So Where In the World is Doug?

Our home is 125 square feet in the shape of a rounded aluminum tube containing everything we need…

Some of you have gotten my email autoresponder to the effect of “I am on extended travel through most of April. I will be checking email occasionally, but am also practicing being less responsive than you might reasonably expect.”

I get that leaves a lot open to interpretation!

I am changing the context for my life, and experimenting with how to organize myself differently.

The truth is that I am traveling in the Southwest (mostly Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah) for 3 months with my wife, Walker, and our two dogs. We are living in an Airstream travel trailer. This sounds exotic and cool until you realize that our home is 125 square feet in the shape of a rounded aluminum tube containing everything we need including dog food, dogs, camping stuff, and 100 pounds of clay for Walker’s sculpture.

It’s not really a vacation. I don’t really like that word anyway, as it implies emptiness, vacating… I’m not a sit-on-the-beach kind of guy. Nor is it retirement… I have much left to do.

Rather, it’s a safe-to-fail experiment in prioritizing my wife, my relationship with the natural world, and my writing and the coaching/teaching aspects of my business. I am changing the context for my life, and experimenting with how to organize myself differently. I am deliberately being less available, with the concomitant risk of irritating some folks and missing opportunities. And, I am feeling less torn by the “death of a thousand cuts” that so often characterizes our modern, always-connected professional lifestyle.

I am being nourished by a deeply restorative connection with the jaw-dropping dynamism and beauty of the natural world.

Bebe, Jenny, and Rhonda are capably advancing the business, with strong support from others. I’m not out of the loop, but I am actively working at releasing my sometimes overzealous sense of responsibility, which is much harder to hold onto from Chiricahua National Monument than it is from my home office in North Carolina. (BTW, it’s notable that the Spring PBC I course is sold out and wait-listed. The most full retreat EVER is the first one I’ve ever NOT taught. I know it’s in good hands and our students will receive everything they could ask for. And, it’s both humbling and a relief to be confronted with my own expendability!

I am, most of the time, really loving the writing of this third book. It’s been a bear, and the most difficult project of my entire life (save marriage and parenting teenagers.) Yet, declaring that the writing is important brings joy, and the perspective of being out of the normal press of events is enormously helpful.

I am having precious time with my beloved. I am being nourished by a deeply restorative connection with the jaw-dropping dynamism and beauty of the natural world. I am supporting people doing important things in the world, and investing in creativity and meditation and spiritual practice.  Walker has done two sculptures so far, we’ve had some fun with our photography, and are enjoying rich time with each other and with dear friends. For once, there’s (almost) enough time!

Living mostly outdoors provides stability and ground in the midst of the vertiginous events of the weeks since Inauguration Day.

It is helpful to be taking in news in small bites. Living mostly outdoors provides stability and ground in the midst of the vertiginous events of the weeks since Inauguration Day. (We left on our trip the day after, having gone to the Women’s March in Asheville on our way out of town.) We are paying attention and staying involved, calling Senators and Congressman and letting them know our strong feelings about the decisions that they are making, donating and organizing others to donate to causes that are important to us.

Thank you for listening, and stay tuned… much is on the way….

13 replies
  1. Sylvia Dresser
    Sylvia Dresser says:

    Nor is it retirement… I have much left to do

    What a slam on retired people! Retirement can be a very full and rich time of life, albeit without a paycheck. I invite you to revisit your words …

    Reply
    • Doug
      Doug says:

      Fair enough, Sylvia. No slam intended, and the folks I know who call themselves retired (including my wife and best friends and magnificent father) make that state look very attractive. I simply meant in the professional arena I have specific things that are energizing and that I believe are contributory; this trip, of course, is also a lifestyle experiment as I sense into what this next stage of life might be for me…. I actually don’t think I’ll “retire,” as in an event.. more a (hopefully) graceful transition of shifting priorities over probably a long period of time…

      Great catch, and I hope you’re doing well, Sylvia!
      Doug

      Reply
      • Julie Paleen
        Julie Paleen says:

        I don’t like the word “retirement” either. Words do matter and I appreciate that individuals equate various meanings to words in common use. For me, I prefer to not use the word because, to me, it conjures up a unsettling feeling. I am about to entire my third career by starting grad school in marriage and family therapy. I guess I “retired” from my other careers, but I rather say that I “evolved.” Julie

        Reply
  2. Elizabeth Upchurch
    Elizabeth Upchurch says:

    I love to hear this about you! Seems we struggle with some of the same issues. So grateful you keep leading the way. Namaste.

    Reply
  3. Roxi Hewertson
    Roxi Hewertson says:

    Thank you, Doug, for sharing, for inspiring, and for reminding us that we truly do have choices. I wish you both a continued restorative, invigorating, grounded, and loving journey over the next months. Roxi

    Reply
  4. Ssuan
    Ssuan says:

    Your pivot was one that demonstrates your responsiveness to what calls to you, the heart of presence based coaching. I enjoyed reading this, and look forward to more updates!

    Reply
  5. Richard Hansen
    Richard Hansen says:

    Doug,
    Curiously, my first and subsequent reads of the “retirement” passage were innocuous. Conversely, the energy I experience living vicariously from your stories and pics is exhilarating!! RDH

    Reply

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