The Road

Almost unreal sunset, three birds and a sliver moon, Cultus Bay

I recommit myself to walking four miles a day as a way to restore myself. Luckily I’m in a good spot for walking, despite no road shoulder. Pick and choose your times and carry a good flashlight. Not only have I gained 25 pounds this year and am coping with chronic musculoskeletal pain the first time, but 2019 has felt like I lived a decade in a year. I’m sure many can relate due to the pace of political, climate and outer world events at large.

As I walk, I say to myself the same mantra I say in meditation, “May the era of greed be ending, and the era of restoration and regeneration flourish. May all life on earth be protected.” It just feels like darn sacred times we’re living in, and I want to appreciate every last drop.

It keeps me from other questions that want to be ruminated upon: What does life feel like without worry about paying each and every bill? What does it feel like to earn a living centered in purpose? What does it feel like to live a life of service?

I look for opportunities to serve whatever small ways I can, data entry for Gen-Z folks doing things I believe in since I have no money or travel time to contribute, subsidizing planting trees each month. After a lifetime of periodic volunteering in various ways that always fulfilled me but prevented me from being able to pay the next bill, I stopped carrying the huge guilt burden I was never doing enough to serve others and finally made peace with doing what I can where I can amid meeting basic needs. And maybe, just maybe, meditation and walking prayer are equally serving others in some energetic way, if one believes in the world of the unseen, as I tend toward.

True to where I seem to feel happiest, walking a road, I stay focused on the road ahead, am grateful at the end of each and every day, and welcome better sleep and small health improvements from said walking.

Promised washer/dryer are soon to arrive… convenience that takes my carbon footprint in the wrong direction and removes me from some fascinating laundromat conversations with people I would not otherwise meet, but nonetheless, a welcome assistance to a person who works 7 days a week all day long.

Speaking of laundromat conversations, auto repair conversations with random strangers are great too. I encountered an accountant who finally explained to me why freelancers are taxed at 15% no matter their income level, and why it’s not my imagination that freelancing feels like bailing out a leaking boat with a ladle. It’s good, steady work, but never quite enough to make the impact you want.

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Detour to Freedom

New moon at sunset from my new space

Well, I didn’t end up moving where I thought I was going to move in my last post, so I thought it was time for a detour mention. Same island, way further south.

I’ve landed in a beautiful spot for I know not how long, at least a year, with discussions underway on possible co-housing option to move to Oregon at some point. My nails have grown back to where I need to clip them (yes, I bite my nails with stress), and my meditation habit is back in full swing after a year of excuses. My daughter is thriving where she is in school, and I’m reassured she is more than okay.

I go where life takes me, and I’m getting better after more than 50 years of spinning around the sun at knowing what signs to follow that line up with my intuition. Often these signs make little sense to anyone else, but I’m trusting more and more in them.

For fun/entertainment, I throw oracle cards from time to time. Check out this 6-card spread I drew about my path in life right now during the middle of a massive lightning/thunder storm that knocked out power a few days ago:

  1. Past: Dry Desert (reversed) – Barren, nothing to give, no insights to be gained from reviewing the past at this time.
  2. Present: Sacred Pool – The world is a reflection of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Embody the love you wish to see in the world.
  3. What You Resist: Peaks of Joy – Your life is filled with happiness, so share it with others!
  4. Unexpected Help: Magic Prayer – Speak your prayers, listen for answers, act in faith.
  5. Next right action: Encouragement – You are receiving a nudge in the right direction.
  6. Probable future destination: Storm Fields (reversed) – This storm too will pass; say no to drama.

On one hand, I see a 50-something woman who’s neglected health maintenance for years due to inability to afford what insurance does not cover but earns too much to qualify for state aid, who’s not in a financial position to ever retire, and who’s working extra in a 7-day workweek to afford to keep her 20-year-old car going a few more years.

On the other hand, I am living in pinch-me I can’t believe it’s so surroundings with my own peaceful small space relishing a new phase of life that feels like it could be the joy of  retirement, fewer responsibilities, more mental space after the huge endeavor of raising a child, without retiring.

After completing a full marathon shortly before my 50th birthday, I envisioned my elder years being physically vibrant enough to do some stint in volunteer service overseas or some major hiking endeavor. Five years later, with pain ever since lifting a wheelbarrow incorrectly during volunteer service, and not wanting studies to investigate the source of said pain, I find myself happy to walk each day a mile or two, and I no longer desire a massive trek in my future. Happy being where I am (internally) as well as temporal surroundings.

Getting my meditation mojo back

Words spontaneously arrived alongside vision of a band of white light encircling Earth: “May all life on earth be protected and regeneration of the planet be assured. May eons of greed be ending and suffering be released to the wind.”

