Boom or Bust in the mountains

Being in a new relationship the second time around is so interesting in my 50’s.   I have heard people call their first marriage their “starter marriage”.  By their second marriage they are determined to live the lessons they learned from the first.  To show up differently in their next relationship.

Since moving to the mountain we have bought a crock pot.  We have tried to make lamb stew and beef bourgeois.  I do feel like a new wife who wants her husbands belly to be happy.    I myself like cooking and chopping and drinking and nibbling more than I like eating the end result.  Suffice to say I am an ok cook but not great.

So I decided to go to a local bookstore to get a crock pot cookbook.  I ventured out in Breckenridge and found a great used bookstore run by two young guys.  I asked them about cookbooks, they led me to a back room and pointed to piles of books on the floor.  “These are all our cookbooks”.   I said I was looking for a slow cooker cookbook.   One young guy pulled out the “fix it and forget it” cookbook, I flipped through it.  It was mostly ingredients like velveta and cream of mushroom soup.  I opted for the classic vintage crockpot cookbook titled Mable Hoffman Crockery cookery from 1975, it used whole ingredients.

I went home and cooked beef bourgeois as per her recipe and it turned out great. It seems that at altitude more flour and water is needed. My fiancé seemed super happy and we ate it once with french crusty bread and once with pasta.   I forget that if something is not sealed and in the fridge it goes rock hard within an hour or two.  Welcome to thin dry air in the Colorado mountains.

I think about women who married gold miners here in the 1800’s what kind of life they must have had.  No running water, and a wood stove.  One woman who owns a clothing store told me that her space used to be a bathhouse in the 1860s.  She said that gold miners would come down the mountain and take a bath on one side of the store, and then buy chocolates on the other side of the store for their sweetheart.

We live right in the gold-rush town.  “Downtown” consists of 4,500 permanent residents, with 160,000 tourists that arrive over the winter season to ski. The town  becomes a ghost town on April 23rd when the mountain closes.  Boom or Bust.

Goddess of letting go

Dhumavati is the hindu goddess of letting go.  We are told we can invoke this goddess to help us navigate disappointment, and to discover the freedom in letting go.

Letting go is not something we are taught.  It is a skill we observe in our parents  assuming they are able to let go.

My mother hung onto everything and guarded her belongings.  “Grasping” was a word that comes to mind.

My father was interesting, he was a collector who had 3 of everything just in case.  He grew up in the depression.  He would swing between hording, and letting go of everything.

One day I came home and my mother was furious.  My father had given away the silverware, so we had nothing to eat dinner with.

As a child growing up in the British Air Force, we were forced to let go of the idea of home.  We moved countries every 2 years.  As a kid I intuitively knew not to get too attached to friends, objects, or placse as it would be gone when we moved.

Deep inside me I know I yearned to attach to something.  I had no idea that I could build a “home” inside myself.

Now I find myself in a state of relinquishment, choosing to let go-for love.

How much would you give up for love?

Would you leave your country?

Would you leave your work?

Would you leave your friends?

Would you leave the familiar?

I have a good friend who is now 58, and is seriously seeking love.  His criterion is that a women lives within 30 mintues drive of him.  He is not willing to drive beyond that for love.  Does that not limit his options?  What if his perfect match lived 2 hours away?

How often do we get attached to a fixed outcome, and cling to it.   Then we get angry when something else shows up that does not match our vision.

How do we surrender to the life that is right in front of us?

 

 

Transforming our shadow into light

 

We all have a pain story.  We all have a past where we have been hurt, dumped, and left broken-hearted.  We think our story makes us unique.  We believe that no one could fully understand our suffering.

As we enter into the new moon I have been contemplating letting go of my pain story.  To no longer let my pain story define me now, and into the future.

I went to a new moon ceremony that included stories about goddesses, live music and asana practice.

We were led us through yoga asanas while the musicians chanted.  We were told in this new moon we have an opportunity to transform our shadow into light, and to set our intention.

What is it that no longer serves you that you can now let go of?

What darkness would you like to release to the light of this new moon?

 

Waking up to a new landspace in your life 

Do you ever find you look back and think how did I get here?  I am 53 and just starting to pay attention to my body.  Just starting to honour myself.  Not putting everyone else first, and forgetting about myself.  Including myself on the list of things to care for, rather than leaving myself out.

Yesterday I was on top of a 14,000 ft mountain in Colorado.  I saw these beautiful mountain goats, way up high on the top of a pyramid of rocks looking down at us.    I followed a 10-year-old boy up the rocks, trying to keep up with his nibble hopping from rock to rock.   I asked the 10-year-old boy for his technique for climbing.  He said “hold onto the rocks with your hands, and don’t put much weight on your feet”.  What a difference that made, I climbed nimbly up the mountain and saw this mountain goat family at the top of the world.  Just me and the boy.  Everyone else was on the ground yelling cautions to us to “be safe”, or “watch out for the charging mother  with her babies”.

Later that night before we fell asleep in each others arms, my husband asked me what was the highlight of my day?  I said “being 53 and just starting to feel fit, and strong for the first time in my life”.  I was proud I was able to climb by myself.  I was nervous but I called on my ancestors, who have been climbing mountains for years.   I could almost see my grandfather shaking his fist in the air as if to say “we shall overcome”!

Having been physically ill for 8 years, I am just starting to feel strong and somewhat healthy.  I think this is partly because of a greater compassion for myself, and being more patient with myself, rather than punishing myself to change.   As Dr. Barbara D’Angelis says “loving myself forward instead”.

