Samhain

I am not entirely sure what this blog will end up being about.  I just know I haven't written in 3 weeks and I am itching to do so now.  This happens to me when I am taking on something new.  I use the majority of my energy learning new things, so sometimes the other things in my life (writing) suffer.   Once I've got it sorted out, then I get back to a more normal routine.  In this case, it happens to be a new job, working at Voicebox in SE Portland.  If you have no idea what Voicebox is, take a peek at our site.  A "private-suite" karaoke lounge, the only one of its' kind in our fair city.  I make reservations over the phone for people to come in and sing their hearts out in the privacy of their own rooms.  We also have a full bar, and tasty food options.  Pretty cool.  For the first time in maybe my whole entire life, I am working at jobs I enjoy.  

For a long, long time, I didn't realize you could create a life you love.  I didn't realize I had the choice to make my life exactly as I wanted it.  I took what was offered, having little in the way of knowledge about who I was and what my heart desired.  It's taken some time.  Years, honestly, for me to figure this out.  I still don't have it totally figured out, but I've got a lot of it figured out.  At least some of the parts of what I want to spend my life doing.  

Tomorrow, for the first time in over a year, I will be working an 8-hour day.  That in itself is something for me to celebrate.  I technically work three jobs, part-time.  Lyft, Uber and now Voicebox.  I tend to count Lyft and Uber as the same job though.  So in truth it is only two.  And then there's the writing.  That is not something I have figured out how to monetize.  Once I get my Voicebox training and schedule down, and my driving schedule down, I will shift my focus to what my writing career is going to look like.  I don't know if I can ever go back to a 40-hour work week.  I love this freedom too much.

We all have dreams.  Some of us figure out we can live our dreams, and some are buried deep, and some rise to the surface by an unexpected turn this way or that.  Whatever the case, the last year has been incredible for me.  And I intend my life to keep going in this trajectory, upwards.  Maybe not in the ways you think.  Not in terms of promotions, or a fancier car, or a bigger place.  But in the ways that count to me.  Finishing my books.  Working on my original music.  Refinishing furniture.  Taking more photographs.  Traveling to even more places.  

I learned recently, from Felicity Hayes-McCoy, that for pagan Celts, November 1st was the beginning of their year, Samhain.  Felicity is the writer of "House on an Irish Hillside", a book I picked up at a bookstore in Dingle while I was in Ireland.  I was lucky enough to get a signed copy!  Samhain is still the Irish word for November, and the pagan Celts started their new year in winter, rather than spring, as "their world-view celebrated dark times, recognising that life itself comes from darkness and a dormant seed." Our Halloween "is an echo of the ancient Celtic belief that on Oíche Shaman (Samhain or Halloween Night as we know it) the spirits of the dead returned to the homes they'd once lived in. People believed that - provided the living recognised and respected their ancestors' presence - the dead would protect them. So each year the dead were welcomed with food, fires, music and dancing. That way they they wouldn't get offended. And get nasty."  

Samhain is a time of transition, and this time of year I always seem to be in that transition period. This year, I started a new job, and I will be on the move again.  I've spent the better part of this year living in NE Portland, renting a room from a long-time friend of my family.  Now, I will be relocating to Sellwood, in the SE part of Portland, and renting a room from good friends of mine.  


It's been an interesting journey over the last year.  I have revisited a lot of the places where old wounds needed to be healed.  Kind of like a do-over for me.  It's like all of the circles are closing, healing over.  NE is where my parents lived, where I spent my teenage and young adult years.  I'm not going to go into all the stories, but this and many other locations held painful memories for me, and now they have been replaced with good memories. I went back to Montana to see my Dad.  I went back to work for a company that let me go some years ago.  I guess perhaps Sellwood is my last "do-over".  I am very excited about this new chapter in my life.  And, many of the most important things and people in my life are in that area of town.   So here's to the transition times, to Samhain, to death and rebirth and the life that comes from a darkness and the dormant seeds within us all.  Perhaps next year I will celebrate Samhain in Ireland.  

The Chief Curator of Inspiration

Hello my people!  It is your Chief Curator of Inspiration here.  

Meet Todd Henry

Where did that come from? I've been "pre-reading" a new book by Todd Henry, the Accidental Creative, called "Louder Than Words".  And so, earlier today, while finishing up his book, that title came to me as far as one of the things I do.  I curate inspiration. Pulling from this source and that source to encourage people to live their own adventure and trade in boring for brilliant.  I've had the privilege to be part of Todd's book launch team and send him a few questions, so once he answers, I'll be posting those.  The book releases on August 11th.  If you don't know who he is, get to know him.  His prior book, "Die Empty" was a huge part of my quest for my passion and pursuit of adventure.  I did not want to die with my best work inside of me, and so here we are. He remains one of the biggest creative inspirers in my life.

What I Learned

It has been a whirlwind summer.  I've been on so many adventures, learned so many things, been so many places.  In the last year alone the amount of places I've gone is staggering, compared to the four or five years prior.  Here are a few things I've learned so far:

I need trees.  I need to hear the wind in them, I need to see their vivid colors, need to be near them.  And thus, I do not care for the desert.  Too hot and too exposed.  I can appreciate it as a different kind of beauty, but not for me.   

I need space.  I get very stimulated by too much activity around me (a little known quality of introverts). I have to have a place I can retreat to.  Too many people drain me and I have to recharge on my own.  I like to see and hear neighbors, but I don't want them right on top of me.

