Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Hi Everyone!
This blog was created to follow our adventures as Gary and I carefully figure out how to radically change our life.  We are tired of the "normal" way of life, wherein we must make large amounts of money in order to pay our mortgage and bills and have lots of posessions.   After years of reading about it and wondering about it, we are now planning and doing it.  What is "it"?  We are simplifying our lifestyle, streamlining our needs, and becoming far more self-sufficient.  We have sold our gallery, are preparing to sell our home, and will emerge debt-free. 

Without all those encumbrances, we will be free.  Free to follow our whims and dreams, free to be blown by the winds of Grace to where we are needed, free to be moved as naturally as the Flow of Life flows. 
The plan requires that several crucial decisions be made.  We have recently been to New Zealand (www.nhne.com/specialreports/bw-newzealand) , and crave the beautiful clear atmosphere of that country.   There are possibilities within the U.S. that we are considering.  How it will shape up in the long run remains to be seen. 

Stay tuned for our adventures!  I hope to hear from some of you... comments are very much welcomed.  Feedback is a fine thing.  All of us humans need one another, so I welcome your participation in this blog.
with love to all,
Wandering Willow

Friday, July 02, 2004


Home and security are powerful forces. Disrupt those, and you disrupt the soul, the emotions, the mind, even perception.

Our real estate agent came over to discuss listing our home for sale. We’ve been planning this moment for months, mulling over the idea for years. Now that we’re faced with the moment to make it real…. Panic! Utter panic! Gary went through it one day, and I consoled him. Then I went through it two days later and tried to console myself.

Suddenly our entire rationale for change seems absurd. Our goals seem insane. How could we have ever thought this made sense? We have a beautiful home, full of comfortable places to sit and interesting things to do and a cozy nest to sleep in. The grounds are full of blossoming flowers and fresh salad greens and berries and fruits. My rose garden uplifts my spirits every time I pass by. Our dog loves our pet bunnies, and will miss them when they go to live with some friends. Here we are disrupting the animals lives, the gardens, our own lives and the lives of our friends and neighbors. What are we torturing ourselves for?

…and so on. The panic complaints get pretty far-fetched after awhile.
We keep returning to our plan, with varying levels of gusto. Our brains want to proceed, but our hearts are torn by leaving our home.

The wise real estate agent told us that we needed to say goodbye to our home and garden. She said that, in her experience, if a seller doesn’t actively relinquish the home as their own domain, it won’t sell.

It’s probably true. I have dabbled with saying goodbye. Today I said goodbye to the living room, with its pretty fireplace and mantel with a friend’s sculptures on it. I tried saying goodbye to the mountains outside our window, but the place we intend to move to has a great view of the opposite side of it. No point in saying goodbye to the eastern face, when we’ll still be looking at the western face. I said goodbye to a floral painted vase, that I bought right after my divorce 15 years ago. I think of it as my independence vase, representing my own tastes rather than the ex’s. I experimented with standing in the hallway and looking at the house and picturing it as someone else’s. It was an odd feeling, but I think I can do it.

This evening I was in a friend’s home. My guts ached with a longing for the security they have in their home. They’re not pulling up roots. They get to keep their possessions. Clearly I haven’t said a sincere goodbye yet.

It is strange to be feeling this way! Our adventure has been so important to both of us, but now we’re feeling the entire spectrum of basic human emotions about security. It’s humbling. I realize that I thought I was beyond those feelings. Hah. My self-expectations are high, but my humanity is as vulnerable as everyone's.
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© Copyright 2005 bonnie willow.


Written July 28, 2004

Our largest decision has been made. Though we dearly yearn to return to New Zealand for two or three years, (
www.nhne.com/specialreports/bw-newzealand) we have decided to stay in the U.S. The turning point came when our little grandson Ethan was born. Ethan’s dad encouraged us to stick to our New Zealand plans, but ohmygod there's a new baby in the family! There's no way we're leaving now.

The next step is to find a way to create the lifestyle that we resonated with in New Zealand. Requirements: a slow pace, a location where wild open spaces outnumber civilized towns, work that helps humanity in some way, a mortgage-free home, garden and greenhouse, a sustainable non-polluting nature-friendly living pattern, and proximity to water. A river, an ocean, a lake, or even a lot of puddles on the ground will do! Our decade of living in a desert during a drought has left us craving water.

