It’s a very quiet morning here in Truchas, NM. I made eggs and toast and coffee and settled in to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Over the last fifteen years in particular, I’ve been simplifying my life—not all at once, but little by little, cutting away what was superfluous to me. I know I wouldn’t have been able to move, comfortably, from my corporate life in Seattle directly to how I live now, here in the mountains of northern New Mexico. It was necessary to take it a step at a time, peeling the proverbial onion, as they say.
It was not a dream of mine to live such an isolated life out here in the country, away from even the “downtown” area of this tiny village I call home. I never imagined the depth of silence that is mine every single day; nor did I envision nights so dark that the stars form a thick blanket overhead. I didn’t realize that, not only COULD I dwell within this solitude but that, for me, it is an actual requirement—one it has taken me years to discover and understand. Stripping away the exterior noise of the usual urban life, much of the stimulus of my busy past, has allowed me the peace to explore my own interior; to develop a satisfying relationship to self.
Reading this passage this morning struck me, “It was strange to awake in utter silence… He turned his head and looked at his wristwatch on a stool next to the bed.. It was 7:08—he had never been much of a morning person, and it used to be hard for him to wake up without having at least two alarm clocks. Today he had woken all by himself, and he even felt rested… He was suddenly amused at his situation. Kalle Blomkvist—on a research trip in the back of beyond.” I understand this. I’ve never slept so deeply nor so well as I do here. I am amused all the time at my life “in the back of beyond.”
But it wasn’t until a young friend visited recently that I saw, really SAW, how remote my life is. He wanted to buy a bottle of wine on the way to a friend’s house for dinner, but there are no shops here: no grocery, no liquor store, no coffee house, no patisserie, no news-stand, gym, restaurant, no night life. And I saw, through his eyes, just how much I’ve trimmed away from the old life I used to live.
I realized the choices I’ve made, while perfection to me, are definitely not what most people would choose. When my mother came to visit and we walked out across the property in our PJ’s one morning, carrying mugs of coffee, me so proud of what I’d created for myself, she said, “Tell me again what it is you like about this place.”
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that, as connected as we all are in our humanity, we are all also each individuals. This life I’ve spent a lifetime carving out for myself is not for everybody. Each and every one of us has to suss out what works for us, what makes us happy. And it’s not a slam-dunk figuring it out for most of us. It takes trial and error, and it usually takes risk.
I know some of you have always known what you want in your lives. I’ve forever envied that. But, for many of us, our truths are mysteries that require detective work, some process—often a lifetime—to uncover. Whoever you are, whatever it is, I wish it for you—the deep knowing of finally finding what resonates within you, what brings you peace, what makes your heart sing, even if it isn’t what others may recognize. To recognize yourself within yourself is the gift, I think. I wish that for all of us.
Love to you all,