on Instagram. Sort of like deprogramming ourselves and becoming part of the world again. Words can not express how amazing this feels. I no longer feel anything even close to depression. I only feel perpetual abundance. I’m not saying give up social media entirely, but as Chamath says, shouldn’t we at least be talking about how this is hindering our very existence? “We are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” I think this is definitely worth a discussion to work together to form a solution to this ongoing programming. 

No Such Thing as Luck

I am back in London and about to pick up my friend, Traci from the Heathrow airport. I am currently using a computer in the lobby of my hotel since I didn’t think to bring my laptop. The current spell check is set to Ukrainian so I apologize for any strange spellings. Chewy and I have been enjoying the beautiful public parks that London has to offer. I’ll have to post pics in a few days. Fortunately, it’s super easy now to get around since I just bought a car!! It just happened a few days ago. I was having a normal day back in Ilsington/Devonshire when I had a craving for some chips/crisps. I grabbed Amber and we walked to the local village shop. On our way back, is when I noticed the beautiful blue Hyundai Coupe sitting just outside my place of residence with a “For Sale” sign in the window. I thought to myself, surely I can’t afford this beautiful car. I walked up and read the sign 2006 only 65,000 miles for 1,800 pounds! I was about to renew my current car rental another three months for nearly the same price! I immediately called the number. It turned out to be the woman in the shop that sold me the crips!! Luck or fate? hmmm We talked about the vehicles history and found out the car was kept in immaculate shape. I test drove the next day, we agreed on 1,700 and two days later I am in London in my new car. I couldn’t be happier!! Now I have freedom and can go anywhere. I can drive to Ireland, France or even Norway as there is a ferry in Scotland that I can use to transport my car. Now all I need to get is a tent and sleeping bag and I will be able to stay in Europe forever! haha Housesitting is going very well in England, but they are much more spare in other areas of Europe. Plus, I love camping and have missed it terribly!! I wish Chewy was more of a fan, but he’ll make due. One thing I’ve learned while traveling with Chewy is he gets more excited and animated the more luxurious the home is. He wasn’t very excited to come to London with me as he was very Happy back in Devon. I never thought I would be choosing places that fit my dogs’ needs more than myself. Ahhh life.

I’ve also had a couple of people asking about how the dating is going. I have been dating Farukh for about 6 weeks now and we are progressing along nicely. Neither of us are in a rush and we’re just happy to be enjoying the experience. When I arrived in London he surprised me by taking me to a Cabaret show. It was a fun and unique. It feels so good to be courted and the have someone constantly showing up surprising me with wonderful gifts. I am also very happy to get the perspective of someones world who’s parents grew up in Pakistan. What a different life he has lead. I appreciate when we are in the country and he mentions there aren’t a lot of brown/people of color nearby. I find it so interesting that while I am the foreigner, he is the one that stands out the most as different in some rural settings. It’s also kind of odd that his son (Farukh has an 8 y/o son) who’s name is Raihan, is often called Ryan in his London school just to make it easier. Keep in mind, London is one of, if not THE most diverse city in the world. There are many different nationalities that are ever present. But even here things shift toward the White English way of life. I understand when this was this case in Kansas or Colorado where it wasn’t very diverse. But when over half of the population is not English, I guess I thought the other cultures would be more embraced. This isn’t coming from a place of judgment or appraisal. It’s just more that I appreciate the awareness and wish to one day understand the reasoning as I continue to take in this wonderful gift of endless excursions.

 

Redefining Christmas

I find it so interesting that even though I am going into the holidays with much more awareness and thankfulness than I have ever had, I still get sad. Even while I am experiencing the most magnificent days/weeks/months of my entire life, Christmastime makes me sad. Which of course makes me realize how ingrained my feelings are surrounding this time of year. The emotions I feel leading up to December 25th are more of a habit than an accurate response to reality. I’m learning more and more that sadness is just a feeling that springs up when I am giving too much attention to what is missing in the present. This can be a slippery slope because too much consistent attention to this lack, whatever it is, can very quickly take me down to despair. I am extremely grateful to not be feeling depression or despair. I am currently just sitting with what is and being okay with feeling sad. Another pattern that can take me down the rabbit hole is resisting the sadness which only brings it closer into our experience. I simply can’t say it enough, but resisting creates far, FAR more suffering in our world than that which we resist ever could. It seems harsh to say that I am the cause of my own suffering, but this is completely true. I can thoroughly, hold-heartedly love myself and still create hardship. So if it’s alright with those that are listening, I would like proceed with how I have been facing my struggles over these incredible past five months and that is by diving into my sadness and opening up.

