The unexpected joys of working remotely

After 14 years at my last job I was allowed to work remotely toward the end of my tenure there. First it was two days remote per week. Then after two years, three days remote. This took awhile for me to adjust. I wondered what working totally remotely will look like, thing it would be lonely, boring or stifling.

Four and a half months ago I was laid off that job. Being home for four months, I had a lot of time to make adjustments to being home full time. That’s a lot of alone time for a single gal out in the sticks. There were physical and emotional adjustments being made. And honestly, a whole new landscape eventually showed itself to me. It took time to unfold, but by the end of four months, everything looked and felt different.

During this hiatus from the daily grind I experimented with only getting groceries twice a month. Now I am a lady that needs my fresh veg and so do my barnyard fowl. Sometimes I went to a fancier more upscale grocery in town for things that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I took my time and really enjoyed my trip there even though it was 50 minutes away. I’m a foodie, and a place like that satisfies my craving for something different or exotic now and then. I decided I will go there once a month.

Since I live so far from town, the days I worked on my old job were the days I ran errands. With my new situation I have given much thought to how I’d get those errands done. I started slowing down and looking around. With only a little research much can be done in two small towns 22 minutes south of me, instead of the usual 50 minute trip to Albuquerque.

We make so many assumptions and fall into our daily routines so easily, that we tend to be blind to what is in front of us.

I usually ignored the small towns closer to me. I was so used to whizzing right by on my way to my old job, I paid no mind. When I opened my eyes I found much. There was a place to get my hair cut, my nails done, clothing stores, a UPS office, and lots of restaurants. There’s a great pet store there so I can get items for my dogs. And there is a nice, simple grocery store.

North of me seven minutes there is a medical clinic including dentist, doctors, pharmacy, and x-ray. I had no idea it was there! It is tucked into the heart of a reservation, and serves the general public. There are a lot of other services north of me. Who knew? I had ignored these services for years, making the assumption that I could only go to town for them. Things are shaping up for me to have a smaller carbon footprint. And I’m liking what I’m finding. This is wonderfully eye opening!

The good news is, I started a new job a few days ago through the insight, thoughtfulness, and generosity of a dear friend. We worked together in the past. In this position I would work in a totally remote capacity. Happy dance! As I prepare for this position, I have cleared a lovely space in my home totally devoted to work. A nice chair, a simple desk and a few plants to made that space my own. I am loving it!

I now have a coveted corner office!

It makes so much more sense to me to work from home, having zero commute I’m relaxed and ready for work. Socializing will now be totally when I want to, getting out only when I desire it. Errands are run when needed instead of when my work schedule dictates. On weekends I feel like getting out of the house to explore so meeting a girlfriend to go thrift shopping in Santa Fe is effortless. My dogs are thrilled I’m home more! I have no more guilt about leaving them alone all day. Home life is feeling so much more well rounded, and harmonious. I feel very complete.

Making my living at home suits me perfectly, in a way I never thought possible. That new landscape comes with a new level of unexpected blissful, centered, domestic harmony. The Universe has been supporting me this whole time, in a really big way. Now I can see that and I am deeply grateful.

(Left is Cochise or Goat Cheese, Right is Gypsy Girl.)

Moving toward the tipping point, by writing

I have been feeling for some time that I am almost at the tipping point of purging my soul and body of the after effects of an abusive 18 yearlong relationship. I have been out of that relationship for ten years now, and in my mind, I think there is nothing to purge. I’m over it, right? I have a brand-new life I created myself, right? I’m the captain of my own ship co-creating like crazy, right? Everything is peachy keen, right?  But the body is not the mind. It holds onto things for a very long time. To me, that is what PTSD is. Abuse or terror held in the body to protect the whole.

A great purge is coming and I am glad of it. It is so close I can feel every cell in my body quivering in anticipating of dumping what needs to go, and breathing a huge gulp of new, fresh air! But you can’t plan such things now, can you? My Capricorn mind wants to schedule it in along with everything else. Grocery shopping, trip to the hardware store, purge of a lifetime, then a nice massage. Nope, it does not work like that. Spirit does not move in a linear fashion or according to a day planner. Sigh.

IMG-3702In order to help move toward this tipping point, I have promised myself a new writing habit. This is a luxury I owe myself. It’s a tool I should have not ignored for many months. Don’t be scared by the word habit, it’s a good thing. Habits are easy to start and hard to break. That’s good news if you want to start a new habit. If you want to break a habit, put another new habit in place of the old one, right on top of it. It will take some time, but it will happen. Like moving to a new office in the same building. My feet want to travel to the old office every time I walk into the building. But every day I get closer and closer to wiping out the old maps of my neural network of walking to that old office, as I correct my course to the new one.

I have decided to write in the morning because that is when I feel most myself. It is the time I love the most with morning light being so different than any other time of day. My energy is at its peak, and the promise of a new day is at hand. It is the NOW time and I have a few hours before I must honor my obligations of going to my day job. The birds are just waking up, and since I feed them, they are plentiful in my back yard. I see sparrows, little yellow warblers, Towhee’s, large mountain blue jays, and a huge family of Gambles’ quail with the little quivering top knots all dancing, making those funny squeaking noises as they bounce along. My dogs sit at my feet on the back deck as I sip coffee and we watch the birds have their breakfast as the sun rises.

I have not written for many months. Although I don’t consider myself a writer by trade, I am disappointed in myself for missing out on writing about my experiences. Sometimes just the act of writing helps process events. I have had many experiences and insights about life that were good and showed growth and possibly a new way around things. I should have written about those important life changes. But writing to the general public in a transparent way doesn’t always seem to fit the bill when you feel vulnerable. It’s too hard. The flip side is, I regret not getting things down on paper because insights that come from difficult experiences can get lost in the shuffle quickly. I wanted to hold onto those insights a little while longer. I wanted to explore them and share them. I admonish myself for not writing about them, because it could have helped someone else.

You get the lesson or the insight, and instantly you feel jazzed that you got it, and at the same time relieved that life can go on as normal. Getting that normalcy back into your life always feels like another sort of elation. Humans rely so heavily on habit to feel secure, and I’m right there along with everyone else. After the difficulty you were facing ends and the smoke clears—the moment it is all freshest in your mind—you don’t want to sit and write about it because it might break the spell. It’s too close to your heart. You feel like holding your cards close to your chest a little longer because you feel tender. But you feel like you have a great secret and can still feel that lovely glow of having successfully navigated life.

I also think it can wait till later so I make the mistake of not writing about it at the moment. When later comes, the nuances of how those insights came about are lost and it doesn’t seem all that magical a thing to write about or share.  I regret not having written about things when they happen because I cannot get them back. And those things were part of my life’s path. They seemed important at the time. Creating a daily writing habit will help me process what is going on in my life and bring me to another level of understanding about myself and about life. Even if I don’t share what I write, I know it will benefit me. In a way I get to know myself a little bit better.

But writing has one very important quality that is not readily evident. It can change how you think about yourself, in surprisingly good ways! You might realize you had the strength to do something you thought you couldn’t do. You might be able to see the bigger picture. It’s a great way to get to know the nuances of You. When I start writing something and it’s in draft mode, I feel like there is a carbon copy of me saying “I got your back”. Isn’t that worth the effort of creating a new habit?

I may not post every day, or even every week, but you can bet I will be writing every day! I hope this encourages others to write, even if it is a private journal. This is such a good healing and cleansing and even fun thing to be involved in, for yourself, and possibly for sharing with the world. Until next time my friends…