Bend {don’t break}

I am moving to Bend Oregon.

Like – I’m writing this blog sitting in the middle of an empty living room, in a camp chair, surrounded by boxes.

Big changes.

Feels about as big as losing 200 pounds. Maybe not as big as reversing Type 2 diabetes.  Damn close. Seriously.

Actually, this change is because of and driven by those other changes.

It was time for a fresh start, a new beginning. A time to align all the parts of my life. Time to really listen to my heart and not let logic or fear or ‘adulting’ crowd out her voice.

Late last summer I went to Boulder for the Run Mindful retreat. I went to learn how to be mindful and use meditation and I thought it was an interesting idea to explore while running.  My mind is a freaking hamster wheel and often I just open my mouth and let whatever’s rolling around in my head flop right out of my mouth.  I’ve been working for years on changing that. Being more intentional and thoughtful and learning to quiet my brain.  This retreat included mountain running, time with the famous-ultrarunner/equally-phenomenal-dad/mom-humans; Timothy and Krista Olsen, I got to see my friend Matt, a chance to meet other runners wanting to focus on being mindful.  My kind of vacation!

It was incredible.

I didn’t realize at the time it was launching an awakening or a mid-life crisis.  Whatever. Same thing, different names. 🙂 I was standing on the edge of a change in a fog.

This retreat cleared the fog.

Those days in the mountains, at high altitude, spectacular food from Real Athlete Diets, no cell phone, running, restful sleep and meditation, intentional conversations…

I started to get my mind calm enough to really hear the small quiet voice in my heart that said ‘I {you} need something different than this life you’ve carefully created. I know you’re scared shitless.  Hear me out…  This could be amazing if you’re brave enough.’

I heard it in snippets at first, and was in just the right setting and moment and place that I finally heard her whisper. I listened. I didn’t get it at first. But I didn’t refuse it. I didn’t create noise to drown out the seemingly illogical thinking like I normally would.

I kept quieting my mind and listening…

I wanted to move to an endurance community where I could run and play and meet other people who cared deeply about the land we were choosing and using as our playgrounds.  I was ready for a new work challenge – with a leadership shift in my college at Oregon State, the timing was oddly perfect for me to slip away after 14 years.  I wanted to live in a place that wasn’t a social-desert; I want a boyfriend. I wanted to change my professional work and dig in/lean-in on work that mattered for our future.

I felt like my heart was going to explode.  She was off and running (pun intended) and instead of shutting her up, ignoring her for the logical ‘adult’ reasons like a job/mortgage and stability….

I followed.

This experience has been like the technical single-track with sharp drop-offs and switchbacks that scare me to death and that I have grown to adore.  The ‘how’ changed several times. The ‘true North’ never did. I was able to get clear with each twist and turn and rattlesnake in the path. From ‘I want to live in Boulder’ to ‘I want to be in a mountain town, with a strong endurance community.’ From ‘Whatever job I’m qualified for’ to ‘What work would matter deeply no matter how hard I have to work to learn how to do it?’

It’s been a wild, sloppy, ‘bonus miles’ kind of trail race. My endurance training has served me well. 🙂

There have been candid/scary moments of ‘WHAT THE FUCK AM I THINKING?’ I’d be lying to deny those moments. And a few folks would call me out for not acknowledging those human, normal, bravery-checks that were tears or frantic calls for reassurance.

Yet, deep down I knew I was doing the right thing even while the details or moments would have everyone around me convinced (uh — and me, I was semi-convinced a time or two..!) this was just crazy…

My house is for sale.  I’ve worked my last day at OSU.  I start a new job with the Deschutes Land Trust in early June.  I’ve down-sized my belonging to basics and a few tubs of sappy-sentimental-crappola that I simply couldn’t part with.  The moving truck is rented, a rental lease is signed…

This is finally happening.

This is so much more than a move ‘over the hill’.

This for me is more like a movement.  I’m going to Bend, not break.