Saturday, August 30, 2014

Let's Begin Again

I picked up my newest housemate from the airport on Monday after his 13 hour flight from Australia. Justin and I met two years ago while working in Kolkata with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity and have kept in contact for the last two years, talking about community. I invited him to live in community with me and Emily in Phoenix, and he decided that sounded like a good idea!

We've spent the past few days getting to know one another as a community, eating pizza, packing boxes, hiking, teaching Justin how to drive on the right side of the road...

We're preparing to move into our new community house on Monday! Prayers, love, and good vibes appreciated! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I write this blog from a state of sleepless delirium, as most of my moments seem to be lately.

The past week has been a blur of sleepless overnight shifts, monsoon floods, dark clouds from bus windows, lively community conversations with Emily, packing more boxes of more stuff, and anticipating the arrival of our newest community member, Justin, coming in from Australia tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Old Bananas. New Job.

I watched the bananas on the counter lose their yellow luster, overcome by brown age. As I was thinking of throwing them away, I remembered the banana bread my housemates Rediet and Kira would make in our apartment in Houston. Why waste old bananas when  I could throw some sugar and egg into a bowl and make something delicious? I thought of communal meals, of simple living, of using all available resources and not wasting anything. I thought of Kira, and Red, and Taylor, and Heather, and Charlie. I thought of them all and loved them intensely as the bread rose and filled the house with the scent of warm bananas.

Life without their presence has been different, challenging in many ways. 

I've been invited into new ways of experiencing community and dialogue. 

On Monday I started my new job as a Direct Care Worker at Goldensun Peace Ministries, a community of people who work to empower adults who are differentially abled. I basically get to hang out with my new neighbors all evening, conversing, playing games, making meals, engaging in conflict resolution, and building relationships. Community. 

The packing process continues as I await my new community member's arrival. Only ten days until he arrives and only seventeen days until we move into our community house! Meanwhile I'm getting the bus system down. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Messy True Self

Be ok with who you are, because that may be the only person you get to be.
- Paraphrased from the movie "Tiny"

Last night Emily and I hung out in our friend's 160 sq. ft. tiny home before watching the documentary "Tiny" and talking with the makers of the film. The film documents Christopher Smith and his girlfriend as they create a tiny home and question what "home" means and what values they want to live into.

"Home is never something we build alone," he says. 

During the last year of my life in Houston I created a home with six others, delving into shared life, shared meals, shared space, and shared visions. The only reason Houston became home was because of the people who helped make it home.

Since leaving that community I have discovered a whole lot about myself and the changes that have taken place within me, several of which I didn't even realize until these last few days. 

I started filling my days with meetings and friends, getting in my car to jump from one place to the next on my time, on my schedule, on my own. This thing that I thought I missed so badly while I was in Houston--the ability to go where I want, when I want, as fast as I want--suddenly felt foreign. I crave a slower pace. I crave going places with people. I decided to take the bus, and as soon as I sat down in those familiar double seats, I felt at home. This was familiar. This was what I actually wanted.

I started going through my things, glancing over all the pieces of memorabilia from my history: the notes from high school, car part receipts from several years ago, clothes that had sat at the bottom of my drawers because of their sentimental value, shoes I thought I might wear someday, knickknacks and trinkets that just took up space. I looked at all these things and realized I didn't need them anymore. They had served my life for a purpose, but they no longer served my life now. I took pictures of the things that meant something, then threw/gave it all away. 

I'm wriggling out of the old skin and letting it fall to the side. I've no need of it anymore. 

I value people. I value diversity. I value inclusion. I value the freedom that comes from making intentional choices to slow down.  I value simplicity. I value late night drowsy conversations with housemates. I value spending time with people. I can let go of the things. 

Taking the bus keeps me from filling my schedule too quickly, reminding me to be intentional with my time. 

Moving into intentional community with my friends Emily and Justin allows me to live consciously, continuing to seek my true self, true inclusion, dialogue, and diversity with other people who are seeking those same things.

I feel new. Recreated.

This last year has been a year of letting go and making space. The people I've lived with have helped peel away layer after false layer, helping me to let go of the boxes, the impossible standards, the control, and the perfection. They helped me embrace my messy true self, with all the beauty and darkness that entails.

This next season is going to be so beautiful. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello

We spent a few days on the beach, reflecting on the last year of our lives in intentional community, the hardships, the growth, the pain, and the relationships. We told each other a bunch of beautiful, true things and were given space to listen to ourselves and to one another. We also spent a lot of time in the ocean...

Our team then headed home to Lyons Avenue to move all our furniture downstairs, creating an empty void in a space we once occupied so well. Taylor left with her mom. The rest of us stayed up all night watching (or sleeping through) movies on the only furniture we had left: two mattresses we made into couches. 

The next day we said goodbye to Heather, then Charlie, then Red and I parted ways. 

The transition to Phoenix was actually a beautiful, relatively smooth process for me. 

My brother greeted me at the airport and took me out for a margarita. Then I was able to go home and sit in my room with Mojo, Emily, my brother Mark and my sister Amanda, and it felt so much like community that I knew everything was going to be alright. 

The monsoons came over the next few days, and I cuddled with my dog and went on a walk through this familiar neighborhood, this place I will be leaving soon. 

Emily and I will be moving out on September 1st into our new community home. I am cleaning my room, simplifying, saying goodbye to old pieces of nostalgia, ready to start a new season of my life.