Friday, February 21, 2014

Branching Out

Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart;
of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants.
The way it stops and starts.” 
--Edgar Allan Poe

     I know it's been awhile since I've posted. I know this because I've had maaaany a request to send out some Rover Love. To be fair, I had been waiting till I felt I had some real news to share, like finding a job, meeting new people, etc. Unfortunately, I still am on the prowl for a job and haven't stumbled into my niche as of yet. BUT, as it turns out I did just return from a quick trip back to California (thanks to the mind-blowing and heart melting generosity of Rina and Mark) so this I feel constitutes as 'real news'.

     Now, before any of you in Los Angeles get all up in arms about "Why didn't I tell you, see you?" yada yada yada. First and foremost, I was not IN Los Angeles apart from exiting and entering the airport. How this all came about was that Rina was initially going to come here, to England, for a week long rehearsal to set our show for the Brighton Fringe Festival. However, with all my personal stress, not knowing when I would get a job, and a few other stumbling blocks pertaining to the cast and theater space we opted to postpone it. She was going to come out that week anyway and just hang, but as she saw me getting more and more waterlogged and gloomy in our Skype dates she asked if I wanted to come home to Cali. Also, being head of the Dance Department at a private school, she was actually setting our show on her kids and ironing out the details. So between that and teaching a Nia/Yoga workshop together on the weekend it became a working vacation.
      When Rina first mentioned the California option every cell in my body screamed YES, it could not have come up at a better time, but I also knew it was only fair to have TomGong weigh in before I gave her my final answer. He and I were not in a great place to say the very, very least and it would've been understandable if he had not wanted me to walk out mid-crisis. He knew how desperately I needed it though and didn't  hesitate in giving his blessing so to speak, though his fear was all too evident. When I say we were in crisis, I mean a true critical mass. Our communication had completely broken down. Every conversation so quickly turned into an argument it gave me whiplash. Our 6 year age difference, of which I am the elder, became so blinding it was almost impossible to see past it. I wasn't even sure if we were on the same page anymore....fuck it, I wasn't sure we were even in the same book anymore. I was heartbroken about all of it, but more than anything, just plain confused. While I am aware our relationship had been at a distance prior and always knew we were going to have to find our flow and work out a few kinks, I never expected an utter dismantling of everything that previously made us so fantastic together.  I knew this trip would be an important break for both of us individually, as well as for our relationship. In order to be in space where I could even hope to receive the kind of healing and clarity I needed while I was gone, I took the few weeks before I left to put everything, mainly myself, under a microscope. I re-read books like The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love (both by Don Miguel Ruiz). I looked at past relationships, old patterns and behaviors, and discovered a role reversal...meaning I saw myself  in the same situation as an ex and I have a very deep sense of empathy/sympathy for him as he had tried to explain to me then concepts that I was trying to convey to TG now. (*total mind blowing moment btw)
The fact is though, "you don't know what you don't know" and everyone has to come to the truth in their own time. Instead of forcing someone's growth or making them wrong for not being where you are, all you can do is focus on yourself, on YOUR side of the street. And that is exactly what I did. I posted The Four Agreements where I would see it every day and focused on shifting my perspectives, my reactions and let go of attachment, specifically to any perceived outcomes. And what do ya know?! He did as well. Our communication improved. We started calmly discussing our issues instead of shouting about them and storming out of the room. Over the weeks, we even started laughing again. By the time February 11th rolled around, I was starting to recognize us as a couple again and felt at ease leaving that story alone for a week and just revel in going back to California.

      I know the CA drought has been awful, but I will not lie and say I wasn't ecstatic to have it hold out a little while longer so I could soak up every possible ray of sunshine. My first morning I bounded out of bed, made myself a cup of tea, grabbed my journal proceeded to roast myself on Rina's porch. It was 10:15 in the morning and I was sweating in the my flip flops!  HEAVEN, I tell ya.
The entire week was incredible, from getting to dry out my bones to seeing the show (Rina is brilliant) to teaching getting time with my amazing community of just being HOME. 

       Here is where the opening quote comes into play. The week, while amazing, was not without its emotion. I spent a lot of time beating myself up because for all the years I've said I want to live in the UK, That's where I feel at home, It's going to be great, I love the rain, I'm over California, blah, blah, blah....As it turns out, I am not over California. California is in me. It is where I'm rooted, heart and soul.  I was getting upset at myself because I don't want to be someone who can never recognize being content and is always thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. Then as I delved deeper into my psychology I realized that when I went to the UK for the first time I was still very much in a 'desperately seeking susan' phase. I didn't feel home anywhere. I was 26 living in Santa Monica and had just ended a 7 1/2 year relationship. I had no connection to the city. I had no community, no real friends of my own. I didn't want to return to either Ohio or Arizona. Then while traveling, something about England spoke to me on such a visceral and ancient level that it planted a seed that it was where I belonged, where I would be something, where I would be accepted, finally. Even as I got older, fell in and out of and in love with Los Angeles and built a solid foundation of friends that 26yr old self (unbeknownst to me) kept watering that seed and belief. The other piece that kept me from just settling in 100% to my L.A life was a belief I didn't even know I had till 2 weeks ago! As a kid, my parents always said they didn't care what I studied in college or beyond as long as I could say I was SOMETHING. They didn't have Dr or lawyer dreams for me, but they obviously wanted me to be able to support myself. Yes, I realize that I have many skills. I am a massage therapist, a yoga teacher, a dancer, an Assistant Director, and a writer, but because I wasn't supporting myself doing any one of those things and needed a 'day job' I felt like I was failing. At the end of the day, it wasn't even my parent's voices that I was hearing, I had been listening to my ego. I don't need to be something to be something. I am me....a hodge podge, and that's enough.

     As I said in my last post, I do no regret anything about this move. We all know my hungry heart would never have rested till I did this. (I mean, let's be honest my heart will always want to travel, maybe even live other places for months at a time.) I can now make the most of this opportunity in England by focusing all my energy here, experiencing as much as I can, and learning the necessary lessons because even when it's tough it's still incredible. I came back from California with my reserves full because I plugged into my source for a week.

     I've been thinking of a yoga business name in order to hopefully start my own classes here in Haywards Heath, and I knew it had something to do with the idea of a tree. In the car I kept staring at all those beautiful old Santa Ynez oaks, and it came to me.... Branch Out. Not only does it sum up the kind of movement and message I want to teach but also exactly where I'm at right now. My Golden State roots are allowing me to branch out, dropping leaves as I peel away layers, learn things like how to weather the English rain, and grow taller expanding my reach.

As for Tom and I, I also believe the time here in England will serve us. We will build ourselves a strong foundation if we can continue finding how we dance together. If we can learn to change and grow individually but together, we'll be an unstoppable force. We've definitely taken a turn for the better.


(This is what happens when I don't write for awhile. A novel.)

**For the pictures, click here:


Love, Hugs, and other 'Drugs'