Sunday, July 24, 2011

Balancing Head and Heart


As Camille noted in her “Body Surfing for Boomers” post, one of our big challenges was letting our values drive our responses and actions to the tsunamis we had experienced.  While we recognized that we needed to “ride the wave,” it was still a struggle to find a balance between head and heart. 

In our hearts, we’ve known – from the beginning – that this was the right move.  We need to make this move to Maine; we can feel it; we need to define our purpose.  On the other hand, there are all these “head” issues that focus on the everyday things we will need to address: what will we do, who will we do it for, where will we live, etc.:  All those things that smart people plan for in preparing for big lifestyle changes. 

Interestingly, we’re just now coming into convergence on head and heart balance.  Most of the time, we’ve been at polar opposites: Camille would be on the heart side, I’d be on the head side.  Then we’d convince the other of our point of view and switch – she’d then be on the head side, me on the heart side. 

The other interesting aspect (at least for me) was that whichever one of us was more head focused, was more anxious.  We worried about those things that smart people worry about; we never came up with the answers, but they took up a lot of our energy and concern.

In the past few weeks, as our time draws closer to leaving, we’ve come together more around the head – heart balance.  We feel we’re pretty well prepared to make this move in the way in which we want.  We’ll have the resources to take a significant time off to reset and refresh.  We’ve come to terms with a lifestyle that will enable us to do so.  We’re not blindly marching into the fray; we’re not as prepared as others might be, but we’re good enough and that’s what counts.

A good example is our recent reconnaissance trip to Maine, ostensibly to find a place to live.  We had a set of criteria: hardwood floors, claw foot tub, reasonable rent, inspiring neighborhood.  As you can imagine, we looked at a number of apartments in different parts of town.  None of the initial places we visited met our expectations.  We were getting pretty discouraged.  Finally, the last place we looked at we knew was the place for us.  It met our basic criteria and then some.  It wasn’t perfect, but we weren’t settling either.  This place will be good for us.  It will allow us to do what we need to do.  It will be good enough to inspire us.

How have been you handled the “head – heart” challenges in your life?  Do you look for balance or do you let one drive your behavior over the other?

We’d love to get your feedback on our “journey” as well as hear about your own journey in new directions.  Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and ideas.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Body Surfing for Boomers

Camille ... 

Although it was on-the-beach in Troncones, Mexico-margarita-fueled, I still consider this to be one of those divinely inspired moments.  You know, when Spirit is speaking, and you are listening.  A small fishing/surfing village, Troncones seems to cater to the older population, but don’t let this fool you.  When it comes to crystal clear water and very decent bodysurfing waves, us of a certain age come alive with the strength and vigor of youth.  It was during a refreshing margarita break that I heard the words ‘body surfing for boomers’,  and in that moment,  I knew this was something to remember, in spite of my liquid of choice.  I spent the rest of the day considering this while surrendering to the will of the waves.  And thus, my return home to our rented casa began our ongoing conversation about life and body surfing as metaphor.

For those of us familiar with the ocean, we have a basic working knowledge of tides and currents and weather patterns.  We know that ocean activity changes from quiet and tranquil to exciting and challenging to thunderous and wintery.  Just like life.  We have our cherished quiet moments when the ride is easy, relaxing and supremely fulfilling.  And then we don’t.  Our days, energies, thoughts and emotions are consumed with situations that require clear thought, precise skill and a present moment awareness in order to avoid a total beating.  But if these skills are used, the ride can be the thrill of your life.  Unfortunately, our first years together were spent in a sea of events that no amount of time in the ocean could prepare us for.

Our first conversation about "body surfing for boomers"  began with a critical review of our past 7 years together and how we spent the first 4 years riding tsunamis.  These frightening and potentially devastating waves appeared in the form of child custody issues, bankruptcy, a very lengthy lawsuit, job loss and all the hidden drama that forces its way into every moment of life. 

The one belief that sustained us through this period was to let our values drive our responses and our actions.  It was an arduous process of letting go – as much as possible – of the anger, resentment and – most of all – fear that we felt so often.  It asked of us that we take that energy and direct it into knowing that the outcome would be in everyone’s best and highest good.  These waves were tremendous and how we survived them was not to fight, resist and attempt to control, but to surrender to the moment and let it take us where it wanted.

Two years later, after my margarita inspired epiphany,  Scott and I decided that we wanted a life makeover, well he wanted an overhaul, so we set the goal of moving to Maine in the fall of 2011.  We would take a ‘gap year’.  Certainly a year of NOT WORKING, relaxing, playing, creating, staying in bed on a cold rainy/snowy day watching videos and eating Chinese food out of the carton (Scott doesn't share in this part of the’s all mine).  But most importantly, allowing ourselves the freedom, time and space to create what’s next for each of us.  After 40+ years in the job market, we want our own gig.  We’ve had so many ideas of why and how we could spend the rest of our lives.  We have all the skills and resources necessary to create work that is fun, fulfilling, satisfying, makes a difference and is financially rewarding and to create it in a way that allows for life the way we want it. 

This has been our ride for the past 10 months.  It has been gentle in comparison, yet still the waves have required that from time to time, we wear masks, goggles, fins and a snorkel.

Riding the waves can involve a number of vehicles.  There are surf boarders, there are boogie boarders, there are jet skiers.  What’s your vehicle for riding the waves in your life?    

We’d love to get your feedback on our “journey” as well as hear about your own journey in new directions.  Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and ideas.

You can also follow us by subscribing to the blog by RSS or via email.