Monday, January 1, 2018


“Proceed with love, care and courage”
-Roshi Joan Halifax, founding abbot at Upaya Center, Santa Fe, NM

Me out walking during an early snowfall this season
Dearest Readers,
This is not polished yet, but I want to note that something just happened as I lay in bed listening first to an NPR radiointerview with Jesuit father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in LosAngeles, a gang intervention business for street kids,
and then after reading the Afterward by Michael Chabon to his little swashbuckling Jewish adventure tale, “Gentlemen of the Road”A tiny door opened inside my timid brain. A mouse finally had the courage to turn the knob and emerge into the bright-light with a daunting idea to use my impending house purchase as a vessel for creative adventures, not just as shelter and safe haven.

That’s right! This Friday I’m about to close on a little house in the center of Peacham, Vermont, my beloved adopted hometown. Here it is: Ta-Da! 
You can use the link directly below to see the rooms inside: 

Needs an outside paint job which will happen in late Spring, but it’s well built by hand, with mid-century modern touches, a linoleum floor in the kitchen/dining room just begging to be a studio, and no worries about splattered paint. It comes with an acre and a half of land, a barn and a lovely raftered empty space over the garage with possibilities.

It turns out I’m not a brave person. When I learned in October that my rental apartment along a forested dirt road in Peacham would not be available after May 1st, I pulled emotionally inward from fear of change and loneliness. I wanted my family to be nearby to pat my hand and give me advice.  I began an anxious search for other rentals in the area, weighing options nightly at 2am while staring at the stars from my bedroom window. 

Rentals are not abundant in a small town of 720 people. The thought of moving to another village scared me. I love this sharing, earthy community, and all my new friends.

To regain my equilibrium, and quell my anxiety, I had to down-regulate from my daily painting regimen and stop offering my volunteer services. During those 2 am episodes of wild insomniac mind, I re-discovered my Confirmation rosary and a book of contemplations, “Comfortable with Uncertainty”, by the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodrun.  The meditation reflections, and my prayerful recitations on the rosary gave me some control. I can see why some folks call them "worry beads". It worked to soften my mental suffering! So does a sky full of stars.

I considered renting a “tiny house” still under construction on the outskirts of Peacham. It was new, aesthetically beautiful, and full of light upstairs. 

After days of agonizing, I knew I’d be too isolated and further away from friends and in-town life. The rental price was right, but I would be miserable.

One of my sanity strategies was not to decide, but just walk – walk, walk, walk – up and down the hilly woodland roads. I asked friends for advice. Many helped. I tried seeing the situation humorously (no luck there). I needed to take action. Logic kept telling me to rent the lonely house on the hill because it was a cool design and the rental price was right. An imaginary finger wagged in my head that I’m too old for home ownership and all the headaches.  

Then one morning another brain-snap cracked me open. I was reading an article in bed from  a recent Art in America magazine about an artist who creates installations in her studio. (Her name escapes me.) Something clicked. I realized I could make installations inside the little in-town Peacham house that was still for sale, or make a small apartment upstairs to rent out if my finances turn out to be inadequate. I could live like I want among friends and close neighbors. I called my realtor and made an offer that day. I followed my heart, and turned a scary situation into something fat, full of possibility and maybe transformation. I’m still not sure, and still worried, but that’s OK.