The past is a great place to visit,
but so overrun with ghosts you can’t live there.
I left Ojai a little over a month ago. Returning to Virginia has proven difficult, full of challenges, and not providing the fantasy comfort zone I had anticipated. Yet, everything in my intuition tells me this is where I should be.
Ojai . . . I could wax poetic all day about that place. I could tell about my lifelong connection to a town I’d never heard of until I stumbled in, at 45, via the crooked path known as eHarmony. I could describe the overwhelming beauty of the valley when viewed from the mountains above and marvel in awe at the friendships and relationships that blossomed and the sadness I felt at leaving those people behind. This woman who considers herself an entity of one found, for lack of a better word, her tribe.
When I moved to Ojai, I was exhausted, emotionally and physically overwhelmed by the past few years of deep and extended grief. My personal goal was to stay in California for one year, something I’d not accomplished in the two decades I’d traveled the East – West trail. My secret goal, though, was to let everything fall apart, to shatter into a tiny million pieces that I could then pick up and put back together in the form of my own choosing. I figured I’d live like a hippie, a bohemian free of society’s rules and entrapments. I accomplished the year but never actually did fall apart, and in the end there was no need for such drastic measures. At the suggestion of a friend, I began to work with Kelly Schwegel of the HEAL Center, and, through reiki and other healing methods, to clear away a lifetime or more of old patterns and beliefs. I learned our lives are like clay: we can reshape and rework and remold them into a form that reflects our true soul’s essence. Though we are often unaware of it, we do this all the time, for good or bad, with our intentions.
Intention and intuition have me here now, and I find myself facing the challenges I thought I would face when I moved to Ojai . . . no “real” job, falling behind on money, dogs who rely on me for their care. All those things I associated with breaking. And its unnerving. But behind the human tendency to panic and feel like a total failure there’s a place of peace in my center that I haven’t before known when things are messy that says everything is going to be ok. It’s all part of the journey from, in my spirit guide’s words, wounded healer, to healer. It’s a journey that requires living in the present, not holding onto the pain and regret of the past, and not worrying myself sick about the future. I don’t live a conventional lifestyle, and I don’t know where the future will lead. I make no promises to myself or anyone else about whether I’ll stay or whether I’ll go or what I’ll do down the road. Life is too unpredictable.
Shortly after I moved to Ojai, I found myself dissatisfied with my situation. Feeling rather low, I went to the local organic staple, Farmer and the Cook, for my favorite vegan molasses cookies. Parked outside the shop was an old refurbished bus. Inside, a band of Kundalini musicians moved gracefully to the door, their cool white turbans and robes contrasting with the electric energy of the brightly painted bus. Yet it was the hand-crafted message on the back window that caught my eye: Be Here Now.
I’m here now, where I want to be and choose to be, immersing myself in the experience and creating a new tribe. I am grateful for, and cherish, their love and support. I’m here now, and that’s enough.
Be Here Now . . . it’s all any of us have, anyway.