I decided to post this update on this blog to let my readers know what I am doing in San Diego to exemplify an extremely simple life. I live in a 12 x 12 bedroom in a big house called the Enchanted Garden in the San Diego State area. I feel so happy to be living, for the time being, a life where I have more time to slow down which has taught me that I need to change my life style. Even though I have lived, comparatively speaking, a very minimalistic life compared to most, I realized that I can downsize and simplify even more.
I feel excited about starting a coaching business that will have all kinds of services that can help people realize their life giving goals—including of course, my downsizing/simplifying/organizing services. Having time to work on this has been a wonderful thing. Here is some more information about the project.
My daughter and I spent five beautiful days together where we grew so close in so many ways. It is not often that a mother and daughter can have such quality time together, and we realized we had never had this much un-interrupted time. She stayed with me at the Enchanted Garden community in my sunny, breezy room which she loved. Mahriyanna went back to be a companion for her 13 year old niece last Friday. I miss her, but I know she is growing and so I am–and we are able to stay in very close contact.
I am continuing to attend the First Church of the Brethren in San Diego and glad to be helping out with creating a blog and getting their Faith in Action Team off the ground. They are working on helping raise awareness about how the prison systems are so invested in getting and keeping people in prison because many prisons are privately owned and they need the work force. Yikes!
I also went to my second Peace Promotion Team meeting in one the poorest and crime-ridden sections of San Diego. I continue to be inspired by how many people are focusing their attention on solving the numerous problems in this community, and I feel happy that I can learn more and offer things like a clip board so they can get everybody’s names on the sign-up sheet that I make. I have met people in my travels who I am connecting with this group, and that feels good.
I went to Starbucks on two Saturdays in a row where I wrote in my life plan book. This is where I am working on getting clear on what I really want to do with my life. One exercise is to write what a certain person that I know would say at my funeral. I picked some very special people who I love very much-my daughter and Robert. I found the creative, emotional, and spiritual juices flowing as I wrote what I imagined what they might say. I learned about what my deepest longings are…and I cried a lot. I know it might sound strange that I could just sit and cry and write in a public place, but there was something about the combination of coffee and the flow of humanity swirling around me that inspired me. My next step is to go back and make some goals and action plans based on those things that I got in touch with.
I continue to get little organizing jobs which support me in my minimal expenses. I spend about $15 a week on transportation (that covers three days of bus rides–I don’t go out a lot), and about $60 a week on food mostly spent at the Farmer’s Market. I am eating mostly raw, locally grown food with my favorite vendor being a 3rd generation Hispanic farmer who has grown the food sustainably all that time. Oranges, grapefruits, sepotes, strawberries, tangerines, avocados, and peaches are my staple fruits. I make my green smoothie every morning and use some of those fruits along with either some greens from our garden or kale from Farmer’s Markets. I get vegies at the market, too, with many vendors giving me either free food or discounts as I get to know them. They are so kind!
I made some homemade sauerkraut, something I have been wanting to do for years. Something about coming here and having more free time than perhaps I have had since I was in my early twenties, has inspired me to do such things. I didn’t even follow a recipe, but remembered the instructions of a professional sauerkraut maker from whom I bought a pint of sauerkraut for $6. Buying a head of cabbage for a dollar and making two pints of the stuff was quite a wonderful experience! Some nutritional experts say that you should eat fermented food with every meal. I notice that I am feeling lighter and my digestion is better as I eat more sauerkraut.
One of my goals in coming to San Diego was to play some beach volleyball. I had no idea how I would find a game—but intentions do help. I went to a church called The Flood just one time, and I got plugged into all kinds of potential activities including playing volleyball at Ocean Beach. Now that was some good exercise! Everyone was at least two or three or four decades younger than me, but I held my own! And I so much want to get better! Many of those young people were very patient and kind and encouraging.
I will be leaving the Enchanted Garden Community where I am staying in about a week. I have really enjoyed my stay here, and made some new friends who I know I will be staying in touch with. But I knew in advance that my room would be taken by a permanent resident on July 28. I feel very grateful that my old friend Melanie Lococo is welcoming me to stay at her condo near Balboa Park, and I will be able to trade my organizing services for rent. We used to do self-esteem building assemblies for elementary schools together. We had fun at Balboa Park where Mahriyanna, Melanie and I spent a few hours having so much fun and deep conversation. Whenever a little kid would go by, we would break into some of the songs we used to sing and inspire their curiosity and smiles.
I now have attended about 8 Nonviolent Communication classes and I feel very grateful to reconnect with this wonderful method of helping me focus on bringing out the best in myself and others as we communicate. I am getting to know people better who are in the class, and I feel more and more a sense of being at home in this group. Learning this model 25 years ago changed my life in so many positive ways, and I am going to be exploring offering my services as an NVC coach. I feel very touched and delighted to see how people are blossoming and learning this skill, and this inspires me to want to help more people discover and practice NVC.
I am realizing now that I really need so much more down time than I ever knew. I used to feel uncomfortable if I had too much time on my hands—and of course with a home that was always needing attention as well as 27 acres of land that also needed work, there was always a ton of stuff to do in addition to my work and nurturing my family. I learned that I need to slow down, plan and reflect and write more, and do more spiritual practices like journaling, Emmanuel Approach, fasting, scripture reading and prayer. I have hopes that I am going to change my life style because I am getting used to this slower pace! I also want to have more recreation time like playing volleyball and swimming. Some day my dream of facilitating and playing cooperative games is going to come true as well.
I am feeling inclined to be a strict vegan. There are so many vegans in California, and even vegan restaurants and at very least, restaurants have vegan dishes on the menus as the demand grows. When I became a vegetarian 43 years ago I had a hard time giving up fish, but finally when I did, I could be a strict vegetarian. I feel the same way about dairy and eggs. I don’t buy the stuff for myself, but if someone offers, I take it. But I am sensing it is time to be strict. We shall see.
My spiritual life continues to be so important to me, and I almost always have time to pray in the morning–but still I want more structure and focus in the spiritual disciplines. I find that as my life simplifies, I am able to remember more and more my connection to Jesus who loves me so much and loves each person I come into contact so much. I feel a lot of peace and joy in my life, and for this I am grateful.
Around Sept. 2 Mahriyanna and I will go to San Francisco to spend time with my brother and his partner, and then go to Visalia where we spend time with my daughter’s relatives on Robert’s side of the family. Then back to San Diego for just a little while. Some people are saying they really want me to stay–or at least come back–and I feel grateful that people find my services and my presence to be valuable. I know I will be connected to San Diego in some way or another.
The newness of San Diego has worn off–I am not so excited as I may have been in previous posts–but there is a sense of deepening and growing that brings me a lot of peace. I am grateful to my friends in Fayetteville who have encouraged me and are glad to hear from me. I look forward to many good hugs and great conversations when we return:)