Practical spirituality for a complicated world.

This "Walk Your Talk" is the 290th column I've written for the

Santa Fe Reporter

. That's a lot of columns. I'm using the occasion to announce that column 295, May 31, 2006, will be my last "Walk Your Talk". Before I go any further, I want to offer


my profoundest thanks to Andy Dudzik, publisher of the

Santa Fe Reporter

. From the very beginning, Andy has supported me and my column. As a writer, I could never have wished for a better relationship with a publisher. He is, quite simply, an extraordinary person, whom I consider to be a friend. Thank you, Andy.

Back in February, I celebrated my 55th birthday. This month, James celebrated his 52nd birthday. Neither of us considers ourselves to be elderly yet, but we're not just starting out in life, either, are we? Until recently, I didn't think too much about the future. I've always lived my life with a sense of adventure. If I wanted to go somewhere, or do something, I went there and did what I thought sounded like fun. And goodness, I have had some adventures. I've traveled through Europe, got to know Mexico intimately, and I've rummaged around every remote corner of New Mexico I could find. As a youngster, I learned to speak German and Spanish. I've studied the Vedas. I've tried to learn about God, from all the various spiritual traditions I could find. I have met so many wonderfully interesting people, many at the very top of their professions. Most importantly, James and I have shared the past 22 years, and continue to share life together; it is a blessing I never expected to have. My first book was published internationally, the dream of every writer. I've been blessed beyond anything I could've ever hoped for. My life has been my own personal magical mystery tour. And, I continue to lead a magical life.

Lately though, I've started thinking some about the future. I don't have IRAs or CDs or any type of retirement plan. Now, at age 55, such things take on an importance they never seemed to previously have. I've spent my prime earning years being creatively under-employed, doing spiritual work, usually for free. Although I wouldn't change anything, even if I could, I need to start planning for a time when I might want to retire or at least semi-retire. After all, I don't have any children upon whom I could become a burden. So now, I'm beginning to think a bit more about being a trustworthy steward of the material resources with which we've been blessed. Quite frankly, I don't want to have a mortgage payment until I'm into my 70's. I just don't want to have that situation, so I'm thinking about what I could do, instead. Santa Fe can be a challenge for people on limited incomes, having to pay mortgages or high rents. When we first came here, I was in my 30's, and I didn't think too much about how expensive things were. Today, from my mid-50's, it looks a bit different. This is not Santa Fe's fault, or the economy's fault, or anyone's fault. I'm not a victim. I'm not complaining about low wages, or the lack of affordable housing. Complaining accomplishes nothing. It only keeps politicians employed. So, rather than moan "Oh, poor us", we decided to listen to Spirit, and make plans according to our inner guidance. I'm more than happy to share with you what Spirit has guided us to do.

Before I get into the specifics of the plan, I want to say that James and I love living in Santa Fe. The community has been very good to us. We have a lovely home in Eldorado. Every day we've spent in this house has been a happy day. We see mountains from every window. The picture window in the living room has a magnificent sky view of the Galisteo Basin. When I check the mail each day, I see Mt. Taylor, over a hundred miles away, near Grants. Goodness, who wouldn't be happy here? But, happy or not, we've decided to put our home on the market. (If you know of someone who wants a beautiful Southwestern style home, tell them to call me.)

We've always loved New Mexico. I can't imagine that we would ever move away from the Land of Enchantment. We've visited every section. Have you ever experienced roasting in Carlsbad in July? We have. What about freezing at Chaco in December? Yep, we've done that, as well. Albuquerque at rush hour? Yes, and I hated every second of it! Old Town Albuquerque on an autumn Sunday morning, with the smell of roasting green chile in the crisp air? Yes, and I loved every second of it. We're both New Mexicans, and proud to be here. So, in looking about for a new home, we settled upon a more remote part of the state that we really love. We will miss so much about Santa Fe, and of course, we'll miss all the friends we have here. But, life is change. Change is inevitable in this material world. Resisting change is futile (to paraphrase the Borg). Even though I announce the end of my column, and our move from Santa Fe with some sadness, I'm also excited. I ask for your kind thoughts of support as James and I begin a different phase of our lives.

For a long time, I've taught classes and worked with individual clients. Through these years of writing a weekly column, I've met many people who've told me they enjoyed reading "Walk Your Talk". I've heard from even more people, who've written kind words about my column, as well as asking for spiritual guidance and advice. It has always been a joy to make that connection with spiritual seekers in this community. From the beginning, I've seen that Santa Fe is an embarrassment of riches in terms of history, culture, art, scenery, and especially spiritual resources. It has been my great honour to have been a part of the metaphysical spiritual community here in Santa Fe. I have also, from time to time, enjoyed poking fun at myself and the eccentric foibles of some of the spiritual seekers in our fabled community. I created a character, Crystal Starchild, to act as a foil to the over seriousness that some have brought to Santa Fe. I've even sometimes used a special name for Crystal's Santa Fe:

Fanta Say

. Although I didn't create the term

Fanta Say

, I can appreciate what it says about the faux adobe façade that so enchants many who come here. There are other Santa Fes, as well. I have enjoyed connecting to the old traditional Mexican Santa Fe. It's still here, if you're willing to look. It's worth the effort.

To all of you who have supported my column for the past 5 1⁄2 years, I can never thank you enough. You will always have a special place in my heart. But, don't think you've heard the last of me. Elton John, when asked if he were going to retire, responded, "Well, there's a lot of life left in the old girl, yet!" You'll still have several more "Walk Your Talk" columns from me. Andy and I have also discussed my writing a monthly column from my new home, somewhere in New Mexico. Who knows what the Redneck Hindu will be up to next? Speaking of which, my book,

Autobiography of a Redneck Hindu

, will be published before long, and I'll be back here for a book signing.

We'll say good-bye at the end of May. Until then, let's enjoy our time together. OM

Robert Ransom Odom is an internationally published author and teacher.

Robert has been a leading figure in the metaphysical spiritual community of Santa Fe since 1990.

To ask Robert a question, visit his website at, email or send mail to PO Box 33, Santa Fe, NM 87504.