My childhood was a relatively happy one. Even though I had an emotionally absent mother and entirely absent father, I was fortunate to have other loving family members in my life. I had uncles, aunts and cousins who were always providing for me and ensuring my needs were met. My grandma was a huge part of my life until I became about 12 years of age. She was my rock! I loved her very much. Thanks to her I was never without food or things to fill my life. My cousin Kimmy also had an enormous impact on me when I was very young. She provided love and excitement even if sometimes it meant getting into trouble. Truthfully, I never got into trouble back then, sorry love ❤ Kim brought me the emotional support and acceptance I needed while approaching adolescence. Very similar (I believe) to how an older sister would demonstrate to a sibling. In addition, living in the country provided me with so many advantages growing up. Yes, it was a lot of work, especially for someone so young, but it was always worth it. Here is where I began working and caring for animals which ignited a passion I hold strong to still today. I was often very happy. I am so very grateful I was able to live in that environment for as long as I did. Unfortunately, my mom’s mental health got the best of her and we moved away from this sanctuary shortly after I turned twelve. But that is a story for another day. Right now the main thing that is coming up for me in regards to my present sadness is encompassed around family. On Christmas day all those years ago, I remember sitting in the middle of the floor passing out presents to everyone and thinking, the only thing that would make this moment perfect would be to have a father and siblings of my own. Yes, I loved and appreciated my family who was present. Often uncles and aunts, eagerly awaiting my reactions to the gifts they provided. I made sure to never disappoint. But unbeknownst to them, I would have happily traded every present I ever received for just a minute with my father. This was always my Christmas wish. It seems a bit sad and sappy thinking of a child asking Santa for her father. But I promise you, the energy behind it was excitement and awe, not sadness. The magic of Christmas. My mother tried to squander this magic by revealing to me, as early as I remember, that there was no such thing as Santa Claus. I didn’t care, I still dreamed! Having a dad was what I desired the absolute most and was always the missing piece from my life. My dad, his name is Tom, left before I was born and I have never met him. I have one picture that was taken in 1977 that is fuzzy and oversaturated with that sort of orange tinge that photos from that era often had. Whenever I brought up Tom I was never given any answers. In time, I stopped asking. Which created over 30 years of focusing on not having that missing piece. Well, that is until a few years ago. After finally getting therapy and with the help of a previous friend of mine, we were able to finally track down Tom to North Carolina. I won’t bore you with the details, but instead give you the intriguing highlights. Tom is currently suffering from advanced alcoholism and refuses to talk to me. Tom also had two children (girls) who also refuse to talk to me. I can’t help but find it interesting though that they are both physicians (I almost went to medical school) and the youngest daughter is also named Jessica. I can’t make this stuff up! Fortunately, amongst many voicemails, Jessica heard my plea and decided to email me my family history about a year ago. Here is where I learned that they are estranged from their (our) father. He was a mean drunk growing up and they know nothing about his current life. Wow. This completely changed my perspective. In just a few days, I went from pining over the idea of my supreme father, to being extremely grateful I didn’t have to grow up with an abusive, alcoholic parent. That brief email set me free. Over the past year instead of focusing on what was missing from my childhood, I have successfully been able to bring the more favorable parts into the light. I still hope to meet Tom someday but I’m also okay if I don’t get the opportunity. As an extra bonus, Jessica more or less gave me permission to send her and her sister an email every year on December 31st. I understand they aren’t interested in a relationship right now, but I’ll never stop writing or hoping they will stop resisting and eventually open up.

Thank you for joining me on this unusual trip down memory lane. The main takeaway I am attempting to depict is that sadness is okay, just don’t focus on it too long. We could spend a lifetime in that space. Instead I would like to concentrate on the wonderful people that are currently showing up in my life and are supporting and trusting me through this incredible journey. I am ecstatic and overjoyed that a good friend of mine will be coming here to England to spend Christmas with me. I pick her up from the airport in 10 days!! Yay! I am and always will be overwhelmed and moved by you, just for being here. Thank you.

 

Living Abundance

I just completed my first week housesitting in Devonshire. This place is truly magical. I am posting a video below of a wild baby horse that I was able to greet during a hike. His/her hair was so soft and fluffy, loving some scritches. There are 50+ wild horses in the area and many of them are approachable. They don’t have any reason to fear humans. There aren’t many locals and those that do hike here, an area called The Moors, don’t give them any trouble. It’s such a beautiful experience. I’ve also been getting back in shape by doing yoga everyday in addition to hiking and running. Yes, running! The trails and roads here are very different than any place I’ve been in England. There are mountains and steep hills. It reminds me a little of Colorado in that regard. My body feels as if it has suddenly come back to life. I feel sore in the morning, it feels amazing! Funny thing to say, but I’m sure you can relate. Our bodies thrive on movement. We know this inherently even if we refuse to glance in that direction. In my case, I was deeply loyal to my depression which caused me to be more sedentary. This continued for several years and before I knew it, I had gained over 30 pounds! Don’t get me wrong, I love my figure. I think I look great whether I weight 130 or 170 pounds. But this also made it conveniently easy for me to ignore what truly nourishes my body and sustains happiness. Now I see exercise as a form of self love. Instead of being resistant or rolling my eyes at the people that kill themselves at the gym, I have accepted that movement is what my body needs to flourish. Of course, physical activity comes much easier when instead of a job I have a charming and energetic Vizsla, named Amber, who requires at least 90 minutes of exercise every day. After spending the past 14 years locked in a cubicle, I broadly comprehend these activity barriers.

