I did it again. Made an inventory of what was definitely coming. Posted pictures of whatever I wanted sell, followed a few weeks later by more posts, this time in a slightly more frenzied manner. I went on patrol to local stores for used boxes. I secretly gave away my daughter’s unfavorite toys.
I moved. Again.
When we first decided to leave our little pueblo of Malinalco to open a healing home in Merida (learn more about our project, Om Sayab, here), the thought of moving led me to panic. In my 42 years I have moved more than 30 times. In the past four years I have moved four times (nine if you count the transitions between the transitions). My three-year-old daughter has known no home longer than a year and a half. To see that written makes me want to close my eyes, but there is no point in looking away from what is true.
You might not believe this after reading the paragraph above, but at my core, this is my truth: I enjoy routine and consistency. Actually I adore routine and consistency. I get great satisfaction from knowing where the light switches are and where I buy my groceries. But this aspect of me has always been at odds with my love of adventure and the incredible opportunities that have been offered to me in my life. Both is who I am.
Only about half of my 30+ moves have come from me wanting a change of environment. Mostly I’ve found myself being forced to leave by circumstances. The landlord raises the rent. Roommate goes crazy. Divorce. Job change. Few of these have been simple moves. Rather, they have been massive life changes that happen to be marked by a new home.
But I have also welcomed moves that can only be described as life upheavals. I have moved to New York City, Kaua’i, then to Mexico, because these were dreams of mine, and I saw a window open to them. I have never been able to swallow the thought of saying “no” to a dream simply because the logistics are uncomfortable. So I have become a reluctant mistress of moving with a crown made of bubble wrap.
I remember when we decided to leave Denver for Kaua’i. I was pregnant and my husband and I enjoyed daily walks on a path behind our house. One day as we passed a small park, I broke down in tears. Every day on this walk I had thought of walking with our daughter to play here. I had imagined pushing her on the swings, seeing her go down the slide, but she would never know them.
There is no pain quite like facing the demise of carefully crafted ideas about what a certain future would look like in a certain place with certain people. What an incredible feature we have in our minds, this storycrafting device that makes plans that have us believe that we are the only ones in charge.
Indeed, life is not a dictatorship — not once has something worked out exactly as I had planned. Yet still I continue to weave my cloth. As I tie off my threads, I see that it is not the making of plans that causes pain, but the refusal to accept what life does — toss something unexpected in the loom. Life does this with remarkable consistently. The only thing that makes any sense at all is to find equally as consistent acts of surrender.
All of these moves have taught me to know surrender as intimately as I know my own body. As I watch the piles of my neatly stacked life falling catawampus, I recognize this big truth: Impermanence is the rock-hard foundation of life. In the selling and buying, packing and unpacking, flying and driving, I have learned to let go of everything I thought was going to happen, and this is what opens me to work with what is happening.
I usually find surrender when I am standing in the darkest spot of my journey. That point when the adrenaline of my self-will is screaming at me to dig in. Then I stop: this voice is not my own. A lightness arises. I see that I cannot control anything, and I no longer want to. I loosen my jaw, slow my pace. I see where I am standing, what is around me, and let go of what I had wanted it to be. I say, “yes” to everything, even the things I want to run from. This is not resignation, this is a practice of accepting that perfect is not a static point to reach; she is a dancer with marvelous costume changes.
Transition in Peace
I am in Merida now. The 18-hour drive is behind us. The boxes are unpacked. We’ve figured out where to put most of our stuff; only a few things linger. I am starting to know the roads, beginning to understand the rhythms of my days here.
I began writing this piece before we left, but left it alone for about five weeks. In fact, I left everything alone. In what might be the greatest act of surrender I’ve ever known, I let go of the idea that I should be doing anything other than be in this transition. I canceled my plan to run an online program this fall (I’ll be back in early 2020). I did not write beyond daily journaling. I barely visited social media. Instead, I spent tons of unscheduled time with my daughter, built a new website, and focused on my practice. That felt wise.
Looking at this last move in the rearview, I see that I managed it with more patience and trust than any move I can remember. There were moments of heat, but I did not fan the flames, nor did I fight them. Instead, I allowed them to burn naturally, soaking the most dangerous spots with cool water. This move felt different, more directed, which hopefully means that I am gracefully bowing out of the tumbleweed lifestyle.
But I won’t be fooled. I make a living as an intuitive, but I do not read the future. I do not know if I will stay forever in Merida or Mexico. I do know that I was guided here, and feel a strong welcome to settle my dust in this new place. So I will do so with humility and grace, for as long as makes sense for all of us.
Whether I stay here forever or not, I walk each step with full awareness that life is made by impermanence, but it is made beautiful by surrender. Whether we are moving cities or moving into menopause, we are little more than sailors who must learn to balance two feet aboard a rocking ship.
This is life in her finest evening gown, and I am honored to have her arm.