Brighty Part 2 of ???

Brighty’s rehab continues… after a brief interruption called work (and a prayer that my cellular internet access doesn’t drop me this time)

With Brighty’s demo mostly completed and a relatively time-sensitive bit of work to complete out in Forks where Brighty’s new home will be, I had to put on hold any more rehab work. I made the most of the trek to the Olympic Peninsula by stopping at stores in the Seattle area that are not available in my current location. One of these stores was IKEA. After having done some research into RV cabinets it appeared my options were IKEA or DIY. Not feeling too up on my carpentry skills, I opted for Ikea (okay, I’m tired of hitting the caps button) since they promise my dream room for cheap (well, about $700).

IKEA-so many options

After availing myself of the online planner and a less-than-inspiring call to customer service, I took myself to the physical store and met a young lady whose creative thinking and extraordinary patience and product knowledge almost reduced me to tears of gratitude. Planning a kitchen that has curves and wheel-wells was stretching my skill set but Savannah saved the day. May blessings be heaped upon her! When we realized that I was outside the delivery zone and the cost of freighting the cabinets to me was utterly exorbitant, Savannah even figured out how to adjust so that every necessary thing would fit in my vehicle. Did I mention what a God-send she was?

I like the gray cabinets but what flooring should I choose? What says “I love pale colors but live with dogs”

I also made stops to look at flooring and fabric.

Hmmm, I love the embroidered fabric. I wonder if it is too late to train Monty not to get on furniture?

The design scheme is coming together with a base of gray and off-white and accents that can change with mood and season (read purple). There were lots of choices but I am still looking for that balance in fabric options that says both “day at the spa” and “day at doggy daycare” and doesn’t involve covering the couch with towels.

Alas, the foundational work must be completed before the fun designing can commence. And so we find the author precariously perched on 12 foot boards spanning the top of the camper scraping off old caulk to prepare the roof for a desperately needed waterproofing. There are no pictures of this in part because taking a selfie while balancing on a rocking trailer seemed somewhat difficult and in part because I didn’t want any evidence of my foolishness were I to get hurt. I’m pretty sure my insurance policy has a clause about jumping out of airplanes and tightrope walking on decrepit trailers. But I did take some video of the “BEFORE” roof while installing the fans that replaced the old vents.

Since Brighty has seen some rough days, it will take a few liberal coats of special elastomeric paint, butyl tape, and caulk to help weatherproof her roof. Fortunately, a timely rainstorm showed me the places that needed extra attention and so it goes.

the don had experience installing the faux wood flooring so he devoted some time to that. I did a little bit, just enough to learn how to do it but in such a small area it really was not a two person job. Plus, you can only have one boss on any project and, well, he is the don and I have never been employee material.

More foundational work to be done before the “fun” decorating was the running of new electric lines. Luckily I found the electronic schematic for the trailer so all the dangling wires should make sense.

This should make things easier!

I have a passing understanding of house electricity but have never done anything with DC nor have I done anything with connecting the AC and DC so that either or both lines can be run depending on what power is available. In her previous life Brighty was either DC or AC with no connection between the two but, as mentioned above, I am going to wire her differently. My time at the Flying S Farm, while disappointing in the lack of education provided and the quality of work that existed (pretty sure the place would have burned down from the frequent electrical shorts were it not for the 300+ inches of rain each year), did excite in me a quest to know how DC power to an AC house (as with solar energy) could and should be done. In Houston the solar energy collected by those few who brave the cost is wired directly into the existing grid. I knew of no one who was actually off-grid there. I had a lot of studying to do and am so grateful to live in the time of the internet. I learned much about size of wire for particular applications, how much loss of power is acceptable for certain types of “circuits” (only 3% for critical like the propane and CO detector, up to 9% for non-critical like the fridge or water heater), pure sine and modified sine wave inverters (the thingy that switches DC power to AC- you have a tiny one on the cord for your laptop), convertors, battery chargers, generators, and on and on. Suffice to say things got real mathy real fast.

First things first- put in some new fans to help rid the stinky “funk” in Brighty

Okay, time to get back to work. I’m going to be better about updating the blog on Brighty’s makeover. I am joining a local writer’s club to make sure I am not getting caught up in the doing and forgetting to write and record everything!

Wish you were here!