Lunch break walkabout

Divine vegan black bean chocolate pudding with plum

Dorothy Cleveland Trail lunch break

Good night from under the honeysuckle

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Restoration

A bringing back to a former position or condition; the restoration of peace. ~ Merriam-Webster

One day recently, I was feeling lost and wondering if I have a place anywhere in this world. In my distant past, I had an experience with what can be called “the other side” so powerfully as to know without a doubt something nameless exists where all possibility, love, and genuine power resides. So in my state of need, I called out to that nameless. I said, you’ve shown me you exist, please show me now in manifest ways there is a place for me.

Within a chain of days, astounding synchronicities have happened that to my mind can only be a response from my conscious reconnection to this source.

A Place For Me

  1. A person responded to my ad seeking pet-free housing by offering me a perfect studio one bedroom  at a price I can afford. That’s astounding enough in a county with scarce affordable housing. But this spot is located on the exact same block I had a two-year rental lease in 2003 when my then 3-year-old daughter and I left in the middle of the night to Children’s Hospital, never to return. And where a month prior to that my boyfriend at the time had a health crisis and was airlifted to a trauma center. In short, I am being brought back to the same spot I had chosen to be when my life was seriously interrupted and uprooted 16 years ago. Not only that, but my new landlords have a 3-year-old daughter of their own who will be able to use my now grown daughter’s bed set gifted her by Make A Wish.
  2. I set about reserving an Airbnb in Portland out of the hundreds available during my daughter’s college parent orientation. The owners of the randomly chosen spot share my cultural heritage and interests in a surprising and synchronous way, we’ve shared information, and look forward to meeting one another.
  3. Two days following orientation, the small and only pet-free room happened to be available in a motel I’ve stayed at on the Oregon Coast twice before. Those two days were my window to have a reset for myself before my move and after saying goodbye to my daughter, if I was going to.

Photos from brief exploration of my first time in the Trillium Community Forest a quarter mile from where I’m moving in a few months. I was reminded of this poem by Nancy Wood, My Help Is In The Mountain (or in the woods).

Pre-Move Moving

For now I’m in the process of letting go of everything. Literally all belongings are being donated, recycled, sold, except my grandmother’s cherry, roll-top desk I inherited which will be stored. With each piece that leaves my space, a wave of relief washes over me. The less I have, the closer I feel to Life. I relish the peace I feel living and working in a single room.

My bookshelf, a couch, and piano have found homes so far. All my books except a few have moved on, but I still have two large boxes of classical piano sheet music from my distant piano virtuoso days. If you are an accomplished or not so accomplished pianist and would like to hold onto my music for your enjoyment for at least a year, please contact me. I don’t know when/if I’ll return to piano, but it won’t be when I’m typing 60+ hours/week for a living as now. There’s a 40-gallon aquarium full setup with tropical fish and stand left to find a home, as well as two free couches to be spared from the dump (I insanely ended up being a couch repository by living in a large space). All my life, I’ve kept healthy fish due to allergies to most other animals, but pet deposit and carrying that aquarium up those stairs to the studio, not going to happen. I’m hoping for a responsible home to find them.

Public beach access on the block where I’ll live soon for a year:

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Endings are Beginnings

And money is money.

Breathe Deep, the oracle card I pull today tells me I need to hear. Amen to that.

Significant change is before me (and my adult daughter), and U-Hauls have been crisscrossing my night dream highways. The rental home provided generously for her to be raised in a stable, safe space has accomplished it’s careful job and will be no longer available.

I join Sisyphus in pushing a pebble daily up a hill. I prefer to think of it as my pebble rather than a boulder, because I’ve always liked the small. I’m working as hard as I possibly can, yet it’s tenuous whether I’ll make first/last month’s rent in time to move. I may be looking into borrowing options as a very last resort, but until then, onward with the pebble already.

In four months, by September, one way or another I will have found a place to live, and at this point it’s looking very unlikely to be in the county I’ve resided in and raised my daughter in for 19 years. I responded to an add for a room in a house which involved sharing a bathroom with three children and thought, Holy Molasses, what am I doing? Is this all I can afford as a space to work and live? Am I sabotaging my dream of finally having a tiny space to myself sans roommates?

I feel at peace there will be more options for me if I return to Oregon where I lived and went to school from 1986-1991. I did a test and applied to a job with similar wage to my current freelancing but a full benefits package I haven’t had in a decade. For someone over 50, healthcare benefits are gold. Within two hours of applying, the group asked if I could relocate now. My skills are a perfect match. They asked me to reapply in September, which I will. Housing search is on to find anything under $1,400 a month rent, which I am pleasantly surprised to be seeing in that area. I’ll still need to work more than full-time to meet it, but at least I don’t mind my work. Ironically, I had a choice of several available houses for half that cost per month when I first arrived. They simply don’t exist any longer, having been turned over to Airbnb and vacation rentals.

