Letting my heart lead the way, changing my mind

Noah investigating the, "Peacock with very interesting praying god (?) riding on its back" statue that I recently found at Goodwill

We  spent a wonderful Easter with Tom and Lindsay (my oldest son and his girlfriend) and her family. Tom moved back to the northeast a year ago, and this is the first time, in many years that we’ve lived within driving distance of each other.  On Sunday, it struck me that if Jack and I moved to the seacoast, we’d be 4, (instead of 2 1/2), hours away from them…. It was as if a curtain was drawn back and the options on the blackboard were:

You can live by the ocean and see it everyday, and visit Tom 4 or 5 times a year, or  You can live closer to him and go to the ocean 4 or 5 times a year.

The answer felt so obvious that I was a bit awe-struck. I was talking with my good friend Jon yesterday about out potential move, (and how we had changed direction and were now looking at Middlebury, VT instead of the seacoast) and he said, “That sounds right. Don’t ever move for a view, because after a while, you don’t even see it.” His words went right to my heart. Simple words spoken with such clarity.

I was 22 years old when Tom was born. I thought that I was an adult. As I look back over those years, I see how “un-present” I was, and I’ve done my best to accept the past, make amends where needed, and embrace the life that is now mine. But at 56, and with this opportunity to re-enter his life in this new way, and at this stage of my life; knowing more fully who I am (and having my priorities much clearer), my heart knows the right move.

“I reserve the right to change my mind.” Charles Fillmore (co-founder of Unity)

35 thoughts on “Letting my heart lead the way, changing my mind

  1. Oh please DO seriously consider moving to Midd! I live 20 minutes south, near Fern Lake, and it has been my closest town for 32 years. Not that I am predjudiced or anything…..but it is the perfect combination of town & gown. Lots of offer (except cheap housing!).

  2. Mary, I look forward to my morning ‘mail’ and wondering what new and creative things you come up with. It’s like opening the curtain on my day in a very nice way. You begin my day with a smile. Jon is right in one sense. Our landscape often becomes the wallpaper of our life. We look but do not always see. However, I am here to tell you that at my age (early seventies) and living in the country where I’ve longed to be since a child, that my view over my ten acres of land never fails to bring peace to my soul and is a feast for my eyes. So, your view, wherever it is, hopefully will be what you want to look at. As to staying near children in our older age, I’ve found my adult kids have lives of their own and that being one or two hours away from them is okay; they’re busy. I have a friend who lives in Sarasota, Florida and she lives not far from her daughter and family. She has her grandchildren in her life all the time and I feel how lucky she is to have this and yet, it isn’t part of my life. Growing into older age, I’ve found, leaves many of us with insecurities as to where to place ourselves…where will we go as we move into the next stage of our lives. I have plan A, plan B and plan C and none may work out and I’m mindful that there is a higher power than me who will determine how and when and where I do go in the end.

    Sandy P in Canada

    • I love that Sandy! Plan A, B and C! Like Mary’s quote for today, gives you options and the right to change your mind! Always love your comments. It’s so much fun to hear where everyone lives – seacoast to seacoast and everywhere in between!

  3. Absolutely! Amen to Shelagh’s comments!

    I retired 7 years ago moving from New York State to Vermont to be near my daughter and her family. People said we were crazy! “do you know what the weather is like in Vermont”???? they asked. Everyone else was moving SOUTH. The couple whose house we purchased couldn’t wait to move to South Carolina, which was a move away from family members but toward warmth. Now they miss being near their family.

    I have not regretted an instant of this decision, having enjoyed the company of children and grandchildren for seven precious years!

    Changing your mind on the basis of new information is I believe a sign of good sense, flexibility and maturity. (And such a move would bring you closer to my neck of the woods which would be lovely for me)

    Go for it!

    Love from Fran

  4. All of us “Vermonters” are chiming in with happy smiles on our face! Mary and Jack in Vermont! Perfect! Middlebury is one of my very favorite places to go and I do almost every other week! Great co-op there, town built on the river…the energy there is just wonderful. Shelagh, we’ve probably passed each other on Main St. at some point! Perhaps Fran, too! Two things come to mind this morning…the Garth Brooks song with the line that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers (leading you away from the sea and toward your son and the lake), and that sometimes not taking action, opens the space for the universe to present the better action…as I am learning from you again and again! And…Christmas in Middlebury is just delightful!

  5. “I see how “un-present” I was, and I’ve done my best to accept the past, make amends where needed, and embrace the life that is now mine.”

    i love this line. and have been trying to find a way to do this. the past is the past. and it is very hard to forget and “be present” but i’m working on it!

    I too love the ocean and can understand the pull of wanting to be there every day but going a few times a year really does make it special.

    Have a wonderfully “present” day!

  6. I love keeping the options open. I had a friend ask once when she thought I was making a risky move in a relationship, “What if it doesn’t work out?” I answered, “Then I make another decision.”

