From the ultimate darkness of the chaos of the ancient cosmos God summoned His Will, focused His Almighty Attention, and created order. Let there be light! And once this pattern of order from chaos was established, it repeated itself ad infinitum throughout the galaxy and throughout time. Order follows chaos, chaos follows order. Life emerges from the primordial ooze. Light emerges from darkness. Represented by the Tower card in the deck of the Tarot, chaos strikes quickly and decisively, some might say majestically. In the eye of the storm is the place of the numinous. The Wheel of Fortune has turned and the structures of our lives crumble until order is again returned.
This is a fancy way of saying that we’re making some progress here on many levels. But it is interesting to stand back and observe our lives through the lens of our ultimate goal of long distance sailing. Although we have been focused on getting the engine in Andromeda, I have tried to allow myself to kind of float down the river of this winter without fighting the current too much. I mean, when you have a boat hauled out during the winter, things just take longer. You can’t do anything about it, so why fight with it? Let it be. Because all things, even this winter, must pass. The light will return, dispelling the darkness.
And order is slowly but surely emerging on S/V Andromeda. Mike is meeting with the mechanic again tomorrow and will have a report for you when he returns, but suffice to say he’s installed the cockpit floor and the steering pedestal. He was decisively pleased with all the organized bits and pieces and how easily he found the right bolts for that floor. You can see he’s filled some holes with epoxy, which will take its own sweet time hardening in this cold weather.
At the same time, my professional life has taken an interesting turn that is related to this whole order/chaos theme; this pattern of light and dark, of winter and spring, of storms and calms, and how it relates to our long term goal of sailing. We have, at the most, 3 years before we cut those dock lines and have a party, not necessarily in that order. Between now and then we continue to chip away at our land based ‘contracts’. Things such as leases and mortgages do not have their place in our plans; at least that’s our current thinking.
So recently my office building was repossessed by the bank, effectively making my 3 year lease null and void. I was suddenly removed from the comfortable knowledge that I was secure in that space until we sailed away. But I saw this as an opportunity to go to a month-to-month lease where I would be able to cut loose as soon as Mike is able to get out from under Boeing’s thumb. While everyone else in the building was moving out, I figured I would stay in my office because I loved it. The space was beautiful, filled with light, and very comfortable and affordable. These things are important to me, and they set the tone for sessions with clients. I didn’t want to move all my furnishings, only to have to move them again when I retire. And I certainly didn’t want to get into another lease situation at another location and have to build up a practice again.
So I was going to stay put. But this week, very suddenly, just like the Tower card in the Tarot deck, things fell apart completely. I became very concerned about the security of the building and, as I am leaving for Scotland for two weeks on Monday (to visit our Claire) and was getting no response from the attorney handling the building, I felt no choice but to move out. (There were lots of things happening in the background in terms of the building, but the security issues pushed me over the edge.) On Wednesday I began packing my things, but I had no place to go. It was the oddest feeling; this precipitous leave-taking. I went through the motions of packing up without feeling much of anything. When clients asked where I was going I just had to say, ‘I don’t know. I’ll figure it out and let you know.’
The stress was enormous. I have a full practice and I would be leaving for vacation without knowing where I would be meeting with clients when I returned. Sleepless nights followed. Thank you, Ambien or I would have been a zombie. After 25 years of practicing, this was how it was going to end? Somehow, I felt a little bitter about that. And I absolutely had to find a way to finish what I had started with the clients I have. One does not abandon one’s clients in mid-stream, at least not without some kind of closure.
It looked like I might have to set up a home office. Um. No. I really, really didn’t want to do that, even though our house would handle it. Another idea was to have the office on Andromeda, an idea I have toyed with for years (even before we bought that boat). However, she’s still in Astoria and it will be months before we can move her safely here. I felt like the bricks and mortar of my professional ‘self’ had been hit by a hurricane.
This is what chaos feels like; like a maelstrom with me in the center. An interesting thing about being in stressful, chaotic times is that the stress of those times prevents you from really thinking clearly. It’s hard to make decisions logically and deep inside there is a place that feels completely calm and almost detached from the situation. It’s like the outer ‘self’ is freaking out, but the inner ‘Self’ is just surfing the wave. And maybe we are meant to notice that; to experience the separation of ‘self’ and ‘Self’. So I end up following my gut in the end, after hemming and hawing and ‘what if’-ing all over the place. In the end, the gut speaks. Or maybe it’s the gods. Or the One God.
All I know is that on Thursday I was driving downtown in Tacoma, on my way to the grocery store on 6th Avenue to buy some chicken. I passed a business that I hadn’t remembered was there. It’s a yoga center but also has art spaces and offers a lot of other kinds of esoteric things that are right up my alley. It’s owned by a Social Worker/therapist. I thought about it all the way to the store. Then I couldn’t get it out of my head. I found myself wondering if they had office space. I called and left a message and within 12 hours got a text and an invitation to come and tour the facilities. The minute I walked in, I knew it was going to be fine. In short, I now have another office that is very close to my old one, fully furnished, with a view of Commencement Bay. It is for rent by the hour. No leases, no deposits, no contracts. I can walk away at any time. And I will make new friends there. Bonus! As I wind my practice down in preparation for sailing, I will pay less and less for the same space. The name of the building: Good Karma Center for Joy. No kidding. That’s the real name. For now, it is perfect.
Finding this space so quickly leaves me reeling a little bit from the lessons learned: that there are many beautiful spaces in the world; that what I need will be provided for me even if I haven’t thought of it before; that if I can accept the chaos of a storm, it will pass and order will be reinstated. And when things like this happen, I know we are on the right path. When things fall into place without struggling, without having to overcome barriers I’ve created myself, then all is well in the Universe and there is momentum.
So I’m getting all the rest of my furniture moved out tomorrow. I’ll be able to dispose of what I don’t want or need, donate some to the new space, and then I’ll be ready to close down the practice quickly and easily when it’s time. Or move it onto the boat if I choose to do so.
To top off all these messages of ‘you are doing the right thing, don’t worry’ that I’ve been getting lately, I went to the Women on the Water seminar today in Seattle and connected with several women who belong to a private Facebook page for women boaters. It’s called Women Who Sail and if you are a reader and a boater (power or sail) and a woman and would like to join, contact me and I’ll send you an invite. It’s a great group of women and there is a huge wealth of knowledge and experience in the group. (Sorry, guys. We love you’ll have to take your chances on Cruiser’s Forum.) I love it that my circle of friends in the boating world is expanding. Plus I won a 200$ gift certificate for new custom dock lines! Wowza! Could it be any more clear? We’re totally doing this sailing thing! Bring it on!
*So the one place where I am having a little more trouble surfing the wave is in the world of my computer, which continues to cause me agony in the photo department with its Picasa issues and missing files of some kind causing the problems logging in to Google so I can upload my photos to the web in postable format. Before it crashed, I had it working perfectly. Ugh. Sorry, Lee. These photos were taken with my phone. Shudder.