Another factor was the offer to spend time on some land in the mountains owned by our friends. They have plenty of room for us to put up some kind of structure and stay until we get blown along by the winds of fate. That got us thinking about putting up a yurt (

Then a different friend told us about the stunning 40-acre plot of land she’s buying in the mountains. She sighed that she wished she knew how to get someone else to live on that land too. She was tired of doing her nature projects by herself. She was overwhelmed by the prospect of putting up her greenhouse and her yurt all alone, and of planning her whole organic garden setup without input from anyone else. Well geez, I know of a solution for her problems! Our plans and needs seem to dovetail perfectly, so we began brainstorming. Presuming that everything falls into perfect place, we three aim to live there in yurts and build a greenhouse and gardens. Real homes can come along later, after we’ve proven to ourselves that this plan will work.

Our current home will have to be sold, in order for us to be available for our new pursuits. As it is profusely gardened – organic, low-water, edible plants fill every corner of our yard, with rock-lined paths winding between – we have to sell it during the summer while everything is in bloom. That gives us…. let’s see…. just about 10 minutes to fix up and clean up our house to put it on the market, if we want to sell it during summer! We have already sprung into action on that front.

It is invigorating to have a plan beginning to form. It is thrilling to feel that our desire to step out of the mainstream and be blown by the winds of Grace is happening! We are willing to risk everything, and we’re counting on Grace to lead us into something meaningful. The trick will be to open our eyes and see the smaller meaningful moments all along the way. The journey can be as rich as the destination.
* * * * *


Today my husband kissed a grandmother. Right on the lips. mmmwwwaaaah. (ewww!) And I just stood there smiling.

'Cause it was me!

I've finally figured out how to have a child in my life. Chronically childless, I never succeeded in giving birth. My nieces and nephews have filled the gap to a fine degree, and I am glad. My sister adopted a gorgeous baby girl, and I got to name her the name I would have given a daughter of my own. Rose. (It's her middle name) We are very close, thankfully.I married a man with two children who visited several times a year. That decision led to my eventually having a baby in my life.

My stepson is now a new father to an adorable little boy named Ethan. Ethan has made me a childless grandmother. We're developing the kind of grandmother/grandchild bond that hopefully will develop into a lifetime of love. We already have some special games that we play together, even though he's only 4 months old. I just love carrying him around and feeling his warm baby snuggling and smelling his baby-fragranced head.

Only problem is that now I have to kiss a grandfather. ewww. Right on the lips.
* * * * * *

Voluntary Simplicity Considered

July 21, 2004

There is so much to consider, when a person is thinking of ending their old way of life and embarking on a new one. The thought of selling our home and all our possessions is freeing. There is almost a kind of high that I feel when I imagine being that unencumbered and flexible. It's a Living-In-The-Moment Zen-kind of feeling. Then there are the moments when I'm cooking in my nice kitchen or working at my nice desk and I wonder what got ionto me, to give all this up. Being human means being fallible and emotional, among other things. That's me.

There is something inside me that is determined to leave the rat-maze, no matter what the personal cost. Our current societies are set up to separate people from their families and communities... there is expectation that we MUST go off to work somewhere and make enough money to have the same things that other people have (T.V., CD player, video player, DVD player, new furniture, a car for every adult, etc). The normal routine is to go into debt in order to buy these things. Then the interest keeps a person in debt for far longer than they had planned. And so it goes, on and on.

Gary and I are interested in a lifestyle where we need less, use less, crave less. We are not interested in austerity or poverty. Simplicity is more accurate.

Can we find such a lifestyle? We saw it when we were in New Zealand earlier this year. (www.nhne.com/specialreports/bw-newzealand) and were inspired by their examples. The question currently up for discussion is whether to get rid of everything and go to spend a few years in New Zealand, or stay in this country and try to create a non-materialistic lifestyle here.
Is there anyone else here who is interested in such a change? I'd love to hear your viewpoint.

* * * * * *

Near Death Experience - A Beginning

July 18, 2004

Much of my radical transformation began exactly two years ago today. I met death in the night, came away with life, and wondered what to do next.

I had spent a blissful, uplifting day on 700 acres of forest and meadow, high in the Colorado mountains. Good friends doing good work was the theme for our annual Community Festival. My heart rested in the peaceful understanding that plenty of humans were living lives of love and balance, focused on helping rather than hindering all the rest of the inhabitants of our planet. Hope was restored in my bitter recesses.
Returning that night, I drove carefully along the unfamiliar, unlit road snaking among the foothills, glad for my headlights. I sang as I drove, still feeling my heart and soul expanded to twenty times their usual size. Hope was restored, and all was well.

Abruptly, I shifted into another consciousness. I just KNEW that I had a choice, and there was no room for error: if I put my foot on the brake that second, my life would continue. If I didn’t, my life would be finished because I had done everything I’d needed to do and this was my exit door.