  7. The sea will always be there waiting for you, but it won’t love you back. As someone who is always drawn to places and scenery, I understand the lure and the reward of the view. But from what we’ve learned of you, Mary, it seems so fitting to choose the loving relationship of your son. For some reason, what pops in my mind is the difference between climiate and weather: if you care moving to a new location, you are interested in teh climate; if you are vacationing there, you are interested in the weather. I think you’ve chosen climate over weather.

    • “The sea will always be there waiting for you, but it won’t love you back.”….wow Charlotte. As I read your words, I filled up with tears….just beautiful

  8. Oh my goodness, I’m not advocating the choice of scenery above family, but I have to say, your friend’s advice doesn’t apply in my case. I live on the shores of Lake Erie, and walk the beach almost every day. I never cease to let in the combination of sky and water and sand: the changing interplay of colours; the sounds which vary from the gentle bright lapping of the water to the heavy pounding of the waves; the smells of wood stoves heating nearby cottages and the fecund aroma of the water in Spring. I’m grateful for the beauty of this area every single day.

  9. Sounds like a good plan to me! Personally don’t think I could handle the cold and the snow. But I guess you’re used to it. I’ve heard that clothing is optional up there. Is this really true?

    • If someone opted out, (from wearing clothes), they wouldn’t last long here during the winter!

  10. Love all the input, as usual! The wonderful thing about decisions is that we can always change them. I know where ever you end up Mary it will be the place you were meant to be (or you can always move! ) :‹). My husband never liked what he called a “captive view”. Me, on the other hand loved one! I wanted to live where we could see the lovely Ruby Mountains from our window and even though I have moved once since being here we have always had a house with the Ruby Mountains in full view and, 20 years later, I have never tired of looking at them. I do enjoy reading about all the different areas we live in and how much they are treasured. BTW, it’s snowing here this morning!

  11. Mary, as always, thank you for opening the window to you heart and inviting us to look with you. Your choice to live closer to your son warms my heart. It took the death of my best friend and husband to deepen my conviction that our relaitonships are what it’s all about. I will let a lot go time and energy-wise to spend time with a friend, be with family, etc.
    As for the view, well, in my 70-year journey I have found that no matter where I’m living~~The beauty of my environment, the view, all of it~~ depends so much on what I bring to it. And you, Mary, bring so much with you that even the ocean would gladly honor, even if it only sees you 4-5 times a year.

    • What a lovely blessing for my journey Helen!…thank you for your powerful story.

  12. Helen, that is a really beautiful thought -” that the beauty of the environment, the view of it all depends so much on what we bring to it.” I guess you could be in the most spectacular resort on the Riviera, but if your heart was in turmoil or you were on the outs with your partner, what would it matter? Mary, thank you for this post. Once again, words to ponder today and comments from the flock to savor. My younger son Rafa left this morning for a 3 1/2 week tour in Asia, ending in Dubai of all places, with the band Avenged Sevenfold. He does all their videography on tour and later edits it all for DVD’s etc. It’s quite a trip – I have never been to any of the places and my Mama-Heart is a bit anxious for all the travel, security, and safety. Doesn’t help that he carries on his person thousands of dollars of expensive video equipment. So may I ask the flock to keep Rafa safe in your prayers these next few weeks? Thank you so much! I always say these words to him when bidding him farewell, “Angels all around you”. I do believe they are.

    • Rafa will be in my thoughts and prayers for a beautiful, joy-filled and safe journey

      • Susan, I too, echo your concerns and prayers that youd son may be kept safe from harm. Sometimes all you can do is pray to a higher power and ask that he be looked after.
        SandyP in Canada

    • Thank you so much sweet ones, just chekcing in late tonight! All will be well, all will be well, all manners of things shall be well. What a lovely mantra, – isn’t the word “shall” a blessing in itself?

    • Hi Susan…a bit late to the table as I was away overnight. My affirmation for Rafa is that he will have a productive, fun, safe journey. I have spent many many weeks in Asia over the past years for work and often as a woman traveling solo. Never in Asia did I feel unsafe…Rafa will be fine and have some wonderful stories to share with you! …All manner of things shall be well. I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers. Sending love and peace…

  13. Hate to play devil’s you know what, but what if your son and d. in law need to move for a better opportunity? Just to be sure you’d be happy with where you pick w/o them there…I’ve been looking at one of the western wonders of the world for close to 40 years now–Mt. Shasta–and sometimes she’s a big hunk of rock holding me here, and sometimes a breath-taking 14, 165 ft snow-covered cathedral. I yearn for the sea, having spent a lot of time at the coast & Hawaii, but esp. when the world goes haywire, I feel safe and at home here. Guess it really depends on your attitude, and mobility!

