For a long time this blog has been a lie. When I started it back in 2009, its purpose, its founding intention, was to be a place where I’d report on inspiring people, places and ideas. I would live my life looking for such things and report my findings here, I said.
And for quite a while I chugged along happily with that intention. Then the fracking circus moved to town. And that completely and utterly derailed me.
I became terrified at what I was seeing. I became distraught to the point physical hand-wringing and heart palpitations.
I became frantic to get out of here and to find a place to live that was safe, because I no longer trusted that this would be, or could be, such a place.
And what was even worse, I felt like a paranoid lunatic because so few people shared my fears. Yeah, everybody bitched about the constant parade of residual waste trucks, water trucks, the flatbeds with their enormous piles of gargantuan machinery making it impossible to get anywhere on time anymore, but in the next breath they would say something about how good all this was for the local economy.
My inspiration sources began to dry up as quickly as open fields turned into wastewater ponds, old buildings were razed or repurposed for fracking-related businesses, and well pads sprouted where corn used to grow.
The idea of writing a blog called “Inspiration Location” seemed ludicrous, not to mention naïve and foolish in the face of this. I could no longer read my “About” page anymore because it sounded so Pollyanna-ish. “Oh good lord, I thought, “I said I was going to go on an inspiration hunt every day, and now look at me, my sole survival strategy is to just put on my blinders and try not to see.”
“Inspiration Location” felt like a lie. And I felt like a fraud whenever I approached the creation screen to write it. I thought seriously about killing it: taking it down, and starting over with a concept blog that I could write with more authenticity.
But in the end I didn’t kill it; I kept it and I still wrote on it, albeit sporadically. I made a conscious decision not to write about the fracking issue, though. If I couldn’t be inspiring, at the very least I would try not to make this my personal residual waste dump.
In my real life I spent a lot of time researching other places to live, cleaning out the basement, paring down for an eventual move, and occasionally writing here about oh, you know, stuff: sipping gimlets on the deck, practicing yoga, what I had for lunch—all that boring stuff the pundits advise not to write about if you want a blog that is read.
Fact was, I didn’t want to be read. “Inspiration Location” my ass.” I thought.
I clung to my daily rituals: writing in 750 words, and doing my home yoga practice to keep me grounded, stable, and operating with a certain level of unmedicated optimism.
Now the price of gas has gone down, and with it the truck traffic. Most of the white trucks are gone. The countryside is still staged for fracking, but the circus has moved to another town. It could all start up again tomorrow if the winds of profit shift, because everything is still in place and ready to go,
In this little reprieve, I have had a chance to catch my breath.
And to be able to breathe fully, deeply and easily is a blessed thing, believe me.
It takes away the panic. And with this drop in panic has come the desire to find myself again, to find the self I was when I started “Inspiration Location,” the self I was before the Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play came to town.
Right now, I am sitting here, watching birds at the feeder. Right now, there is a normal flow of traffic on the road in front of the house. A new year has started and with it a new/old desire to notice the little things again, and to become brave enough to remove some of my filtering screens.
I want to focus again on delight: a long soak in a lavendar-scented bath, a glass of pinot in front of the fire, a fat novel on a freezing cold day in January, the shocking red of a cardinal flying into a brown flock of sparrows. And, of course, the daily miracle that is my life as a small town yoga teacher.
In a few days I will turn 60. I have just completed most of a memoir. I have also recently finished another 500 hour yoga teacher training. I have resussitated a dormant meditation practice and I am challenging myself to a difficult power yoga practice every day. I continue to grow, and I would even say, flourish.
I am still looking for that place to jump to in case the gas drilling circus decides to come back to town in a big way. I am a person who needs a “Plan B.” But for now I am practicing gratitude, and trying to notice, and then write down, what inspires me each day.
I recently found a little piece of software called Happy Rambles that I like. Each night before I unplug from the internet, I open my email and jot down in Happy Rambles the sweetest things I can remember from the day that is about to close.
I want to go over that list each week and pick something and write about it in more detail here. I want to make this my Inspiration Location again. I want to make this the place where I deposit the memories of my moments of wonder.
I want to amass a collection of those things that delight me and put them here, in one findable (and searchable!) place so that when/if I ever despair, I will know where my treasure box is, and go there and paw through it to locate my most authentic life. Because really, whenever I am noticing amazements it is then that I am who I really am. It is then that I am living my life with integrity.
When I never forget that my life is amazing, and that I have an infinite capacity to love and be loved, and that it is the little moments, the small things, the everyday miracles and goofinesses that make it such fun, and such a kick, to start yet another amazing trip around the sun? It is only then that I can claim that I am truly living this one wild and precious life.