more adventures…..

It took awhile, but I am starting to get little side jobs.  Cat sitting, driving a family to the airport, getting paid to give my opinon, selling this or that.  Every little bit helps.  It doesn’t fit my image of a professional to be doing these things.  It took me a long time to get to that point and my background was against it, but I did it, I became a ‘professional.’  But it does fit my core aim through my life to be an adventurer and not let the attachement to my image hold me back or spoil my well being. 

I think I first made that choice when I had a boyfriend in my sophmore year of high school decide to buy an old mail cart.  It was a slightly more powered version of the metermaid carts you see.  This was back when Mustangs and Camero’s were in.  It was not even remotely cool.  He wanted me to help him work on it and get it running.  Speaking of which, you could probably run faster than it went!  It isn’t that I swallowed my pride, it is more like I decided that it was a mirage in the first place.  We had fun taking the engine apart and trying to figure it out, but I admit, we had more fun kissing in his garage as we worked (maybe the real reason he got me to his parent’s garage the two blocks from my house).  I even drove it to school once and it took forever on all the back streets.  It was comical and also freeing to not care what the in-crowd thought.

So, here is another opportunity to let go of being anybody in particular.  I have been thinking of adopting the phrase a friend of mine uses when people ask him what he does for a living.  He replies, “I breath.”


Adventures in Being Broke, but not broken

Installment number II
As I was coasting down Wolf’s Grade this morning in third gear, because you don’t want to sacrifice your brakes for the sake of saving gas, I was thinking about my financial situation. Being frugal isn’t necessary morally superior, it is just what is called for in times of scarcity. Everything has its upside and downside. Even abundance has its downside. It can lead to waste. Sometimes it gives us too many choices and can make us a little crazy. Or it does me anyway. Okay, I will admit, I would rather the challenge of abundance than this, or to quote Sophie Tucker, the Russian vaudeville singer, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor — and believe me, rich is better.”
However, the upside of scarcity can be innovation and creativity and a deeper appreciation for what is all around you that is free. As Jonathan Swift remarked in Gulliver’s Travels, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” On a spiritual level it can be used as an opportunity to practice ignoring those Hungry Ghosts our advertising culture is always trying to activate.
In this adventure I have been given the opportunity to embark on, I am grateful to have the time and attention it takes to make changes. What I do have is a wealth of time and time is a form of wealth. You can’t enjoy what you don’t appreciate, so I am learning to appreciate it and spend it well. In fact, I would say one of my favorite luxuries is having enough time for something. I love to not be in a hurry. I have time to deep water my plants, or to get ready to go somewhere, or to finally write that card or letter I have been meaning to. Time to hem a dress by hand and enjoy the making of small even stitches. Making a meal and enjoying the green sleek beauty of a zucchini and the rhythm of chopping. Time to do things slowly and deliberately and with some flair.
Right now I see this learning to be more frugal, to simplify my life as part of my total plan. An equally important part is, of course job hunting and writing cover letters and resumes and sending them into cyberspace. At first I felt totally overwhelm by this, but I had the time to tackle it and practice until I got better at it. Once sent however, the results are out of my control, much the same way the seasons are.
Speaking of seasons, I am very grateful for this season of summer while my cash flow is firmly entrenched in a season of winter. The suns heat and light are saving me money and supplying me with simple pleasures. Not to mention growing the vegetables I will be harvesting not too long from now, and the flowers that are another source of free delight. I dried my hair in the morning sun today instead of using my hair dryer. I have been using a clothes line instead of my dryer and delight in the smell of line dried clothes. The towels are not as soft, but I see it as a good invigorating rub using them. I am teaching myself to get used to natural light. I find myself automatically turning on lights even during the day, I am so accustom to bright light when I am doing things. I go into a brighter room to read something that requires better light.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the freedom of choice that comes with modern conveniences and I don’t want to go back to the time before we had them. But I don’t want to misuse them, or overly use them, when we are in this economic season of drought for so many. I want to use this time to remember what abundance really is, not what the efforts of advertising and media try and manipulate us to think it is.

