Empty Spaces & Yoga

Yin Yoga on the OceanView Terrace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kanoehe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. Fridays at 9:00am. Donation.
Yin Yoga on the OceanView Terrace of the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kanoehe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. Fridays at 9:00am. Donation. Check events website for current schedule.

 

View from the OceanView Terrace at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kaneohe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. It's a beautiful world.
View from the OceanView Terrace at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Kaneohe, Hawaii. Oct 2016. It’s a beautiful world.

 

I am trying yoga on for size in hopes that I can calm my restless spirit and be present in the moment.

After a lifetime of military moving, I am usually researching about my future life in a new location, OR I am clinging to the feel-good moments and friendships from my past life, OR I am in a holding pattern of “making the best of it” in my current, temporary home.  I’m always living in the past or living in the future.  Very rarely am I actually living in the present, in the here and now.

I struggle to be present.

Add that I make myself busy to fill the empty spaces.

I jump right in to make a Life:  there are always places to see, people to meet.  My #1 concern, always, are my children.  For them, I minimize the challenges of a fleeting lifestyle.  For them, I embrace this constant moving as the Adventure that it is.  But after years of moving, I unfortunately show up with a lot of dashed dreams, high expectations, worry, and projections of my own. The constant moving has caught up to me.

Several years ago, I wanted to keep my life in DC but didn’t know how to make that happen, considering I had no independent economic means to sustain that particular lifestyle.

I was reluctantly dragged back to Texas (and reluctantly doesn’t even adequately describe my displeasure of returning to the Land of Boots & Brisket) where, once again, I made the best of it.  My marriage and my self-identity were on shaky ground, but we kept ourselves too busy to adequately address it.  I was also holding on to the DC dream tightly to get me through it, with the high hope of returning.

After 2 years, we received assignment notification to DC, only to be crushed when the Hubby was redirected to Alabama.  The entourage must follow.  I wasn’t staying in Texas, but I still didn’t have economic or career sustainability to make any other realistic choice but to follow.

We arrived in the charming Deep South, knowing our time here would be less than one year, but I jumped right into Life anyway.  I had a lovely time in Montgomery. Admittedly, my expectations were low.  Not so much that it was Alabama, but how much connections/acceptance/establishing routine can you really do, when by the time you unpack and feel settled (3-6 months), it’s about that time to shift attention to the next assignment!  I was still holding on, although less tightly, to the DC dream and all the possibility it offers.  I am a slow learner on military life, especially when blinded by my own hopes.  I ignored the cautionary wisdom from Hubby that nothing is ever set in stone, even though all assignment discussions were seemingly directed that we would soon be DC-bound.

Cue the dramatic music. “In a world, where the Invisible Hand of Military Assignments controls your Life…”

I have now, finally, given up on the DC dream.

Only because now I live in Paradise.

Paradise doesn’t change the fact that I still struggle to be present, but living in Hawaii certainly does make living in the moment much easier.

Life is now nudging me to explore Yoga, even though I find the practice incredibly difficult. Yet I am drawn to it to see if I am able to tame my restlessness.  I am forever in search for calm and acceptance, and to learn to control what I can (which isn’t much).  On the mat, I live in the moment, and I can acknowledge what is.

My hope is to become more comfortable with what is and to stop wishing for what isn’t.

Are you held back by wishful thinking?

Aloha!

Valerie

The Personal Reinvention – New Goals and Pursuits in my New Temporary Home

Kanoehe, Hawai'i
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Aug 2016

 

The biggest opportunity of moving is the chance for personal reinvention.

Who do I want to be? What do I want to do?

Last year, with my limited time in Alabama, I focused on three areas:

  1. Fitness outside my comfort zone – Irontribe Fitness. Spartan Race.
  2. Volunteering.
  3. License Re-certification – I returned to school to acquire additional required hours to recertify my massage therapy license (Don’t let your licenses expire. Ever!).  I now have a current massage therapist license for the State of Alabama, which unfortunately doesn’t transfer to the State of Hawai’i.