In addition to exercise, I have also been filling my days with cooking, creating the perfect face serum and filling the house with delightful music. I am truly living in abundance. It’s hard to believe I will be here for another 6 weeks. Amber’s parents are taking a 7-week long vacation to Australia and New Zealand. I am very happy to spend the holidays right here in this cozy home. The house is a converted barn that is divided between three connected houses. The owners have done quite a bit of renovations. The most impressive is installing a completely renewable form of heating through ground source heat pumps. I’m not sure if this is possible in the US as I’ve only just been introduced to it. Pipes are buried under the garden to extract heat from the ground which remains a fairly constant temperature year round. The heat is then transferred to the radiators which can be adjusted manually. What a great feeling to be using plenty of heat every day without the carbon footprint. Apparently the system requires almost no maintenance as well. Before the owners left they encouraged me to crank it up as much as I want. Something that I’ve never been advised on a housesit. 🙂

Another thing that brings me contentment is writing about mental illnesses on a variety of different sites and blogs. I enjoy normalizing and bringing comfort and encouragement to others who are currently struggling. It’s pretty well-known that this time of year brings a person’s state of sadness up to the surface. Often times their friends or families have no idea they are living in utter turmoil and reaching out anonymously is their only act of self preservation. I used to dread the holidays. It felt like a really big magnifying glass that displayed how alone I felt to the entire world. I felt bad for dwelling over the past 4 or 5 Christmas’s for receiving my main presents from work colleagues. Then I would feel shame for pitying myself while so many people got so much less. Not to forget a splash of self-resentment for diverting my energy to a time of year that went from pagan holiday to materialist phenomena. I am incredibly gratified to be on the other side of this and am happy to bring any sort of alleviation to those still trying to cope. If there’s someone you know that might be struggling this holiday season. Please, reach out to them with a gift and a card or even just a note. Letting them know you care will go far and they may even be grateful to you for years to come. We’re all here together and it feels incredible supporting one another.

Loving Myself

I have truly been enjoying my life and new experiences. I have been taking care of the two dogs in Loosley Row and they are just angels. They love to cuddle in my lap whenever I’m sitting on the couch. To their disappointment it’s not comfortably possible to have both of them on me at the same time. It’s funny because when one is snuggling, the other one just stares at me the whole time. If I take too long before I switch them, they sometimes start whining. They are just adorable. We have been going on 3-4 walks/hikes everyday. I’m definitely getting my steps in! I also caved-in and bought a new yoga mat as an early Christmas present 🙂 I have no idea how I’m going to transport it when I leave the UK, but I’ll worry about that another day. Having a new mat is so motivating for me to do yoga. I’m trying to get into the habit of a daily practice. However discipline continues to be one of my biggest weaknesses. Always improving, everyday!
Also, during this house sitting adventure, I started dating someone! I met Farukh on Bumble which is quite popular in the UK. Within the past 2 weeks we’ve gone on three dates. He has driven here for each occurrance all the way from Essex (about 1.5 hours) and I am happy to report that I am learning to receive. Each time he has visited, he has brought me flowers and a small gift like truffles or champagne. This is exactly what I have been manifesting! I have been desiring to be courted. Something I haven’t really taken part in before. Normally, I am doing pretty much all of the work when dating someone and then all of a sudden we’re in a long-term relationship. This happens so quickly that I actually have no idea who the person is and they don’t really know me either. I made all of these projections about who they were, all of which were appealing to me at the time, instead of seeing the actual person who was standing before me. As you can imagine, this is a recipe for failure. I mean, pushing my way into someone’s life is never, ever a good sign. This goes for all types of relationships. In the past, I would throw myself at this percieved gallant man again and again until he became receptive. Sooo very sad, but at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. I would think deep down if he just got to know me, then we would hit it off. Wow. How very narcissistic of me! This was precisely the energy behind it as well. Vying for this magnanimous male’s affections was tied into my own self esteem. It felt like if I weren’t successful in attaining him then my own self-worth came crushing down, hard. Because this is what happens when we surrender our own self regard onto the contingency of another. I was just searching to be loved. Not understanding that I had to love myself first. Fortunately, I’ve been going very slowly during my time with Farukh. I am trying very hard to be present with who he is versus what I want to see. I’m not getting carried away, just enjoying the act of receiving and thrilled for more.
As for manifesting money, well it’s only a matter of time now. I believe, the more I am able to receive from others, the more I’ll be able to receive whatever the universe drops into my path. Whether this comes in the form of dollars, pounds, great job, charity, it doesn’t matter, I will be able to collect on what I’ve been asking for. In the meantime, I will continue enjoying each and every day. Maintaining gratefulness for such an abundant life. Cooking, blending oils, meditating, mainly just going towards what I am enjoying. Something will turn up, it must. As much as the law of gravity must keep us pulled to the earth, the law of attraction will deliver what we desire as long as we are open to receiving.
I am about to travel to the southwest part of the country, to Devonshire. I am looking forward to this house sit because it will last for almost seven weeks!! I am delightedly to be in one place for so long. I will update soon with more adventures. Goodbye for now and to my American friends – Happy Thanksgiving!!

