Dreams Don’t Die, Not Really

Despite my disappointment in January, I continued to plot, plan, scheme, and strategize how to achieve my goal of living with a well-trained, well-bred Doberman Pinscher.

Seeds grow in the darkness. They need the rest of night to germinate life.

Witches and magicians warn against revealing plans prematurely. Such disclosures invite malignant forces, naysaying, and may dissipate creative energy in unproductive spiels.

I have been making progress.

“You have fallen into a fit of despondency, and there is not the least need. In fact, it encourages one to believe that there is nothing to be done, when all that is wanted is a bit of resolve to bring matters to a happy conclusion.” — The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer.

 

The Dao of Standstill Is Gratitude

Waiting seems like standstill. It is uncomfortable for this old dame.

I started The Doberman Project eager to press forward with my tlotal Life change.  I was full of concrete plans and an end-of-year deadline to enact them.

Future Is Unknown and Unpredictable

Circumstances beyond my control have intervened in my retirement plans.

Indeed the whole world is waiting to see whether the USA plunges into fascism, or the president-elect sparks a nuclear holocaust, or if the world economy goes into a tailspin as a result of the nativist tendencies sweeping the world.

movie still from All Quiet on Western Front
From film All Quiet on the Western Front.

The antidote to standstill is gratitude.

Gratitude is the antidote for any ill that befalls us. In the smallest pleasures of life we find redemption.

It reminds me of the soldier’s hand stretching from the foxhole for the tiny singing bird in the great film All Quiet on the Western Front (novel by Erich Maria Remarque). This last act of remarking beauty and life becomes his death.

Hexagram 12: Standstill or Stagnation

The 12th hexagram, P’i, in the I Ching is Standstill or Stagnation. The powers of heaven and earth are out of balance and pulling away from each other.

P'i: Standstill or Stagnation

“The way of inferior people is in ascent; . . . But the superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles. If the possibility of exerting influence is close to them, they nevertheless remain faithful to their principles and withdraw into seclusion.”

I have been even more reclusive than usual. Having a Doberman to train and exercise would do me a world of good. An intelligent Doberman Pinscher is a true companion dog, noble, watchful, and protective.

The notion of standstill and stagnation appears repulsive. Yet smelly things transform in stagnation; from compost come the best fruits, vegetables, and flower.

From Stagnation Comes Transformation

P’i, read in its entirety, is a hexagram of hope.

Man in prayer

Line Three states, in the Wilhelm translation, “Inferior people have risen to power illegitimately do not feel equal to the responsibility.”

Fifteen USA security agencies say Russia meddled in the US election that has put this ignorant narcissist into office.

“In their hearts they begin to be ashamed, although at first they do not show it outwardly. This marks a turn for the better.”

The final three lines promise, “First standstill, then good fortune.”

I have a comfortable apartment.  I am in good health.

I mostly enjoy my teaching job and the chance to be with my terrific, hard-w0rking, hopeful students. I can increase my savings for The Doberman Project, retirement, and my total life change.

A few close friends and family are a treasure.  All my needs are met, by the grace of the Dao. I give thanks.

The Dao of Despair

My retirement plans are in shambles since the Election last Tuesday. My dreams and goals have become of little interest, like something from someone else’s life.

Change is always challenging for me to navigating.

Navigating the installation of a white supremacist in the White House is a change I find disgusting. I am not sure the Republic can survive this.

I researched many countries to which I might emigrate for many months this year as part of my retirement planning. There are places with large expatriate communities.

I am fond of my comforts in the USA. I don’t wish to die alone in a strange country.

It would be easier to move if I had a partner, be it lover or close friend, to negotiate such a thing.

I have an ongoing stomach ache, headache, and fatigue. All that seemed bright and shiny and full of hope when I started this blog is sucked dry of meaning.

The dao teaches us there are times of fullness and times when the tide goes out.

This Dame is grieving this repudiation of the values of my country.

The Dao of Duration: Hexagram 32

This old dame has been studying the I Ching for a long time — sometimes often, then for years . Some of the principles have seeped into my soul by this long acquaintanceship.

Hexagrams diagrammed, my early notes
Hexagrams diagrammed, my early notes

This is a challenging time in putting my total life change plans into motion, yet not stagnation (Hexagram 12). Lots is going on, like the gentle wind trigram beneath the thunder trigam in the hexgram of duration.

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Fear and Total Life Change

Fear is the enemy of total life change.

 

Woman wearing makeup mask
Total Life Makeover or Fantasy Mask?

My fantasies are rich and elaborate.

They rarely come true. One did. I was a very good reporter. I led an exciting and interesting life meeting and socializing with artistic, intelligent, and amusing people.

I haven’t lived a dream in a long time. Youth is a time of hopes and dreams. Old age is a time of maturing through recognition and acceptance of limitations – in health, income, opportunities of many kinds.

As my house hunting cracks into the reality of how little there is in my price range in safe, attractive neighborhoods, fear creeps into the schism between fantasy and reality.

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Fantasy Meets Reality: The Dao of Pushing Through

Four hours, a dozen properties, an intense drive through the neighborhood I favor, and fantasy meets reality. I have arrived at the dao of pushing through.

Staircase with Trophies, NYPL Digital Collection
Staircase with Trophies, NYPL Digital Collection

Goals and dreams are the wellspring of vitality. Without them, a person might as well be dead. It’s important in late life to have another project on the horizon.

The desire that illuminates my quest is having a well-trained, well-bred Doberman Pinscher.

Affordable homes for myself and my faithful companion are, so far, underwhelming. A home can look good when the photograph crops out every undesirable aspect.

One is next-door to a double-wide mobile with a platoon of kiddies’ bikes and a tree house on the property line.

