Present Tense

Going home…

The new phase of my life is in play.  It’s been simmering, bubbling and percolating for over a year.  What began as a spiritual quest eventually morphed into a shift in my priorities, which then turned into assessing what I really want from the remainder of my life and how and where I want to live it.

My husband and I made that decision several months ago, but as with everything, it took time to unfold.  We had the vision, but had to lay the day to day groundwork in order for that vision to come to fruition.

It has.  We are moving to northern Michigan to the 10 acre farm that I bought on a whim over a year ago.  We are simplifying, downsizing, hippie-fying.  I am going home.

The process has been joyful and wrenching.  Exhilarating and terrifying.  Ying/yang. 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows.  Changes involve these kinds of feelings.  Heck, all of life is pleasure and pain.

Michigan is where I grew up  It’s where my 92 year-old parents still reside and our new home is within a day’s drive for most of my husband’s family.  It was time to re-establish our family ties geographically and emotionally.  We missed that closeness.

I’ve written about how I skated out the door at 19 for college and career and never looked back.  I had things to do.  Well, I did them and now it’s time to circle back.  I think that most of us never really get the native dirt out from under our nails.

It’s a great lesson for me to look back over the past few years and see where the turning points may have been.  The journey that began as a way to cope with my alcoholism has led me here.  When you take the time for some introspection and exploration, it’s amazing what you may find if you’re listening and seeing and feeling.  Try and be open to what bubbles up.

This blog has been an integral part of the process.  I look back on past posts and see the turning points; the signposts of what was to come.  Writing has been invaluable and your feedback and encouragement is greatly appreciated.

So, that is all for now.  More to come.  Probably very soon.  And I’m stoked.

June 17, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 27 Comments

Raising Hell: Overrated

“Keep Calm and Carry On?  No, thanks.  I’d Rather Raise Hell and Change the World”


A friend posted that on Facebook the other day and it got me to pondering.  Don’t we need both types of people in the world?  The calm, deliberate types and the passionate, raise hell types?

For most of my life, I’d fall into the latter category, but I’m under no illusion whatsoever that I’ve done anything to “change the world”.  As a radio host and writer, I’ve certainly had a platform to exert some influence or at the very least piss a lot of people off, but true “world changers” are in short supply.

I admire those who can remain calm and clear-headed; who can see both sides of an issue/situation/disagreement and take their time to weigh in. They are typically much more measured and wise than those of us who mistake our passion and intensity for action.  I’ve lost count of all of the quick judgements and decisions that I’ve made relying on my impatient intensity.  In nearly all instances, taking my time would have saved me some trouble.

Sadly, we seem to be in an era where measured, moderate responses and opinions are derided.  Expressing empathy or exhibiting the ability to see both sides of an issue is deemed “squishy” or even worse “moderate” (when did that become dirty word?).  Passion certainly has it’s place in life and can fan the flame of our humanity, but it needs to be balanced with a bit of humility.

So, when I read a quote like that I cringe a bit.  It’s very either/or.  Why can’t we meld the two?  Ghandi changed the world without raising hell, as did Jesus and countless others that I’m too ignorant to name right now. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks for me.

There seems to be a cultural imperative that anger equals passion; that ‘raising hell’ will somehow change the world or at least your little corner of it.  I’m not so sure that’s true.  In fact, I tend to think that the best way to change the world is to change ourselves. I think we all need a bit more introspection and a little less ‘hell raising’; particularly if your idea of changing the world involves angry rants or posts on the internet.

I’ve been on a quest for truth for a few years now.  It began as I searched for a religious or spiritual path.  What I’ve discovered is that many of my beliefs, both political and spiritual, were just not true; they didn’t allow other viewpoints in.  I was closed off to the vast amount of  knowledge and wisdom that’s available to all of us.