Exuding Positivity

I am currently in an area known as High Wycombe. Just an hour west of London is a beautiful countryside that actually has hills! I wouldn’t call them mountains of course, but enough to make me realize my car is super small and wimpy. It has been a great car so far. It’s called a Toyota Aygo. It is very tiny, but has a full-ish backseat and a small hatch trunk that just fits my suitcase. So far I’ve comfortably transferred a max of 2 human and 4 canine passengers (not together). No complaints so far 😉 I’ve been renting it since September 15th and will have it until December 15th. Maybe even longer, we will see. I can’t help drooling a little while I watch the Audis pass me on the roads. It’s good to have dreams! The village I am currently staying in is called Loosely Row. There are plenty of long walks and jogging paths nearby which I plan to take advantage of very soon. There are also a couple of horse farms nearby that raise and train polo horses. They are so majestic and always very friendly as I walk by. I can’t help but stop to give them a pet. Yesterday, I went on a hike with the two Shih Tzus I am watching. They are very sweet, cuddly and overall very easy to care for. We hiked this beautiful landscape with these large, wondrous trees that had scatted most of their leaves throughout the forest floor. It was like someone dropped a crunchy blanket for me to walk on. I got some video so you can hear how loud and pleasing the sounds were. It is beginning to get colder, the temperature is frequently in the 40s-50s with the usual wind. It also gets dark very early. It is usually completely pitch black by 5pm, maybe a little sooner. I can’t believe it’s going to get even darker over the next month. I just recently purchased a $5 headlamp so that I’ll stumble a lot less during the evening dog walks.
In addition to hiking I have also been enjoying yoga classes. The woman I sit for allows her friend to teach classes here in her lounge (living room) twice a week. I was so ecstatic when I found this out before arriving. I’ve been practicing fairly regularly with my yoga videos but have been longing for a live class for several months. Today’s class was fabulous. One of the women brought some home made apple juice she just pressed from the apples she recently procured. The five of us chatted about many things going on in the world and communities nearby. It was so lovely having some actual physical contact with people. As most of my conversing has been over the phone with friends back home. By the way, I am on What’sApp if you ever want to chat. I love hearing about other people’s journeys immensely. Definitely don’t be shy!
Sometimes I can’t believe how great I feel. Especially, despite the fact that Chewy has not been doing very well with his neck issue. Chewy has been having neck pain on and off since he was about five years old. It wasn’t until he was ten that the vet mentioned he could have a condition called Atlantoaxial Subluxation (AAS) which is when the C1 (Atlas) and C2 (Axis) vertebrates do not always line up. When this gets out of alignment it causes him tremendous pain. He will cry in my arms for a horrifying 10-20 seconds. All I can do is attempt to comfort him. He will usually go to sleep and wake up and be totally fine. However, lately it has been happening much more often. Every couple of days! Today I saw a vet in Birmingham that is very versed on this condition. She is almost sure this is Chewy’s issue however he hasn’t officially been diagnosed. I will need to get him x-rays with the possibility of a complicated surgery ahead. I have had so much resistance to this in the past. Many of my closest friends probably don’t know the details of this predicament because I am so good at denial. The thought of Chewy having to undergo surgery was just something I couldn’t face. Until now. I’ve since realized that watching him cry continuously in pain for many agonizing seconds and not being able to provide relief is far worse than about my fear of the surgery. The feeling of helplessness and being ineffective while he is desperately running to me in agony is just too much. In fact, the other day he had a small seizure where his back leg kept kicking uncontrollably for over two hours. It was terrifying to watch. Sometimes when that area in his neck gets swollen, a common side effect is small, sometimes large seizures. Thank goodness this was just a small one. But I don’t want to wait to experience a large one. Fortunately, he is in very good health other than this and I’m feeling confident that he will be a good candidate for this surgery. Hopefully we can get in to see and get a diagnosis with the neurosurgeon early next week. It feels good to finally be ready for this.
Another thing that I’ve made peace with recently is feeling terrified about money. I feel great! I know it may sound strange, but I know that it’s coming, I have absolutely no doubt (that I can pinpoint). I’m not sure how it’s coming, but that doesn’t matter. I was always taught that money doesn’t come unless we work hard and fight for it. Thank goodness I have been able to change this belief. It has been really hard, but I no longer feel resistance to finally allowing a financial abundance into my life. Maybe I’ll win the lottery. I can hear some of you groaning from here 🙂 Actually, I did some research a couple a week or so ago about the lottery here in the UK, this is when the US jackpot was at a record high. The lottery is very different in England. They have several drawings, however right now I’m only going to focus on the main jackpot. They have two drawings a week, every Wednesday and Saturday, heh. Each ticket costs £2 to play and there are two chances to win. The first is the main jackpot which I will come back to. The second, is the Millionaire Raffle where there will be one millionaire per draw and 20 £20,000 winners – per draw! Each week there are two newly acquired millionaires in the UK. Not to mention that all of the prizes are paid in one lump sum and are tax free!! I bet I have your attention now. There is also a cap on the main jackpot. Once the main jackpot hits £22 Million it will roll over one more time and if there isn’t a winner, then the pot is evenly divided among the closest matching tickets. There is also a third possibility of becoming a millionaire with this one £2 ticket. It’s called Lucky Dip. If you get two numbers correct, then you get a free Lucky Dip ticket. I know some of you might be rolling your eyes at the £22 Million max which equates to about $28.5 Million dollars, but come on let’s get real here. Would you really be unhappy with a smaller cash prize? I’ve often wondered why as the jackpot rises, more and more people play the lottery in the US. Why are we so focused on hundreds of millions of dollars? Would we not be just as happy with $10 million? Especially, if it mean your chances of winning were infinitely higher? Well, it seems to be working here as the lottery is a huge hit. You also get to see exactly what your £2 is used for after you buy a ticket. This is how it’s currently divided: 40% to health, education, environment, charity; 20% to sports; 20% to arts; 20% to heritage. I have walked past museums that are free to the public, with a sign, “paid for by National Lottery.” It is such a good idea. It also happens to people everywhere. The place I was staying in Tenterdon, the previous occupant of the room I was staying in, just won £3 Million earlier this year. The community was supportive and threw him a party. It’s pretty normal to know or even know of someone here in England that has won the lottery. I certainly couldn’t say that when I was in the United States. I used to think the only people that played the lottery were those that were bad at math. LOL But now I’m realizing it’s all about vibration. Also, statistically it is much more common here in the UK. Which will further aid me in believing it could happen to me. Then again, my money may come from somewhere else completely random. I turns out I’m not so particular.
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House I am currently staying
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Cuddily Tara