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Dao of House-Hunting under Retrograde Mercury in Virgo

Dao of Endless Portals
Portals and Paths

The dao of house-hunting continues. I will soon start another round of house-hunting. I have been scouting neighborhoods up to this point. Now the quest is sign a contract for a home for me and my Doberman.

Each time I complete one step of this journey, I pass through another of the endless portals toward living my dao.

My excitement is growing.

I have taken this condo apartment as far as I can, unless I spend big money for a new kitchen and bath to make the place sparkle.

Those are not cost-effective investments.

I love the thrill of the chase in finding things to turn my home into a Bohemian fantasy. Enjoying the dao of the journey is more magical and fulfilling than reaching a goal.

Proof: I have a made-to-order sofa and loveseat purchased when I and a life partner were making good money. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as finding quirky resales.  Imagining what I might do in my next home delights my imagination.

Astrology, Synchronicity, and My Dao

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Mess & Metamorphosis: The Dao of Preparation

One of the things I struggle with is keeping my home organized.

Getting ready to move (as part of my retirement planning) has provided a lesson in the dao of preparation for my total life change.

Cotton boll has many transformations
Cotton boll undergoes many transformations in its growth-use cycle.

Moving has been my excuse for letting things pile up. There was no reason to think that packing a mess is easier than packing well-organized possessions; the opposite is true.

Mail on the dining room table has become a pinwheel of papers. Notebooks and receipts, thick envelopes and catalogs swirl in dizzying disorganization.

Closets are easier to keep organized than rooms.

I can label the shelves, baskets, and other organizers. I put clothes where they belong no matter how tired I am, because labels make it easy.

Mail is the biggest time waster.

Some people say to chuck everything you don’t need to read on the spot. I don’t want to read anything on the spot when I get home late.  And I often forget or avoid it later.

As I searched for my phone book beneath the current cache of political ads, needless paperwork from various vendors, and miscellaneous ephemera — I noticed the melange was loosely arranged in three piles from less urgent to most.  Not bad for a subconscious sorting mechanism.

Out of this stew, a total life change is being formed. The caterpillar metamorphoses into a gooey mess before emerging as a butterfly. We often don’t like to think about the deep chthonic stew from which life emerges: ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Except ashes and dust are euphemisms for the ooze, gunk, and stink that fertilize transformation.

We avert our eyes and our noses; only the brave investigator of the soul confronts such reality. Meditating on life’s inevitable changes — those that may be part of life or retirement planning and those that take us by surprise —

are part of wisdom.

Realizations such as this one are rewarding parts of the journey and confirm that for now this is my dao.

 

The Dao, Patience, and Planning

The dao of moving forward toward my goal of total life change — making a home for

Roselane Bull ceramic object
Roselane Bull

a Doberman Pinscher companion and me — is testing my patience. My astrological avatar, Taurus the Bull, is supposedly both patient and a bit lazy.

 

I plead guilty to the latter. Dog obedience training helped me develop patience. How can anyone be mad when a Doberman is so eager to please and fixes me with those soulful brown eyes?

 

I have been looking for home opportunities online. Home buying isn’t easy in my low price range. Satellite street view is my friend surveying neighborhoods.

Patience and Information Gathering

Another part of my total life change planning is contacting Training Clubs up and down the Florida East Coast and

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Total Life Change: The Dame, The Dog, and the Dao

Total life change is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.

Change begins with choice.

As young adults, we embrace these choices. It is the first time you can change your world, for many of us, freed from the rules and expectations of others, to the degree we are comfortable unfettering ourselves.

We start our careers, find life partners, move from one city to another, discover new foods, new music, arts, interest, and hobbies, and we may travel and explore the world. It is a great adventure.

By the time we are ready for retirement reinvention, we’ve been knocked about by life. We recognize that the voyage to change your world is not always the idyllic cruise of our youthful imaginings. I am comforted when I feel as if I am following the dao, the right path, for me.

This infographic portrays the three areas of learning as I embrace my total life change.

PlanningInfoGraphic

Home is all about this Dame. I am a Taurus, and my home is my sanctuary.

I spent several months doing online research about where to live, coordinating real estate prices, climate preferences, and kennel club locations. During a drive from North Carolina to South Florida, I did drive-bys of 14 homes in four communities in which I did expanded drive-throughs to check out the neighborhoods.

I could not have accomplished this time-consuming research without a GPS. This was my first experience with one. It was heaven to be freed from maps and pulling over to read them.

I already knew that my budget affords marginal neighborhoods.

This long day of driving narrowed my search down to one area of St. Augustine and resigned me to manufactured housing. Change begins with choice, and making these decisions are necessary toward taking actionable steps.

Now I am educating myself about manufactured housing, including what to look for, whether to buy a used mobile and transport it to my own lot (yes), the differences between cement pads, runners, and pilings (also called footers), utilities hook-ups, and cost of transporting the unit.

An unexpected benefit of this has been two long, nice conversations with my bro who knows a great deal about mobile homes and construction. Our relationship has not always been easy for either of us! I appreciate having his expert advice.

Simultaneously, I have been educating myself about health testing for Doberman Pinschers and updating my knowledge of the great breeding kennels in the US.

I am making slow progress on the dread financial and legal front, a part of my life I have been putting off for decades – so why rush into now as I close in on 70? That’s an ironical aside. Without this part of my plans supporting home and dog, no matter how right it may feel, there can be no dao.

There are days when I consider no longer having my campus job as a touchstone of my reality. My work has been a large and important part of my identity. Not having this income makes total life change seems as fearsome as entering the cave of Daenarys’s dragons.

Mostly, my retirement reinvention is giving me a renewed sense of vibrancy, energy, and life.