Ah, yes, the living is so easy. I love being retired -- well, semi-retired; I do have 3 part time jobs. But that means I work Saturday afternoon and most of the day Sunday, and a bit here and there during the week. My life is so good. I do like to think that the state of my back porch reflects the state of my psyche -- a little worn around the edges, but lush and verdant, comfortable and sweet. There's no better place to sit and read a book, or write in my journal first thing in the morning, and take a little quiet time before the day imposes itself. Last year I didn't really get much done out there in the way of plants and comfort, but somehow this year I hankered after flowers and flower boxes, potted plants, and a sweet little private retreat outdoors.
Down in the back yard I have a teeny little veggie and herb garden, planted quite late actually, and now I have blossoms on my cukes, tiny tomatoes on my plants, and herbs growing nicely. I'll have a bumper crop of basil once again, which means pesto to eat both now and in the winter. It has been a hot, dry summer: Tennessee weather, I keep saying. And this apartment and the churches I serve have NO air conditioning. But I'm surviving, even in today's 86 degrees and 79% humidity. I finally had to buy a lawn sprinkler to water things, after the flowers on my bee balm just shriveled up. The shrub itself is fine, but the flowers, while abundant, just didn't like the drought. I still love growing things, and can't wait to plant the lilac and witch hazel that I bought last month. Things are a little more temperamental here, because of the harsh winter weather and short growing season, I suppose. In Tennessee, I could hardly kill things even when I wanted to. Here, things may thrive, or they may not. I'm sure it's a skill to learn -- Buffalo is full of absolutely gorgeous gardens. We have the largest Garden Walk in the country, and there are real garden artists here. I'm not really an artist, just someone who delights in living things of all varieties, and loving and growing plants is amazing to me.
I've been taking yoga classes 4 times a week. I've joined a yoga center, and the monthly fee makes the per-class cost really, really cheap. I feel strong, flexible, and healthy. The other day I did a full shoulder stand for the first time since I moved back here two years ago, and I reached that point where my alignment was just right and I felt so light and joyful! It made my day. I honestly didn't know I was strong and flexible enough -- but when I easily did a box position (box-asana?) on the wall, I got the first inkling that I was stronger than I realized. Yoga gives me joy, gratitude for my dear body, and a sense of connection to both the others in my classes, and to God. Amazing how a physical practice can be so spiritual, but it is.
Yesterday I spent a few hours at the trailer by the lake; it's the first time I've been there all year. I bought the lumber I need to build my deck, the one I've been planning for nearly 2 years. Somehow I thought I would be able to buy the lumber, build the deck (a simple wooden box to sit on a nice bed of gravel), go swimming, and clean up the trailer -- all in one afternoon! What was I thinking? But the lumber is there, and today a friend offered to help me work on it. I hope to go back on Monday after yoga and get some significant work done on it. I'm yearning for some serious "glamping," but there's work to do out there first. Maybe the "glam" part of "glamping" will have to wait till next year. This is the year for basics.
I've become active in the local Psychoanalytic Psychology (Jungian) society, and am attending a woman's study group on the feminine, as well as a study group on Jung's Red Book. I've begun attending a writer's critique group, and will go regularly when it resumes in the fall. I'm still not writing much, but I'm thinking about it! And I'm still sticking to my food program (mostly), and am well on the way to losing the considerable weight I regained just before and just after I moved back to Buffalo. I guess the major life transition got the better of me. I have a sweet little 5-speed French bicycle that I bought at an estate sale last year, and I ride it pretty much every day when the weather cooperates. I ride to meetings, to yoga, to the grocery store, even to work sometimes. It reminds me of when I was in college and had no car; I rode my bicycle everywhere -- it was my basic transportation. So when I'm riding I mostly feel young and strong. Buffalo is much flatter than Tennessee; but riding a bicycle gives me intimate knowledge of every hill in town!
Last year I took a 2 1/2 week trip to France (mostly Provence), and saw several new black madonnas (pictures to come later). It was a wonderful trip, though June is definitely not the best time to go to France; September is. We had an overnight in Clermont-Ferrand (roughly halfway from Paris to Aix-en-Provence -- 2 black madonnas there), 2 weeks in a beautiful house in Aix (5 of us shared it, and it was amazing), and then I had 3 days alone in Paris at the end. Great trip.
The last (but probably most important) thing is that I've joined Alcoholics Anonymous. When I was trying very hard to get back on my food program, I discovered that the one thing I couldn't seem to bring myself to put down was the alcohol. I felt as though my life kept getting smaller and smaller, until it got to be about the size of a glass (or 10) of wine and a television screen, and I did have a sense that alcohol made that life seem like the right size most of the time. I moved to Buffalo because I knew I could have a "big life" here (meaning full and meaningful and abundant, full of interesting things to do and people to love), and yet my life was tinier and tinier. So I finally about a year ago I got myself to a meeting, and just kept going back, and then quit drinking, got a sponsor, and started working the steps. I really like it! I like not drinking, though sometimes I still miss it. On a hot evening like this, a great big gin & tonic (or a dozen of them) sounds really good. But I don't really want to go back to it. I'm loving my life as it has grown over the last year. I love the people I'm meeting. I love having a program where I can continue to work on myself and grow and learn. I love how I feel when I go to a 7:30 a.m. meeting 6 days a week, and other meetings on other days. Things just seem to go better when I'm working my program, praying and meditating and going to meetings and trying to live according to the Twelve Steps. I hope you don't mind that I'll be sharing my experiences and miracles with AA and sobriety here.
So yeah, the livin' is easy here in my life. I am joyful and peaceful (mostly) and free. When I read back over this post, I think of paragraphs and paragraphs that I want to write about all these things. Definitely mroe to come...