"We all desperately need more insight into what leads to happiness and what leads to pain." ~Pema Chodron

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Amy Childs

Happiness Consultant

june 15, 2011

The plan was simple: Turn my house, bills and bank account over to my kids; get rid of all I can’t carry; go.

As with most things, it’s been a bit simpler said than done.

But, having endured the emotional and logistical roller coaster involved, I’m here to say: I’ve done it.  I’ve gone.

So what happens next?

My couch surfing profile says my mission is “To see the world, humanity, and myself with curiosity, kindness and humor.”  Does that count as a plan?

I happened upon a paragraph by Pema Chodron about something she called “bardo,” which seemed to articulate something about where I am:

You’ve left the shore, but you haven’t arrived anywhere yet.  You don’t know where you’re going, and you’ve been out there at sea long enough that you only have a vague memory of where you came from. You’ve left home, you’ve become homeless, you long to go back, but there’s no way to go back.  That’s called the bardo, the in-between.

This in-between has been hovering around inside of me for a while, so the idea of taking a year off to wander seemed to fall right in place.

All three of my kids (ages 18, 20, 23) are in transitional times of life, and lately we’d been playing with various ideas for how to accommodate their various phases. When it hit me that if my son replaced me as “head of the household” everyone’s needs would be satisfied at once, it was just … voila!  All I had to do was relinquish all acquired comforts, and head solo into the wild unknown.  My specialty!

My kids get to practice their skills of self-reliance while in each others’ supportive and loving company.  I get to practice experiencing myself and the world with curiosity and kindness – wherever on the planet I may find myself to be.

So… I guess that’s as much of a plan as I got so far.

Bardo ho!

Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

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