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Mistletoe
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Millie’s wonky eye
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Closeup of leaves

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Embracing Change

I wake up today to a cold house. I get up and George, one of two Lhasa Apsos, is completely immersed in my down comforter and Chewy and I are intertwined under a quilt. Shoot! Did I leave a window open? Until now, I’ve been struggling with the house being too warm. I usually wake up very hot with the bedding randomly strewn to the far corners of the bed and floor. First, I check on Buster who sleeps in the master bedroom. He is curled up on the bed, but looks very cold so I grab a blanket and cover him up. He seems grateful. Next, while I’m checking the windows, I run up to the third level and check on Roli the rabbi. He is huddled under the bed and comes hopping over when I open his loud crackling bag of kibbles. He seems normal. Windows are all closed. Fortunately, it is a little warmer in this topmost room. Most of the houses I stay in, I never touch the thermostat. They are always comlex touch screen interfaces notated in Celsius. This house is different. I recognize the simple wheel with tick marks ranging from 5 to 30 with a large knob that rotates in the center. The dial is currently set to 25 which is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. I know this isn’t accurate as the house feels about 55 degrees at the moment. I grab George and we are currently in one of the living areas on the couch covered in toasty warm blankets. I think back to my childhood and the sequence I would run through when I would occasionally wake up cold in the morning. It was usually the pilot light for the furnace that had gone out during the night. I would go to the basement and lie on the cold concrete floor with my face turned towards my target under the furnace. Thinking back this was probably incredibly dangerous for a child around 12-13, but my mom had showed me how do this and I had performed the act over a dozen times. I waited the correct amount of time switching the dial from ‘OFF’ to ‘PILOT’ and used an extended lighter to reignite the ball of flame. This house I am currently in uses radiators to heat. This is how all of the houses I have been staying in heat either from within the floors and/or sides of the rooms. I’m not even going to attempt to figure out the problem with the current thermostat because fortunately, Steven, the husband of this house will be back later tonight.
I have been enjoying this home in a location called Southend-on-Sea which is about an hour east of London. We are only a quick 10 minute walk from the beach and until yesterday this has been our daily routine for the past week. Steven has chosen to remain behind as he owns and runs his own business and mostly stays in B&B’s to avoid the long arduous journey to and from London. The rest of the family is currently enjoying Disney World in Orlando. 🙂 Yesterday it rained and the temperature dropped suddenly. Everywhere I have traveled at some point the weather comes up in normal conversations. Each and every one of these places, except tropical locations, their inhabitants mention how they experience sudden, rapid changes in temperature. Most of them claiming it is unique to their location. Right now I am told, “This is just normal weather in England.” Before that it was Norway. However I am now convinced this is just the typical behavior of weather everywhere. It is not uncommon to drop 20 degrees from the previous day. Just a couple days ago I was in short sleeves enjoying the sun bouncing off the sea. Now I wouldn’t dare leave the house without my large puffy coat and hat. This is similar to what I have experienced all over the United States so I’m now forming the conclusion that alternating weather patterns are not unique at all. Change is good.
Embracing change has been something that has always come naturally to me and now proves to be my greatest asset. When I tell people in England I am from the US, they always want to know which state I am from and sometimes even the city. I always tell them I am from Boulder, Colorado and this will often lead to more conversations about the mountains, snow and marijuana. Once I had someone ask me, “Is this where you are from originally?” I had to take a pause and tell her, no, I am originally from Kansas. She laughed and remarked on how Boulder must be worlds away from Kansas. Thinking back to this conversation, I admit I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed to be from Kansas. I’m so sorry fellow to my fellow Kansans that I felt this emotion. I certainly don’t mean any offense! But also, and more importantly, this was a huge blow to myself. These are my roots, how I grew up. What was I ashamed of? Working hard on a farm? Growing up without a father? These certainly aren’t limited to only Kansas. Self-denial is such a terrible feeling. The opposite of loving oneself. Now that I’ve had a full month to ponder this, I am attempting to come at this from a different perspective. I am trying to feel grateful, a feeling of appreciation. Instead of hanging my head down, I am demanding to be proud that I am from Kansas. Look how far I have come and what an amazing journey I have had so far! I have been given this innate ability to allow change so I have instinctively been able to dive straight in and find my way in many situations. This continues to take me far in the world and also leads me further inward as well. The best part is I am able to relate to people of many different backgrounds right away. I grew up in a conservative, methodist family. I understand this mentality because this was once who I was. I don’t allow any preconceived beliefs or ideas about people impose a barrier between us. This allows me to create deep, meaningful relationships with others even after a short time because I immediately am so willing to understand them. Which is all anybody really wants – to be seen and heard. Not mocked or belittled.
This is all making today seem like more of a triumph and brings me closer to identifying my purpose. I am able to embrace a larger part of myself for the first time. Life is not about concentrating on the differences among us, but being delighting in the similarities. We are the only ones who have our own, personal experience. The worst thing we can do is feel shame in this. On the contrary, we need to share this with the world. Not only will this make others more welcoming to us, but it will allow us to accept ourselves. I believe the world becomes a more miserable place if we are only focused on contrast. I’m not just referring just to other races and nationalities. I’m talking about people within our own country, our own cities. In reality, we are all the same in our own uniqueness. We all grew up differently and now carry our own distinctive perspectives throughout the world around us. None of us is more right or superior. Unlike the weather, we are ALL unique and that is what is so perfect! Unfortunately, societies have been pushing people away from one another other. When we focus only on disparaging comments, beliefs and views of the future, we become more pulled apart. Then after a while it is all we see, all we talk about. Like everything with deliberate creations, we just create more of it over and over. After a while no one is happy. We may feel a small amount of dopamine increase when we think we are better or smarter than someone else, but this isn’t real. This isn’t long-lasting. This doesn’t even come close to the satisfaction that is felt when we let our guard down and truly connect with another person. I don’t mean connecting on the short-lived, gossipy, negative things. I mean, the shared magic that happens when you hear and see someone for who they were and who they are today. The journey they have taken. The fusing of experiences that show us more of the world and who we are within it. There is nothing better than this. Sadly, this is precisely what I was missing when I was in Colorado. I didn’t need to travel the world to experience this. I just needed to let my guard down and let people in. See them for who they truly were, not from what felt slightly good to believe. I’m beginning to learn that the world can be a magical utopia or a barren wasteland. It all hinders on how we treat one another. Even the people that threaten our ability to feel good about ourselves.