    • Kathi, how fun to have a library at our fingertips as we do these days with our computers. I was so curious to find out more about Mt. Shasta – oh my how gorgeous! Thought the flock might like to know this about your neck of the woods:

      Mount Shasta is not connected to any nearby mountain and dominates the northern California landscape. It rises abruptly and stands nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above the surrounding terrain. On a clear day, Mount Shasta can be seen from 150 miles away. The mountain has attracted the attention of poets, authors, and presidents. Mount Shasta was described by the poet Joaquin Miller:

      “Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests of Northern California.”[7]

      Naturalist and author John Muir said of Mount Shasta:

      “When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”[8]

      Theodore Roosevelt said:

      “I consider the evening twilight on Mt. Shasta one of the grandest sights I have ever witnessed.”[9]

      • woops, wanted to add this too:
        the origin of the name “Shasta” is vague, perhaps from Russian (Чистая, means “white, clean, pure” or Счастье, means “happiness, luck, fortune, felicity”) from the early Russian settlers in California)

  14. Prayers are for Rafa staying safe Susan. I love my view of the Blue Ridge mountains here in Virginia and I love being within a couple of hours from my sons. All is well with the world. I am sure Mary whatever place you decide, it will be the right spot.

  15. Let’s face it: this is one mighty magnificent country we live in! Everything from breath-taking mountains to serene coastal vistas. And I was a bit surprised, given his daily appreciation of all things photographically visual, with Jon’s words that “after awhile you don’t even see it.” Although my home does not have an ocean view, I can walk there in ten minutes through a lovely green open space. But it’s not just ‘seeing’ it; I smell it every time I walk out the door, I ‘feel’ it with the marine temperatures and breezes, I ‘hear’ it when the gulls take after hawks and falcons stealing from their nests. Enough said—we all need to be where we need to be.

    And I am quite certain that you, Mary, will make the right decision for this time of your life. Four years ago, our youngest daughter was absolutely convinced she had to go to university on the northeast coast. On our college tour loop, we had the pleasure of spending a day in Middlebury. We had lunch in a quaint pub right on the river. It left a big impression on me, too!! (And then there’s always the Ben and Jerry’s factory tour close enought to be addictive!)

    • thank you Cheryl! …rest assured that Jon does see the beauty all around and is one of the greatest appreciators of that beauty that I know!

  16. Susan, aren’t you sweet! When you come visit, I can take you to the mural in town with Muir’s words. We only have about 5,000 residents, and are an hour south of Ashland, Oregon (famous Shakespeare festival) right on I-5.

    Re the blood to wine, interestingly, there are a number of spiritual groups here: a Buddhist monstery, the I AM movement, et al. I came here in ’73 precisely to meet my spiritual teacher, Pearl Dorris (Step by Step We Climb series). Mt. Shasta is a magnet and will call you…

    Our home is an international wayside by a creek and a big wild meadow & we’re often hosting visitors. The most recent was a 25-yrs ago alumni from our college who’s now a Tokyo businessman. Esp. in summer, you can sleep in a bedroom, one of our tents, or the old schoolbus we’ve turned into a quasi-RV. And you’re right, the origin of “Shasta” isn’t clear–the one I like is Indian, meaning “brush-tailed horse”!

    So come on over from White Feather Farm, folks, and let’s trade good energies. Mary, by the way, who are those two cute kitties we see on your banner?

    • Mt. Shasta is most certainly a magnet! On my many ventures up and down the I-5 corridor, when I get the first glimpse of that beautiful ‘rock’, it always reminds me of a sister volcano: Mt. Fuji. The creative and spiritual energy there is palpable!

  17. Hi Mary – I’m happy to hear that you will not be moving 4 hours away. I so agree with what you say here. My husband and I love the ocean and certainly see it less in Washington County than we did in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. But, this Easter we spent at the Arlington Inn in nearby Vermont with my husband’s brother who lives in Hoosick Falls, NY and his sister who lives in Adams, Mass. about an hour from here. It was a lovely family gathering. We were often just the family of 4 during holidays down south.

    As far as the view goes – I have to disagree with Jon there. I never take my view of the Green Mountains for granted. I never fail to catch my breath as I enter Washington County when coming back from Albany or Troy. Jon probably just said that to keep you closer. I don’t blame him.

  18. I can’t blame Jon for wanting you close by. 🙂 Why do you want to move Mary? (if you don’t mind my asking.)
    Peace, Cindy

  19. It is interesting how our views and decisions can shift when we look at something in a different way. My husband and I may not do things as some other people do but we have made many of our choices in our life together based on family members we care about. We are contemplating a move to VA to be closer to his family and recently we moved my mother there when and elderly apt. became available earlier than we expected. She is doing well there and loves it. We could stay where we are where we make more money than other places and is beautiful (and island off Mass.) but money is not everything. We do not take vacations to exotic places or buy many things for ourselves and/or our house but we get away to VA to visit family and friends a few times a year. We are leaving soon for a week in the Shenandoah Valley to see them all. Spending time with friends and family, the people we love….priceless.

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