In spite of my imperfection I am shinning even at this late stage in my life……

It’s not over till it’s over.

The heart loves silence

Have you slowed down enough to listen?  Where can you slow down enough to make space for the silent whisper of your heart?

There is so much silence here in the mountains.  On our daily hikes we have found secret meadows for a picnic, and spots where we can dip our feet into the cold mountain streams.

I have taken to meditating by the mountain stream.  The rushing water creates a background of pink noise that you can zone out to.  I imagine sending my energy and stress down to the earth and into the stream.  I invite the pine tree energy and the cosmic sky above to flow universal energy in through the top of my head, and mingle with the earth energy.  I can smell the pine trees, I can hear the running water.  I am sitting on the moist earth after a night of rain.  Running these two energies through my body clears out any “cobwebs” or stuck energy that I have picked up thought the day.

My two dogs sit beside me, drawn by the energy.  What a privilege to be here in the mountains at this time, insulated from the chaos in the rest of the US.

You can always find stillness inside if you slow down enough to listen. I would love to hear what is your place that allows you to get to still inside?

Learning to Settle

After surviving the winter as a new immigrant.  Spring came then Summer, along with my work permit and my SSN.  All of a sudden I could open a bank account, get a driver’s license and access to money.

Finally I am here.  I shipped all of my sentimental belongings to Rick my new husband as “gifts” through UPS.  I have no belongings left in Canada.  No longer straddling two countries I finally feel like I have landed here.

I think back to my parents who emigrated to Canada from England at 42 with 3 kids. I remember my mother saying “it takes a year to stop hating a new country”.  I thought she was ridiculous  at the time.  Perhaps she was right.   I am two months away from my one year mark, and I am just finally settling in, realising I live here and that I am yes married.

We have taken to hiking in the mountains first thing in the morning.   At 2pm each day it rains for an hour and clears up in time for happy hour.  The climate is perfection, 75 degrees and with a soft wind.  Perfect for hiking into the mountain woods with our curious Husky and our little Eskimo/Papillon dog.

For a ski town, the tourists don’t stop in the summer. Farmers markets, craft shows, food and wine shows, paddleboards, tumble bubble,s and multiple hikes make this a summer play land.

I am starting to love hiking.  In my past I never had the fitness, or energy to hike the trails.  I have met many women on the trails with injuries who told me they are “trying to get their power back”.  Perhaps that is what I am doing in these mountains, learning to get my power back.  In the trauma of sudden loss I forgot who I was, each step I take I start to reclaim my energy, reclaim my joy, and reclaim my power.

 

The Healer

I went to a Deva Primal concert in Boulder.   It was amazing.  She asked us to turn to someone beside us and chant to each other.  I chanted with a women whose eyes were clear, and  her heart was open.

In the break we chatted.  I told her she had such a great spirit. I asked if she was a healer.  She said “I don’t call myself that.”  I asked what do you do?  She said she did Reiki.  I said “so you are a healer”.   She said “if I use that word healer it implies that the person lying on the table is broken.  I don’t see my clients as broken.  I see them as whole.  What I do is bring through the I am energy, to help them remember their wholeness.”

I really appreciated this conversation.  It made me think how often I hold someone as broken in my mind? Are we not limiting the other person by how we hold them energetically?  If I think of someone as broken, am I helping them break out of their box?  Or am I energetically joining with them, to reinforce what is not working.

How often do we hold ourselves as broken, focusing on our own deficits.  When we do this we are energetically reinforcing the walls around heart.

What if we started connecting to our wholeness internally.  Consciously connecting to the part of us that is already is complete a few times a day.  How would my life change?  How would the world change, if we all spend time each day, connecting to our existing wholeness rather than focus on what needs fixing.

 

 

Relationship Flashbacks and Mud season

After the initial romantic fling ends, the domestic partnership begins.

Last night my fiance brought out a wood spatula to show me how the rice had been baked on in the dishwasher, and informed me “it needs to be scrubbed before it goes into the dishwasher”.

“Oh I see” as he waved it in front of me while I was reading the New York times weekend edition.

Then came the muffin pan, “you really need to wash these by hand you know” .

“Oh ok”

“I am not nagging you, I just want us to be a good cleaning team”.

“Oh ok”

When did we transition from passionate romance to being a good cleaning team?  Yes it has been a long winter in the mountains.  And the snow continues.

We are now officially in mud season.   This means that the ski hills have closed April 23rd, but the snow continues to fall.

The restaurants and cafe’s that were packed are now empty.  Most people have closed up shop and gone on vacation for 2 weeks.

We were initially excited for mud season that lasts from April 23-June.  We thought finally, we can get a table in some of the really nice restaurants like Relish, Twist and Hearthstone, that are always packed with a 1-2 hour waiting list.

Now we go to these gorgeous restaurants and they are closed till May 29th.  Even our favourite sushi restaurant does not reopen till June.

I understand that businesses need a break before the summer tourists arrive to hike, bike and rock climb the mountains.  Suddenly the only people left are the few locals that are too poor to take an exotic vacation.

Our beloved yoga teacher hurt her back, but the chiropractor and the accupuncturist are away, and will be back after mud season- so suck it up.

My fiance just came back with dinner and told me the hot local news.  The city has just hired a new housing authority, as housing is in short supply in the mountains.  The successful candidate has just turned down the job, because he can’t find affordable housing here.

Well no cleaning team tonight, take out fish and chips from Murphy’s irish pub, and a Netflix movie, who says romance is dead?

Braving the golf ball hail, waiting for spring…..