Location: Chico California cottage, USA
In process of deconstructing the current cottage. In a bold and heroic move my landlord helped me (or I helped him) clear out the yard, a veritable art heritage site of decomposing scary cutes and chipped pottery. Throw in a bunch of "bottle mulches" the torn central camping tent (filled with scarycutes surprisingly well preserved). A smart look for an eccentric mixed media performance artist.
And the four corners, barrier constructed out of a mish mash of what I would pick up strolling the alleys.
Feeling a bit giddy about it, seeing it became fun and easy. Now I sit in my 12x15 living room and things last week I would have fought tooth and nail to keep are fading in light of the freedom of the giveaway.
Too shabby or composting to give to someone, or thrift store. At last I realized It will compose here if it doesn't go to the big composter in town. the dump.
The collecting of little things, the "that's so scary cute" mantra when I spied a piece that needed to be rescued at a thrift store. "It's for an artpiece" i would say. Sometime it was.
WOAH... what happened? I enjoy letting stuff go, the chipped teapots and once spiffy leather coat.
"Think Thailand" one friend advised
The yard now cleared. And it appears larger, greener, more open. Maybe it feels a greater sense of rest with itself. I want to believe it feels freer. Lighter after the padding of material possessions has been rolled away. Coming out from ducking under the covers.
This feels familiar. The anticipation and excitiement of moving forward. Taking a journey. And the exploration of the freedom of just being.
Location: Cottage, Chico, CA, USA
GIVING NOTICE TO CURRENT LANDLORD RESULTS IN CONFIRMATION THAT IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON.
Yesterday I gave my 450 dollar a month rent check to my landlord. That is the last one Ill give him. Talking to him in the house in front he's remodeling I explained Id be traveling back east to visit my family, then onward to the far East to visit Thailand. So I need to let you know Ill be leaving the rental cottage.
"Interesting you say that because Keri has sent you a letter." Keri being his helpmate/wife and along with Scott own several rental properties in chico. For several years Scott has singlehandedly remodeled the house in front of my small cottage, the one with the cracked foundation and a sealed basement.
We need for you to clean up the yard, because were going to put the property on the market. And if you stay people would be coming in and out of your place while we show it.
I chuckled. "Perfect timing!"
This was a case of being a very responsible tenant who never missed rent on time in a college town where his other units are often trashed. Ball in my favor.
"You dont have to move..." he lit a cigarette and backed up to lean against the counter. "We just needed to let you know. And your rent is going up by 50 dollars a month.
Thats OK... Im not going to be here after November 10th. Well... this is good news, I say. The universe is conspiring to support me on the trip.
Tomji the universe isnt CONspiring I think its ASpiring you to go.
How inspiring I say.
Returning to the cottage things looked even more disposable than before. So I gave notice and in 33 days Ill be on a plane. First stop Cleveland.
What a relief to know won't need to rent another place, or stay with people inspecting property.
The money I spend on rent and utilities (Will be $550 as of next month) is my goal for expenses while I travel. That means the money apart from the rent used to live in Chico will be SAVED.
Living on less and gaining much more. Another good reason to continue to chart my course away from the USA for a bit. Or maybe even longer.
Location: Starbucks, Chico, CA, USA
The school bell alarm in our second grade classroom would go off. Followed by a booming a-woo-gah screeching siren. Wed follow our teacher and shuffle to the gymnasium at 95th Street School in Niagara Falls, NY. Single file, Indian Style, wed face the wall, drop to our knees and prepare for the worst case scenario. Duck and cover.
There were cartoons on TV: with a wacky looking bird singing duck and cover. They would even show bombs going off, and then a few minutes later kids would get up and carry on their business like nothing had happened.
The cuban missile crisis, running home to tell my dad that President Kennedy getting killed real bad, then the Vietnam War. It was a scary time to be a kid. And for Boomers like myself it molded our experience in a way that being hyper-vigilant and always on-guard seemed to make sense.
How many of us learned early on that a supposedly affective way to deal with a scary situation is to duck and cover. And do it before the event!
So now, even if I dont have a coat, or the gymnasium I can still duck and cover. In my bed, watching a DVD, surfing the internet, surrounded by material items that serve as a barrier. A protective fortress.
As a kid in 1960s America it felt somewhat comforting. As an adult 2009 I wonder: wonder what the hell were they thinking? As if a coat over your head, scrunching up, nearly playing dead is an effective way to face challenges. How many of us just want to disappear when things seem too much to handle.
Duck and cover drills was early training that simply backfired. When things get scary, or seem out of control my tendency is to simply shut down. Rationality takes a back seat to a Pavlovian response. The bell rings.