Desires Being Granted

I have been having such a good time visiting London. Chewy and I went on our first double-decker bus ride and then got a bit lost in the Underground or “tube” is how people refer to the trains. The subway system is organized a little differently than other cities I have visited, but I quickly adapted. I’ve been staying at a local Airbnb in Brixton. The host is extremely accommodating and the penthouse produces the most extraordinary views of the city. I’ve also enjoyed many lengthy conversations with the hosts and other guests. Brixton itself is such a great area with lots of history. It wasn’t so long ago it was considered rough and dangerous, often compared to Harlem in NYC. Now (like current day Harlem) Brixton is more hip and modern with coffee shops and curry restaurants on nearly every corner. I feel safe here, even when I take Chewy on short walks late at night. Indeed there is a warm friendliness when passing people on the streets that is not present within the organized chaos of Central London. It does take a very long time to get anywhere in London. It is very spread out with over 600 square miles. This is twice as large as the land area of New York City even though the population is about the same. The bustling sidewalks are filled with impeccably dressed individuals walking very quickly to their destinations. Almost all of the men wear well-fitted suits and no one even manages a glance at one another. I can’t help but feel the city has a very tragic lack of connection. I watch people on the tube reading books about being single while sitting directly next to very young, attractive individuals. I know this isn’t how people often meet, by just randomly talking to a stranger, but I can’t help but wonder why. After all, as humans, we share the need for social interaction in some form or another. It is peculiar we are unable to do this with people in our remote vicinity. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to getting back to the countryside. Chewy and I will leave London later today and drive to Southend-on-Sea which is about an hour and a half drive. Here I will look after two older Lhasa Apsos over the next couple of weeks.
While in London, I went on my first date in over two and a half years! Chewy unexpectedly ended up crashing this date due to the reorganizing of rooms in the penthouse. Fortunately, Marcin was very understanding and even welcoming of Chewy’s unavoidable presence. We spent a couple of hours walking under the many irconic bridges and then enjoyed tea and food among the fantastically old buildings in the area. Overall, it was a very enjoyable way to both get a feel of London and also my new acquaintance. Marcin and I do have several commonalities including the desire to connect authentically with others and actively practicing the law of attraction. I find it amusing that after a lifetime of mentally structuring and wistfully daydreaming about my ideal match, these two categories are currently the most important. I’m not sure when we will see one another again, but hopefully it won’t be too far down the road. It seems a little crazy to be dating while moving around so frequently. Especially, since I am moving at a snails pace in the romance area and strictly looking for a solid friendship first. However, I recently became aware, via my friend Bernice, that although I was proudly stating I was keeping myself open to a relationship, deep down, I really wasn’t. I had this fear that I would resort to my past relationship limitations. Previously I would hastily jump into a long-term commitment while not really knowing who the person was. I would conveniently fill in gaps with what I wanted versus what was standing before me. Also, I had a strong tendency to be too accommodating with men. I was more interested on desiring their affections and approval than considering my own needs and ideals. In a sense, I would lose myself and until now, I was greatly afraid of reliving these past patterns. Though I am very happy to say after my pleasant time with Marcin, I don’t think I am in danger of these happening again. Or at least it won’t be as insidious as before. I am much more aware and awake which in itself feels like an incredible achievement.
I am also caring much more about how I feel. If I wake up in the morning thinking about struggle and contrast, I just quietly pause, pray, take a deep breath and then meditate. I’m really finding meditation, even for just 15 minutes twice a day, is really quite the game changer for me. To think I was resisting it for so many years!! I remember when I was working full-time, I thought if I didn’t have a job then I would meditate and do yoga every single day. Of course, after I quit my job, I still struggled with getting into the habit. I think the only thing that helped me make this a priority was once I began finally seeing the benefits. I am again so grateful to be in a space that promotes such quick transitions. Already it doesn’t feel right if I don’t meditate when I first wake up and especially before going to sleep. It has made such a big impact in my life. Currently, I am in the process of manifesting more money. I’ve been saying the affirmations, “I have so much abundance to share today,” “It’s becoming easier and easier to attract wealth into my life” etc. Yesterday, after going through my morning ritual, I am on my way to my hair appointment in London. Three separate things happen to me that I didn’t really gain a full understanding of until today. First, I walk into a coffee shop to get a cookie. I am standing in line counting out my change and this guy next to me hands me a banana “have a banana.” I think wow, that looks good and begin to take it. Then he says, don’t worry I’ll pay for it. Then suddenly, I am not okay with it. I give it back telling him, I really want to have a cookie instead. I am immediately convinced I made the right decision as the chocolate chip cookie was very warm and gooey. But this certainly would have saved me money if I had just received the enticing gift I was offered. Why was he having to pay for it such a problem for me? Second, I was feeling delighted with my new haircut and decided to go get a snack at a local chain called Pizza Express. This was my first and hopefully only time visiting this restaurant as I was quite disappointed. I ordered calamari and it wasn’t good at all. But I was so hungry I just ate the very small portion immediately. The server comes by and asks how I’m doing. I told him I was disappointed in the appetizer and I wanted to order some bruschetta as well. He right away, offered to take the calamari off my bill. I told him it wasn’t necessary as it didn’t feel right since I had already eaten all of it. Of course, I am kicking myself today at turning down the extra $7 that was offered to me. Lastly, I come back to the penthouse and my host, Singe was very apologetic about having to move my room and the loo. The bathroom I am using is in disarray due to a faulty pipe. He asked me if I would like a refund of 20% which is around $100!! But again, I said no!! What the heck is wrong with me??? Is it pride? I feel like I don’t want to accept a handout? The total amount of money I turned down yesterday was precisely the amount I paid to get my hair cut/colored including tip. This can’t be a coincidence. This is a huge problem because now I’m worried when my large amount of money finally comes my way, I won’t actually be able to receive it. I guess I know what I need to work on next. Receiving 🙂

