Hello out there!

It’s been a whole season since I’ve blogged or sent out a newsletter, and this blog post will tell you why I was away and how I managed to thrive through some challenging life experiences in this time.

My Thrive & Shine blog was put on hold as I found myself reeling from significant endings. No worries though; all those changes turned out well. Deep down I knew they would, even though I also knew that the upcoming changes wouldn’t be easy.

Soon after my last blog post in July (ironically on joy), my husband, Keith Carlson, and I received some upsetting news; our landlady would not be renewing our lease due to her desire to retire and move back into her house. Her completely logical decision was profoundly heartbreaking to us, and not just because it meant we’d have to move out of her house that we loved and called home. It was a completely unexpected change that meant we’d need to leave our beloved community of five years, The Commons. 

It was imperative that I open my metaphoric toolbox, dust off some tools, and put them to work during this time of duress and transition. I was surprised by what my inner guidance called in–or was it more a heightened awareness of my emerging strengths? In hindsight, it seems as though the following survival strategies were inner allies just waiting to be at my service. I call them “The 5 G’s”. 

The 5 G’s:

1 ) Grief – I allowed myself to grieve–and grieve I did! This impending move dredged up many losses at a deep level that only few could understand. It was not just a move or leaving a friendly neighborhood; we were leaving a consciously chosen lifestyle of intentional community living (with many attachments therein) that we’d dedicated our lives to since before we moved into The Commons in 2010. We’d even traveled 10,000 miles on an epic road trip adventure in search of such a place to call home. 

2) Gratitude – I gave thanks daily for the wonderful people and all the time we had living at The Commons. I also gave thanks that my husband and I had the ability to find a new home at a time on the planet when so many people have lost their homes–or never had a home in the first place. After the shock of the news subsided, I also gave thanks to our landlady; without her decision, we would not have left The Commons, and after having moved into our new home, we feel it was indeed our time to go—we just didn’t know it yet.

3) Generosity of spirit  I had a choice. I could be small and petty and allow myself to be filled with resentment and become bitter, or I could expand into gratitude to trust that this was actually the best thing for us, albeit a blessing in disguise. Aside from initial venting with a few close friends, I made it a point to practice loving kindness and goodwill to all concerned. 

Gracious Merriam-Webster defines grace as “benign, friendly, favorable, polite. Kind, tender, clement, mild, gentle.” I did my best to be gracious with others, even when I was hurting.

Grace – The best way I can describe the grace of this life passage is through the line of a song by Over The Rhine. It was quite disconcerting to have lost my footing, yet I felt “the slip and the grip of grace again“—and again.


“The 5 G’s” were a lifeline to my sanity at such a challenging time. I practiced at least one of them daily, and sometimes all of them at once! They helped me surrender to change and navigate my way through the void of the unknown. I vacillated between feeling frail and fearful to being spiritually strong and mentally clear, from being open and vulnerable to becoming withdrawn and private in my cocoon of complicated grief and loss.

Thankfully, the state of suspended animation ended when we moved into a solid adobe home in a scenic rural area just 5 miles from The Commons! Now I get to call the Commons my home-away-from-home; I visit there weekly and welcome Commoners to visit us in our new home in the country where we experience beauty, peace, and quiet.

Yes, there are times when I sorely miss the sounds of children playing, people and dogs stopping by spontaneously, and optional social events and community meals just up the sidewalk path. But now that we’re settled into our new home, there are other things that feed my soul and lift my spirit: expansive views of three mountain ranges with glorious sunrises and sunsets; uninterrupted time to read, write, and cook; country walks without driving anywhere; and two donkey neighbors who visit us daily for treats and attention. As things turned out, we couldn’t have planned this better–a new chapter of life in the Southwest. 

Path to mountain

Path to mountain