Wow, has it really been nearly a month since I have written to you all? I apologize for my absence. The feeling of blogging after a day of travel, vs. blogging after a day with no travel, is more starkly different for me than you might imagine. I don’t have obvious “happenings” to report (and, especially, the photos to illustrate them) these days like I did when I was on the road.
My life has been much quieter since I landed back in Portland… and then fall weather set in… and then I fractured my foot. Perhaps this season has been an energetic reset that my psyche needs after my full-to-the-brim year of travel.
I want to acknowledge the solstice, though, and I’d like to share a bit about what my life has been like this past month.
I’ve been allowing myself to sink into the dwindling light and encroaching chill. Sometimes we can’t be in warm weather and brightly lit skies. Although I wish to maximize those in my life to the best of my ability, the slower and darker times are a natural part of life, so I’ve been choosing to embrace them this autumn.
I’ve been alternating between longer-term stays with several friends—roughly two weeks at a stretch—and short- to longer-term cat sits. Right now I’m in a two-week cat sit with an elderly glamour puss named Tess.
I’ve also been able to visit my former partner, now close friend, Johnny, in the prison in Salem several times now. I’ll be going again on Christmas Day. Sadly, his clemency application (begun two and a half years ago) was recently denied by outgoing governor Kate Brown, but he continues to find opportunities for meaningful work where he is. Building on the success of the incredible Japanese healing garden he spent five years bringing about, he is now working in the prison infirmary, to bring better healthcare and more contact with nature and plants to the patients—including several hospice patients—who spend time there.
My mind and heart have been full of two main themes this past season: mild fear of my financial situation, since I’m not conventionally “working” these days and my savings are diminishing… juxtaposed with a very powerful spiritual trust that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. Mostly I’m still not ready to speak openly about the details of this—“waiting is not yet filled,” as Robert Heinlein’s Martian character Smith so eloquently spoke in the sci-fi novel Stranger in a Strange Land—but essentially, I feel I am to connect with people to support them and link them up together, around the world, for a larger purpose. “Getting a new job” holds less than zero interest for me in contrast to this life’s work. So, I am doing everything I can to make these human connections—and I’m averaging about one per day at this point, and could probably energetically handle two—and doing what I can to offer value to the human collective in the ways that feel most powerful to me… and trusting that the money will follow in various, possibly strange and unexpected ways. (One such way that has already happened: I worked hard to win a travel prize valued at over $1000 in a raffle, participating as much as I could in the group since participation increased the odds of winning… but I didn’t win the raffle. BUT, then the winner of the prize decided to give it to me (without my having said anything to him about it)! I consider this a form of fairy godfunding, and I continue to believe that more of it is coming my way, as I stay strong on this path for myself.
I have added one new professional offering, though: travel consulting! After being approached by a few friends and clients for advice about Amtrak travels, I thought it would be a great fit to offer both nuts-and-bolts help with navigating Amtrak’s routes and website, but also advice about bicycle or multimodal travel; how to find hosts to make it more personal; and also the “service” of simply holding encouraging space for people to dream up meaningful journeys for themselves. I’ve had one really fun and productive session so far, and I look forward to more! If you know anyone who might be interested in dreaming up or executing such a journey, feel free to send them my way.
And… I’m giving myself some warmth and sunshine soon, too! When Amtrak Guest Rewards contacted me recently to let me know I was only 618 Tier Qualifying Points shy of Select Plus status (which requires 10,000 TQPs—I’ve never reached this status before, but the past year’s travels brought me this close) I decided to splurge and get a ticket to Los Angeles in January. I plan to stay four nights each with my cousin and a new friend, and then four nights caring for a cat in Santa Monica, which is one of my favorite parts of LA.
I’ll return to Portland in late January, in time for some medical appointments in February.
Before I sign off here, I’d like to share another offering (and this one is totally free!) that I’m doing again this year: an hour-long video or phone call to hold space for people to reflect on this past year, and/or set intentions for the coming year. I am offering twelve of these, and have several left, so if this appeals to you, I would be honored to do one with you! Feel free to message me to schedule.
Meanwhile, I wish you all the happiest of holidays!
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