As usual, my daily e-mail meditation gave me food for thought:
The man who succeeds in his inner exploration is the man who comes back. He comes back to more of the lessons he must learn. He returns in spite of discouragement, in spite of hearing blunt facts about himself. Some people do not come back. They go away sorrowfully or critically, therefore losing what could have saved them. We must be different. We must come back, a thousand times if necessary, until we reach the harbor we sense is beyond the fog.
Secrets for Higher Success
Our journey, as I have mentioned before, is a great deal more about the mind than about actions. It is returning our brains again and again to focus on the goal, the little steps, the big steps - facing frustration and disappointment, which invariably brings the uneasiness of second-guessing ourselves. Introspection is not comfortable. It is usually very uncomfortable. Yet the lessons need to be learned. And some of us are more stubborn than others.
We have seen this week how the hurricane has forced our country to do some introspection on subjects of race relations, poverty, preparedness, and need. This is in some ways paralleling our own personal introspection as we feel the first tease of autumn in the air and know some important decisions need to be made about our house. We have similar questions: Are we prepared for a change in plans? Are we willing to think ahead? Are we aware of the "what if" scenarios? Can we change our actions to fit the needs? Can we accept the change in plans that seems necessary and throw our full weight into implementing those plans?
We picked a very bad time to try to sell our house, especially now. It didn't help that the first few months the house was on the market were essentially lost because there was no advertising, for instance. Now that gas prices are soaring, everyone knows the home heating oil prices are next on the agenda, and some leaves on the tree at the end of our street have already turned a bright red orange. The leaves were inaudible but they might as well have been shouting, "Fall is almost here! Winter will follow! See that Victorian house for sale down the street? It is huge! It will cost a fortune to heat! Don't even think about it!"
In addition to the problem of selling the house, we have the other problem of running out of time to build the next house. They don't build much in the middle of a Maine winter.
So we have come to the realization (working on acceptance) that we will be spending another winter in this house. Basically the house will not be actively marketed until spring. In some ways, this will be a mighty challenge, because heating oil prices will probably be double those of last year, and we will have to make more sacrifices in other spending, as well as turning off some radiators and shutting off rooms. Ed has not sawed or split wood this summer, as he usually would have been doing, because we thought we would be spending this winter in our new house. So now he has to play catch-up. I am sure wood prices will soar too because the demand will be so high.
Staying here also involves our going to the storage unit and bringing back everything we took over there a few months ago - boxes and boxes and boxes. Heavy boxes. Then all of our hard work emptying the house and "staging" will be reversed. We will have boxes everywhere again.
In a way, this is a good thing - staying here this winter. I have been feeling in limbo so long that I haven't let myself do much except clean house and worry. Now I can relax just a little and work some projects.
But fall is also a dangerous time of year for us because we are evaluating our wardrobes again, and seeing what we might need for winter. (Ed has created the most remarkable guilt-free means of buying new clothes: He's lost so much weight his clothes don't fit anymore.) Meanwhile, the fall clothes catalogs keep coming and even the Christmas catalogs are here. $$$$ This will be the first Christmas since our determination to simplify and modify. It will also be the first Christmas we will have had two grandchildren. It's a veritable obstacle course on the road to simplicity!
And so we dutifully are reminded that the time for introspection has come. What have we discovered? Could we have done more? Did we make wise decisions? I believe they call it the "shoulda/coulda" syndrome. Now fall is on the doorstep. And the journey to simplicity continues. Through the frustration, through the disappointment, through the temptations, through the worry - we walk. Through the realization that we are so much better off than many others - we walk. Through fear of the unknown with "cautious optimism" we walk.
And hopefully we learn.