Transitions and the Struggle with NOW

by Kee Kee on June 3, 2011

in Arkansas,Change,Healers,Hot Springs,Texas

Road Trip Wall Art

No one said it was going to be easy.  And it hasn’t been.  I’ve been vacillating between emotional highs about finally making positive changes in my life and emotional lows about leaving behind the people and places I love in Los Angeles.  I haven’t yet found that sweet spot of balance in between the two extremes.  In short, I’ve been a bit of a basket case.  I mean really, after years of feeling that LA was infusing my life with toxicity, it was a shock to find myself mourning the loss of my Southern California beach life a mere 3 weeks after becoming a Houston resident.  My lowest point came when THAT Guy found me sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing as I tried to reassemble a pole shower caddy that had come crashing down on me.  Seriously, I see now that my reaction was a bit out of proportion to the perceived crisis of my spilled shampoo and loofah on the tile floor.  Yet sometimes that’s what happens.  Sometimes, in my futile quest to always prove to myself that life is all sunshine and lollipops, I let things build up to the point where they end up exploding inappropriately when triggered by the most mundane thing.  Yes, I’ve lived the cliché of almost breaking up with a man over him not putting his dishes away.  But that isn’t what happened this time around.  What happened was THAT Guy sat down on the floor next to me, looked into my eyes and compassionately said “I’m worried about you.”  He didn’t break up with me and he didn’t get angry, he just said he understood.  He’s the one who pointed out to me that my life has been a whirlwind for 10 months now and I haven’t given myself time to sit still, process and just be.  I spent 5 months driving around the country, then immediately dove head first into packing up my apartment, renting a U-Haul, and then introducing my parents to THAT Guy the evening before the four of us drove for 3 solid days across country to my new home of Houston.  Houston, a place where I knew two people.  Two.  And one of them was THAT Guy.

I suppose it’s in my overachiever blood to want things to happen NOW.  I want to find my new tribe of friends in Houston…NOW.  I want to know how I’m going to make a living…NOW.  I want the changes that have finally started in my life to transition me to a place of contentment…NOW.  And I want to know if THAT Guy really is the one for me…NOW.  I’m so busy wanting things to happen NOW that I’m stuck living in an imagined future without taking time to enjoy the now of the present moment.  All of these things take time.  It’s a process, and I’m clearly in transition with every part of my life.  I’ve felt for months that a shift was beginning to happen at a very deep level with respect to who I am and how I live my life.  That shift is ongoing.  It’s unsettling because I can’t define what is happening.  Sometimes I feel as if I’m going mad.  Intellectually I know that the solid path to contentment is to live in the present and to stop trying to figure out the future.  Yet putting that knowledge into practice can seem downright impossible when one’s life is as unstable as mine has been over the past two years.  Perhaps that’s why I haven’t stopped yearning for the road.  The quiet time alone driving for hours upon hours is very healing to me and silences a lot of the irrelevant and unproductive chatter in my head.  Meditation and lap swimming help me in much the same way, but the open road brings something magical to the mix.  In fact, the road has become so special to me that I created a road trip wall of art made up of the license plate art I purchased in the desert on the last night of my road trip, 2 rusty license plates from New Mexico, a piece of art from my visit at the American Gothic House, and my California license plate which I removed when I put new Texas plates on Princess.

Kee Kee and Roy Rivers (his shirt matches the bluebonnets!)

Had I not made the decision to move to Houston, I most likely would have stayed on the road for a few more months.  I’m finding the best way to ease myself into my new life off the road is to keep road tripping, if even for only small weekend trips.  A month after my move to Houston THAT Guy and I loaded up Princess with our weekend bags and the dogs and headed to Ennis, Texas.  My friend Roy Rivers, the recording artist I met during my 5 weeks in Hot Springs Arkansas, was headlining the Bluebonnet Festival so we road-tripped to spend some time with him.  I started out the weekend not knowing that the bluebonnet is the Texas state flower (and not even knowing what the flower looked like, although I surmised it would be blue), and ended the weekend romping through a field of the flowers with the dogs.

The jockey in this horse bathtub played the jockey in “Secretariat”

Then, 2 weeks ago, Yoda and I took a solo trip back to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Out of all the stops I made during my road trip, Hot Springs is the one that really began to breath life back into me.  I’ve felt the call to return to Arkansas from the day I left last February.  When I heard that Starr Fuentes, the curandera who adopted me for 5 weeks when I felt so broken and alone, was hosting a concert with Steven Halpern, one of the most well-known and talented new age musicians in the world, I knew I had to be there.  Hot Springs once again delivered what I needed.  I soaked in the mineral waters, hiked in the mountains, made new friends at the annual decorated bathtub races down bathhouse row, filled up three 7-gallon water jugs with spring water to take back to Texas, and reconnected with many of the people whom earned a permanent place in my heart earlier this year.

