I’m returning to the online world after a 46-hour power outage that heightened my understanding of off-grid living, and living with(out) attachment in general.
A few weeks ago, I became very committed to the idea of building a tiny home on wheels with off-grid capabilities. What does that mean? 8 X 16 feet of permanent living space, on a trailer, that can be hooked up to running water but also functions comfortably in the middle of open land. What else does that mean? A whole lot, I’m beginning to discover.
On December 31, 2014, I prepared mentally for my “blogging resolution”: X/365 would be a year-long daily blogging project that would lead me to my tiny home’s construction. In fact, by New Year’s Eve, I had probably written my first blog in my head twelve times over. I was anxious for the challenge, to see what would come out of 365 manipulated decisions to write: to put my thoughts into letters, words and sentences. As you may have already calculated, I failed on January 1st.
My decision to fail was a product of my New Year’s Eve, for I was feeling a bit under the weather. I resolved that I would hit the sack early and welcome the New Year in the morning, feeling rested and ready. Until I ran into Marcella.
Marcella is a massage therapist on the brink of getting her license. She was cleaning up her table after working on a sweet woman from Austria when I passed through the spa and she stopped me to ask my New Year’s Eve plans. “I think I’m coming down with something,” I told her, “so I’m pretty okay with welcoming the new year in the morning.” A few minutes went by as we both continued doing whatever we were doing, when she stopped me again. This time she took hold of my arms as they hung at my sides:
“Paige. I was thinking about what you said. And you can’t sleep through the new year,” she began, looking at me straight in the eye with her theatrical Colombian accent. “2015 is a year with a lotta vibration. You have to welcome it. You gotta match the energy. This is what you do: Get some salt in hot water and run it up your nose, you know those things? It’s kinna uncomfortablea but it clears out all the sinuses. Then sit down and write– all the things you wanna do this year– date, time— everything. It doesn’t matter if you actually do it at that time, but, you know. You gotta welcome the new year, welcome the energy, you can’t let it start without you.”
I smiled and nodded as she spoke with such certainty. “Okay,” Marcella, “I will.”
That night I took a salt bath, never having searched for the tube I needed to stick up my nose; I cleaned my room and cleared it with incense and an apple-scented candle from Ross Department Store; I rolled a cigarette under the cloudy night sky as I thought about the moon being in Taurus– a time to finish old projects and acknowledge nature’s beauty; I drank two cups of that vitamin powder that turns green and bubbly when it’s mixed with water; and then I snuggled into bed at an hour before midnight, notebook in hand.
Marcella’s voice in my head, I decided to free-write, so as not to become too attached to the dates and times of the things I would set out to do, and so as not to spend the next four hours writing them, which is not so out of the question. I wrote for 30 minutes:
Marcella told me to write everything I want to do this year. I will compose as a free write, so as not to get too attached. My birth chart says that my impulsiveness prevents me from seeing the bigger picture, or something like that.
January 1 @ 11am – I will do yoga. 108 sun salutations, or what have you.January 2 @ noon – I will buy a jeep.
January 1 @ 8pm – I will post my first blog of X/356.
I will climb a mountain – January 17 @ 4pm.
I will cook a great meal – January 12 @ 7pm.
January 31 @ 9pm – I will spend time with the moon and the stars.
March 3 @ 1pm – I will submerge myself in the ocean.
May 1 @ 12pm – I will have lunch with Grandma Sweetheart.
June 2 @ 8am – I will take a long walk in honor of my birthday.
As these dates get farther away, I find my pauses are longer.
January 3 @ 9pm – I will practice my Lomi.
January 30 @ 11am – I will read an entire book in one day.
What will these commitments bring me, if written with such haste and uncertainty?
September 14 @ 4pm – I will light a candle for Kari’s dad.
March 30 @ 3am – I will create something.
Now with thought, for my loose hand is making me nervous. (I scratched this out, pushing aside my discomfort.)
My loose hand is making me nervous.
February 12 @ 1pm – I will meet a new friend in a coffee shop.
January 9 @ 2pm – I will visit Tencia at Nui’s Farm.
October 31 @ 11am – I will make a fabulous Halloween costume.
This feels so real and so detached all at the same time.
What I really want to do is go to sleep.
Where is this anxiety coming from?
April 4 @ 5pm – I will drive somewhere I have never been before.<
October 14 @ 2pm – I will drive somewhere I’ve never been before.
I succumbed to this feeling of anxiety, turned off my light and waited for midnight, feeling unsure and wondering why this writing exercise brought these feelings upon me. At 11:55 I tore myself out of bed and walked to the farthest end of the yard, where lays the stone alter. I stretched out my arms and took deep breaths, and listened for the celebrations nearby to tell me when the new year came. When my tiredness fell away and was replaced with a breath of fresh air, I thanked Marcella for the motivation. I thanked Ke Akua, the Spirit, for all the beauty that surrounded me. Because this is what the Hawaiians do, and becaues Ke Akua is the only godly form I’ve ever felt humble enough to accept. I stretched and breathed and spun in circles. I said happy new year to myself, and I ate a guava off the guava tree, returned to my room and fell asleep.
Marcella’s list filled me with ideas about what life means to me, about how I want to spend my days and what I want to do in the world. The anxiety I felt scheduling my year led me to skip Day 1 of x/365 because when the time came to write, I had no words ready to share with the world. As the days rolled on and my connection to the internet screeched to a halt, I realized that writing a daily blog for the sake of writing a daily blog would be like planning to stand outside to welcome the vibrations of the new year, and missing the guava tree. If I can treat life like a free-write, I will know with certainty not that my thoughts will form according to plan, or that my dreams will be realized in some perfect fashion, or that my words will somehow take on some incredible meaning– but that I will have lived each moment in harmony with whatever it is inside me that feels like saying, I will drive somewhere I have never been before. “It doesn’t matter if you actually do it at that time, but, you know… You can’t let it start without you.”