How Did We End Up Here?
If you had asked us last year, “Where do you think you’ll be next year?”, never ~ not in our wildest imaginations ~ would we have predicted where we are now. We certainly had no idea we’d be in “the happiest place in the entire US” ~ and no, it’s not Disney World or Las Vegas ~ it’s San Luis Obispo, or SLO, as the locals call it.
SLO is the quintessential California town. Though it sounds quaint, it’s actually quite a big city. It has an Apple store afterall. And best of all, it’s nestled smack dab in the middle of the gorgeous Central Coast of sunny California.
We are staying here for six weeks leasing a beautiful Spanish casita. We have a soothing water fountain and a patio with a huge garden. We’re able to eat outside every night or walk downtown for food and fun. The weather is perfect.
Everyday we get up to coffee and quiet time in the garden, a perfect place for meditation, reflecting, and journaling. Most mornings I take a long walk from our peaceful casita through a sacred Catholic treasure, The Mission, in the middle of this sweet town, to the Smiling Dog Yoga Studio ~ one of the most spiritual experiences of the entire trip for me. If you are ever in SLO, and if you like yoga, your soul will want to visit here.
This is the perfect place for us to retreat ~ to stop, breathe and integrate all the experiences we’ve had…a time to think about how we got here and what’s next.
People Want to Know
We love and appreciate the curiosity and interest people have in our journey. We get a lot of questions. You too want to know how we ended up in San Luis Obispo, but you also want to know how we walked away in the first place. And why? You are fascinated and skeptical about the possibility of living a life so far out of the norm. Well, so are we…still.
This past September we didn’t know we would be taking this journey at all. All we knew was that we weren’t living the life we wanted. There was divine discontent. Most of the time we simply brush divine discontent aside. Not this time.
The Nudging Wouldn’t Leave Us Alone
You see, that’s what divine discontent is. It’s a call from the soul asking you to grow, to live your true life. It sounds like the call of the wild and it feels like it too. Once we decided to say YES, things began to move quickly. Life-changing decisions were made. (There are a lot of moving pieces to getting rid of decades of material possessions and putting everything you need for a year in an SUV.) Some of the leaps we took surprised a lot of people, including us.
In hindsight, a lot of things in the universe had to line up just right to make this journey even a remote possibility. Some things, that at the time felt terrible, turned out to be huge gifts and opportunities. Real estate disasters, burnout, retirement, aging ~ little did we know we were being prepared for a long journey of letting go.
But, as it turns out, it was just what our souls needed.
So how’d we end up living this nomad life as spiritual seekers? We paid attention to the voices of our divine discontent and we took the leap of faith. It’s been wonderful, scary, exciting, lonely, and fulfilling. It’s been a blessing and, at times, it’s been very hard.
What’s your soul calling out for? Where is it asking you to grow?
All you have to do is listen to what’s calling you and be ready to take some steps. Probably not big ones, like selling everything you own, maybe it’s just a five minute meditation once a day. Maybe it’s a simple message to live from your heart more. Maybe it is something big. If so, be sure to read John O’Donohue’s poem on the right.
Find time to be quiet and go within. Take your own retreat. Invite your intuition. Ask for guidance. Pay attention and listen deeply. Write down everything. Then: Dare to be the one who takes risks.
The Inner Journey
No Matter Where You Go,
There You Are
~ Jon Kabat Zinn
We’ve been to a lot of very exciting and very spiritual places ~ from ashrams to dude ranches, from Unity Village in Missouri to the Maharishi University in Iowa. We’ve prayed with the Quakers and meditated with the Buddhists. We hiked to the mountain tops and washed dishes in service to others. This has been a long, rich journey.
However, the same old obstacles and issues that got in my way when I was living comfortably in my big old house came along with me on the road. Some bad habits and some bad attitudes. Some free-floating anxiety. Lack of discipline. No matter where I went, there I still was. I still had to do the hard inner work of being awake and accountable for my life.
Good News: One does not have to leave home and travel the world for this kind of wisdom ~ what I needed to learn I could have learned anywhere.
