As I Sit
Transition through surrender
Yesterday was officially the last day of Change Food’s existence, and the decades of work I’ve put into nonprofit food advocacy. I still have some minor things to do, like delete online accounts at various websites I needed for work. I can’t believe I have nearly 300 business accounts on various sites that I have to wade through - needless to say, I’m taking my time.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been sitting with myself, trying to sort through my various feelings with the transitions I’ve gone through, and am still going through, in the past year or so.
As a brief recap - I left New York City after 30 years, left the sea level, east coast where I lived most of my life (save a few years in London), moved across the country to the high desert at 7,200 feet elevation to a town where I knew no one and had only spent one night during a road trip 20 years earlier.
It was by far one of the best decisions of my life. I am so grateful for the strength I had to do it, and the push I got from the higher powers that helped - and help - guide me.
When I arrived in Santa Fe, I still had my New York City Go-Go-Go attitude. It didn’t matter that Santa Fe was in the height of covid lockdown, and that I literally was a stranger in a foreign land, I hit the ground running.
I started with Zoom meetings with anyone I could connect with in the food movement in New Mexico. I enrolled in two business accelerator programs, one right after the other, and put together multiple pitch decks for when covid was going to go away.
I started by planning a large international food event, bringing key professionals from around the world into Santa Fe, similar to what I’d done with TEDxManhattan, but bigger, bigger, bigger. After multiple decks and outreach to many people, that idea morphed into a national food event, which then went to a more local food event. (The Delta variant had some influence on this.)
It all eventually led to my brilliant-at-the-time (at least, I thought so) idea of building a center for food, farming, health, wellness, art and culture in Santa Fe.
I pushed; I created decks; I pitched - I went, went, went. Nonstop, like I’d done in my previous life. I don’t know exactly what put the change into motion, but I know the catalyst was after months and months of running uphill, only to bang my head against a wall and roll back down - and then doing it all over again - that something shifted.
My 60th birthday in October was the turning point. I spent it in Sedona, one of my favorite places on the planet and probably the most spiritual place in the U.S., and it was there that things jelled. After several days hiking the red rocks, going inward on a vortex tour, and treating myself to a session with a channeler to spirit guides, it clicked. And over the past two months, it’s begun to sink deep inside.
I was done. I was doing exactly what I’d done for the past 30 years in NYC - I was trying to convince myself I was all relaxed and Buddhist calm out here in the Southwest. In reality, I was pushing outward so forcibly to try to connect with myself inwardly, and I realized I had nothing left. I was exhausted. You can see some of my denial the previous post “Porch Sitting” and reality starting to trickle in with “Switchbacks on the Path.”
For the past two months, I’ve been doing a lot of sitting, thinking, and meditating. I wrote a bit about that in my post called “Inspiration.” In October, I made the extremely tough decision to retire my nonprofit Change Food and the work I’d done for the past two plus decades.
I also recently decided to retire from fostering rescued dogs. I simply don’t have the energy anymore for exuberant weeks-old puppies that are intent on biting every part of my body and relieving themselves on every surface. (I am still doing mobile adoption events though.)
Looking back on some of my previous posts, I can feel me still pushing, pushing, pushing. Pushing physically, emotionally, psychologically, and trying to convince myself and the world that everything was wonderful and that my life was absolutely perfect and all that I wanted it to be.
It’s not. This isn’t a bad thing, but, right now, I sit. I cry quite a bit. I watch the clouds go by. I’m still trying to understand what I’m feeling. It’s not resignation, but perhaps surrender. I’m surrendering to my passing years and what I can’t do anymore. I’m letting go of decisions I made or things that happened to me that I had no control over - then or now - except to change the way I feel about them.
I’m letting go of the knowledge that all my work is gone, that I’ve not gotten credit for what I’ve done nor left a positive mark on the world like I’d wanted to do. I’m surrendering to the fact that the majority of people I worked with for many, many years don’t care about me and have no intention of staying in touch - I was only worthwhile while successful and when I could do something for them.
I even surrendered to the reality that I’m not getting consulting offers from people and companies in the food movement, not even from people I went out of my way to support and help. Everything is gone. I am not meant to be there. So I sit.
The pushing outward was a way for me to hide from myself. If you keep going, keep forcing yourself to march onward, you never really know where you are. And you never really need to feel what it is you have to feel. I’m awash in feeling right now - and I’m grateful for it.
It sucks and I hate it, but I’m grateful I have the opportunity to focus on what I want and what I don’t want. I have the good fortune to dig deep, feel what I need to feel, and work on letting it go with love - or at least with equanimity.
I’ve met several people in my new town that I’ve chosen not to be friends with - the old me wanted everyone to like me. The old me desperately wanted to be loved, no matter how abusive the person was or how different we saw and experienced the world. The old me was a people pleaser.
The new me is learning to love myself with or without friends, with or without a job or career.
I’m in transition and a period of change. I can make it sound rosy and fantastic, but it’s not. It hurts, and I spend many days sad. My feelings have left me floating on a cushion of indecision and fear. So I sit uncomfortably for as long as I can and let what happens happen.
Last week, after a healing session, I started screaming at the top of my lungs. I was sitting at my kitchen table and my neighbor upstairs started working out. All I heard was thump, thump, thump as I tried to write. I threw something across the room. I had a screaming fit. I ended up singing Anarchy in the UK and other Sex Pistols songs at the top of my lungs. It was ugly.
Losing control is scary, but losing control can clear a path to finding oneself.
I might take a few weeks off from writing this journal. I’m not sure; all I know is that I need time to go through what I need to go through and release what I need to release. When I begin to rebuild, I will be back. I hope I can share the experience with you with a touch of humor and self compassion.
I’m so grateful for all that I have, and the opportunity to create anew. Happy Holidays. May your life be filled with abundance and peace - and songs you can sing at full scream.
Join me every other week (or so) in the Whole Health Journal as I write about food and health, experiences lived and dreamed, and as I explore my spiritual side.
If you like what you read, feel free to buy me a cup of tea.