What does this have to do with my trip overseas? Much.
I woke up. Routine became too much like a ducking and covering. As a bird leaves its nest, a new chapter begins. To leave the nest includes leaving behind most of the stuff. The small comforts of material goods Ive use to cover up while I ducked away from challenges
If I envision my new beginning as a development from the idea (an egg) to birth of a new being (bird) I realize that its easier to fly free without the heavy burden of possessions.
I think its easiest just to give it all back, I told a friend who works at the Food Co-op. I bought it all at non-profit thrift stores. Convincing myself a dollar here and a dollar there didnt add up to much, especially if I was getting something worth ten times the price.
When I bought the stuff I said: Its all going to a good cause. True. In a years time I donated a significant amount to the local charities, salvation army and cancer shop by outfitting my place and myself with second hand goodies. Now knowing I need to put anything I really need in storage and move out of the cottage nothing seems worth much.
You could do a yard sale, Thats what most people say. Or sell it on Ebay!
True, thats an option. Yet being a former yard sale thriftiquer I shudder at the thought of selling things I used to people I dont know. One friend of mine stopped selling her items at regular yard sales because she had too many nasty customers. I would take the item away from some of them because I didnt want them to have it. Early birds, snarly people who want to bug you until you sell the item for 1/2 what you ask. Not worth it.
Thats where Im at. My triftiquing has lead to some amazing finds: The mirror I broke and found the mat board backing was covered with old money. The $20,000 Sydney Gross painting I nearly painted over. Satava egg. Even some of the things that might not be worth a lot of money, but are irreplaceable and I truly love them. For now.
The rest? Half my items arent worth recycling. Some are. Forget getting stains out of t-shirts in order to sell or donate them. I will allow myself the simple joy of throwing stuff away. Period.
Six weeks from now Ill be on my way to Thailand, a lighter, freer being. Between now and then Im molting. Shedding the old to allow it to compost. Turn into rich new soil. The Fruitful Darkness will certainly hold lots of new seeds.
OOOps... I may have gotten a bit carried away. This is a journal about traveling, after all. This is all preliminary preparation. Do I feel anxious or excited. Same feeling, different label. Ill call it excited.
Now Im in downtown Chico at the noisy Starbucks, where I cant get on the internet because my Starbucks card hasnt been used in 30 days. Part of my routine I look forward to leaving behind.
How will it feel to feel freer. To accept the part of me that relates to being a migrating bird? A fledgling finding my way by following my inner guidance.
Even my two parakeets are happier with the cage door open. Without more than the feathers on their back they fly hither and hon. Somehow knowing when its time to return to their home.
Ive never seen them duck and cover.
Today: More clearing out of the nest.
Location: Chico California, USA
The countdown has begun.
As you may or may not know: I'm preparing for an overseas trip to explore, enjoy and encounter Thailand. I will arrive in Bangkok on November 25th, the day before American Thanksgiving.
I am very thankful to have the opportunity to visit Thailand. This has been a goal of mine since I began meditation practice 25 years ago. So I'm open to whatever transpires and look forward to sharing the journey.
The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.
The journal of a 1000+ words with a single letter.
Today I am in my small one bedroom cottage in the college town of Chico California. Surrounded by worldly possessions, most of which I don't use, forgot I had and are heading off to new homes. Deciding to let go of my residence was difficult: I can become so attached to things, enjoy "thriftiquing" and have accumulate much more than I need.
So many things that feel like weights on my shoulders. Concerned about the "environment" it's a struggle for me just to throw stuff out that is no longer usable, or recycleable. Then I have the other things: Art supplies, little knick knacks, electronics: you know the kid of things we all acquire.
The goal: To preserve what I a. Love, b. have used and c. can not replace.
I moved to Chico nearly 4 years ago with three suitcases. A trip back to San Diego added a cars worth of stuff from storage. In this small cottage for two years and I have way more than I need. Yet... part of me is so reluctant to let it go.
Let it go! That is my mantra for now.
Instead of holding onto stuff I will let it go. And before hand if it's sentimental attachment only I'll take photos of the items. How much easier to remain free and easy.
Invested in a good Osprey backpack. I admired my teacher Sharda who traveled to India with only two suitcases. Now it's my chance to discover how having less can really feel likek you have much much more. More freedom. More time. More flexibility. More relaxed attitude.
So I'm good to go.
And facing the challenge: that it's OK to Let it Go!
Thanks for visiting and I am excited to stay in contact thanks to Planet Ranger.
check out www.volunthai.com. I will be teaching through the group at some point on my travels.
With the possibility of three 60 day visas; (that don't cost anything due to the need for tourism in Thailand) I'm very good to Go!