Time stood still, as it only does in the face of death.

I felt myself rise up. There was an infinite amount of time and serenity to consider the situation. Firstly, I didn’t know why this dilemma was presented, because I seemed to be the only car on this backwoods road. I saw that my life was completed, and was profoundly grateful that I had met my requirements. This life had been a rough one, I thought, and it would be a relief to be done with it. I was grateful for that opportunity. I saw what path my husband would take, and I knew he would eventually be well and happy. But hope had been restored! I had gained skills to not only cope, but to become a source of inspiration for others sometimes. My life was starting to be used as a beacon, and as a way to help others unburden themselves. This was no time to leave! I could stay and be useful in the service of Light.

As that decision formed, I dropped back into regular awareness and hit the brake hard. No time had passed. The next instant, a car appeared from around a sharp curve over a hill in the darkness. It zoomed past me at top speed, missing me by only one inch. Its thunderous passing shook my car. I was stunned.

There was no point in stopping for long. My car, itself reprieved, seemed to creep along of its own accord for the next few miles. Somehow my brain was at a standstill and in a whirl at the same time. This had happened! Really! I met the end of my life, yet chose to stay. What…? What did that mean? What did that mean about my purpose? What did that mean about my self-definition? My marriage? My gallery? Every topic seemed so small, in comparison to the infinity stretching beyond a completed lifetime.

By the time I reached home, all I knew was that everything was different. How different, why different, what next… all of that was a mystery. I told my husband that this was the day he didn’t become a widower. He seemed moved. Clearly, though, the experience was impossible to convey.

The next year was confusing for me. I wondered if I still belonged in my life. If I hadn’t hit the brakes, my husband would be elsewhere doing different things. Was I now standing in his way, when I should have been gone? He was perplexed by my thoughts, but I had to consider it all. Where did I fit? If my blueprint was fully completed at that ending of my life, I was now beyond the blueprint. No personal guidelines existed, that I could see. General human guidelines, yes, but no plan for me.

I decided that I had to make the most mindful and productive use of my “extra” days and years. Soon thereafter I began to undertake new projects aside from working at my gallery. I brought speakers to the area, to teach on interesting topics, or to give classes. Books on various mystical subjects appealed to me. New discoveries in physics fascinated me. I prayed for clarity and direction. I questioned the meaning of everything to the point of absurdity. So much illusion is built into our society, and I was determined to see beyond it.

Two years swirled by. I no longer feel as if I’m in my husband’s way. I have sold my gallery, in order to pursue my newer career in healing. I’ve studied three styles of energy healing over the last two decades, including Reiki, and now combine them for greater effectiveness. It involves a lot of prayer, and that is perfect for my current focus. I’m finding great satisfaction in walking through life in a state of prayer. Certainly I still pray for direction. A new blueprint might be helpful, and I do need help. Clearly the changes are nowhere near ending.
* * * * * *

The Eye of the Needle

July 2004

Tonight I packed box after box of heirloom china: a teapot from 1750, handpainted plates and salt dishes from my great grandparents, a doily that my grandmother crocheted in Greece as a teen for her hope chest. These are going to storage in my sister's house until such time as we settle down again. I caressed their shiny curves as I packed them. It's hard to say goodbye to these treasures.

Giving up all of my established context in order to dive into The Flow of Grace is a mixed blessing. E-mailing with my favorite blogger Real Live Preacher (see link ) tonight brought some of the issues to the surface. He commented that this kind of life sounds like a dream.
Yeah, it does sound like a dream. One that can be lived, though, if a person has a few qualifications: 1) no young kids at home, 2) the willingness to let go of material and emotional attachments, 3) a lot of courage to face the unknown, and 4) faith that this call to change will be supported by the ability to find a new path. (i.e. that darn Grace had better flow, or we're sunk!) We qualify, so we're going for it.

Whew, is it hard to let go, though! I'm not a bible reader, but one line keeps going through my head as we address the changes coming up: "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Suddenly that quote lights up in my mind and makes perfect sense! I'm tempted to abandon the dream of living freely in the Flow, just so I can still have my comfy house and rose garden and all the "stuff" given to me by loved ones. It's hard to part with the hundreds of things I've made or gathered that sit as silent evidence of my existence.

That last line may be the crux of it all. If I get rid of everything, then where is the proof of my accomplishments? Where is my history? What bolsters my ego and public image? What defines me and reminds me of that definition?


Life becomes a simple matter of breathing and BEing living proof of all that I've learned. I become the tree from which the fruit falls in evidence of what I am.

with love to all who read this,
~ Wandering Willow ~