Wishes…

Wishes…

Just before I left Houston my beloved friend placed a kiss on my cheek and this wish bracelet on my wrist as I silently made my wish. As I understand it, the wish will come true when the bracelet falls off. As you can see, it is just a few threads away from happening!
However, it’s been like this awhile now. These few threads, frayed and colorless, holding on to what was and refusing to be broken, perhaps fearful of the idea of no longer existing. These few threads are preventing my wish.
So, dear reader, I am making a plea to you for help. The wish I made is for all the people I love to have the courage to follow what is in their hearts, to pursue their dreams and not have to know the exact ending before beginning. I can promise you that there is so much more available than you can even imagine or know to ask for. Just take the first step towards opening your heart and mind to possibility. If trying to figure it all out seems overwhelming then don’t concern yourself with anything more than this next step, leave the last step for later. You can handle it when the time comes.
I think of the story of Noah frequently now. I wonder how many people God told to build an ark? I am confident it was more than just ol’ Noah. Noah reportedly had zero carpentry skills and certainly no ship building experience since he lived inland. Even though the way and reason weren’t clear, Noah pursued what was in his heart to do.
Is there something in your heart calling to you?

Acceptance of impermanence lets me have courage to go into the unknown. Terror, happiness, peace, insecurity, security, these all come and pass like a breath. In sitting for meditation I see how an itch or a tickle can arise and engulf my attention, my mind screaming out to jump to it, scratch and rub, then everything will be better. But in my short 10 minute meditations from Calm app, I learn how those very itches can seemingly engulf and then be gone to be replaced by another attention-taker. I learn how mind/ego wants to be anywhere but here now, wants attention and throws mental tantrums to get it. I know I can handle an itch or tickle for just 10 minutes and so I watch it, giving 100% attention but 0% action or reaction. And I watch it subside, then a few moments or seconds of blissful peace before another tantrum.
My fears, which have been numerous these last few months, are similarly handled. Give attention, do not try to assuage or distract from the uncomfortable or un-pretty. Accept all as part of this experience, love this life as it comes. Soon enough this body will go back to the ashes and dust of its origin. The poet Rumi, as always, has something to say about this:

WHO SAYS WORDS WITH MY MOUTH? All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there
Rumi

Where, my dear friend, is your soul from and what are you doing to get back there?

Love is in the Air

Falling in love is the same no matter your age or the object of your love. As it begins, the rush of oxytocin and dopamine muddle your thinking; twitterpaited is the professional term. You walk with your feet barely touching the ground but in time with your heartbeat, a delighted flush crawling over your skin. You give extra blessings to those around you unless they are thought to be threatening the beloved in any way, real or imagined. And most of all, you think it will ALWAYS be this way.

After one week on the Olympic Peninsula, I am utterly twitterpaited with the area. When I feel tension arising, I walk outside and it is like being enveloped by my lover.  I feel protective and irritated by what I perceive to be slights to her emerald dressing. I want to explore and know every feature, every crevice of her landscape. Today I could see her moodiness; a moment of sunshine followed by heavy gray clouds overtaking the white fluffy clouds at a speed that was unbelievable, then a start of drizzling rain and a crescendo of hail quieting down after 10 minutes or so to overcast skies. Then the cycle would be repeated in a couple of hours. And I adore and revel in every moment. Wearing rubber boots, I walk through the squishy dirt and see the extreme landscape before me, so verdant and whispering to all of the life forms here, “grow….” Surely this must be the true Garden of Eden. At this early stage I cannot tell if this is true love or a crush, I can barely think straight and I just want to walk in her loveliness forever.

So what do you do when the object of your crush is not available? It does not matter the reason for lack of availability, maybe you can’t find a good job near your beloved part of the country, maybe, if the object is human, it is a work relationship, a married person, or maybe they are just are not that into you. Or maybe you actually have to go to work and cannot gaze narcissistically upon the object of your affection forever.

Ahhhh Grasshopper, in this very place is the path of acceptance of what is. Acceptance is not trying to get more attention, letting your ego-fed drama do cartwheels around the stage of life and coercing others to be actors in your play. Acceptance is breathing in and quieting the mind, noticing the shenpa state and fully noticing it. And then sit with it. Do not force action, do not jump up and charge forth, do not sink into an emotional coma as a means of distracting from the shenpa state, just sit with the shenpa and let it wash over you but keep a sense of awareness so that it does not take over you. Feel it fully, do not judge or resist in any measure, just watch it. It is in this way you begin to see the ego’s dance and storyline and you begin to become a watcher rather than an actor in the play.

Oh, hell yeah, it is hard. Every moment you are the watcher, the ego pulls and tugs and screams in tantrum but each second that you come back from the unconsciousness of shenpa and come into the realization of having been enveloped by the ego is a victory to cherish.

It is only in this practice of watching the ego and not being drawn into the drama that true love grows. The love that has patience and kindness, compassion and generosity, openness and authenticity and courage. True love is not dramatic but gets deeply into your skin, your heart, your very soul and center of being. Love artfully weaves itself into the fabric of you with golden threads dazzling and glorious.

