A LEAP OF FAITH
Moving to Santa Fe 900 miles away would be a leap of faith. Ya think?!? We never actually sat down and said that to each other. But we knew it. It was time to find out if we had just been paying lip service to our dream or were we serious?
JoAnn, the Navy brat, had grown up in Oregon, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts. I had grown up in New Jersey, gone to school in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and had served in the Army in Texas, Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Both of us had moved to California expecting to live out our days in the Golden State. If you want to make God laugh…
For years we had been visualizing a house in Santa Fe. Down to the smallest details. It would have huge vigas supporting wooden latillas. Brick floors. Piñon and juniper trees surrounding the house. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the East. The Jemez Mountains to the West. Rewarding days, fireplace nights…
We made all the places we ever lived in look like Santa Fe.
...dreams of Santa Fe
We had a small collection of Native American clay pots we had gathered on our many trips to New Mexico. The pots spoke to us, hypnotized us when we ran our hands around the inside of the rim, feeling where long gone, unknown fingers had shaped the wet clay. We were mesmerized by the intricate designs on their surface. There were paintings on the walls by Santa Fe artists, prints by Georgia O’Keeffe, works by Amado Pena, a Pascua Yaqui Indian from Santa Fe we had befriended decades before. We treasured a few Native American blankets.
The process of visualization sets intention in motion. The more vividly you picture your goals, the more likely you are to be able to harness the power of intention.
We targeted March, 2020. (More about our unerring sense of timing later.) And then a few months later our precious Sam the Dawg crossed the rainbow bridge and “us” became JoAnn, me, and Macarena, our Spirit Horse, our one remaining retired polo pony. Sam the Dawg was 15 and he had lived a great long life but he was our Buddha dog, a wonderful, wise black Lab whose existence lent a great dimension to our lives. We had told him about Santa Fe, about how much he would love the cool days, and now he was gone. We missed him terribly.
We knew the Universe was going to test us. We just didn’t know how or how severely. We were starting to appreciate the truth of what Richard Bach had once written: “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”
Eisenhower probably had an easier job planning Normandy. We started with a list. Find a place for us to live in Santa Fe. We knew we wanted to seriously downsize. Find a suitable pasture for Macarena. We knew she needed a place with grass and a shelter for when the weather turned cold. We would need to close up the house. Find a good mover. Find a reputable horse transporter. And on and on.
In 34 years you collect a lot of stuff. Even though neither of us qualify as packrats stuff clings to you like lint on an old wool sweater. Mementos. Things you’ve put in the garage figuring you would retrieve them someday. We needed a catalyst for us to get rid of clutter. If we were serious about downsizing we would have to get rid of a lot of things.
Confession: I am a packrat when it come to books. I have a very hard time giving up books. I have never been a fan of Kindle or its relatives and prefer holding a book in my hands. When we left the desert for Valley Center in 2016 we had donated at least half of my book collection but what was left was still formidable. I knew I would have to go through my collection and cull some more. I also knew that would be painful.
Feng shui has been around a lot longer than Marie Kondo. Try about 5,000 years. And feng shui tells us it’s good to get rid of clutter, that it frees your spirit, your Xi, from the things that are holding it back. Clutter is a way of clinging to the past. According to feng shui principles, clutter represents trapped energy and when you clear clutter you release negative emotions, generate positive energy and invite opportunity into your life. Not a bad idea, all things considered.
In the old days there was a thing called a “garage sale.” Most neighborhoods frown on garage sales now (although I once found a great print at a garage sale) so they call them “estate sales.” Has a more upscale ring to it.
So we figured we would have an estate sale. Easy, right. Start with the furniture that had been living in the garage. That was the easy part. The hard part was all of the small items, things you acquired over the years that had been invested with emotion, memories. Like the corn husk Christmas wreath we had picked up years before at the tamale festival in Indio.
The corn husk Christmas wreath. (We kept that and it was up on our Santa Fe door this Christmas. It looked as though it had been waiting to go there.)
The even harder part would be the books.
JoAnn is a lot more pragmatic about those things than I am. She goes through things like a plague of locusts and heaven help you if you get in the way.
I tried to suck it up and be objective about my books. We both recognized we would need a third party to help sort out the rest of the things. We were fortunate in that the person we brought on, Linda, was sensitive to the emotional turmoil that went along with seeing your house turned in to an upscale flea market and listening while random people offered you a buck or two for something that was precious.
The traumatic "estate sale..."
The estate sale was our Rubicon. Like Caesar, once we crossed that invisible line, there was no turning back. “Alea iacta est” he said at the time. “The die has been cast.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra
About the quote that starts this blog: It has been attributed to everyone from Richard Bach to Patrick Overton, OR Melling to Paulo Coelho. It was originally shared with me at least 35 years ago by a treasured patient who has since passed. I have unashamedly taken ownership of it.