This past Monday marked one month of being in my new place in California. I moved back to the Bay Area on April 1st after 10 years living in Boulder, Colorado. As synchronicity will have it, when I opened up Facebook on Monday morning my memories revealed this status from 2011: this is the longest i've lived somewhere since i was 11... with no plans to move -- june 6, 2011
When I bought my home in 2012, it was among other things, an act of revolution. It was me saying to myself, you are safe. It was me saying to myself, you don't have to run. It was me saying to the Holocaust, FUCK YOU.
The felt sense of having to flee lives in my family-story. Fleeing from the emotional, mental and physical body, fleeing from one's home, fleeing from one's country -- this way of being, this feeling -- belonged to my lineage and therefore belonged to me.
There was a lot of stress and fear surrounding the moves I made growing up. My family of origin moved to flee -- to grasp or over-reach towards something other than what was, to fix something, make something better, to escape the pain. Obviously this is futile, but it was the only pattern I knew -- and I knew it deeply -- so I repeated that pattern.
I never wanted to flee from Boulder, but I did get to the point where I wanted to move.
So I accepted the invitation -- to step to the doorway and heal a pattern. To read the sign that was hanging from the door that said, "enter here if you want to know what it feels like to relocate as opposed to run." What sign is hanging on your doorway?
I stayed in this place for just about 2 years because that's how long it took for my body to fully learn that there was a different way, to feel the difference between running and re-locating. Within this difference lived the opportunity to heal an old pattern. I was ready to allow a death to take place with in myself, to become something new, to re-define one of the ways in which I learned to respond to life. When we begin to do things that are different than the ways we have been doing them, even when they are more geared towards health, our bodies need space to orient to that way of being. The tapestry of our body has to unravel and then re-loom itself. This requires space, support, love, a hand on the heart, a hand on the belly, and a lot of attention to and connection with your own self.
The stories and traumas of our ancestors, the culture we come from, the family we grow up in -- it's all there. No matter how much we talk about it, think about it, contemplate on it, pray about it, try to get to the bottom of it, mind-fuck it away, you likely will not see a true and sustainable long-term shift unless you dig deeply into your own system.
Here's the thing, we are not here to live out the stories of our ancestors nor are we here to apologize through our actions for the things that they did or didn't do. What they had to endure, the obstacles placed in their path, their traumas, stories of trial and error, those belonged to them. We can honor them. We need to and we must honor them and recognize them as real, but meditate on this: you are here to live into your own story -- to dismantle the parts of yourself that perpetuate any story that is not yours, to take back the parts of yourself that have been lost, to come into wholeness, and to learn how to feel differently and therefore how to respond differently.
The story of Ganesha gives us some mythological context for all of this. Remember that mythology is a lie in order to see more truth:
Ganesh, pictured above, is born a mortal boy via the longing tears of his mother for a child. When he is born, his mother places him at the doorway of his home as a protecter from his father's entitled entry. When Shiva, the father, sees the boy standing in protection he cuts off the head of his son in fury that he dare challenge entrance into his home. Parviti, the mother, tells her husband that he must go out and make their son whole, that she will never grant him entry into their home unless he retrieves the head of the boy. Shiva calls upon his crew for aide, and they are sent out in search of something. The first thing they happen upon is an elephant, so they cut off the elephant's head and bring it back to Shiva who attaches it to the beheaded body of his son. Though this is not what Parvati expected, a god is born -- the god of the threshold -- Ganesha -- the son of Parvati and Shiva who is neither a human nor an animal -- neither here nor there. Ganesh stands at every threshold of our lives, ushering us into new beginnings. If we accept his offering, we are accepting the death of one part of ourself for the birth of something new, something unknown. This is the ultimate gift of freedom.
With in you is a landscape so vast and so wide that you generally only skim the surface day to day, year to year, lifetime to lifetime. When you arrive at the doorway of your own life, the edge -- a place where you know you must go in order to let go of something old and step into something new -- what choice will you make? If you choose to step into the threshold, you accept the invitation -- to bond with your own soul, know yourself more, trust yourself fully, and feel so full of your own self that you know in every moment that you have ultimate control over your own choices.
The story of Ganesha teaches us that expectations are finite but hopes are infinite. You won't have an elephant for a head after you cross your threshold, but I assure you this, you will have the ability to become something other than what you currently know is possible.
This weekend, I switched myself over from my beloved Boulder's Nextdoor online community forum to my new and primarily unknown community here. I also found the container of a dance floor to dance on and into not far from where I live. Yesterday, I met a new neighbor who is in charge of the front of home landscaping in my hood -- so my surroundings are going to get some much needed and over-due love, and a neighbor stopped to say hi with their Boston Terrier dog Miles Davis.
Let's see what next month brings.
**Note: Patterns can take days, months, years, lifetimes to unravel. Releasing the idea that there is a timeline and focusing on the fact that you are essentially becoming something new will serve you greatly. The more you are able to resist the urge to control the timeline, the better it will go -- ie, the time and energy you expend resisting is time you could spend surrendering to the process. There are ways to support yourself in this process and I will be back with some posts about that. A supportive and experienced guide to hold space for this process to unfold is, in my experience, necessary. As always, I am honored to support you if you feel called**