It was during an Atlanta springtime when my life was about to change forever. The dogwoods were coming out in their full white dress like little debutantes, reminding us once again of the southern city’s gentility after a long, cold, wet, winter. The weather took on an almost balmy air, the kind of air when you first began to question whether you really need a jacket on the walk to Saturday morning brunch. The outdoor concerts were back in Piedmont Park, the grass was greening, happy dogs chased frisbees and life was just loosening the belt a bit more for me to exhale.
In the previous year I had filed for divorce after being married for only four months (another story, for another time). I had been evicted from my apartment due to that year’s 1996 Olympics price gouge in the rental market. I had been waiting tables in double-shifts, 12-hour days, six days a week at two atrocious establishments and to top it all off I had a paraplegic stalker who was following me around in his dusty blue Dodge van. “WHAT?! This is my life?” Had I been better tapped into writing I perhaps could have pitched an autobiographical sitcom to TNT. I was too busy trying to survive to think about such creative endeavors.
The upside was that I had just found a cute, affordable studio off of Ponce Place. I’d also found myself in a relationship of mutual amour! The downside of the latter was that the guy was job searching. Not just job searching, but launching his career in graphic design and he was putting feelers out across the country. There were two offers he was seriously considering. One was about a twenty minute commute and a sizeable salary increase, the other was for what was called a ‘startup’ company about thirty miles south of San Francisco, CA. The startup company was offering less in salary, but a ton of these things called stock options and when we added up their foreseeable worth we stood and looked at each other slack-jawed. He flew out to interview and sure enough was offered a position as employee #13 at the little company called Yahoo!. While I was happy for him, I was internally deflated. The one big thing that was going well in my life was about to pack up in a U-Haul and head for California. But something shifted in me. Rather than shaking my fist at the omniscient skies above, I rooted, I hunkered and got crystal clear that my life needed to change. I got inspired!
The word ‘inspire’ comes from the mid 14th century word ‘enspiren’, “to fill the mind, heart with grace.” “to prompt.” “to breathe life into.” Have you ever been at such a loss where you had no idea what you wanted in your life? Often we’re so busy just trying to gain our footing, trying to survive that we’re reacting to life around us rather than taking hold of it, claiming it, saying “Hey you’re my life!” and creating it.
I was at a crossroad. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I was so busy just trying to stay afloat that I hadn’t realized that I had the power to create my life. That idea wouldn’t really sink in for another decade. But I was inspired to do something, and the first step was asking for change to happen. I wasn’t religious and wasn’t even spiritual, but something in me said ‘pray’. So I laid in bed at night and would say the Lord’s Prayer, not even knowing why except to have some sort of connection to a higher power. Creating a spiritual connection gave me the ability to look up rather than face a downward spiral. Looking up got me motivated to get up in the morning, move my body, go to the library and research career options. More so, I was finally giving myself permission to focus on what I wanted to create and because of this permission there was a bubbling. It was a rising energy, a giddy, internal knowing that big things were about to happen and that I’d better hold on for one of the best rides of my life. This knowing came packaged with a mandatory acceptance. Accepting that I didn’t necessarily need to know details, but that if I became more malleable and followed the flow of good juju rather than fighting the battle of life, that I’d be okay.
Here’s the truth mantra: When you’re at a crossroad, look up, step back and feel! Energy follows focus.
So it was during that springtime in Atlanta where I picked up dinner for two at the Harris-Teeter market and drove over to said guy’s apartment. The majority of his things were packed up. It’s odd how when a room is packed into boxes it forms an invisible vacuum which sucks the memories out of it leaving nothing but the dry, stale smell of cardboard. We ate dinner and two-stepped around the issue that he was leaving in just a few weeks. We lightly touched on the idea of a bi-coastal relationship, but for two people in their 20s, we knew the reality of what that held. Afterwards he took me by the hand and sat me down on the bed, the one room that hadn’t been crowded with cardboard, the one place where good memories still charged the atmosphere. And then he said the few lines which he’d been nervously rehearsing, lines which seemed to have been snatched from the screenplay of someone else’s life, but certainly not my own.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about this move and what it means for us. I’m realizing that I really don’t want to make this move without you. I know you have a life and your family here, but I want you to consider moving to California with me.”
I was unable to utter a clear response because that giddiness within me had skyrocketed and just about short-circuited my brain. Yes, I was elated that the guy I was ga-ga over had asked me to move cross-country with him, so there was that. AND I knew something big was afoot. Something that was about to take me almost three thousand miles from home, not only that, but it was taking me to California. If you’re from anywhere else but California you realize the monument of that prospect.
I sat on my response for a week. My mother said I was nuts if I didn’t go. My aunt and two of my girlfriends said the same. It scared the bejesus out of me, but the forward propulsion was more overpowering and I had to trust it. I had to trust the impractical, the
non-sensical. More importantly, I had to trust the stagnancy I felt when I thought about staying right where I was.
The rest is ‘herstory’, also for another time. This is my 16th year here in the Bay Area. I’ve encountered that giddy, about-to-explode-but not-sure-why feeling twice more since then and each time it led to me to some powerful thresholds. And I’ve gotta share with you it’s happening again! I’ve learned that this feeling is never comfortable and often it leads me down the rabbit hole before popping up on the other side. In spite of it, I’ve learned to trust, remain open and have my bag packed because when opportunity knocks, not only do you open the door, you walk through embrace it like an old friend and let it lead you into the next placement of your life!
- The 3 Whats You Need to Consider in Your Life
- Guided Centering Meditation
- Energetic Exercises to Help You Make Decisions