Parenting Seminars

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letting Go and Riding the River

Huge stuff here.  Big, scary, life changing stuff.  The kind that gives you butterflies and nausea at the same time.  My chest is tight, my head aches and yet I feel a relief in my shoulders.

Maybe I should tell you the whole story.  This is a blog about movement anyway.  Moving one's family toward a more sustainable existence.  And when I talk of sustainability, I'm thinking about our spiritual, emotional, financial and environmental sustainability.  I'm understanding how closely these are all linked.  Its a spiritual gift to feel connected to the life force that keeps us going each day.  To know that we are respecting the resources of the planet being used for us to live.  It is a social and political awareness that allows me to think about the people across the planet who are suffering or thriving based on how I choose to spend my money.  There is a real financial balance needed to be reached so that we can honor our responsibilities and our soul's purpose at the same time.  It seems to me that the strategies of living with environmental consciousness and using sustainable practices, can lead to a greater well-being overall.

For several years, my family has been trying to make decisions to align with these beliefs.  We've embraced re-using practices, we've been diligent with our city's recycling and food waste systems, we've added chickens, a bigger garden, connected with community, opened up our resources for sharing, paired down our spending habits, and tweaked our household to be more environmentally friendly.

The byproduct of these decisions has been an intense and beautiful connection to our community of friends here in Seattle.  We know our neighbors.  Lots of them.  We know our mailman, the grocery clerks.  My kids have friends who are infants to seniors.  We have a family built here that has created a loving environment for us and our children.

And yet, the cost has been a financial and spiritual one.  You see, we jumped into the housing market at what is now known as the height of the real estate bubble.  At the time, the prices just kept getting higher and higher and no one, or at least, we didn't know when it was going to come down.  Based on the traditional view of residential real estate, we thought we were supposed to just get into the market by buying a house, any small house (780 square feet kind of small) and we would be better able to move around in a few years once we gained some value.  Well...clearly the system no longer works that way.  Our value has dropped and will continue to drop for a while.  Some city transportation changes may cause it to drop even further.

We found ourselves in not only unfullfilling work but I have watched my husband's soul be stripped away for the past few years as he took jobs for the sole purpose of paying bills and keeping this house.  We were working toward a new plan several years ago when I discovered I was pregnant and had to go on bed rest.  Yet again, we needed to deal with the immediate needs of the family and hold off on any real change.

And then 3 months ago, my husband lost his job.  There are moments in our lives when I think the universe just kicks us in the butt as a gift.  We had a vision for where we wanted our family to go and couldn't make it there on our own.  I realized that for years I had been holding on to our amazing family of friends so tightly and just hoping everything else would fall into place.  I was even holding tightly to this house.  Making more space, building a porch, converting part of the garage into a studio.  We just kept trying.

This past weekend I called my brother in hopes of some moral support.  He and his family has had their own experience with tough financial and lifestyle changes.  I needed him to tell me that it would work out ok.  But secretly, I wanted him to give me some amazing secret answer that would solve all these problems.  We've been trying to move closer to my brother and his family for several years.  We share the same beliefs in living connected to our purpose and community and the resources used for our daily lives.  They have children similar ages as ours.  We have spent hours on the phone dreaming about our "family compound" that both raised our food and had creative space for our spiritual expression.

As soon as we told my brother that we could no longer pay our mortgage and we were looking at a short sale or possible foreclosure he basically shouted Hoorah!!!  What?!

They had just closed on a house with a 2 bedroom apartment below.  And get this, it is almost twice the size of the one we have now.  You see, the universe had a plan.  We needed to be patient and stay focused on our vision.  But it is unfolding in front of us.  There is so much good among the stress.

We still have lots to sort out with our current space.  The bank and the federal mortgage programs have been less than useful.  But maybe that is part of the plan.  We don't qualify for any of the programs, strangely enough.  Maybe this is our path.  We have to go through this process to get to where we want.

I am really struggling with leaving my friends and the safety of a community I know so well.  Moment to moment each day, I question if we should be moving.  And yet, when I sit still with my thoughts and connect to our family's goals and with the belief that we can and are worthy of a life that honors our hearts as much as our responsibilities, clarity comes.  Yes, this transition is good.  As long as I can keep loosening my grip, keep relaxing my hold and letting myself ride the river, feet first, head up, all will be fine.  Eventually we'll settle in the deep waters that move slowly where I can soak in the vista again.


Wendy Hobson said...

Where will you be moving to?

shady charbonnet said...

I hope all is well. Blessings to your family... don't ever forget the old saying 'Whatever doesn't kill you will only make you stronger' it is true. Take it from a survivor of hurricane Katrina, anything and everything is possible. Stay strong :)