How We Got Here

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The story of how we came to be first-time parents & first-time homesteaders

in the same year….

 

There I was. After a long journey across the state of Washington, a long day of unpacking the 20 foot Uhaul truck, and a week of organizing our space,  it was finally starting to sink in that this was my new life at least for the next 4 years while I attended naturopathic doctor school at Bastyr University near Seattle.

My morning began (after a restless night of big city sounds and lights streaming in from the 24 hour factory across the street) with the usual first sounds of the garbage truck at 7 am that picks up the cans of trash directly outside our window 7 days a week. The recycling truck would be next. Then the loud piercing sing-song announcing the catering truck to feed the factory workers.

I looked around at the studio with less than 500 square ft. Yes. I had made the most of it….used the move to scale back our possessions and embody our minimalist values, and come up with an ingenious design for a bed that slid under my platform “office and walk-in closet” where I would spend those all-nighters studying human anatomy.

The dog, who was a little crazy from the move and now the tight quarters of sharing a studio apartment with his owners, began whining to be let out which meant dressing and walking down a flight of stairs every time he had to pee. On my way back up I filled a styrofoam cup with the free coffee from the fake espresso maker in the lobby of our apartment building and poured in a little plastic cup of creamer…a brief thought about how far from my ideal this morning ritual was…the styrofoam cup ridiculing my environmental consciousness and the fake coffee and fake creamer taunting my health coach values of “real food” over shelf stable items from the corporate food system. But hey, a medical student living on loans can’t afford to be picky….living by my values would have to wait.

And with that depressing thought my hand darted out to grab a pastry along with my fake coffee…“I’ll need it to make it through my studying”….and so began the day of guilt that would lead to me NOT going to the gym just to spite myself and leave me to my body misery that had just begun to rear its ugly head again after a year of being a food freedom coach.

Back at the apartment, I sat down to my task of studying physics, my last prerequisite class after 4 years of preparing to go to naturopathic school while also running a holistic health coaching practice supporting folks with healthy eating, exercise and (most importantly to my own story) breaking free from emotional eating and body hatred.

I have always been at the top of any academic setting, earning honors at all the best schools including an A+ in my high school physics class. Being the best, succeeding, striving were part of my identity but all the mindfulness and self exploration work I had done in the past few years were starting to cause conflict with this part of me from the past ….my soul was asking me to slow down, be present, live now. The revolution that began brewing during the rock bottom depression I experienced after my dad’s death, which had made me explore what life really was about, was aching to be released.

So I stared at the physics problem with dread and struggle. Who cares how far a ball will fly if shot from a projectile launcher? As a 30 year old woman running her own business, I could think of a million things that would be a more meaningful and worthwhile use of my time than doing 10 problems on this topic.

But this is what you have always wanted…

You have already invested so much time and money in this process…

People are expecting you to do it now…

You just have to get through this one more class…and four more years….and then you can live how you really want to….

Your husband is writing his dissertation anyway, and then will be doing his internship 40 hours a week so you can’t live where we want and live the way you want anyway….so suck it UP!

My husband was struggling too. After 4 years of schooling and counseling, he still had so many hoops to jump through to get three letters after his name: PhD. The research wasn’t what he wanted to do and we were quickly realizing that even though he had a Masters, 4 years of a PhD program and thousands of hours of counseling experience, that was not enough to actually get PAID for a job within the counseling education track so he was still doing all his counseling hours for free.

He had similar thoughts as me…

But this is what others expect of me…

You have already invested so much time and energy in this process…

You just have to get through this next year of dissertation and counseling for free and then 1 more year maybe two of internship.….and then you can live how you really want to….

To escape our reality we would have conversations about our dreams of “someday”...

….land where we could have a retreat center, make a big impact in the world through Revolutionary coaching and counseling, and live a lifestyle of homesteading according to our values….

….a life where we got to spend time to together and choose each day what we wanted to do.

We wanted chickens, and maybe a goat, and a flower garden and a veggie garden. We wanted to collect antiques and together re-purpose them to beautify our property and maybe even rent them out for shabby chic weddings and other events. We wanted community camp outs, farm dinners, and collaborations with other Revolutionary leaders of mindfulness, homesteading, creativity, farming, coaching, business, etc.

But that would all have to wait…until we made enough money, finished the steps of our “pathway”, met the expectations we had put on ourselves, finished what we had started, worked hard to earn the life we wanted.

If the struggle and procrastination I felt studying physics wasn’t enough of a message….

And the binge eating and body battles that were back with a vengeance…..

And the chronic pain I started experiencing about a year ago…

Now as I sat there studying physics, unbearable nausea started washing over me….

And this time instead of hating my body for holding my back, I had a thought that maybe it was seriously rejecting my choices. The conflict between the old me and the old dreams and the old expectations waged war with the new me that kept bubbling up with a possibility of REAL sustaining happiness within myself if I would only just allow myself to align with what I really wanted.

The morning I was supposed to take my first physics test…the ultimate message rang loud and clear. I woke up puking so much I was unable to take the exam. My body is pretty ingenious. She was so sure i was not on a path aligned with my values that it had made me {SURPRISE!} pregnant.

