Saturday, August 5, 2017


We recently learned that our dear friend Carol must move from her beautiful space in Cottonwood, Arizona. Her landlady is selling the house. This news shook us body, soul and spirit. It was more than a place of retreat and special sanctuary. Carol’s extra bedroom was our physical grip on a dream. Cottonwood and Sedona became as familiar as Taos, and in many ways more nourishing and comfortable.

Seven years ago, we rented a sweet place less than a mile from Carol’s house, and moved in. I had inherited furniture that had been in storage and PQ had furniture from his house as well. We had a great time finishing it off with curtains, and kitchen things, and we bought and assembled a complicated computer table that proved that we could work together without killing each other. It was as close to paradise as I’ve been. We hiked the trails in nearby Sedona, visited the coffee houses, met interesting people, and of course, hung out with Carol. She had two friends who were also ex-pats from Taos, and in addition, we met many other beautiful people that became our new soul family.

It became necessary to move back to Taos full time yet we never gave up the idea of finding a way to live again in Cottonwood. We visited Carol whenever we could, which was at least once each season and occasionally she invited us to housesit when she travelled. We truly were as comfortable in her home as our own and without the angst or Sturm und Drang of Taos.  

I can see in retrospect that we came to the Cottonwood/Sedona area at the perfect time.  Everything opened to us and because of that, it is very difficult to let go. I didn’t even know Carol that well the first time I visited. We had a mutual friend when she lived in Taos and although we saw each other frequently, we were usually in a group. It wasn’t until she moved to Cottonwood and I visited on a long ago Thanksgiving weekend that our friendship began to deepen. 

Letting go of the drive down Oak Creek Canyon, lunch at Szechuan Chinese restaurant in Sedona, our favorite hiking trails, Tlaquepaque galleries, and the Old Saddle Rock Barn consignment store where we filled out needed furniture for our little casita and all the many other sustaining memories seems like exile from the Promised Land.  Even so, I must admit that there were signs that the structure of this dream was gradually dissolving.

Not finished and waiting for its soul.
Many people moved away or moved on, and our favorite haunts were also changing. In the meantime, family obligations, personal challenges with health and finances while holding some kind of spiritual center were more demanding. Taos kept our noses to the grindstone on every dimension.

So now, I flash back to remembering Carol’s almost round table where we had so many great discussions in the morning over coffee, watching out the window for wildlife passing through, the hummingbirds on the patio, or getting down to earth with the little lizards and their personal dramas. It was all sacred but earthy. Then there were our traditions: lemon pie and barbecue, or alternatively carrot cake. Even the local Safeway and Walmart became a part of a sacred process.  We could walk in as if we had never been gone and resume life in our alternative reality.

This loss is as profound and unexpected as the sudden death of a loved one and yet it comes with promises of rebirth.  Those of us emotionally involved in Carol’s move are already creating a group spirit within the process. We text back and forth, completing the finishing process while preparing for Carol’s launch toward new horizons. We can’t help but go with her in spirit. 

Now that I’m several weeks into the process, I can see that living in Cottonwood again in a dream future made living here in Taos with its continuous struggles and dramas a motive for dreams of a promised land. For now, Taos is the process of life itself. For months, I’ve also fantasized living in a dream Zen-do for a few months to meditate and re-connect with my natural rhythms.  This is also not a constructive fantasy but a way to avoid mastering the high waves under our boat. However, on the positive side, all these fantasies are there to remind me not to lose my essence. Now must be the time to take on the challenge even if it doesn’t feel like it.

This “moving” (pun intended) event awakens an entirely new set of skills. Change is necessary or the senses, mind and spirit ride an old wagon down an increasingly rutted road.  I will end by saying that our spirit guides think highly enough of us to keep the rut from becoming so deep that we can never change direction.

I’m thinking we elders are shook out of our comfort zones and nostalgic reveries because our job isn’t finished and we need to keep moving toward our particular light, or become useless mummies even if well preserved. It’s not time for heaven on earth yet. Sometimes we only go into action if we must.