This year, I intend to focus on…

  1. Playing Tourist in Paradise!
  2. Yoga.
  3. Massage Therapy License.
  4. Writing & reading.
  5. Last minute add – get over my fear of becoming an ocean creature’s snack!

My personal reinvention is concurrent with…

  1. Easing this transition for my children.
  2. Unpacking & purging.
  3. Establishing routine & schedule. (Never-ending cycle of domestic bliss!)
  4. Dating my hubby.
  5. Building Community.
  6. Making & sustaining friendships.

All of this takes time.  Sweet, sweet time.

I am open to new places and faces while presenting the best, and more importantly, the REAL version of myself.  This takes a lot of energy but with this move, I have a lot of less expectations about how life should look like and how quickly I should establish said life.  Thus, I have a lot less angst than with past moves.  Is it burnout or wisdom? Or is it the beautiful, calming aloha spirit?

Whatever it is, It’s my fresh start and I’m ready.

What are you focusing on for your personal reinvention in your new home?

Valerie

I Have Laundry Duty even in Paradise

One month of hotel living:  Bag drag of seven suitcases through five hotels, three states, one long day of air travel.

Our family of four brought six suitcases and a booster seat for 2 to 3 months of living minimally until we are reunited with our household goods (hopefully).

After 30+ days, I have loads of laundry to do of the same tired wardrobe.

Hotel laundry facilities are not created equal. The first hotel charged $7.50 a load (!). Our current hotel charges $3.00 a load.  The 3 washers & 3 dryers are in high demand.

My forever friend Sylvia texts me: “I thought that in Paradise you just toss your beautiful flowing garments into the ebb of the magical waves and they flowed back to you on an ocean breeze.” (Quite the wit, she is!)

This is my reality right now:

Laundry duty in paradise
Laundry duty in paradise

 

Lessons learned:

  1. Never take more than you can carry.
  2. Wheeled luggage is essential.
  3. Make sure your family of 4 plus ALL your luggage fit in your rental car! (It’s a very tight squeeze for us!)
  4. Remember living on top of each other in 400 s.f. is only temporary.

Aloha!

Valerie

Aloha…Life is Good in Hawaii

I am was in the middle of a chaotic, logistically challenging move to Hawaii, and I just don’t remember previous moves being this stressful.

HOWEVER,  This is my current view…

Our view of Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
Our view of Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii

 

I operate with these thoughts/guidelines/procedures when it comes to moving:

  1.  If it can go wrong, it will.  * Murphy’s Law always makes an appearance. ALWAYS.*
  1. Hurry up & wait.
  1. Accept that It just won’t make much sense when it comes to military policy & procedures.
  1. Agencies & their agents don’t care about you, your move, your stuff. “It’s not my problem.”

We received orders 35 days before his Report No Later Than Date (RNLTD) for an overseas move.  The Transportation Management Office (TMO) assured us that scheduling our 3 shipments* under deadline would be no problem.

Naively, I believed them.  [Insert patronizing “oh honey, what were you thinking?” right now.  It’s ok, I deserve it.]

*  3 shipments:

  1. Household Goods – Our stuff, blissfully accumulated during our marriage.
  2. Non-temp storage – More stuff, which we could probably do without but can’t bear to part with just yet. We do know we don’t need or have the space in Hawaii for these things, but presumably we will want to reunite and use these things down the road, whenever that may be.
  3. Unaccompanied Baggage – The essentials to survive while waiting for the blissfully accumulated stuff. Limited to 1,000 lbs.

The disclaimer from TMO, especially when it’s high volume season, is we should be flexible with our dates.   See Operating Procedures #4 above.

Y’all, I was stressing big time, and now I’m here and it doesn’t matter much.  We eventually will get our stuff and our car.  We eventually will move into a home.

Everything is going to be alright.  Life is good!

Aloha!

Valerie

 

p.s.  I will eventually post a few helpful hints & lessons learned, just not today.

We’re moving to HAWAII!

Aloha

 

Hubby was notified last week of his next assignment–Hello Hawaii! (Is this for real?! I’m still in disbelief.)

I wish I was more excited about the upcoming move.  We are going to Paradise, after all.

