Right Here, Now
In a day I will wrap up almost four weeks in Oregon and get on a plane back to the Midwest. I have been reflecting on my new normal of seeking out rootedness via nomadic exploration. How familiar it has become to watch my life get packed into a suitcase headed towards another place where the question of “Is this home?” lingers in each moment.
I’ve put a lot of energy into answering this question only to come to a simple understanding. In fact, when the thought crossed my mind one random day, I shrugged it off a bit, rolled my eyes, and thought to myself, “It can’t be that simple.”
And then someone told me a Prince (the artist and legend) anecdote where he shares a similar sentiment, and I figured if Prince could, then why not embrace the eye-roll inducing, deeply cliché, yet possibly true – my truth – discovery? The thing I’ve come full circle to is that I believe home is within me. I carry home with me, always. Which means that home is not an elusive place outside of me that I need to desperately seek out.
What. The. Actual. F?!
Could it be that straightforward? And if it is, what does this mean this quest was all about?
From this vantage point, I believe this journey has actually always been about belonging: not only in community but also – and perhaps actually first and foremost – feeling it deeply within myself.
These last few years as I have watched my life distill down to the essentials, I’ve discovered pieces of belonging. I’ve found the community that transcends place and proximity. I have remembered myself to be a writer, reader, coach, lover of learning, witchy, curious, a plant enthusiast through-and-through, an explorer most content when discovering a place by walking. I know that radical hospitality is one of my core values, and so much of this exploration has been about finding that, cultivating and sharing it. These are fundamentals parts of myself where I feel belonging, fully.
I stripped my life down, letting go of a home (and mortgage), a career in the nonprofit sector, proximity to a cherished community, a partnership with a kindred spirit. I let go of my familiar, my normal, and stepped into the unknown. By stripping it all down, I found someone I had been disconnected from for a long time: me.
There is so much spaciousness I wasn’t aware of before! So much capacity! One of my big discoveries is some of the work I am called to do – coaching humans. I am excited to now be helping others navigate change, get out of their own way, and dive into their biggest questions, despite their fear. Like I did. Like I will continue to do.
I think this quest was about finding myself again, in the present. Not staying fixed in the tempting past or fleeing to the thrilling future. Grounding myself in right here, now.
And in that here and now, on a beautiful, sunny walk through the neighborhoods of Portland, I found myself face to face with a statue of Ramona Quimby – a literary heroine of the highest degree. A personal favorite, a bit of an icon for me. Next to the statue a quote from Ramona the Pest: “Only grownups would say boots were for keeping feet dry. Anyone in kindergarten knew that a girl should wear shiny red or white boots on the first rainy day, not to keep her feet dry, but to show off. That’s what boots were for – showing off, wading, splashing, stamping.”
The statue depicted Ramona with head thrown back, eyes and huge smile skyward. Hair very, very askew. Arms reaching outward, rain boots proudly “stamping.” I admired her feisty exuberance, her enjoyment of an everyday occurrence – rain, puddles, boots.
Though nearly every day I’ve been in Portland has been surprisingly sunny, I chuckled to myself thinking of this Pacific Northwest character, and my own desire to approach this next chapter with enthusiasm, optimism, and presence. To stomp in the puddles. To be here, now.
As I walked on, I found a gentle voice urging me to simply say yes to building a life in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not a perfect place – nowhere is, nor is that the expectation. I am not certain how long I’ll be here – and that’s okay. I am ready and not ready – perhaps that’s been the case all along. I feel excited to build something new during a time of heightened awareness of the home I carry with me always.
Like at the beginning of this journey when a voice inside told me that change is possible, that I could save my own life, now something inside me is urging me to stay. To plant myself here. To experience rootedness, for now. Whispering that this could be a beautiful chapter full of more of what nourishes, plus new experiences I'm craving, growth, healing, possibility. I am choosing to quiet the always-there-doubt, the lingering questions, and listen to this little voice. To allow it to grow louder. I’ve been living in the questions long enough. I am ready to live into an answer.
“Yes,” I am whispering to nobody in particular and to everyone. “Yes,” I am saying to myself perhaps most of all.
Everywhere is home. This is home. I am home.