I need nature. I feel most at rest when I can be outside.  Whether that means sitting on a deck reading or writing, taking a walk, getting in the water, being near water, or any other way to get out into nature, I crave the peacefulness of being outside.  The concrete jungle is not for me, nor can I stand being cooped up inside all day either.  

BestThings

As always, there are a slew of things to be grateful for.  I haven't written a "Best Things" since Friday.  I had a busy weekend, and this is what I appreciated most over the last five days:

Housesitting.  I wrapped up my job housesitting on the houseboat, and now I am out at a Victorian country home.  The wind rustles in the trees, clouds grace the horizon and a train whistle blows in the distance. I can see the edge of the hills in the distance, a darker blue than the sky.  Birds call and twitter, somewhere a lawnmower starts and the breeze carries snippets of the neighbors' conversation.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  My soul feels rested and recharged.  

Birthdays. On Sunday I had the privilege of attending my goddaughter Bailey's birthday party.  She opted for an Optimus Prime Transformers party.  Such a cool, unique girl.  And she's only six!

Karaoke. We haven't been to Chopsticks III for quite a while.  What a fun night!  I got to spend it with some folks from Open Mic that I don't really know and we had a great mix of people.  I think another one will be coming around soon.  Everyone did incredibly well, the singing was awesome!!

Open Mic.  Every Monday, at Corkscrew Wine Bar in Sellwood, my friends host a great open mic.  I read a new poem I wrote (the first one in nearly two years) and listened to some very talented musicians play some great music.  My attendance has been hit or miss for me this summer, mostly miss. The list filled up with 20 attendees and my well of inspiration filled up at the same time.  I suppose it's time for me to ante up and play some of the songs I've written.  Chris and Jen have built a strong, supportive community of the most amazing people.  You should drop by and listen if ever you are in the neighborhood.  

Relationships.  This is a constant because I have such good ones and I'm so blessed by every single one of them.  This summer has also been a lot of re-connecting old relationships, forging new ones and maintaining the ones that have been a constant in my life.  How can I not be grateful for them?

Work.  This comes in many forms for me.  Driving is what I do to pay my bills.  Lyft and Uber, for now, and a few odd jobs.  My true work is writing.  I feel a clarity coming back to me in the last week or so that has been a little lacking.  Fresh ideas for both of my books and a desire to complete them and get them published.  Resistance still tries to keep me safe, keep me from getting them out there, but that is a cheap way to live.  No more.  I am figuring out this new way of being an independent contractor, without a guaranteed salary.  It's the first time in 25 years of working that I have no idea what my salary will be.  It is a little terrifying at times.  And, sometimes I feel guilty because I don't work 40 hours a week. But, my vocation is writing.  So whatever I do in regards to bringing money in has to be in support of that.  40 hours a week of working takes my best energy from me, so for now, I'm not doing it.  Period. On that I will not compromise.  




BestThings: Sunday Edition

At this present moment, there are so many things I can write about.  So many little things I am grateful for.  And this is what it's about - what can I be grateful for right now, right at this moment.  Here's what happened between yesterday and today:

Lyft.  Last night I worked for a few hours.  Most of my rides were okay, but I gave one guy a ride and he told me I was his favorite Lyft driver ever.  I ended up giving him my card so if he wanted to get in touch with me again he could.  It was just a cool ride, easy conversation.  You never know who you might meet.  

Bowling.  Today my nephew, Connor, called me twice and texted me 15 times until I got back in touch with him.  He and I and his dad ended up going bowling, which ended up being really fun.  Jason actually used me as a Lyft driver too, to take them.  Haha!  After bowling we went back and watched the end of a disaster movie and ate homemade pizza.  Such a fun, unexpected afternoon!

Wine, Coffee and...more coffee. I've been watching my friends' neighbors dogs over the weekend while I'm housesitting their place.  And so then, one of the other neighbors asked if I would water their plants over the next few hot days.  Michelle brought me back some Green Salmon coffee from Yachats and gave me a bottle of wine.  And Cathi, the other neighbor, gave me a $20 Starbucks card.  That's what happens when you say yes.

Antman.  Yesterday Jason (my brother), Connor and I went out to the Beaverton Cinetopia to see "Ant Man".  I had no expectations of this movie and ended up loving it!  One of the best movies I've seen lately.  And, the awesome thing was Jason had some expired Groupons so we paid under $10 for three of us to see a Saturday afternoon movie.  

Brunch.  I stopped in at home this afternoon, while working for Lyft, just in time to finish off the last little bits of brunch Kelly (my housemate and landlord) had made for herself and her guests.  Perfect timing!  And, I was starving anyway. 

The Pugs.  Ollie and Yogi.  Pugs are not my favorite dogs, but these little guys were really good.  Even if I fed them a little late, or sometimes they had to stay in the laundry room at their house while I was gone, they were such good dogs.  Michelle said this has been the least crazy reunion she has had with them

Connor. Tonight my nephew is over hanging out again.  I warned him he was going to have to watch some "Lord of the Rings" extended-version movies, and he said he was okay with that.  So I think we're going to have ice cream and watch some movies.  It's nice to be housesitting so close, and we get to hang out. 

My life keeps expanding and expanding and expanding.  I am having so much fun right now!  Embracing new experiences and meeting new people.  This has become the constant in my life.  Blessings upon blessings upon blessings are being heaped on me, and not always in the way I think.  This week is sure to be full of more magic and fun.  Happy Adventuring!!