Oh man, I am falling hard and it is going to be one hellava ride!

There Is No Other Way

There is no other way.
Boy, do I resist that statement in most areas of life. To lock into the belief that there is only one path, one “right” way is so harsh for oneself and all one encounters. It is so divisive and limiting. Why would you choose to put limits on your own life? Go ahead, find one place where you have believed there is only one way to do something and then challenge that belief by exploring, researching, experiencing.
Each time we put limits on our experience it is a little death to the soul. I believe we are here to experience life, the joys and sorrows, the fullness of the human experience and to know the love of God and our birthright of oneness with all that is created. I believe there are many ways to do this and, as such, there can be no one right way.
Have you ever had a really amazing teacher? One that leads you to discovery, not one that just tells you what is going to be on the test. Because in real life, this life, we cannot know what will be on the test and there is no powerpoint to memorize. In this life you must engage fully and without reservation. A great teacher points the way and you, as a great student, must engage to realize what is being pointed at, do not focus on the teacher’s finger and miss the moon to which the teacher is pointing.
So find those places where you think, “It’s all I know,” or “This is the one right way,” and challenge the idea, maybe try to figure out where that came from even. It can be simple like changing a hand position in a yoga pose, or using mustard instead of catsup with your fries, or it can be big like opening your mind and heart to different religions to find the truth that runs through all, or it can be tremendously huge, like accepting the validity of Associated Press refusing to use the serial or Oxford comma. Yeah, I know, I’m not there with that last one either. But I am open to the argument and that is a start because if there is anything I have learned from my parents, Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle, it is that there is more than just one way.

Happy Birthday!

December 28, 2017

It seems when i read a blog that the writer is so organized in thinking. The posts are timely and on topic. Maybe I will get there one day. Today is not that day.
Today is, however, a day of many thoughts. My middle child turns 21 today. A determined and thoughtful baby has grown into a powerhouse of loving care, academic drive, and blossoming of potential that is so much greater than the sum of her parts. Pretty cool to watch unfold. My main lesson in parenting is to be present and loving and let her unfold in her way, to not force my ideas of how life should be lived or what I think success looks like onto her. She is not mine but rather I am, or was, the steward of this beautiful being.
Today is also a moment to reflect on the life that I partly have created for myself and partly been given as a gift to me. I guess because I am about to move away I am more cognizant of the beautiful weaving of friendships in my life. People who reach out, who love fully and fiercely, who share their view of the world with me and enrich this living experience so greatly.
Am I crazy? How can I leave this beautiful experience, these amazing people?
It is funny how I can go from feeling so full of love for the people who share their hearts with me to fear that I am going to be alone. No wonder it is so hard to make changes, even good changes, when the fear of losing what we have is so quick to pop up. This is how ruts get formed and I should know as I was in a pretty deep rut for many years, afraid of making a change, afraid I could not handle the outcome, at the time thinking and rationalizing that at least *this* is known and knowing feels safer. Yes, feels safer, even if it means a deep and pervading sense of emptiness in my heart as my head tries to find many ways to distract from the call to change.
Now I have chosen to accept the challenge, to follow the path that calls even though I do not know how it will turn out, where it will lead, and it feels terrifying and alone at times, almost overwhelmingly so. Some days I can feel frozen as I take in the magnitude of leaving. I go alone, no partner, no spouse, and go to a job which I have no training, to learn something because it is interesting and I am curious. I go from an urban and vibrant community to a rural place with very few people (which I realize is kind of the definition of rural) and wonder how this is going to turn out? Only time will tell but at least I will not be haunted by this what-if.
So, happy birthday! Birth and nurture your potential, support the full flowering of what can be, playing safe is not really safer and you can actually handle failing, you can handle hurting, trust your inner self to guide you and pay little heed to the path the world wants you to walk. You need and the world needs the unique and unimaginable gifts that manifest only when and if you follow your own path.

New Beginnings

I realize we are supposed to start the new beginnings and resolutions talk on New Year’s Eve or Day and so I am a little early. However, with all I have going on, I pray your forgiveness for jumping the gun.

I think I shall release the holiday season from the societal pressure to do more, be more, party more, reminisce more. No “more”

How about less? Yes, we hear it all the time, less is more. So here we shall celebrate less. Less pressure to appear successful, less stuff to want or buy, less processed food, less busyness and less business, less faux hugs or smiles, and certainly less stress.

This blog is kind of a way for me to fulfill a long overdue promise to try writing. And if you know me personally, you know that I, like Yoda, do not believe in trying. It is do or do not. And I will do. Maybe it will be good, or okay, or kinda sucky sometimes. It’s all right. No, not alright but all right.

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