Gretchen and I have known each other for seven years and been together for five of those. Our lives intertwined through gyms, crossfit, grief, healing, happiness, synchronicities, convergences and learning how to co-create dreams.
It’s been quite a ride.
During our journey we’ve always been able to tap into dreams together. Places we wanted to go, feelings we wanted to feel, and things we wanted to create.
Gretchen helped open the doors to my own creative abilities, my own imagination beyond fantasy, my own true feelings about living with passion and intention… Every step she walked around me vibrated in ‘You Can’…
I didn’t believe her for a very long time. I didn’t know how to listen. I didn’t know how to make anything ‘Real’.
So, we started together, dreaming and writing out goals with a ‘We Can…’ sentiment.
We Can travel the world: We’ve been to California, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maui, Kauai, Great Britain and Scotland together.
We Can love each other: Who really knows how to do that? We try anyway.
We Can be ourselves: Still discovering. And growing. And being amidst it all.
We Can feel and be free…
Travelling together has always brought us to the same dreaming page, “Where do we want to go?” I’d ask opening the door to all possibility. I felt safe enough to dream with her.
“Where do we want to go next?” G would ask refining the possibility to the context of our lives, in this year, in this moment. Gearing us up to set out goals like guideposts.
I honed in on the possibilities with her and kept trying to dream.
“Everywhere,” I’d say describing the beauties of the rolling seas and spanning clouds of possiblity out before me.
“List it out,” she’d say back, “describe it. The feelings. The details. Wave by wave. Cloud by cloud. We’ll find the answers in there,” with a confidence like the answers to anything she’s ever wanted to know has always been at the top of her fingertips. (This is what inspired drawing and writing my own personal Life Garden).
Traveling the world, being able and mobile rang the truest with my own movements of losing weight. I always and only wanted to feel light enough, free enough, mobile enough to go wherever I needed to, whenever I needed to. Capable enough to be able to Show UP no matter what life called of me.
So, as we started into our first year of living together we moved into a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment with two full garages. Decorating, cleaning, prepping food, leaving home to go to work, then coming back home tired, recovering, took MOST of our time and energy.
‘There has got to be a better way to do this’ we would think exhausted on Saturdays and Sundays… There was no energy left to dream. We found ourselves only looking for escape routes.
I may not have been carrying around 150 extra pounds on my body anymore but I was still carrying it around through physical possessions and an inability to release so many tangible physical things.
After two years in that two bedroom, two bathroom, two garage apartment we downsized into an open studio with one garage. The decision was made in less than a week. Somehow we got our entire apartment into that one garage and that 634 square foot studio.
The closet was still full of clothes we never wore. The garage was still full of boxes that never got opened. But it was all inhabited by a smaller space so it seemed like we were heading in the right direction.
Then Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up your Life came sweeping across the country and of course we did not pay attention for a very long time because admittedly we don’t like to do things just because “Everyone else is doing it”.
This lasted until the weight of our too full studio closet overwhelmed us. Until the weight of our box filled garage stopped us from working out. And lastly until the weight of our “lives” hindered us from truly living alive.
I bought Kondo’s book at New Season’s across the street on a cool Fall day, “Let’s try this honey,” I said as I pulled the fresh sentiments out of a grocery filled paper bag to show Gretchen.
“Ok!” she responded in the same way that she says yes to all of my grand ideas. And while Gretchen is open to try anything there is a ring of truth that sounds different in all of her Ok’s. Sometimes it’s an Ok, yes this might work. Sometimes it’s an Ok, this probably won’t work but I’ll try. And Sometimes it’s an Ok, no this isn’t going to work but I’m willing to see you try…
Today, it was an Ok, Yes! Let’s see together!
So we walked through the book following step by step. We pulled out every item of clothing that we owned and laid it all out on the living room floor. The piles were just as large as if we were still living in our two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. We looked at each other stunned. We had no idea so much stuff was still holding us back.
Throughout The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up it says to take every piece of clothing you own, one by one, hold it in your hands then close to your chest and ask, “Does this bring me joy?”
If the answer is ANYTHING other than YES, then that’s the end of story. It is to be released.
Only keeping the, “Yes, this brings me joy” items.
No to the maybe’s. None of the ‘I might need this’. Or, the So and So gave this to me and because of that ‘I should keep it’ to show that I’m grateful. Or, the toughest, The person who this reminds me of isn’t here anymore and I need this, all of this, to remind me of them…
We spent the rest of that Spring afternoon sitting on the floor, asking the same question of our clothes over and over.
Does. This. Bring. Me. Joy?
A funny thing happens when you only focus on the feeling of actual Joy with things you own and Yes’s to only focusing, keeping, using those things…
We noticed that we were starting to recognize with actual clear consistency what our own personal joy feelings are!
And so we just continued leaning into those joyful feelings as much as we possibly could also acknowledging that we were going to continue to unravel and discover newer and more current versions of these feelings…
We just kept leaning into joy. And we’ve been diligent in our pursuit. Committed and aware, but also open and receptive at the same time. It’s almost like a balancing act of being focused with intention on a goal, but also relaxing and being open to how that goal may shift, move or show up in unexpected ways.
LIKE THIS HOUSE!!!
I never knew that with all of my efforts to show up, to contribute, to dream and develop goals that Life might actually Show Up back. It literally never crossed my mind. So, once we cleared some very full and clogged pathways of joy in our lives like releasing all those unused clothes, donating a lot of boxes from the garage, and only buying stuff that matched the same feeling of joy we’d cultivated through the process then things that we actually wanted and could use just started Showing Up!
It’s almost like these pathways of joy were clogged by the clutter. And so joy was sitting outside knocking on the door to come in, but we were too busy dealing with the clutter to even answer the door! I really had no idea how much brain and heart space could be taken up by material things.
We weren’t even actively looking when this cute cabin popped up. We’d been actively Dreaming about a Home for a couple of years, and then during the last six months we started getting very clear and descriptive of what type of place we’d like to feel and move in.
So, here we are, with a house that exudes joy for us. It encompasses every aspect of living, being mobile, and going out to enjoy and experience life to the fullest. This place, and we’ve had it for less than a week, already opens up so many new opportunities for us!
We are so excited to share this journey with you guys. I love writing about the ride of my life, our life, and the things that we experience. I am so grateful to have such a receptive audience of friends who are willing to listen fully, be inspired, and continue to have a conversation about all the ways to experience joy in their/our lives no matter who they/we are.
Joy belongs to all of us.
We are all capable.
La & G