Getting Somewhere

I am currently seated in the main room of this ancient and extraordinary house. Hales House was built in the 1500s. Even with many renovations over the years it’s still filled abundantly with relics from the past.  Bricks encapsulate all four walls of this room. Old wooden beams and posts surrounding the entryways and sometimes within the brick stone itself to showcase the wondrous beauty of age. The owners have put over one million pounds of renovations into this home over the past 20 years. The kitchen is fully updated, entire sections of additions have been included which accommodate five en-suite bedrooms, garden room and cellar where they host tapas parties. It truly is a spectacular sight. I am delighted to be looking after the owners, Serena and Victor’s two older Labs, Max and Ben. Along with feeding and caring for 5 chickens and 14 sheep that have proved to be quite a trial. I was fortunate enough to be given permission to read Victor’s personal autobiography which he left on the coffee table within this incredible room. Here is where I learned this home used to belong Sir Christopher Hale who became a lawyer to Henry the Eighth and subsequently prosecuted Thomas Moore and Anne Boleyn who were both eventually beheaded in the 16th Century. There was even a house before Hales House that was burned down in 1381 during a peasant’s revolt. The outside is almost equally spectacular. There is a large outside entertainment area with a magnificent fireplace, electric spit roaster and wood-fired oven. Oh and I keep forgetting about the hot tub, which I should experience at least once to truly take in the beautiful surroundings. There are several lovely placed greenhouses throughout the huge garden. I visit these several times throughout the day for fresh spinach, kale, tomatoes, raspberries and beets. Serena is an expert gardener and has won two local horticulture awards. She is also a great cook and loves entertaining for large groups of people on their astonishing property. In 2005 they hosted Vic’s retirement party where 80 people attended. Large tables for dining and even a casino comprised the barn transition for this event. There are many structures, garages, houses, and barns that make up the over 30 acres of total ground. I am hoping to post pictures of the estate once I gain the necessary permissions.
Victor or Vic as most people call him, has had such an extraordinary life. He was born in 1948 and grew up on a small farm or smallholding as it’s called here. He talked about the home he grew up in. It had an outside loo and heated solely from a living room fire. As you can imagine the house was very cold. He would wash every morning in the kitchen sink in order to warm up and took weekly baths near the fire. When he was young he had to take a hot water bottle to bed with him to keep warm. In the morning there was frost on the inside of his bedroom windows. He lived here until he was 20 years of age! Vic and Serena have been together for over 30 years. He was married once before to the mother of his two children. He talks of the divorce as his biggest regret putting his own personal needs above his children’s at the time. But just being in the same room with Serena and Vic is proof enough that the decision was right in the long-term. They still have such love, affection and laughter for one another. It’s a very rare exchange to witness. Vic is a retired CEO of multiple companies. He worked his way from the bottom while suffering from dyslexia, undiagnosed during most of his history. Vic never actually passed English 0 in college even though he tried 4 times. Fortunately, he had an aptitude for math and they still gave him his degree. He succeeded very quickly in international businesses at a very young age. This produced such an exhilarating life for himself, Serena and their children. They climbed dozens of mountains all over the world, rented out Chateaus, Castles and helicopters for special events, became master SCUBA divers saving 2 people’s lives, and racing in the Italian Job mini car race. In fact, Vic won this race from England to Italy in 2016. He recently turned 70 this year!! They were very acquainted and friends with other CEOs and celebrities including Joe Coors (yes, that Coors) before he died in 2016. I could go on and on. I’m so impressed and fascinated because today Vic and Serena are so very down to earth and amiable. If it weren’t for the fact that I read his book, I never would have known of their fantastic life and experiences.
House-sitting this estate has been such a pleasure and also a feat. A couple of days ago I learned quite a lot which was a tremendous breakthrough for me. It has to do with a poor sick sheep named Trever, i’ll get to this later. I’ve already had a few hiccups on this house sitting adventure. The first was when I was meditating in the main room, looking out over the luscious garden. I sometimes meditate with my eyes partially open and luckily this was one of those times! All of a sudden, I start seeing sheep wondering around the garden. Then it dawns on me that this isn’t right and realize the female sheep have escaped their enclosure. I am proud to say that right away I was able to calmly take action even though I was internally flipping out. Knowing they were still fenced in was a big relief and with the help