I’ve been super blessed these past two decades to be wealthy in what matters most to me, surrounded by the natural world with plenty of opportunities to maintain my connection to Earth. My happiest memories while being Sisyphus on this beautiful Pacific Northwest island have been all the moments I volunteered with others outdoors. I will cherish those memories at the food bank garden and forested trails.

I thought maybe I was middle class because I live on an island and earn too much to qualify for state healthcare, but then I checked this interactive chart and found out, nope. I’m solidly low income, along with 25% of my state. Plug in your numbers for yourself for fun. Pretty interesting:  Are You In The American Middle Class? The not so fun part I could allow myself to wallow in but won’t is being ranked among single parents with similar education levels and ethnicity… that’s where only 10% of similar folks in my state are earning less than me. I bet you anything their education was not an English degree.

Should you want to be more enlightened as to why we keep pushing our pebble up the hill over and over, this article gives us a clue. The American economy is touted as the best in decades in a lot of headlines and mouths of certain politicians, yet the stock market is not the economy, and for most of us, same old, same old. It is not my imagination that I am  earning the same on average for 30 years and that I now need to work 7 days a week to buy what I could in 5 days of work back then. Good to know I’m not hallucinating.

In fact, in real terms average hourly earnings peaked more than 45 years ago: The $4.03-an-hour rate recorded in January 1973 had the same purchasing power that $23.68 would today.

Lovely Dahlia display at nearby farm

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Mastering My Universe

This year I decided to stop hoping and visualizing and working on raising my vibration and any number of spirit-raising techniques to manifest things, and instead, simply work for what I want. To that end, I crunched the numbers to figure out what I need by year’s end to afford where I want to be, and started 2019 with a goal of working more than the 60 hours a week I have most of my adult life. Thought I’d tap out at 70, but surprise, surprise, I’ve been maintaining 80 hours of transcribing a week the past month combining freelance jobs.

Most of my days are, wake up, make coffee and breakfast, sit down to type until noon, make lunch, type until dinner, make dinner, go for a walk, type until anywhere between 10 pm to 12 pm.

I have to watch myself, because I don’t know how many of you have tried to type for 80 hours a week at all or for very long, but the short of it is, it’s not good for the human body. Feet and legs swell, weight is gained without overeating, basically blood stops moving to anywhere but the moving fingers. To that end, I have set up 3 hours twice monthly as part of a volunteer trail maintenance crew for local land I love … 6 hours each month of being more human than machine, thriving in the woods where I’ve always felt most nurtured. And one day a week working in the food bank garden.

Coming to terms with my “disability” on autism spectrum has made me want to simultaneously embrace and accept a new understanding of my identity because everything makes sense now, and wholeheartedly reject it as any kind of disability. It’s just neurosensory difference.

I stare at the long intake form for autism spectrum diagnosis at a reputable center and feel nothing but complete overwhelm contemplating documenting five decades of information about my behavior, so I am still on the fence about pursuing an official diagnosis with days of interviews and neuropsych testing. I won’t qualify for disability if I can work 80 hours a week, and the only benefit I see is having someone else confirm a diagnosis I already believe I fit, and qualifying for some support groups I might not otherwise.

Fitting for International Women’s Day, if medical and scientific research included women more often through time, many women would not have to suffer in dark with any number of health concerns from cardiac disease to autism because women present differently than men.  Here’s a great glimpse of power of diagnosis from one young woman who was diagnosed at the age I wish I had been – my early 20s. When I fell apart after my freshman year in college, greater understanding could have altered the trajectory of my life.

If I don’t pursue an official diagnosis, I feel peace about my talents and ability to focus as a primary web of light that will be my legacy I leave behind when I am no longer here on Earth. And of course my daughter, but as emotional and proud as I feel about her and as close as I’ll probably ever feel to any human being, I try to leave her out of this blog as much as possible.

All the rest of it, easily falling prey to manipulative relationships, the financial struggles, the job struggles, the constant search for stable housing, countless therapists, being told to be on medication for life that did more nothing than help, the “disability” part, is how I understand autism spectrum makes it possible for a person to be in equal measure brilliant and dysfunctional, both able to complete education through some graduate school, write poetry, master a form of music, knit up complex lace, AND enter mid-50s without settling into any of the markers of late adulthood – partnership or housing or financial stability. It also makes me want to kiss the ground in gratitude for the kindness of folks that made the past 15 years of stable housing possible for me and my daughter.