So, we’re back to humility.  Admitting that what you thought was true, just isn’t.  I think that we would all do well to critically examine our political, religious, financial, spiritual or whatever beliefs.  You owe it to yourself as an evolving, growing human.  You may find that you’re raising hell for something that upon further investigation is complete crap.  You may be expending a ton of physical, psychic and emotional energy defending a position that is ridiculous.

So, what is it? “Keep Calm and Carry On, Raise Hell and Change the World” or sit quietly and open yourself to other ways of seeing and reacting?  You’re in charge.

November 10, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Let’s hear it for INTROSPECTION!!

Life is a whirlwind, isn’t it?  Time sweeps us along, even though we may not  feel like being swept.  We feel over-scheduled and overwhelmed, leaving no time or space to think or plan or just ponder our lives.

I’m a committed ponderer and have been for sometime, particularly since I stopped drinking.  I went inside to see what the root of my abuse might have been and even though I really never found the answer to that (probably genetics and unhappiness, mostly) I did begin to uncover some other tidbits.  It’s interesting that once you allow (or force) yourself to be still,  you begin to achieve some clarity about your beliefs and your motivations.

I’ve been pondering and seeking what I want the next phase of my life to look like.  I’m not a settled person.  I have a strong desire to move; physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually, philosophically.  I tend to be restless and even though I’m a bit of a homebody and I do enjoy my routine, I’m ready to move on; to shake it up .

I’ve been in restless mode for over a year, now.  It probably began around the time I turned 50.  There’s something about realizing that you’ve been walking on earth for a half century that causes a reassessment of your life.  You start hearing about people dying in their 50s and 60s and it can be horribly depressing. On the other hand, it can be a kick in the ass to start facing our own mortality and the reality that we really don’t have all the time in the world.

The key is to stop and listen; whether through solitude or meditation or yoga or art or long runs or walks, you have to listen to yourself.  That means leaving the iPod behind while you exercise, sitting on the porch/deck/patio alone with your thoughts and no distractions.  Writing until you start to peel away the layers of the onion that is your consciousness. What is it that you seek?  What is it that is making you restless/anxious/emotional/angry?

I’m as guilty as anyone.  I have a difficult time putting down my iPhone or iPad.  The TV is on way too much, as is the radio in the car.  It’s a way to NOT deal with whatever is eating at me, nagging at me, bumming me out.  I must turn off the outside noise and listen to the inside wisdom.  We all have that inner wisdom, if we are brave enough to hear it.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past two years of the “Jane listening tour”:  I intuitively know what I need and it will be revealed to me if I’m open and willing to act.

For instance, I’ve wanted a place in northern Michigan, near Traverse City for as long as I can remember.  Growing up in southern Michigan, my family would go “up north” most summers.  My husband and I have visited the area several times and dreamed of owning a few acres, near a lake.  We figured that the chances of finding a property that we could afford and that met my very specific criteria were slim.

And yet, we are now the owners of a beautiful 10 acre farm in that area.  The story of how that came to be is completely random and implausible.  This opportunity appeared out of nowhere and I let it in.  I could have easily said, “oh, this is too hard or too complicated or it’s too far away or too impetuous or too expensive or too irresponsible”.  All valid excuses to not move toward what I knew in my heart was my destiny.

I was open to it.  Maybe just for a week or a day or whatever, but I leaped.  Because I was listening.  I took the time to allow that which I was seeking, to be revealed to me.  I knew that I had to act on this opportunity because I had prepared myself.

I know this all sounds kind of airy-fairy, metaphysical, right?  But, I’m not sure how else to explain or verbalize the intense sense of clarity and “rightness” that I felt. I know without a doubt that my commitment to turning off the outside world and listening to ME is the reason.  Too many of us feel guilty for taking time away from all of our ‘obligations’ to find the time and inclination to listen to ourselves.  But, we have to.  It’s imperative for your life going forward, not only for you, but for those you love and serve.  You have GOT to find you and when you do, LISTEN…..

June 2, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , | 5 Comments


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