A comical story now but in the moment my husband and I looked at eachother over the “yes you’re pregnant” pee stick, the tiny studio, the full time job and school, with no income and panicked ever so slightly.

Even as highly educated, successful people we were realizing the old american dream of getting the life you want if you work hard just wasn’t a reality in our society anymore…..we saw a crazy busy life of long work hours, never having dinner as a family, no time for vacation, financial stress, and just barely making it through the day….ahead of us. This seemed to be the NORM for parenting these days.

To be honest I cried that day. For a moment I saw all my dreams flying out the window, all I had worked for, the person that I thought I was. AND then I realized that deep inside there was a flutter of excitement because as those old dreams flew out the window, so did the restrictions on who I was and what my path might be. I felt free to actually create the life I wanted NOW.

So after a few of those stay-up-all-night-talking conversations, my husband and I gave ourselves permission.

To live NOW rather than waiting for someday.

To choose our path based on who we are NOW not who we had been or who people thought we should be.

To think WAY OUTSIDE THE BOX on how we can design our life around our values now without having to take all those steps we always thought we had to first.

We decided to give up the PhD and the medical school and amongst severe morning sickness, I scoured the real estate websites for a property that we could afford. Even with all the fear and all the doubts about changing course, when we walked onto our 6 acre sanctuary in Gig Harbor Wa, we both looked at each other and knew it would all work out.  We could feel that the universe was on our side now that we were in alignment with what we really wanted. We saw our baby picking snap peas from our garden, helping mom make pies from the apple orchard, eating dinners on our deck, collecting treasures from the nearby beach, feeding the chickens, picking wildflowers in the meadow, and playing pretend games in the magic forest. We knew that with the low expenses of living here 1 hour from Seattle, we could live a life we couldn’t afford (at least not yet) in Seattle or our hometown of SF bay area. We didn’t have to be stuck in the hamster wheel of modern parenting where you work all day just to support the lifestyle you never get to live or the children you never get to see.

This is where we could live SLOWLY. Have time for spontaneous adventures, trying out new hobbies and passions, traveling to visit family or live costa rica if we so choose.

This is where, we could consciously choose in each moment how we want to feel and what would allow us to feel in alignment with our values.

This is where we could make a living through living the life we really want….

 

6 months after the little pee stick said “yes, a baby is a brewing!” we moved from Seattle to our new home in Gig Harbor. Since then we have been remodelling our home piece by piece, learning to take care of our land, orchard, chickens and planning for the future of organic gardens, wildflower meadows, tiny homes for bed and breakfast glamping, farm dinners, campouts, Revolutionary retreats, and an amazing family and community gathering place.

The other amazing thing is that when I got into alignment, the old struggles with food, body, and exercise disappeared. The procrastination, the guilt for not following through on my actions, the self doubt, the judgement, the periodic depression gone. I realized that any moment we feel struggle is a moment to check in with our alignment. Our struggle is our compass guiding us towards the life that feels fully aligned and where we can be fully expressed.

Today I woke up with my hubby and little Aza to the sounds of birds twittering about in the morning dew. We are now sitting at our kitchen table looking out at our apple orchard and the birds gathering around our bird feeder. My husband is brewing coffee he roasted himself last night which is a new passion he is exploring, and cooking up some eggs from our chickens with some herbs from our garden. It’s a Thursday so I look at my calendar to see which amazing clients I get to have inspiring conversations with after our family breakfast. Ian doesn’t work today so our afternoon is free to explore the beach near our house and go into town for a swim at our gym and a walk along the harbor.

Now this is MY ideal morning. In full alignment with my values.

Yes we have lots of work to do to create our full vision AND yet right NOW, not later, my life and business feels aligned with who I am, the impact I want to make, the life I want to live, and how I want to feel.

Happiness doesn’t happen when we get everything we want or reach some milestone…it simply happens when we feel fully aligned and find a safe “home” within ourselves free of the deep judgement we put on ourselves for the desires we have and our failures at fulfilling expectations.

Many people think of having kids as the time to finally give up dreams, settle down, get practical, and sacrifice the life you really want to be living.

But as my husband and I talked about this little being we were bringing into the world, we realized that the last thing we wanted our baby to grow up seeing was us not living the life we wanted, being in a routine that made us busy and crazy, dreading the job we left her to go to everyday just so we can barely make ends me. We didn’t want to be in constant money stress or time stress.

Yes, people thought we were crazy when we decided Ian wouldn’t finish his PhD after already putting in 4 years in Pullman Wa and being so close to finishing.

Yes people thought we were crazy for breaking our lease, buying a house and moving after we just arrived in Seattle.

Yes people acted sad for me that I wouldn’t be able to go to naturopath school like I always dreamed and doubted my ability to really “make it” with my coaching business.

But isn’t this what being a Revolutionary is all about? Stepping outside the status quo and the beliefs and rules a society is operating under in order to create a new system that brings us more FREEDOM?

We wanted our daughter to see us living the life we want rather than just talking about it as a “someday”. So we opened up ALL possibilities, let go of the rules, and let our hearts lead us into BIG ACTION.

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