Welcome to the Just South of Zen Blog.
“Just South of Zen” is the amazing, frustrating, beautiful, insane and breathtaking journey that I (and my family) have experienced (and continue to experience) since leaving the buzz and craziness of South Florida in search of a simpler (more Zen-like) life in South Carolina.
As with anything new, introductions are of course, in order.
The short version: Mom, wife, daughter, writer, artist (jewelry, paint, clay), yoga teacher, vegan – slightly twisted, always amused spirit embracing a simple life and attempting to enjoy it one Zen moment at a time.
The Long Version: In the time and space between building a career and reputation in the marketing industry and raising a beautiful and serenely spirited child, I longed for a simpler, tranquil life. I dreamed of gardens with fresh vegetables and a yard of fruit trees, I longed for kneading dough for fresh-baked bread while looking out a window at scenery that would reflect the change of seasons. I pictured teaching yoga to people for free. I imagined a time when life would slow down enough and I could play Monopoly or Clue with my son and husband in the cool, autumn evening air or watch the fireflies in summer.
One quiet day, in post hurricane Ft. Lauderdale Florida, we packed a moving van full of our necessities and a mini van with our companion animals and drove on roads still heavy with storm debris to our new home in Camden, South Carolina. Once in South Carolina, we settled into our brick house on a green hill surrounded by an acre of trees and plentiful garden space that overlooks a spring-fed lake.
At first while living here, we fell into our old ways because there was a strange comfort in them. Perhaps like any addiction, doing what you know and knowing the outcome is far less scary then change. Change is horrifying and embracing it when your heart is not open is like trekking Mt. Everest or flying to Mars.
We took crazy demanding jobs that required an hour commute. We chased our tails at malls and movies and restaurants on the weekend trying to numb the fact that we had to go back to the crazy jobs on Monday. Then one night, as the full moon shown into our bedroom and its fingers danced on the lake like a water ghost, I stopped.
I stared out the window and watched the moon and the lake and the shadows of the trees in the night. I stopped and I listened. I listened to the cicadas in the trees and to the geese somewhere on the lake and embraced the sweet sounds that surrounded me.
And for the first time, in quite a long time, I breathed deeply. At that moment, I realized that we had arrived at our place but we had not arrived at our peace.
That was a defining moment and everything changed. We left our fast-paced jobs and found jobs that contributed and helped others (in our case, the senior population); we evaluated our time and our purchases. We started teaching yoga for free in public places www.yogawithoutwalls.net . We planted a garden and we started watching fireflies.
And everyday we remind ourselves that paradise is outside our back door and that peace is in our hearts – not at the mall.
Just South of Zen is as much a journey into a simple, intentional life as it is a journey to the heart’s center while living in a place that thinks that you are…..not just a little different, but clearly “not from around here.”
Come and join us on our journey.
Welcome to Just South of Zen. It’s not just a blog – it’s a place