The daily decisions that add up to weekly routines, monthly activities, and yearly directions... until one day you look around and say "How did I get here?!"
This week I had one of those moments as I was standing by this stack of culvert. Interesting to think of all the "little" yes and no answers that added up to me standing in this spot.
You know that movie theater effect? The one where you become so absorbed in the storyline that, for a couple hours, you are more a part of that reality that your current circumstance?
The air conditioning is a bit too cold and the lighting is dim. You are surrounded by the smell of popcorn, the vague sweet smell of soda, and the shuffling sounds of your fellow movie goers.... yet that reality is so far from your consciousness that it is almost non-existent.
What is real to you is the story in front of you... the emotions, the weather, the scenery... it all seems so very real.
As the credits roll you start to stir and slowly recognize your surroundings. Walking, almost dream-like, through the theater you exit through a side door and are hit with the suns full force. It is jarring and hard for your mind to reconcile this reality with the reality you just experienced in the movie.
I wonder if that is what life is like. When the credits of our lives begin to role will our souls stumble out and be blinded by the real reality? Will we suddenly realize that we've spent our lives being mesmerized by the flashy, fake Hollywood of life and missed the true life experience?
I dedicated a significant portion of July to changing my life.
My pre-challenge self would now evaluate whether I succeeded or failed the challenge. Analyzing percentage of change from start to finish, comparison of finish with goal, and eventually ending with the conclusion that I failed because in some way I did not measure up to my ideal.
Phooey on that.
I'm loving my post-challenge self.
Am I a perfect, woodland sprite that bounds through each day without a care in the world? Nope.
What I am is someone who no longer obsesses over work.
Someone who takes time out to rescue a tiny lizard from the bathroom and then spends time taking photos of its release back to nature.
Someone who bought a horse... and rode that horse around the pasture and down the road... and could care less if it looked perfect.
Someone who said no to more work offers and yes to all the things life has to offer outside of work.
I went for walks. I played games. I travelled. I wrote. I sat on the deck. I had long conversations. I had acupuncture and went to yoga. I spent time not thinking or doing.
Did I define what it meant for me to be a life-a-holic? Yes and no. For me, letting go of the definition, letting go of the constraints, letting go of control is allowing me to embrace life.
Taking time to inhale the sage on the air after a summer storm.
Marveling at the sunset.
Waking before the birds simple to hear the world start to greet a new day.
Saying I love you.
Accepting a complement.
Some days I travel.
Through the mountains away from the hustle and bustle.
Most days the woods are quiet - except for the occasional racing chipmunk daring me to swerve to avoid a minor bump for me... a "life flashing before their eyes" event for them.
Some days I see deer (this time of year with spotted fawns), rabbits, coyote, eagles, hawks, and all manner of other birds.....
On rare occasions I see elk.
The roads pass through open range so it is a common occurrence to round a bend and find a herd lazily munching on the roadside grasses.
This morning a fat and sassy herd of cows greeted me... I stopped to take their picture - they stared at me with their big dark eyes for a moment, then flipped their ears back and, deciding I must be up to no good, headed off into the tree line.
In this post I shared how disappointed I was over not being able to make a deal on a horse and how I was proud of myself for not caving to a want and damaging our finances.
I also shared a hope that somehow that little mare would end up in my pasture eventually. I just couldn't imagine how she wasn't supposed to be mine.
I was hopeful but not expecting it. She is so wonderful that I was sure somebody would statch her up right away.
This past Sunday I saw she was still available AND her price had been significantly reduced.
The owner was tired of people coming out to try her and not thinking that she was amazing.
I told her I thought she was amazing - she told me to come get her....