“It is 1976, and my dad has left his booming medical practice in San Antonio. We have abandoned our comfortable, sprawling ranch-style home on two acres and have moved into a twelve-hundred-square-foot home with a wood-burning stove on fifty acres set back on a red dirt road in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada. When I am older, my parents will tell me they made the move in order to support a simpler life, to be more connected to nature, and to be near an active spiritual community. But right now, I am furious. I hate leaving my friends. I hate the idea of moving to a “yoga community.” I’m sure I will never see another Hostess Ding Dong again! Also, I’m nervous and anxious because I have no idea what the future holds. But slowly, as the first year unfolds, I become excited about our new adventure. At school I meet kids from all over whose parents are just as weird as — if not weirder than — mine, and I get to enjoy a tremendous amount of freedom. I study pottery and other arts, and I write short stories while roaming the hundred-acre grounds of our school. Every day, my siblings and I ride horses through undiscovered forests and explore crashing rivers and forgotten trails nestled in tall, inviting Ponderosa pine trees. I find, like my dad, I’m a risk taker. Part of me gets why he is doing this. He — in his own way — is trying to create a new way of being for his family.
Years later, as an adult, I will often joke that all I remember doing during our six years in California is riding horses, reading the Bhagavad Gita, writing poetry, and making stained-glass windows. Yet this period of my life — when I am given the time, space, freedom, and encourage- ment to really explore who I am — will have a profound and lasting impact on who I become.
My family did what many people say they dream of doing: escaping to a quieter rural life — away from electronics, traffic, overwork, and too many choices. It sounds appealing, but the truth is we don’t need to go anywhere to experience what we desire. We are given the opportunity daily to make choices that support a simpler, more harmonious way of living.
How have you chosen to set up your life? What choices have you made that impact how and where you work, play, live, eat, spend, and move through your day and life? Ultimately, the question for all of us becomes: What does the life we desire look like, and are we willing to make the choices necessary to experience a new way of being — to embrace greater freedom and joy?
There ’s a difference between not having a choice and having to make a hard choice. Sometimes we forget that we create our vision for how we want to live. We do. Not our parents, not our kids, pets, friends, school or community. We do.” (This excerpt is from Ch.9 Breaking Free: Making Hard Choices from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family.)
Interestingly, my husband and I are now asking some of the same questions my parents did 38 years ago. What do we want the second half of our life to look and feel like? How can we simplify our routine, shorten commutes, create more space for downtime and creative pursuits, and what lifestyle, financial and values-based decisions should we be considering now in order to keep moving in this direction? (If you’re asking the same questions, pick up a copy of my newest life balance book where in Ch. 9, I guide you through exercises to help you come into greater alignment with the life you desire. Or consider working with one of our career/life strategists for high-level support.)
JOIN ME! I’m in the home stretch of my book launch. I’ll be leading a New Way of Being Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Yoga & Wellness Center June 21-23 (sorry, it’s sold out, but join us Oct. 18-20 at Kripalu), a free “sampler” mini retreat at Kripalu June 22 at 7:30 p.m. and a mini self-renewal retreat and book signing at The TreeHouse school in Asheville, NC on June 30th. Details on all events here. I’d love to have some “belly time” with you–come meet me in person!
P.S. Interested in the work we do and live in Central Texas? We’re interviewing people now for two very part-time positions (ideal for SAHM or a self-employed mom). Learn more and apply today.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teachers/speaker author Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and numerous media outlets. Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and son. More on her background here.