There is a thing I do better than most people you know: moving.
Literally changing homes. Like, packing my shit up, and getting out.
There are many things I could say to make it sound privately beautiful (I’ve journals full of those things), and ways I could paint and shape and hold out this thing about me in the sun to make it glitter and look, well, any way I want it to look.
But the fact remains, regardless of its portents: I am good at the act of getting the fuck out.
This doesn’t mean I don’t stress about it. Fear. Cry. Lament. Bemoan. Complain and — yikes — get all victim-y about the whole process. But in the last two-ish years, I’ve moved five times.
And I haven’t even had a therapist to help me through it.
Speaking of therapists: Two-ish years ago, I was ending a major relationship. It was my Saturn return, so, you know, I was in it. I had decided to leave the Bay Area for Portland, and I was super scared.
I was waking up. All my cells were wiggling around in my body, I was hearing my Voice speaking not-so-silently from where it’d been hidden/stuffed, and I was leaving a man I loved deeply, not because loving deeply wasn’t enough, but because I needed to leave.
Sometimes, there are no good reasons. There is just the need to do what you need to do, and there is doing it.
I was in my then-therapist’s cozy office, talking about my upcoming move; I had a job, a great place to live, and I was feverish with the full-body knowing of what I truly needed for maybe the first time in my life.
I told my therapist I hoped I’d be able to be settle into Portland. I had a wild, frenzied grin on my face, when he said:
“I think it would be good for you to bounce around for a little while, asserting yourself.”
• • •
Friends, I have thought of that fortuitous statement of his many, many times over these last two years. Because, bless him, I knew he was right. Would be it be “good for me”? I suspected it would. But I was terrified. I’d spent long years in places and experiences, scared to move a muscle for fear of bringing down the castle — or being wrong. Or worse: alone.
For a brief moment my therapist’s office, my life as it hadn’t yet happened flashed before my eyes — jobs, homes, relationships, all the things I’d leave or unchoose because, as it happens, there are just as many things that aren’t right for us as there are things that are.
I knew I’d been initiated through enough not-right situations (and their inevitable costs) that not-right was no longer an option. Not because I suddenly grew giant golden balls of triumphant will-power (trust me), but because I had woken up. My call-to-action to be who I am, love how I love, and need what I need would not — and hasn’t yet — let me forget that it is way more important to be uncomfortable and authentic to the deepest well of my being, than to be complacent inside a shell of someone who looks and acts like me, but who is not fully present in her life.
My life, as it turns out, has been a lot of bouncing around since he spoke those words. I have stood up for my Knowing, but I have not enjoyed the commotion. It’s a bit like flying through turbulence — unpredictability and gut-sinking feelings of flying at extreme speed, all well and safe and strapped in, but a little bit blind when one blow or another hits, and the whole machine rattles from the outside in.
My lessons come more quickly than they used to, but they still hurt. Leaving always hurts. People are wounded, their wounding rubs up against our wounding, and we get all these reminders of where we need healing, and while those are beautiful opportunities, pain is pain, no matter how ya slice it.
Though I do love the occasional spiritual bypassing.
But by now I’ve learned that I can do what I have to do: I can leave, and damn it, I can move.
What I’ve also learned is that while something obviously gets left in the rearview mirror, the leaving is less about what I don’t want, and more about what I do want. I am developing the art of making room for what I choose, not messily amputating what I don’t. The latter would leave me in pieces; the former leaves me open for receiving.
Opening is a practice that takes as much bravery as it does vulnerability.
And with this vulnerability, I’ve been asking myself if, on occasion, I’ve been avoiding facing what there is to face by doing the moving thing.
I mean, nothing is ever one thing. I am always saying, in order to honor complexity, “There are so many layers…” And of course there are. But a pattern is only a pattern until we turn our attention to it, and then the laws of quantum mechanics dictate that it changes. In fact, nothing is ever real until we turn our attention to it.
• • •
I am in a precious little room in an Air BnB near Bend, Oregon. There is a quilt on the bed. The air is thick with summer outside and in. Today I sat by the Deshcutes River drinking a green smoothie asking myself, “Could I live here?” And certainly, because I am desperate for Home, I could. But I know with enough reason, I could just as easily leave.
So I’m wondering if maybe it’s time to be still for a while, to see if I can maybe get good at that, too.