From Michael’s Point of View
and the Net Will Appear
~ Zen Wisdom
When I was making the decision to retire, Kathy gave me a plaque with the above Zen quote on it. There are days I’m still looking for the net. This journey is asking us to live by faith, and like she said, it’s not always easy.
Who knows where we will go next or where we will end up? Who knows if that net will ever appear? But it’s one hell of a ride. We are on the journey of a lifetime and not having a net is what makes it full and exciting. I can’t decide if it’s keeping me younger or making me older. I can tell you ~ I’m glad we jumped.
After we leave our San Luis Obispo retreat, we will return to where the journey first began ~ at the Agape Church in LA. Next we will visit friends in LA, Long Beach, and San Diego. Then we will return to Petaluma in Northern California where so many opportunities are waiting for us.
There we will be continuing our Spiritual Guidance program. We will attend the International Conference for Transpersonal Psychology and we have applied to be volunteers at Spirit Rock Mediation Center and the Institute for Noetic Sciences (ION). We have rented another precious little house and will stay through the holidays.
In January, we will return to Charleston for five weeks. We have missed so many people and will want to see everyone. Five weeks may not be enough time. After that, who knows?
A New Year’s Retreat
On the weekend of Jan 30 – Feb 2, 2014, there will be another New Year’s Retreat for Women at the spectacular award-winning Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC. Don’t you want to come sit on a mountain top at an award-winning resort and spa?
I have learned so much this past year and I look forward to sharing it in this next retreat. For those of you that have been before there will be something new. It’s helpful to ask some of the same important questions again and again~ these are what I call the powerful questions of your life.
Come and join me and other women for a time for reflection, rediscovery, and rejuvenation. This is a time for remembering who you really are and what you really want, and an opportunity to set a direction for 2014. Where do you want to be a year from now?
Join Us on The Journey
We hope that throughout the year you will keep clicking through to see where we are. We are requesting input and feedback from all of you. Tell us where you’d like to go. Make suggestions for us. Ask us to check some places out for you! We are also hoping some of the places we visit and the experiences we share will ignite your life and maybe even set you off on your own spiritual journey. We’d love to hear from all of you. And if you know anyone who may be interested, please share our blog.
Tags: Agape Church in Los Angeles, Institute for Noetic Science, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Maharishi University, Old Edwards Inn, Pendle Hill, Ring Lake Ranch, San Luis Obispo, SLO, Smiling Dog Yoga Studio, Spirit Rock Meditation Cneter, The Mission in San Luis Opisbo, Unity Village, Women's new Years Retreat, Yogaville
4 Responses to “How Did We End Up Here?”
Hello! I have been following your journey and it sounds amazing. I wanted to let you know that if I could have imagined myself a year ago where I am now, I would not have dreamed it possible either. I have a fabulous job working with wonderful people, as together we treat people from all walks of life for Addictions. It feels just like you described when you talked about your soul feeling full. I especially loved the Zen quote about leaping and the net appearing to catch you. I will always remember the encouragement you gave me in school to do something that made me feel fulfilled and I took a leap and here I am! I am looking forward to reading more about the journey as the two of you keep traveling onward. Take care and hope to see you in February.
I have enjoyed meeting both of you in SLO.
Your example of being open to your path and saying yes to it is inspiring.
Although willing to pick up and change course, I am grateful to hear that simple smaller steps like increased quiet time, meditation, journaling opens us to God’s presence as sure. This is enough to let the past go as He guides the future in holy light. I am excited by what’s not known today.I am willing to experience discomfort/ suffering which can occur through growth. Not bad, just is.
Oh how I would love to sit on your patio and share a glass of wine. Your journey sounds so romantically enticing but you remind us that “what I needed to learn I could have learned any where.” The lesson there is that we don’t have to have a life changing experience to find our calling.
Love and miss you all,
This is a great addition to your already rich story. I have been thinking of you and am always glad to hear your news. Just returned from a second retreat at southern dharma. Was a completely different experience than our first retreat there. Very wonderful and refreshing. I will look for more opportunities there. I especially like the drive from Pgh to southern dharma. Another wonderful kind of meditation. Love that we are living and growing. Love to you both. Stay well. Nancy