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On the Road with Calm

"We shape our dwellings and afterward, our dwellings shape us."

- Winston Churchill -

Ah! What weight and meaning we give to our homes. The months of planning and conversing about our five-month adventure on the road and the actual realities are bumping heads after only three weeks in our sweet little camper. We didn’t expect to be so side-swiped by this surprising feeling of homelessness— an untethered free-fall from the habits and familiarities of our old life into a great void of possibility (or nothingness, depending on the day).

Even though the possibilities have been calling us for a long while—while our old life felt “done and dusted”—the ghost of the old visits us almost daily, its phantom security more comfortable than sitting here in the swirl of options that preclude our imagined future. In my heart, I know our practice is remembering the future is impossible to know, and embracing that not-knowing, even within the tiniest increments of time—the preparation of our morning coffee or taking another U-turn because we missed a road sign. Though the paradoxical shadow side of the void is best friends with stubborn noisy thoughts that way-lay the best intentions.

It’s been four weeks since Barry and I flew out of Mexico to begin a five-month travel adventure. After these weeks of actual living in our camper, our few belongings are either in a storage unit, or stowed away in various drawers, cabinets, and ingenious pull-outs built into our 18’ x 7’ camper trailer. We’re sleeping better than ever within its cozy walls.

People we’ve met are friendly and welcoming, always ready with resources and information. We’re in Colorado now, and the big skies and the Rockies just take my breath away. We know there are weeks of other breath-taking places ahead. And still the jostling of the old life and the future life—a jostling that has the ability to block out the beauty, synchronicity, surprise, and calm that is paving the road before us.

Thank goodness, friends are touching base regularly, providing support and humor. Speaking of synchronicity, this morning we had a Skype call from Nick and Dolly in Devon, England. After bringing them up to date about where we were physically and emotionally, Nick said, “Sounds like you’re madly calm, or calmly mad.”

Spot on, dear friend. It’s time to add humor, and lots of it, to our travels—this practice of embracing not-knowing and the beautiful, surprising options swirling around us. As of today, my traveling name is Madly Calm, and Barry’s is Calmly Mad (his choice). Can’t wait to see what the next four weeks bring . . .

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Calming Practice: The Grace of Friends

Reach out to friends. Let them reach out to you.

Speak from your heart to their heart.

Know the reaching out means everything.

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