Cleaning is my Xanax

I am five days from pulling the great green van away from the house and heading to massive nature to meet the adventure.

In the meantime I’ve been cleaning. And I mean DEEP CLEANING! The kitchen cupboards, the pantry, the refrigerator. Oh, I know I should be preparing for the trip, checking the engine, the electrical connections, filling the water tank for the sink.

But no. I’m cleaning.

It is my Xanax. It calms me in the face of trembling fear.

So, last night I pulled out the big guns – the toothbrush and hot soapy water and got to work on the grit and grease underneath the front chair of Van Go like a dental hygienist scrapes plaque from teeth. As the water turned deep brown with every wipe of the microfiber rag, I felt serotonin flood my system and relaxation set in.

Because, the truth is, this trip is working me over, and I haven’t even gotten to the START line, which is Monday, July 11th.

Flurries of questions crowd my brain at regular moments throughout every day, going something like this:

“Why am I going on this trip? I mean, isn’t it silly? What are you trying to prove, Diane? Are you trying to prove something? Because you know, you don’t have to. You could just stay home and have a pleasant easy summer. On the other hand, once you’re on the road it will ALL be fine, and you will love the parks. You will meet awesome people, see amazing sites, have time to be. Remember, even though you feel alone in this, you aren’t alone. Ever.”

The other channel in my brain wakes me up in the morning with a barrage of things to “remember”:

“Find the bunji cords, get the sticky Velcro, make sure you get the shade issue handled before you go. Should I keep the mechanic appointment? Don’t forget to buy a new cooler. Oh, you have to sew the curtains. Food, think nuts, veggies, ghee, that will go in the cooler.”

It’s endless.

As I clean the van, bringing out the shine of the original yellow paint underneath the front seat, I wonder about rain and cold, and what I’ll do in the middle of the night when I have to pee with “weather” out there. I wonder about the bears and bear spray, and how it works.

When I pause in the midst of all of the logistical preparations, and the burst of doubts, and take a deep breath and remember why I’m going, I feel the flood of excitement. I can’t wait to stand in the great Cathedrals of our country – the National parks – and have my jaw gape open in awe at the beauty created by nature over millions of years, with no help from any human.

When I remember this I am certain I go to have space and time to sit with my bigger questions in life, like “Who am I? What IS this life really about? Why do we suffer? What brings deep joy? What is love? Really? Why do we get caught in fear like a mouse snapped up in a trap? Where does fear come from? And why is it as powerful as a tidal wave knocking down sand castles?”

Once I’m sitting behind the big steering wheel in the van, I will be in the river and I will swim with myself as the only one who can save me with my tools - my breath, my yoga mat, my altar, a good sense of humor, a good book and some art supplies. I am ready to put down the mantle of fear.

I am going to gather up trust and faith in my basket. I am going to embrace the mystery about how it will all work out, where I will go, what I will do, who I will be at the end of this journey. I go open to being a tumble weed on the road, ready to embrace the mystery where I will go, how it will all work out and who I will be at the end of this journey. I go to gather up trust and faith in my vessel.





Dog Walk Diaries #5: Find your Adventure

They lift their wet black noses to sniff for adventure. Is there a coyote out there, a rabbit? Where’s the deer that left droppings? What new path can I take?

They’re always finding something along the way  -  a skull of some unknown animal, a set of teeth, sometimes they find snacks. You know, the doggie snacks that make us all say “EEEwwwww.”

Their wild abandon reminds me that life IS an adventure. They remind me to say “YES” and to explore something new – find a new trail, stop and look at what’s around me, pause to see if there are any magical clues to the questions I’m asking right now. They remind me that life is about fun and play.

The book Sidewalk Oracles, by Robert Moss, speaks of the magic of life, the synchronicities and how the spirit world is working with us all of the time. We simply have to stay open and alert. This book came to me because of an amazing magical encounter of re-meeting a friend from 15 years ago at a painting workshop last Fall. She just mentioned this book and my soul said, "Read THAT!"

Robert Moss reminds us to soften our (ego) grip on life and to "read" the signs like the Shamans and the wise ones do. When I drop into the flow of the mystery and let go of my rigid ideas of “how I think things should be,” or “how I want things to be,” (ego) I notice I am SO much happier. I notice that everything seems easier and I’m no longer banging my head against a wall to “try to make something happen.” I begin to FLOW with life and what it has in store for me.

The biggest clue is to stay true to my own happiness. DO what makes me feel happy and joyful.

So, I rely on the dogs to remind me of this….in those moments when I forget!

When I get too serious, or get sucked back into my rigid ways of thinking “No, I HAVE to do this NOW,” Benji or Zara comes along with a ball in his or her mouth to tell me it’s time to play, to get out there and find a new perspective.

I hope you have a fun filled day. Let me know what you find out there on your adventures!