The dream I am willing to type 80 hours a week to achieve:  A small, lovely rental space I can live in on my own without financially requiring housemates (as I have nearly all my adult life) or marriage (I’d choose homelessness over marriage), funds to put my daughter’s belongings in storage or housing big enough to store them, and more freedom in my days to pursue solo creative and Earthbound pursuits I love.

Freak weather cycles experienced in much of the world now as “normal” – each of these pictures taken 24 hours apart.

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Blog Rehab

Two months of reflection on what to do with this blog leaves me wanting to hold its space instead of discarding it.

Creating a knitting blog at Waterwomanknits coincided with new midlife awareness of myself as likely on autism spectrum, so to prevent too much divergence from knitting content, I would like to keep this “Another Remarkable Day” space available for insights not knitting related. Waterwomanknits will stay primarily knitting-related content and makings.

Another Remarkable Day has been an expressive outlet for many unfulfilled and fulfilled big dreams like walking across the country, poetry, music, musings over seven years going on eight. The value of going back and seeing different ways I’ve grown is helpful to me and maybe possibly others.

My very first post in October 2011 mentions the crux of what I imagine are experienced with many on autism spectrum, when I identified two themes: 1)  Feeling trapped in life and relationships, 2) Feeling lost in life and relationships.

Happy to report I no longer feel trapped in life. Instead, I feel home in myself. My biggest ongoing sense of overwhelm comes from finances, but this one area of life I know for a fact is true for most Americans.  And all relationships are still a challenge, but now that I have “found myself,” I don’t describe the feeling as lost. Puzzled often in the social world, but not lost. It’s how I deal with those challenges that has changed. Coping and healing modalities are what I would like to continue to focus on here going forward.

New information is helpful to me. Reading in one recent source that the autistic brain may very well have a different response to “social reward” or good feelings from social interaction was one aha moment that rings true for my life experience. Despite being blessed with usually one especially close friend at a time growing up, I’ve always felt a sense of being alone even in friendship or relationship and just wasn’t “getting it” on more than a surface level why everyone was telling me social bonds were the most important thing in their life. This is not to say I don’t appreciate people who have raised me and loved me, and the daughter I have raised.

It’s just for me, being alone is such a powerful sense of “relief.” My version of success would be becoming a self-sufficient hermit. Forming adult bonds with others, in retrospect, I did continuously out of a sense of watching what my peers were doing for whatever stage of life I was in, and trying, trying, trying to put myself through all sorts of hoops to mimic that. And then feeling awful because I somehow wasn’t “getting” as powerful a sense of belonging in intimacy that I did when alone. I love observing humanity, believe the human spirit is powerful, and have strong emotions when I see injustice play out.

I particularly would like to compile anything I do for myself that may be helpful to anyone, inclusive of those diagnosed or self-diagnosed like me on autism spectrum. Maybe one day (after an official clinical diagnosis at some future point when I have insurance coverage), I could become a coach of some kind like a LifeMap Coach to help others who may struggle more than me.

It was until recently thought that mostly boys were in autistic spectrum. If you would like to learn a bit more about a “newly talked about but old” phenomenon of women and autism, there are many wonderful YouTube and TED firsthand experience talks, and here I post a few.

My hero:

The bravest thing I’ve ever seen:

 

In 2011, I did not have a smart phone or camera, so even though my first blog post was titled Double Rainbow, it did not include a photograph. Here now are some rainbows I captured from my neighborhood at other times. My constant bounty of images from the great power source that is nature is one example of how far I’ve come since that first blog post.  More to come whenever the inspiration strikes.

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Blog Transition

A word from our sponsor….me.

Due to wanting to focus a topical blog on fiber arts and possibly branch into tutorials and creating my own designs, you can find my posts at domain: waterwomanknits.com

This blog will revert to a free version, meaning my piano recording server space will disappear by end of January, along with probably some videos. Keeping a rambling blog going for seven years feels a bit cumbersome, and so many posts I look back on and would now prefer to delete. Some are stream of consciousness to the point they don’t make sense even to me, and I wrote them.

I suppose the blog served its original purpose which was for me to create a space to explore my own identity in a zone separate from my child. When single parenting, it can be easy to become enmeshed and lose any sense of self. Or at least that’s been my experience. Our journey enters a new phase soon. I never thought I wanted children when I was younger, but I couldn’t have asked for anyone more remarkable to help me grow.

By January’s end, I may decide to salvage certain themes like my poetry and ecopsychology content, and delete the blog.

Thanks to anyone who’s been patient enough to like or view a post.

 

 

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