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A Love Letter to Los Angeles

 

Dear Los Angeles,

I’ve been meaning to write to you for a couple of days but every time I sat down to write I came up with a list of other things to do to preoccupy myself. This a challenging letter to write, not because you have done anything wrong or because I am ending our relationship. It has been difficult because I am flooded with emotions and memories from the last five years and even though I know in my heart it’s time for me to move into the next chapter of my journey there is a sadness around moving that I haven’t wanted to feel.

On Sunday after attending a workshop I drove up to San Luis Obispo to meet Nic for two days. After a dip in the healing hot springs, a late morning walk through California sagebrush, and an encouraging talk with Nic I decided it was time to share what has been weighing heavy on my heart. Los Angeles, you have been so good to me since I showed up to your door five years ago with nothing but a car full of clothes, my trusty companion Falcor, and a dream of creating a new life and business in the healing arts. I came to you knowing just a couple of people and within weeks was building a network of inspiring friends and colleagues and recognizing that the magic of our energies combined was going to manifest all of my dreams.

To say these last five years have been the most epic, expansive, heart opening, healing, magical, nourishing, and restorative years of my life feels like a major understatement. When I look back at the woman I was when I arrived and map the evolution to who I have become, I am astonished by the transformation. It has been a miracle, and a miracle that could not have been brought about at any other place at any other time. I was so ready for all of the change, desire, and hope that you promised me Los Angeles, and when I crossed over your mountains for the first time in my old Honda civic I knew in my bones that everything that felt like it was always just out of reach was going to become my destiny.

When I was in elementary school I dreamed about living together. I had so many fantasies about leaving Atlanta and starting a relationship with you but I was too young. I had this strong feeling back then that we would be together in the future as I watched movies and TV shows that made me feel like we would be such a good match. It took me nearly twenty years to finally come around and Los Angeles, you were totally worth the wait. Sometimes I wish I had come to you sooner, thinking about all of the amazing times we could have shared. Underneath that longing for more time together I know that everything worked out perfectly. The spark that ignited when we came together is still burning strong and there will always be a flickering in my heart for you Los Angeles.

A big part of why I’ve been afraid to share all of this with you is that I don’t want you to be upset and I really do not want to disappoint you. I know how challenging it is when kindred spirits part ways but I also know how important it is for all of us to follow our hearts and go where they invite us to go. This is one of the biggest lessons you taught me: to trust my intuition and to follow its lead, especially when it pushes me beyond my growing edge. This isn’t a break up believe me, but it is time for me to flow forward and I know deep down you can understand that. What I am trying to tell you Los Angeles is that I love you and it is time for me to move. I am not going that far away but we won’t be waking up together, laughing together, or hustling together everyday anymore.

As you know I have met my dream partner last year and I am ready to create a life with him, a life that never would have been possible if it wasn’t for you and all of the ways you have showed up for me, nurtured me, and shaped me into the woman I am today. At times you really put serious pressure on me Los Angeles and you brought me to my knees in more situations than I can count. In the end though, I have laughed more than cried, sang more than stayed small, and blossomed into a woman who I am in awe of almost everyday. I’ve heard this phrase that L.A. is where stars are born and I believe that you helped me turn into the star I have been all along.

My eyes are full of tears as I write you this letter. There is nothing but gratitude and love in my heart for you. I showed up for our relationship like I had never shown up in the past. I committed. I stayed the course. I unpacked my house. I bought a grown up bed. I told the truth even when it scared the shit out of me. I didn’t bail when things got hard. I was in service to you everyday. I prayed. I danced. I out created every last one of my fears. I took up space. I made myself known. I set boundaries. I cared for you. I forgave you daily. I loved you hard. I talked to your creatures, tended your gardens, and devoted my life to co-creating something deeply healing and incredibly nourishing for our communities. And in that you gave me everything I asked for and then some. Los Angeles, you exceeded every single one of my expectations and blew my heart open as wide as your freeways are long. You activated my life force and brought me into the next phase of my journey and for all of this and more you will always, always have my heart.

Goodbyes are hard and to be honest I am not very good at them. They seem so final in a way and that isn’t my intention here with you. This isn’t a goodbye, it’s really a see you again soon. I will be back to connect with you, share, teach, and support people in the good work that we do. I’ll be just a car ride away up north in the Bay if you need me and I will think of you often as Nic, Falcor, Greta and I set up our nest in Oakland and prepare for all of the projects that we are here to create together.

Los Angeles I am grateful daily for the wisdom you shared with me, the gorgeous sunsets you painted, and the community of people who will continue to inspire me in the coming days, weeks, and years. You are one hell of a friend, anchor, and mentor. You taught me a great deal about what it means to be inclusive, forgiving, and roll with the constant changes and expansions that are part of life. You showed me I am worthy, whole, and you’ve given me an incredible far reaching platform to express my feelings and support people to heal themselves. Los Angeles, what I really want to say is that I love you with all my heart. I will miss you terribly and I will see you again soon.

Always. x

Photo: Marielle Chua

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6 Comments

  • Thank you for gracing Los Angeles with your warmth, beauty, and all of your being. I appreciated getting the chance to cross paths with you here. Sending love as you prepare for what unfolds next! xo

    • ashley

      Thank you so much Victoria! I feel the same about you. It’s been wonderful watching your life unfold and I am grateful to have been circling around LA together for the last five years. You are such a light in this city and I can’t wait to see what is next! x

  • Kamaile

    Wishing you all thes best for your move & beyond!

    • ashley

      Thank you so much Kamaile! Sending love your way this week. x

  • Hi Ashley, how wonderful! That step sounds huge but also like the right thing to do! I am happy for you! Good luck and all the best! Corina

    • ashley

      Hi Corina! Thank you so much for the support and encouragement, it means a great deal to me. Excited to see where this next step takes us! Lots of love. x

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