Abiquiu Dream: An Essay About Belonging, 2011

original_photo_Thailand_1973cropped[1] (2)

Northern Thailand, 1974

I have always been a seeker, a nomad in search of a true sense of belonging. My travels have taken me to most states and many foreign countries.

Raised by a college professor, my Dad kept us moving often for the first twenty years of my life, culminating in a four month stint in Bangkok, Thailand in 1974. From there I became a China scholar, living in southeast and East Asia off and on for a good part of my twenties. But for as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of finding a true sense of belonging somewhere with someone. Now at age 56, that dream is finally coming to fruition.

 In my late forties, a difficult divorce launched me on a profound journey of self-discovery. I went in search of who I was beyond all other relationships. I wanted to truly know me, and then take full responsibility for myself for the rest of my life. No more blaming others for anything.

Sunroom after

The sun room I built on to my home after my divorce in 2001…

Taken by complete surprise when I lost my job and career at age 49, I was suddenly set free to change everything at once. The freedom was at first paralyzing. Taking the time to sit alone for months, I considered my options. My decision was to seek more fun and meaning in my life.

At first these may seem contradictory, but the more I thought about it, my plan made perfect sense. For me, fun and meaning translate into the pure joy of creativity. I love to lose all sense of time, and escape into a creative space where time no longer exists. This abandonment of my rational mind often leads me to my most creative place, one where I can simply trust in the universe and flow.

Learning to live more simply, trusting in my instincts and intuition, led me to an amazing new relationship a few years ago.  I recognized him immediately as my soul mate, as he did me. Mike teaches me every day what love is, washing away any previous misconceptions of conditional acceptance.  “I will love you if…” is no longer a part of our world.

Then my intuition told me to take my new lover to Abiquiu, New Mexico. I had only spent a few days there before, but could not forget what a magical place it was for me. Sure enough, Abiquiu quickly cast its spell on him as well. Within a couple of hours we had made plans to stay longer and even began looking for land to buy.

red mountain and Pedernal GeorgiaWas it the fabulous red rock canyons everywhere that made us feel like we had just slipped into the most incredible painting, or the dream-like lake, reflecting those delicious canyons back at us?  Either way, we were entirely mesmerized.

old georgia okeeffeEverywhere I felt Georgia O’Keefe’s presence, her brilliant yet austere canvas stood before me. She even spoke to me on our last night in Abiquiu. I dreamt that I was begging Georgia to teach me how to paint. When I awoke I realized she is always teaching me. She teaches me how to paint with words. She has become my model of a strong, independent woman who follows her heart and intuition, trusting utterly in her own creative vision. This wise woman understood the power of place.

My wisdom tells me that I belong in Abiquiu like I have never belonged anywhere before. This is the place where my creativity can take root and soar. I am drawn to this land.

This is my dream space.

decking Comanche home with mountains in backgroun

Postscript: OK, southern Colorado is close enough.

See, what you focus on does grow eventually!

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live in silence and beauty.

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado. After two years I decided to compile a short journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar home:   A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado   Please share this information with your friends if they are considering similar life changes. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these challenges, and to order your own signed copies of any of my books!  Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

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