Since returning to Fort Bragg I have been reflecting on my time in the Bay Area last week. Something I noticed when I was there in September for was that for the first time in eight years it did not feel like my home. In September I went to an old friends wedding, he was one of the first friends I made when I moved to San Francisco in 2003. Many of the wedding participants and guests were people I was close with during my years in the city. It was a gorgeous wedding and I could not be happier for my friend. It was also a bittersweet event for me because so many things had changed since I left San Francisco. The memories I had of those friends were part of a life I no longer knew.

On Thanksgiving I drove into San Francisco to enjoy a raw vegan feast with some friends from school. While driving in the neighborhood of my very first apartment my mind was flooded of memories. Taking the trolley just for fun, getting chased down by this cute British guy that spotted me on the bus, walking for hours and hours looking at people and buildings, remembering how it felt so right, like I was finally where I was supposed to be. I was a young grad student, inspired and ready to make art. My eyes filled with tears as I drove. So many wonderful memories.

The entire four years that I lived in Portland, OR (where I went after SF) I imagined I would end up back in the Bay Area, maybe not San Francisco as I had grown accustomed to having space again from being in Portland and liked living in a house opposed to a studio. I saw myself moving to Oakland like many of my old friends. When I would go back to visit after moving to Portland I spent more time in Oakland and it seemed like the next best thing. These last two trips however have shown me that the Bay Area is not for me at this time. No part of it resonated for me and as I drove back to Fort Bragg last Sunday my eyes filled with tears again. For the first time in many years I felt transient, homeless, and the only thing that seemed certain is that there is nothing but groundlessness.

Leaving Oakland felt like the end of an era. I know it will not be the last time I visit or leave, but this felt significant as it was clearly the beginning of a life without the Bay Area as plan B. Feeling disconnected from where I live (place) is strange and it drives home this sense of transience. Last year I started reading up on the Chakras, and became fascinated with the first one which is the root and rules our physical energy. I read what I had inherently known for myself for a long while but could not articulate well – that it is important to live in a physical environment that is inline with my energy – if this basic need is not met it is hard to become grounded in life. Over the years of traveling there are very few places I have been that felt like home, or that they could become home. As I said, San Francisco was that place for me for years. I also felt that way when I went to Berlin, Germany for the first time in 2010. It felt so good and right there that I came back to Portland, took two quarters of German language classes and went back to Berlin with the intention of staying for year. I came back to the States after six months, not because Berlin did not feel right but because in Berlin I discovered parts of myself I wanted to explore further and that exploration brought me back to California.

Constantly being on the move, planning my next trip, class, or job, makes it challenging to appreciate the groundlessness that is part of life. It is a huge reminder that, as one of my teachers says, we can always go to the island within ourselves to find peace and comfort. How easy this is to forget especially with so much transition happening. This has been such a tough year on so many levels. I have been broken down to the point of complete exhaustion and humiliation and at other points had some of the most quiet, beautiful moments I have ever experienced. I have shown up for myself in ways I have never been able to in the past, reached out and accepted more help than I am accustomed to, and made firm commitments to myself to do everything I can to put myself first – no matter what.

Letting go of the Bay Area for the time being has shown me there are other places to explore and new adventures to be had. As my time in Fort Bragg winds down and I gear up for the next chapter in Los Angeles I pause from time to time and reflect on my teachers words. I am capable of facing all of these changes, I have the peace and the strength within myself to show up for another day, to be a shining light for another person, and to take each moment as it comes without judgement or indifference. Oh, and LA, GET READY HERE I COME!!!



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