The sun is shining with temps once again soaring above the freezing mark amid this most unseasonable winter season.  I took the opportunity to rinse the salt and debris from my truck on the way here to the beach house as the tea kettle churns whilst the furnace bellows.  My wife looked into HEAP and food stamps and as I suspected, despite our dramatic reduction in income, we do not qualify for such public assistance.  I’m still waiting for my first unemployment check to post in my checking account and have a call in to the bank to verify a pending direct deposit.  Broke is temporary, poor is eternal.

It wasn’t in my original “plan” for the day to make the trek to the lake; however, after a bit of a tenuous morning at the house I realized the need for clearing my head.  The wide open water and adjacent woods provide for an ideal setting as I continue to digest this epic soul renovation.  A book from my friend Judy arrived in the mail yesterday, aptly entitled “Divorce: An Oral Portrait” by George Feifer.  I thumbed through the introduction as I sipped coffee this morning and will further explore its contents in hopes of extracting relevant wisdom to apply.  I let my wife know that the process begins with filing for an Index Number at the County Clerk’s Office at a cost of $210.00, which we do not have to spare at the moment.  She suggested perhaps our income tax refund could be used and I responded, “I never count my money when I’m sitting at the table.”  She chuckled.

According to a 1967 study on a scale of 1-100 Divorce scores 73 for a Life Stress Chart, greater than imprisonment and death of a loved one.  In fact, it is second only to death of a spouse, which demonstrated cause for greatest stress.  Personally, I feel the job loss was a more stressful event and that goes to show I value my career more highly than my marriage, probably not that uncommon, particularly among men.  Moving has always been a major source of stress for me as well and I’ve done it many many times since leaving the nest.  I estimate that I can relocate the entirety of my possessions in 3-4 truckloads, mind you my truck has a mere 5 foot bed.  And by the time the smoke clears from this latest transition I anticipate further pruning of unnecessary material items.

I have a massage scheduled for later this afternoon followed by dinner plans with family at Taste of Thai.  Ironically, the massage was a Christmas gift from my wife and I’m grateful.  Massage is a wonderful stress reliever and with an injured shoulder I’m hopeful for some healing.  I’ve put on a few pounds mainly due to over-eating and reduced activity.  I noticed I had some difficulty buttoning my Carhart pants, an impetus for modifying my intake and upping my activity levels.  Speaking of which I think I’ll head down to the lake and wander around for a little while.

Now that was just what the doctor ordered a splendid stroll along the water’s edge with steady southwesterly winds stirring up whitecaps.  I took the ATV and ripped off to the north for a minute allowing the engine fluids to circulate before shutting her down and continuing on foot to the south where I came upon a tributary just wide and deep enough to prevent me from crossing.  I explored the vicinity stumbling upon Cradle Beach Camp where a massive maple, sugar or red, was blown out of the earth.  I stepped onto the camp grounds and admired the expansive facilities, for a moment I considered how cool it might be to work there, or perhaps volunteer as a counselor.

Last night I hung out with friends to take in Tolle TV where Eckhart shares his insights to a live audience and via streaming media.  The virtual Q&A session offered up some guiding wisdom on the subject of “practicing presence”, a moving target that often eludes even the most advanced among us.  The cherubic fellow has a quirky sense of humor and an endearing laugh that makes one want to giggle.  We tried looking up a SNL spoof on him to no avail.  The bottom line in becoming immersed in the present moment is to be fully aware of one self and the activity you’re engaging in, whether it is driving, preparing a cup of coffee, shopping, etc.  A meditation practice serves to assist one in developing the habit, although the hustle and bustle of contemporary living poses many diversions.  The beach is an amazing tool for “catching presence.”

I’m increasingly drawn to the concept of voluntary simplicity and have discussed with some dear friends the possibility of going in on a piece of land to build our own individual Earthships, or perhaps Tumbleweed Homes.  I love the idea of being mobile and there are tax advantages too.  There is something quite liberating about procuring the resources required for not only survival, but for a less complicated and stressful existence, modern-day homesteading as it were.  I know I’m romanticizing the notion to some extent, yet it is an experiment I endeavor to explore with kindred spirits.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

In common wealth,