Adventures in being broke (but not broken)

Adventures in Being Broke: (but not broken) I have been thinking of starting a blog…and then the fantasy goes, it will catch on like Julie/Julia, they will make a movie out of it and I will be set. Only problem was, besides the grandiose magical thinking of the way it all turns out, is I had no ideas about what I would blog about. But I thought of something and that is reward enough, the other part would be okay too. I would call it “Adventures in Being Broke (but not broken).” I am really broke and I am trying to make it an adventure because that is my way of dealing with less than ideal situations; make whatever I am going through an adventure when I can. I do have this annoying Pollyanna part of me, well annoying to others sometimes, but fuck it, if they don’t like it, they can stop reading. I would like to think that I have a persona that is Pippi Longstocking meets Pollyanna meets Cat Woman, or something like that. I haven’t worked it all out yet. If it makes people who are uncomfortable about that annoyed, maybe it would help to admit that it is really quite selfish, because I basically like to have fun and don’t like to be bummed out. Maybe it is like “It’s a Beautiful Life.” But even I, Ms. Pollyanna, found that movie over the top and disturbing in some ways, and never could have pulled it off. So, here goes. We are into about week two and this is what I have to report so far. Some things I have to think about and plan ways to save, make, or conserve money. Some things have been experiences of serendipity. I will give you an example of the latter. Since I believe in supporting my community but I cannot do it monetarily, I have been doing it through volunteer work. Not a lot, just a little here and there. I also have ulterior motives, or maybe a nicer way to frame it, multiple motives. When you are looking for work networking and mingling are good. So, I volunteered at one of Spirit Rock Meditation Center Family Days recently. You can trade in your volunteer hours but I didn’t do it with a particular class or retreat I wanted to take in mind. I just did it because they needed me and it was the Family Program Directors last Family Day and we go way back. Now, before that day, I had been lamenting that I have no money to take any workshops or classes related to my work, and low and behold, during one of the breaks I notice that Spirit Rock was hosting a 4 week class on Somatic Experiencing. The exact thing I want to learn. It was to begin in two days. I am now into my second week of it, I love it, and it is costing me nothing. It makes me think of Harry Potter when he took a potion called Felix Felicis in The Half Blood Prince, also called “liquid luck.” Just by following his impulses he ends up having unusually good luck. In the book, he is trying to figure out some crisis, so he decides to take a swig of the potion. A smile comes over his face and he jumps up and announces that he just feels like going out to the garden. To Hermione and Ron, it makes no sense, but off he goes, and low and behold he runs into the exact person he needs to see…and things work out in a miraculous way. So while you are having adventures of the broke sort, you might want to take an imaginary swig of Felix Felicis. I wonder if part of the effect of Felix Felicis is to quiet down the panic and let your intuitive impulses come through. You have to be careful though and realize they are different than the type of impulses you have that make you want to eat a box of cookies, or spend money you don’t have. That brings me to the first strategy, which has to do with saving, making, and conserving money. This has been an exercise in curbing those types of impulses, and seeing how they snag me. I just had a near miss episode of that. I notice earlier that I had put on two different earrings this morning. They were both small and the way they hook into my ears are the same; not to mention the hurry I was on. The reason I am explaining this is that I have used not the having the right clothes on, or earrings on, as an excuse to buy something. I am out and it is cooler than I thought it would be, well hey, I will just go buy a sweater! I wore something too warm for the day; I will just buy myself a cooler outfit. I forgot to put on earrings. Well, I will just buy me a pair. I have done this numerous times. I had gotten out of an appointment and had time before I met up with a friend. I thought, I can just go to Goodwill and find a bargain! So I parked my car and there was money on the meter. Surely a good sign, an omen that I should spend money! I didn’t find any earrings that I liked, but I did find this cool necklace and I could use a sleeveless brown top to go with the cute brown skirt I got there last year for $2.50. At that moment I said to myself, “How about you just notice all of this and see what it will feel like to not spend the money, even if it would only total $15.” After all, you have been coasting in the car as much as you can lately just to conserve gas, remember? Next week: The art of coasting…..