Pete and I have spent the last couple of hours in comfortable companionship in the basement space that is our homespace away from the vardo. "Nice morning," he said. "Yes, a new normal ha?" I said. Pete continued reading the comics in the one slightly risky wooden chair that is part of our minally accomodating seating choices. JOTS has not moved from the nest she finds most pleasant, a nest made from the organic cotton sheet that serves as lots of things in our life. So far, JOTS nest is the most purposeful use thus far. When we made the choice to build a tiny home on wheels we included the awareness of an extension cord life as essential; the vardo would not provide all the basic needs. In less than a year we have lived in three different communities/with three different families-friends. We have learned through those experiences to value the progress we have made and to re-evaluate what else we need to add back into our lives now that the intense spin of a life fueled on adenalin is slowing down. The metaphor of a braided or unbraided life is one I have used to explain the process, and the metaphor has found its way into the tales I've written: Sam and Sally was the first, and Wood Crafting came during the year just passed. Blogs have been the venue of braiding the different voices or views of our lives, and to that process I am grateful. Written braids have served my healing journey over and over again.
Through the access of keyboards and internet I watch the changing look of information as websites, community networks and blogs change: a reflection of the authors' evolution. Self-publishing becomes an organic function that all comers get to experience. In particular, I observe how The Canary Report and Planet Thrive evolved during the past two years and less. Both sites focus on the community of MCS and EI (multiple chemical sensitivities and environmental illness). Both authors live with MCS and each braids their individual personality and focus with different styles. Each of those community networks has given me and hundreds (thousands more likely) of people with MCS the support, forum for voice, and resources to make informed decisions to aid in a healing journey that fits the unique need of the individual. Many other resources for the environmentally affected population are now available, among them HEAL, MCS America and CIIN (Chemical Injury Information Network) have served over the longer period of time. I include these three among the many because I have used the information found there in my own life.
With the sense of settling Pete and I experience this morning, there is room for appreciating the value of slowing down. Our tiny vardo offers a hank (one strand) of the braided feel of a life of satisfaction: we have one haven of space to refuel. Now that we are re-learning what it means to be in one place for a longer stretch of time, the stress of adjusting to the good that comes needs acknowledgement ... we're not used to good things happening. The fight or flight reactivity takes time to unbraid and rebraid so to speak. Pete is moving from his full-time job of care-taking me/building safe space/packing up or defending us from toxic exposures. The process of shifting and becoming part of a settled life happens slowly and when impatience shows up the braiding stops or the hanks drop ... at least for a while.
Living alongside our friends, in a fashion of autonomy unlike we have experienced thus far, many times feel new and normal doesn't yet factor. I go to the different wells and sites that offer insight and resources and seek what I need at different times. Often, I simply need to refuel with rest under the darkness of the silk comforter, retreating between attempts. Braiding and rebraiding our life now, at later stages of life, and later stages with MCS is a braid of a different sort. When I hold up the hand-made mirror (a giveaway thanks to our Holiday gala) and look at the plait that dangles down my spine, I see how streaked and full the silver hair now changes a braid once blue-black and shiny. Learning to name and own my value, my assets and live comfortable with them ... silver streaks and wounded along with strength, humor, intelligence I braid, rest, braid, rest.
Do you braid? How do you use the many forms of information available in your life?