Once again I found myself not wanting to leave Hot Springs when it was time to go.  Yet at some point during the 9 hour drive back to Houston I found myself eager to get home.  Home.  Curiously Houston, or at least the 5 mile radius that surrounds my house, has started to feel like home.  In two short months I’ve already met four amazing women whom I’m excited to call my friends.  I’ve also landed some unexpected creative consulting work.  I’m enjoying my daily checks on the first cucumber and zucchini starting to grow in my new vegetable garden.  And of course, Houston is where THAT Guy lives.  At this point I can’t imagine Houston will be my forever home, yet for now, well, it’s becoming my NOW home.  And I take comfort in the fact that having a NOW home brings me one step closer to getting through this transitional period in my life.

Kee Kee, Yoda and Oliver in a field of bluebonnets

Read me on The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-buckley/

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{ 8 comments }

christian June 3, 2011 at 2:49 am

Nothing else like living on the road for an extended time… so nitty gritty and unpredictable. I traveled for 3 months from FL to CA camping etc and it was an adjustment when I returned…a completely different frame of mind to settle back down into a routine.

I like your writing. I hope you find peace and prosperity wherever you are.

Kee Kee June 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Hi Christian,
I’m meeting more and more people who have taken similar journeys…and likewise struggled with integrating themselves back into the world of muggles. 🙂 Thank you so much for your well wishes.

Kee Kee

Randy June 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Christine,

A few years ago I read a novel and came across this line that stopped my breath: “He had spent his life living for the promise of the future. Now he was grasping for a past beyond his reach.” My first thought was, “Damn. That’s me.” My second thought was, “Now what?” I found an answer in forgiveness — for myself. It’s easy to pummel ourselves for not giving ourselves over to the moment — or moments. However, I found that if I wanted to move forward with gratitude and contentment, I need to forgive and let go. It’s not easy. Especially if you think your life should be, or should have been a story for the ages. (Me)<——Nutshell.

Christine, the fact is, for most of us, there's more time than we think there is to realize a cherished dream or two. From reading your columns, it sounds like your striving to find a balance between your wanderlust (I share this trait) and domestic contentment. There is time to figure it out– and though we can't live atop the four winds, neither are we bound like stone. But for NOW, who knows what wonderful moments await in Houston?

Best wishes!

Kee Kee June 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Randy,

So beautifully put. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – and by doing so, for inspiring me!

Kee Kee

T June 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Hi Christine,

It’s me, T. Every three years or so, I get completely bored and restless with whatever is going on in my present, and what I do to combat that feeling is throw myself into a situation so foreign to my present that I usually feel for a while like I am walking on quicksand. Like moving to the west coast and then back to the east coast. Like having children. Sometimes to learn how strong and solid you are as a person, you have to do something that scares you to the core. Eventually it helps you learn what you are made of. You can look back and say you survived it. And the more really scary situations you put yourself into and survive, like living in a new place, like starting over, the more little shocks and bumps along the road seem like nothing in comparison. Here’s the thing, I know what you left behind, and it was great, but it WAS toxic, and so it WAS for the best, and so you have made the very best decision to be exactly where you are. Trust in that. Trust that everything is great and that everything will be great because you have made the very best decision. I can say that, because when I moved from L.A. four years ago, I didn’t know I was going to be so happy as I am now, and so glad that I chose to leave when I did. And there are times I wish I could talk to myself in the past, and say “Don’t worry, everything is going to turn out great.” It has for me, it will for you.

T.

Kee Kee June 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

T,

Your story gives me courage – I can totally relate to throwing oneself into something that scares the crap out of you…I’ve done it a few times (most recently with the 5 month road trip and then moving to a city I had only visited once) and I agree that it does help build strength. Here’s to life after Los Angeles! Thanks so very much for sharing.

Kee Kee

Michelle June 12, 2011 at 1:09 am

Kee Kee,

Reading your (and Randy’s) words, I am reminded of myself. I too am on the journey to find me and my purpose. I am of the belief that having peace is a huge part of it. Peace with the past, and peace that God will continue to take care of me. So I am working on living one day at a time. “Be still and know that I am God.” is a verse I repeat in order to work towards that peace. It helps to silence my “brain chatter”. I long to be in places that I feel are peaceful – the mountains, fishing, nature, are some of those places for me. For you, it sounds like it’s alone in your car. I wish you peace and to find the comfort and security in being with those relationships in which you feel loved.

Happy Trails!
Michelle

Kee Kee June 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Hi Michelle,

I’m pretty much convinced that everyone does some big-time soul searching at some point in their lives, and it’s so comforting to know others are going through it at the same time as me. I too long to be in nature, and my long drives in my car inevitably land me in quite places where I can hike or sit and watch the water. It’s these times in particular that I feel that everything will be okay at the end of the day. Good luck on your journey too…and thank you for writing!

Kee Kee

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