Yes, that’s right—Hawaii!

The military never fails to surprise us – even for this well-seasoned-but-getting-near-the-end military spouse.  The assignment notification came last week–a complete and utterly incomprehensible-for-about-2-days surprise. Not once on our military journey together have the hubby and I dreamed about Hawaii.  Based on his career progression, it never seemed like a realistic possibility. For goodness’ sakes, we were in the heart of Texas for 8 long years and we sure did a lot of dreaming…. about leaving! (Just kidding.  We enjoyed our time there, but it’s not our first choice for our next assignment or our post-military/2nd career relocation when that time comes.)

Anyway, I digress.  Hawaii.  I mean, HAWAII!  Really.

You’d think I’d be ecstatic.  Jumping for joy.  Delighted.  Giggly even.

I will be, once I get there, with my feet in the sand, soaking in Paradise.

I know my lack of enthusiasm won’t elicit much sympathy because “Hello? It’s Hawaii.” Literally every friend I have shared the news has enough enthusiasm for the both of us.  S/he doesn’t have to do the work of moving.  To me, an OCONUS move seems like a complicated mess right now.  I know, I know – I just have to take it one day at a time.

But dang, can’t I vent even a little?

My lack of enthusiasm stems from:

  1. I’m feeling anxious about an OCONUS move and its extra layers of bureaucracy, clearances, planning & organizing.
  2. I can’t do a post-move purge like I usually do as I unpack; and I don’t feel like I have much time to do the pre-move purge with my current commitment load.
  3. I have to give up my dream of DC/Northern Virginia.
  4. I am a planner and have been planning a glorious return to DC/Northern Virginia for months now. Yes, I entirely jumped the gun, but in my defense, all indications pointed to DC, as in this was the only location discussed with the Hubby and the Powers-that-be-aka-Assignment-gods.
  5. I know next to nothing about Hawaii. I have to immerse myself into researching housing and schools.
  6. We are trying to coordinate all of this while Hubby and I are geographically separated.
  7. I am concerned about travel and my aging parents. https://perpetualnewcomer.com/2015/10/27/the-downside-of-military-life-dealing-with-aging-parents-and-travel-limitations-for-the-holidays/
  8. I think I am mad and anxious about truly starting over in a new location. New places & faces.  Friend dating again.    I am a social person and usually enjoy meeting people and exploring, but my energy level doesn’t keep up as much these days.  I really just wanted to return to my comfort zone in Virginia, where I could be myself and be accepted and reunite with old friends.  Let’s face it – moving requires the positive attitude, the smile, and the nice persona for the chance encounter of making fast friendships.  It’s about putting yourself out there, preferably a good version of yourself, to make those little connections that might lead to a friendship.  Now I consider myself a kind, approachable person, and I have made good friends at each duty station (7 states and counting), but I haven’t always been able to be completely myself or to deeply bond either.  Those type of friendships usually take time to develop.  I think what’s wearing on me is the potential for the “lonely feeling” that comes with a move.  Yes, I have the Hubby, but our need for socializing and how we handle moving are completely different.
  9. What are we going to do with our beloved geriatric dog?!

But are you thinking “It’s Hawaii!  People pay good money for a week in Paradise.  You get to live it for 2 whole years!”

Yes, I am so excited! (Once I get there.)  Yes, I can hardly believe it. (I’ll believe it when I get there. Notice a theme?) In the meantime, I’m putting my head down, getting done what needs to get done, and taking it one day at a time.  Breathe.  I do not dare tempt Murphy’s Law (and we’ve already had one stress-maximizing, cash-hemorrhaging fiasco with our car last week just as all of this was going down.)

Here’s to perpetual flip flops, pedicures & casual wear.  Start making your travel plans to mi casa.  Aloha!

Aloha

Valerie

Update: As I looked at photos, I can feel resurfacing some of that boundless enthusiasm I usually have about moving, adventures, letting go and starting anew.  I mean, it IS Hawaii, people!  [Insert giggles of delight.] Having a small vent, acknowledging what’s bugging me and then moving on has been therapeutic.