I am, we are, leaving London.
London has meant more to me than I could have anticipated when I landed here, in a snow storm on April Fools in 2013. It has been an incredible personal journey that I was neither searching for nor expecting to find. In hind sight, this caught me very much off guard and I wont lie, I struggled.
I struggled to maintain my sense of self, my understanding of who I thought I was in the absence of my community and where I fit into this new city. I went through an array of emotion ranging from anger and frustration to deep sadness to love and appreciation. What I believed to be a negative I understand now to be only positive. Part of this comes from the moment when I realized something, something so utterly simple; I have the power and possibility of choice in every situation. This seemingly simple, tiny notion has given me access to a different perspective on the world around me and a deeper understanding of my true foundations. These rudimentary foundations have not changed so much as strengthened, softened and solidified in all the right ways.
This chapter has not been a solitary one, and so many people along the way have stepped in, have stepped up to help me. They have helped me find the cracks in the walls where the light was coming through and I am truly grateful. But I also realized that community is there if you simply open yourself to the possibility and allow yourself to receive the generosity of others instead of closing yourself off.
Jen wrote a beautiful piece about her experience and decision to leave London here. Her image of a house built but never lived in resonates very deeply with me. In ways London, the force of a city this size, with this many lives makes you confront your weaknesses head on and prove to yourself the possibility of things you thought impossible.
And now on to the why.
Why are we leaving this big, brutal, romantic, wonderful city?
The easy answers are because our lease is up, because we are far from families, because we are restless. But of course its more complicated than that.
In my dreams I could always hear an echo of the soil. It would seep in and saturate the backs of my eyelids at night, flooding through me but then, at some point the echo died away. Perhaps I even willed it away, purposely stopped dreaming all together so as to block out the sound, the reverberating call of the landscape of my memory.
Recently thought, like a spring which has changed its course, gone under ground, the echo suddenly bubbled up through the surface again. Making a pool in my dreams once again where I could see my reflection and leaving its pebbly residue behind.
We have been on the road now for ten years, setting up lives, houses, communities in cities with no real intention of staying or settling. We have never had any clear plan either, we have simply stayed on until an unseen force has called for change and we answered with a move. It was exactly how I always wanted to live my life ...
I wanted to concentrate on growing, stretching and unfurling as many leaves as possible to catch up and soak in every drop of the world as it fell upon me. I feel now happily saturated, heavy at the top, bending under the weight and it seems the moment to strengthen the base. The time to put roots down deep into the dirt to support those far reaching branches. And I cant help thinking that maybe this is what home looks like, the parts beneath the surface which keep us grounded, rooted and supported so that we can project those beautiful leaves further out into the world -
In ten years I have never asked myself what home really looks like but recently I have found it is one of the only things I am able to think about. After sitting with this thought, searching my thoughts, asking friends, talking with Sean, home has started to look like the grasses and stonewalls, blueberry bushes and apple trees and reaching white birches of my childhood.
I never imaged that I would find home there. I think I may have even purposely fought it off, not wanting to believe that I would circle back, but now I hear the echo of the soil and not just in my dreams.
Wanderlust hasn't released its grip however and our craving for adventure has not dampened only the feeling for a more permanent base has strengthened. So on November 1st, we will say our farewells (I don't believe in good-byes) to London and take the long way home. Transition is never uncomplicated and it is not something I have done well in the past. Rushing through, overlooking, dismissing the process of transition - but this time I am intent on giving it the focus and attention it deserves because I know that there is some good meat here with much to be learned.
An so this place, this pose has prepared me to move into the next place, the next pose.
As yoga has taught me, this next pose will not be forever and inevitably another pose will follow.