This photo is looking out from the hotel room the cowboy and I stayed in on the 3rd night of our trip. We were in a place called Gold Beach, Oregon. What a sunset, huh? The little hotel we found on the beach had the sweetest room with really nice classy furnishings and a cozy gas woodstove in the corner. Very romantic. We had a dinner of fruit, cheese and wine on the balcony while watching that ethereal sunset. I wish I knew the name of the place so I could link to it, but I didn't write it down and it's gone from the brain bank!
I've been back from the trip for almost three weeks. When I left I had few prospects for employment beyond the 3-4 hours a day I had been working for Search Widens, the wholesale jewelry business my friend Roberta owns. While I was away, her other part-time worker had to stop working due to pregnancy complications (she and the baby are fine now!) so I was able to move into an almost full-time position there. I had also spoken with a local florist looking for a part-time designer and began work there on Saturdays two weeks ago.
I'm making very good money for part-time work at both places, but it's still considerably less than I was making with the job I was laid off from. Some economic realities are setting in and I'm forced to make difficult decisions about where to spend money. I can't get out of the grocery store for under $25 just picking up things like eggs and bread! I've given up some luxuries I had become accustomed to, like my monthly massage and locally-farmed organic veggies that arrive once a week from now through September. I am very carefully not judging these decisions as good or bad, or more precisely, as a reflection of scarcity or abundance, and a funny thing is happening. For each thing I seemingly give up, I have an experience of recieving something else.
Both of my part-time jobs are within walking distance. There are many days that I don't even crank my car! Not only does this save me considerable money while gas prices are so ridiculously high, but it gives me the satisfaction of knowing I'm contributing that much less to global warming. Roberta is going on a 10-day canoe trip and she's graciously donated her organic veggies to me while she's away. My surgery bills are coming in and when I called to make payment arrangements I was informed that I could submit a charity application to take care of up to 80% of the final costs since my situation has changed so drastically since I had surgery. My parents are very generously helping out as they are able - and even President Bush pitched in with his economic relief payment which will cover a full month's rent and a few trips to the grocery store!
I'm still on the lookout for a full-time job with benefits, but I'm becoming more aware each day of how money is really just an energy exchange. I really enjoy both of my jobs and it's depressing to think of going back to work in an office 40 hours a week and probably for some petty tyrant. I think I have two of the best employers in the area and each job provides me the opportunity to practice different skills in a positive, supportive environment. That ain't nothing, folks. So while my left brain goes on about the need for benefits, health insurance, retirement, etc., I've begun to pay much more attention to my heart. Do I enjoy the work? Am I in the midst of positive, healthy people? Do I trust enough to follow the feeling of good energy and know it will lead not only to the fulfillment of my needs, but to true abundance? How important is $3-4 extra dollars an hour if it's paid for with added stress and depression? I don't want it to sound like I think medical insurance and retirement benefits aren't desirable, but I also wonder in this crazy world that we inhabit just how much those things can be relied upon anyway.