it sort of feels like i've been leaving the bay area, or in the process of saying goodbye, for a long time now. really, ever since the beginning of last summer, when bj, becky, beth, nancy and i all decided to travel across the country to explore the possibilities of finding/creating community somewhere besides california (see our travel blog for more info). even though we ended up returning to the bay area (well, all of us except for nancy that is), i never really did entirely come back from that trip. emotionally anyways. there's been a constant uncertainty to where i was/where i was going to. a steady state of unsteadiness. we said goodbye to close friends and went through the corresponding feelings of loss and pain to let go of relationships that have been so dear to me. then we said goodbye again when bj and i (ultimately, temporarily) moved to portland, oregon last fall. and throughout this time, because of the uncertainty and the constant flux, i haven't felt able to re-engage with this place, with california or the bay area. or with the relationships i had such a hard time letting go of. and so i've sort of been in limbo for like 18 months. and i haven't been able to make my life make sense in a coherent, connect the dots sort of way, either to friends and family or to myself. and that's been really difficult and painful in and of itself.
so, now that we're gearing up to move away again, saying goodbye has a really strange quality to it. i sort of feel like i already did it, so i don't get to do it again. or i don't need to. or something. but i do need some way to honor this transition, this big shift and movement. the passing of really big things in my life. but it's really hard for me to know how to create that. bj and i have talked about having a ritual or rituals to help us make space for that honoring, that passing, this transition. and in small ways, we have created our own special moments and meaning.
this past weekend, we went into the city and stayed for a couple nights. i got to spend a little time with my dear friends kelly and jerry, both of which i hadn't seen in a while, and say goodbye to them. then on sunday, we took a drive to muir beach in marin county. we took the long scenic route back to sonoma and got to see some really beautiful, quintessentially california landscapes. and it felt nice to have that experience. it made me feel a little sad too, because ever since i moved out here, i've been in love with this place, this region, this land; but in this limbo place i've been in, i haven't been able to be consistently present or feel connected to this place. it's like i've been afraid to open myself to being in love with it because i've known that i'm not staying so i don't want to go through the hurt of separating over and over. it's only now that i'm able to see these patterns. and in hindsight, i wish i'd had the ability to be vulnerable to whatever precarious connection i could have enjoyed. because now i see how the ways that it hurts to have to say goodbye are less painful than not being able to say goodbye.
after my father died, i learned a really important lesson about loss. i realized that no matter how much i wanted to grieve and be "over" the pain of losing him, the sadness that filled the space of his absense had become a part of my life, a part of my experience. and my relationship to that sadness can be an ongoing opportunity to grow and to learn about myself. so i made peace with it, welcomed it into my experience (though i must admit, i still push it away most of the time).
and now i wonder if this loss i'm feeling around leaving california may have a similar quality to the loss of my father. perhaps it's something i will always feel, always morn. and if that is the case, i wonder what lessons are woven through all these complex and difficult emotions that have been twisting me around lately.
as this path unfolds, as the road rolls on before us in our journey east, i want to be at peace with where i'm at in each moment. and so i dedicate this entry to saying goodbye and honoring change. i intention for myself stepping out from this place with an open heart and an open mind.