Since returning from New Zealand in mid-January, I've been looking for my next home. Months ago I mentioned in a letter that I might move out of state because I'd been feeling so ready for an adventure. While in Auckland, however, I experienced an unexpected homesickness for the northern California coast....the dense fog, the hot sunshine; the towering redwoods in fern-covered glades as well as the wind-sculpted cypress; the rocky, dramatic cliffs and the occasional beaches of golden sand flecked with driftwood and shorebirds. I love it all, and I missed it.
(Those of you who have been here for a while know how much I adore this landscape because you've been tortured by so many photos of the coast. And I'm including a few more favorites below because I CAN! Just for fun, you know - and beauty.)
The northern California coast love that became so palpable in Auckland led me to re-focus the geographical scope of my home search. I considered moving way up north in this state, to Arcata or even Eureka, where the cost of living is wildly inexpensive. I scoured ads for the Sonoma coast, imagining the delight I'd feel given the closer proximity to San Francisco and my darling family. I contemplated moving a bit south to Santa Cruz or Monterey. Throughout the hunt, I didn't find anything that grabbed me. None of what I saw really felt like the right place.
I kept searching, obsessively, and by early February I was down. I had spent so much time and hadn't gotten the result I wanted. After many tears and too much chocolate, Luke told me to take a break and let him hunt on my behalf. (Pretty amazing, right? What an incredible friend.) I accepted. Eventually he showed me what he had found, and I experienced the same response: none of the homes felt like the right place. Nowhere in northern California seemed to resonate. Ugh.
What happened next really surprised me.
In desperation, I found myself looking at online ads for homes in Portland and Seattle. It was like a cracked-out stranger had hijacked my brain for a moment, taking over the controls and then dumping me in unknown territory. My mind flipped out, shouting unrepeatable things. I mollified myself with assurances that this search wasn't a commitment - it was just using my imagination a little to see might be possible beyond California.
And then I felt even more surprised because the process worked.
Do you know that feeling that comes out of the center of your chest that feels like a booming, resonant YES? The sense of lightness, an opening-up, a felt sense of liberation?? The feeling of a gem-like truth surfacing in your consciousness from deep within the body, leading to calmness and a smile on one's face???
Well, that happened to me - when I was imagining a new life in Seattle.
And I have learned to trust this feeling. (Even when it strongly conflicts with my thinking mind and the thinking minds of beloveds.)
Please allow this snippet of embarrassing conversation to illustrate:
Deep Self says: "Ooooh, Seattle is a coastal city - imagine all the water and the evergreen trees!! And seasons!"
Mind says: "You are officially insane. California has coastal cities and cool trees, remember?"
Deep Self says: "Ooooh, this is the adventure we've been craving!!!"
Mind says: "Is starting over with your business an adventure?! How about meeting people and making new friends? You don't know ANYONE in Seattle. There's NO reason to sign up for huge challenges unless you're truly insane!!!"
Deep Self says: "Ooooh. Yes. Yes, please. Let's go check it out!"
And so on.
As I said, I have learned to trust this YES feeling. I know it comes from my deepest self, the part of me that KNOWS what's best and true and right all the time even at the same moment my thinking mind is freaking out and doing it's level best to frighten me into keeping things exactly the same. (Because that's the job of the mind: to keep us safe. It does not care a bit about our happiness.)
I've learned the hard way that, in order to be profoundly happy, I must let my deep self take the lead. My deep self is the C.E.O. of Julie. My thinking mind is merely the assistant. And this means that I am moving to Seattle.
Let me assure you that I have not gone insane. There's a quote I see often that goes something like this: "Don't make a permanent decision for a temporary emotion." And I wholeheartedly agree! Scientists have established that emotions last about 90 seconds (when we let them flow freely without restriction). Making a life-changing decision based on a wave of emotion is not generally sound. What I'm talking about here is NOT the same thing.
I'm talking about letting the deep self show me what I truly want. I'm talking about listening to the inner voice, repeatedly over time, so that I can recognize when it keeps craving the same thing, however inexplicable or confounding. I'm talking about noticing when I feel contracted or tense and noticing when I feel free. I'm talking about being devoted to my own happiness.
But please don't get me wrong - I don't let my C.E.O. run wild without any input. I use my thinking mind - my assistant - to work through the "how" of what the C.E.O. wants to do.
As far as Seattle, I've weighed my options, done my homework, and seriously considered the nature of the consequences of moving there. I've taken a research trip, with efficiently pre-scheduled apartment tours in different neighborhoods. I've considered how on earth I'm going to explain to the sugar monkeys that I'm moving out of state (and, frankly, I don't know yet - even the possibility of hurting them takes my breath away). I've second-guessed and allowed for uncertainty.
I've done my best with due diligence and I still feel the sonorous "YES!" feeling. This vision arising from my deep self insists on being made real. So, I'm going - in a week, no less.
Perhaps the coolest part of this whole process so far has been the helpers. I've received notice from SIX different people who want to help me move: they want to clean and pack and drive with me and unload boxes and clean again. Is that not amazing? But it's not about me - this support is simply what happens when we're following our uniquely right paths. Helpers magically appear.
As far as my business, nothing will change except that I hope it will continue to grow. I'll keep coaching and loving the daylights out of my beloved clients (whether you're in California or anywhere else), I'll keep writing to you all on Fridays, and I'll keep connecting with you by email and the various social media thingies. Perhaps I'll even host another retreat in California.
Thank you for being here with me as I move into my next phase. I'm being asked to grow, and to let go, and I'm leaning in - because it's actually easier and more fun than resisting the change. I mean, I wanted an adventure, and look what's happening now!!! I'll definitely keep you posted.
Seattle, here I come!