of food pellets it took me about an hour to get them back in their pen. They were really having a great time with the fruit trees. The two dogs were absolutely no help during this entire process 🙂 As I made my way to the male sheep, who are kept about 30 feet away from the females, they are eagerly BAAAAing for some pellets as well. I have really taken to one of the male lambs, Valentino, who is very sweet and affectionate. I decide to take a few pellets from the bucket I was carrying and give a couple of the males a small handful. BIG MISTAKE! I returned the bucket and went to attend the chickens, their run is inside the male sheep’s larger pen. I enter the male sheep pen and right away they are acting differently. I try to assure them I no longer have pellets, but to no avail. Valentino and the main, larger ram, begin to butt me with their heads. I flee inside the chicken run and slam the door. I realize very quickly that I made a mistake in feeding these male sheep something other than hay, because they are acting like zombies who have just discovered fresh meat! They push their way into the chicken run and knock over the chicken food, making a huge mess. I grab a stick to try and scare them and prevent the from butting me with their heads but it doesn’t seem to help. I get out of both pens and with my head hung down, go back to the house. I start looking online and it appears I’ve done the 3 things I should never do to a ram. Never use a stick to block them (they take this as a challenge), never turn your back, and never – EVER feed them from your hand!! OMG!! “Why didn’t they tell me this??” I kept thinking. Okay it took me a little while to calm down but soon I went out to take the dogs for a walk and check on the surroundings. Here is when I noticed the 5 chickens have escaped from the male sheep pen. WTF?? I suddenly felt like the substitute teacher who must now deal with an unruly class of kids. I learned days later that this is perfectly normal for the chicken as they are allowed to go pretty much wherever they want as long as they are back in their pen by dusk.
Getting back to Trever, who is the castrated sheep that keeps the ram company in addition to the lambs. I noticed he wasn’t grazing with the others as much, he was often laying down. His butt was dirty from scouring (diarrhea). I texted Serena to see if I should call a vet. She asked me to have the neighbor come look at him first. I spoke with the wife, Liz over the phone. Immediately she started downplaying the symptoms asking, “is that all?” or saying “sounds normal to me.” I told her it was more of a feeling that he was unwell. She wasn’t impressed with this. I started doubting myself, what do I know about sheep anyway? Her husband, Tony, visited later that day and observed the sheep from outside the pen. Tony said Trever looked fine to him, just a bit of scouring which means he needs to be wormed. I went to bed a bit frustrated and sad. I couldn’t entirely pinpoint why. I just felt defeated with this housesit and worried I wasn’t doing a very good job. The next day Trever looked much worse. He was laying down, breathing heavily, he was suffering. I contacted Serena and she told me it’s time to call the vet. I watched the vet treat Trever who turned out to have a very advanced case of fly strike. After she cut down most of the wool near his tail, this revealed bloody, loose skin covering an area the size of both my hands. Fly strike is when the flies lay eggs in this spot under the skin. There were also lots of maggots, ick! Poor Trever!! I kept thinking, why did I listen to the neighbors? I don’t have to be familiar with their species to know when an animal is sick. Fortunately, it was caught relatively quickly and Trever is doing much better today. Now everything seems to make much more sense. I was sad the other night because I was acting in a way that was against my inner guidance. I knew that the sheep was suffering and I allowed it to continue because I let others cloud my reality. I have a long drawn-out history of doing this. Especially in an academic or work environment. I shouldn’t doubt myself. I am only just now realizing that my body tells me when I do this. This sadness or frustrated feeling that was troubling for me at the time, was actually an indicator that I wasn’t acting in a way that I truly knew was pertinent under the circumstances. I have been wanting to listen to this guidance, but until now I didn’t know how. It’s more about trusting my feelings than looking for something tangible. Feelings are so often misconstrued by others. I was always taught to ignore them or don’t let them get in the way. I remember when I was 9 or 10 years old, watching StarTrek with my mother. I was so envious of Vulcans and their power to not let their emotions control them. But this would be like cutting off my legs. Getting rid of my superpower. Now my perspective is, I wish I would have been taught or encouraged to use this at a young age as I have a lot of making up to do 🙂 However, I am beaming with self acceptance and positivity with this newfound knowledge about myself. I have his aura of clarity in my possession. This feels amazing and better than any drug I’ve ever crossed paths with. I am so very grateful to be moving forward in this realm and look forward to what this power brings forth in the future.