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 BIG SHIFT: Stepping Into a World of My Own Creation

Debra Redalia

This butterfly caught my eye on a set of boxes cards at Pomegranate


From time to time I take a break from my regularly scheduled programming to write a post about a shift that has occurred in my own personal life, as a result of my journey from industrialization to nature. Read about other shifts that have occurred since I started the Lifely blog in Jun 2019 here.

This past week there have been some big changes in my life, since completing the metamorphosis of my website into a new design.

I want to tell you about the changes because this Lifely blog is, for me, as much about sharing with you a process of change from industrialization to nature as it is to orient you to Life itself.

But before I tell you what happened this week, I need to tell you what has come before.

* * *

Larry and I have been together for thirty-three years.

We have had our ups and downs as all couples do. What is perhaps different about us is that we have been married twice and divorced twice to each other and are still together, making our way through life.

In 2013 we were living in Florida. We had divorced for the second time, and were living apart. Then Larry fell out of a tree while doing some tree work. He fell some twenty feet and broke his back and right leg. After several surgeries and months in the hospital it was time for him to go “home,” but my home was no longer his. And I could not take care of him 24 hours a day and also work to earn income. So it was decided he would go live in California with his parents and two siblings, where there were plenty of people to take care of him while he recovered. His last words to me as he was wheeled out the door were, “When I can walk, I’ll be back.”

In 2016 I suddenly lost vision in my left eye and required a number of surgeries. So I asked Larry if he would come help me. He did and we decided to get back together. He came to Florida again in the spring of 2017 and we made plans for me to sell my house and we would move someplace together and start a new life. We were considering building a tiny house, but nothing was decided.

And then Larry’s father died and he didn’t want to leave his family.

By September 2017 I had sold the house and many of my things. Our plan was for me to come live with Larry and his family in California for three months and during that time we would work on reducing Larry’s belongings. We drove a moving van across the country and arrives one day before a  huge wildfire.

* * *

Three month turned into three years. We bought a vintage motorhome to remodel into a tiny house in January 2017 but didn’t make much progress on it as we went through family legal matters, Larry’s gall bladder surgery, Larry’s heart attack, my cancer and surgery, and my broken knee.

Though I hadn’t planned to live in half of a small bedroom in someone else’s house and work in a makeshift office in an outbuilding between a woodshop and a cattery, it was actually the best thing that could have happened. Instead of having my life revolve around paying a mortgage and all the expenses of home ownership, I could live quite inexpensively while I otherwise spent my time making a transition from the work of my adulthood to the real work of my senior years.

throughout this time every once in a while I wanted to move out of the house, but we couldn’t make that happen for one reason or another.

And then, last Saturday morning, I woke up and as I was lying in bed I said with great clarity and power, “Enough! We are moving into the tiny house within the next two weeks!"

* * *

The problem was, the tiny house wasn’t finished.

We had decided we could use the unfinished tiny house as a bedroom at least and sleep there. But when we moved a queen-size bed frame into the motorhome, it didn’t fit.

We went and bought a full-size wooden bed frame at IKEA one day, which required a whole day of driving there and back, but that didn’t quite work either. While IKEA has bed frames that are 100% untreated wood, they are low to the floor. Larry thought he could easily replace the legs and make it higher but that proved to be impossible.

So on that Saturday morning, we had two IKEA bed frames—one queen and one full—and we had to somehow get this to work.

But the big inspiration on that morning was I realized there was a storage room with a bathroom that could be better utilized. So the plan was to move out of our bedroom in the house and make our living space the motorhome, the storage room with the bathroom, and my office between the cattery and the woodshop.

Larry immediately said, “Yes! Let’s do it!"

* * *

But before we could get to the point of being able to move out of the house, something had to occur. Larry and I each had to go through a shift, individually and together.

About a week before that Saturday morning, Larry began to act differently than usual. In general, he likes to spend a lot of time with me and would rather do something together with me than by himself. But all of a sudden he wanted to buy a log-splitter so he could split logs we had on the property from trimming trees, and make some extra money. He spent two days alone looking at log-splitters and then taking the trailer to bring one home. Then he was sick for two days. Clearly, something was happening. Finally, he said, “I’m going through something and I just need time alone.”

This was just after we had made a major breakthrough on a book we are writing together and we had written two posts about love—To Hate or to Love: That is the Question and How We Experience Love.

On my side, as the days of Larry being distant wore on, I started having my own kniptions. I wondered if we would break up again and if so, what would I do? Where would I live? What would I do with my things? One morning I got up and went through all the clothes in my closet and filled a whole garbage bag to take to Goodwill.

I went through an emotional turmoil that shook my confidence in our relationship and came through it with a new certainty about wanting to continue our relationship, now on the deeper level we are moving into.

So when I woke up that Saturday morning, it really was 100% time to leave the house—for both of us—even if to move into an incomplete tiny house construction site. It would be ours to do with as we wished.

* * *

As a matter of fact, Larry did go through something.

It seemed to me that he became ready to start his new life with me, not as who he was three years ago, but as a new, more mature version of himself. I had lost my mother at age 24 and my father at age 45, so I had already gone through the change that occurs when you no longer have family and must stand on your own. But Larry hadn’t.

I could see he was ready now to leave his childhood home and strike out into the world by my side. It didn’t matter that “leaving his childhood home" meant moving 100 feet from the house to the motorhome. What changed was his attention was now on creating a future instead of struggling with his past. He now began get up every morning and work all day to build our house, our home, and doing it with all his heart.

For my part, I could see that I no longer needed to continue being in “transition.” With the new design of my websites, I had created a world that was more than files of words, it was an actual place to which I had arrived. A place from which I could reach out into the world and invite others in. A place that represented me and my ideals and values and style. A place where I could take my ideas out of my mind and put them in the world where they could be seen and discussed and shared and maybe even improve things.

I had to smile as I realized that by creating my websites online with the same care as I would build and decorate my home, the very next thing that occurred was the way opened for me to create my own home in the physical world.

After deciding it was time to have our own home on Saturday, on Sunday it was Valentine’s Day. We hadn’t made any plans but Larry put on his bright red shirt and said, “Let’s go have a Valentine’s Day!” We drove off to have an adventure and ended up hiking around a beautiful lake for three hours and having a mid-afternoon lunch at a restaurant I had been wanting to try.

We’re starting a whole new phase of our life together.

After writing this I went outside to see how Larry was doing building the new bed frame. I told him I had written that he gets up every morning to build our house. He smiled and said, “Uh-huh. Building our nest.”

Building our nest, indeed.

Welcome to Lifely!

Quite simply, this blog is about orienting ourselves and our lives to Life, instead of orienting ourselves and our lives to industrial consumerism. Here we are sharing our own journey. You come too. Read more...

Debra & Larry Redalia
lifepartners + soulmates

For more than 30 years we have been delving into the nature and activities of life together. Indeed, this has been and continues to be the very reason we are together. With delight, we research, explore, observe, and even wake each other up in the middle of the night to discuss how life functions and how we can function as life—even while living in the modern world. We each are different from the norm, but we are different in the same way, so we have been able to think outside of the ordinary together and find the extraordinary workings of life.

Read more about us…
Read more about Debra…
Read more about Larry…