Archives for posts with tag: LA

I’m sitting in an airport for the third time this month, reading my horoscope. Home, home, home. My fourth house is all lit up, hitting the domestic vibes/homefront notes for the next month, just in time to be outside of Atlanta, for work, living in a hotel.  So, how to avoid going crazy and give myself those homey vibes, while on the road? What does home mean? Where is my home? 

I recently had a reassuring realization while in Northern California for a couple of weeks, again for work and again living in a hotel. I missed LA. Having only lived there for six months, after repeatedly trying  to adapt for ten years and but always eventually fleeing for the clean air and calm of my previous home, New Mexico, this was a huge shift. And a welcome one. I missed the assortment of healthy food, the mass of stuff to do on weekends, the hipster adventuror spirit which can be both annoying and awesome,  my classes, friends, apartment, stuff and my morning routine. I was officially homesick for my new city. So, that’s a good thing! 

But, what to do to create home when away? My yoga mat, many books, music, a big bag of food and tea, journal, and tarot cards are traveling with. I’m heading out with an open attitude and belief that seeing different parts of the country and world will give me some good stories to tell and a greater appreciation of my own city when I return next month. 

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Six weeks ago, I came to LA with a prayer; if this is the right move for me, please let it be obvious. And if it isn’t, please let that be obvious too.  I didn’t know what I expected to happen once I arrived, but as a dear friend put it “it’s not a big deal, you’re just going to eat and sleep and work and drive and breathe and laugh somewhere else for a while.” But in some way it felt like a huge deal.  I had spent months of my life, years if you added them all up, in LA previously, but somehow I was always the passive passenger, along for the ride, but never investing or committing too much.  This time it felt deliberate and decisive.

It has only been seven months since I was driving down the 110 from Pasadena towards the transformational training workshop I was taking in a hotel ballroom near LAX, that I had the sudden flash that I should and would move back to LA.  As the proverbial lightening bolt tends to do, I knew that my comfortable but stagnant life was not serving me and that in order to become the woman I envisioned, things had to change.  One week earlier I had thought of my low overhead, inexpensive city, beautiful home, and plateaued career as assets and now all I saw was an under stimulating comfort zone.

And then November happened.  How to even sum up the insanity that was November 2016? Well, you know, you were there! I arrived just in time to attend Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, watch the Cubs win the World Series, and to then witness America go to hell in a hand basket and take the the planet with her. And that was just the first week. “What am I doing?” I wondered, as I jostled duffle bags between two different  housesitting gigs.  It felt like the world and I were spinning and I wasn’t sure which way was up and which was down.

In the midst of the crazy, I came back to my prayer. Please help the Yeses to be clear.  And please help the Noes to be even clearer.  And LA just kept being one, big yes. I loved the idea of living in something that I had previously been unaware of, a sanctuary city.  I saw an ad for an apartment on craigslist and, though I’d been planning on waiting  another month to decide if I was going to sign a lease or not,  I went to look at it. It was a yes.  My friend invited me to a dance class at the exact kind of studio I’ve spent the past couple of years searching for in Albuquerque.  I had as much film work as I wanted, if I wanted it.  I had dinner with different friends frequently.  I drove north for an improv workshop at the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, remembered how much I love improv, and signed up for a longer class in LA, starting in January.  I enrolled in a nonfiction writing class.  And just like that, the life I had started to envision in April, began to take shape.

That isn’t to say my ego hasn’t done its fair share of fear based kicking and screaming over the past month.  We’re 37, why are we starting over? Our house is so much nicer than this apartment, why did we sign a lease? What if we never figure it out and just keep starting over? Oh great, now we are one of a bajillion people living in a huge, smoggy metropolis far from our family and green chile.  Why can’t we just be happy with our job, our house, and our routine and keep it all the same, it is so comfortable.  At which point I have to kindly tell myself to shut up.

Once I am able to quiet the fearful chatter, my gut reassures me that it knows what it’s doing and to keep going,  not having to know where, but trusting that it will be awesome.  It already is.

 

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Packing, cleaning, and getting ready to head back to New Mexico. A last minute trip back up to Griffith Observatory, one of my favorite places in LA. 

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If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

There could not be a more perfect example of this in my life than the city of Los Angeles.  Off and on, for over a decade, I have lived there, dated people from there, worked there, and, for any number of reasons, have repeatedly fled for the safety and space of New Mexico.

Last week, while staying with a friend in Los Feliz, we went for a hike in Griffith Park.  I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’d hiked those trails and how different it felt this time, though the trails, air quality, views, perfectly outfitted Angelenos, and full parking lots were more or less the same.  I was different.  I was present and happy and good with it all being as it was.  It didn’t have to be clear, with perfectly blue skies, empty parking lots, and sparse hikers, as I am used to in New Mexico.  The misty, overcast air felt wonderful against my skin, even if it was slightly smoggy! While in LA, I gave myself enough time to get places, anticipating traffic, rather than expecting it to be something it wouldn’t be and then resenting it.  I saw creative people carrying out their visions everywhere I looked. And, I knew I was ready for LA in a way I never had been before.

LA. I remember feeling so lost within its freeways, strip malls, and sprawl and it is only now that I realize what a perfect metaphor it was for how lost I felt in my life. I was overwhelmed by the emphasis I thought it placed on status and appearance and too insecure and unsure about my own values, contributions, and worth to navigate it.

Over my last several trips to LA, it is as if I have made peace with the city, forgiven it for what it will never be, and realized all that it has to offer.  Years ago, my astrologer told me that Venus, the planet of love, art, and beauty, sits directly over LA in my chart.  Love, art, and beauty basically sum up all that I value and want to cultivate and create more of in my life. And, to be less philosophical, I am just ready for a change! And I have to keep reminding myself that, as someone who has spent much of her life trying to avoid it, that is a perfectly legit reason to move.  I am giddy at the thought of decorating a new apartment, exploring a new neighborhood, meeting new people, going on new day trips, and switching it all up, knowing that I am strong enough to handle all that that might bring.  LA hasn’t changed, but I have.

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There is nothing I love more than getting in my car and heading out of town with only the vaguest of plans and my camera…Except maybe hopping on public transportation in a new city and doing the same. Where will I eat? What will I see? What adventure awaits? 

Today it was Malibu and the PCH’s turn to inspire. Bird watching and wave walking on Zuma…

   
   
Followed by fish tacos at Neptune’s Net, where I highly recommend going on a Tuesday in April, you get a whole oceanside picnic table to yourself!

  
68 degrees and because of recent rains, the hills are greener than I’ve seen them in years. A fantastic set of music on KCRW. Surfers, birds, salty wind. Heaven. 

  

  
Yes. No. Good Bye. Just back from a fantastic 48 hour jaunt to LA and I am going through recently snapped photos, while elegantly dressed stars strut their stuff down the red carpet on TV.  This photo,  of a stenciled picnic-table at Trails cafe in Griffith Park,  makes me smile, seeing it as the perfect image/metaphor for my life right now. 

Certain themes keep popping up, among them making clear choices, letting go, traveling, saying yes, saying no, and trusting that even when I can’t see the forest for the trees, I am being guided and the trees will eventually part, making way for a view. Sitting at the picnic table, in the LA version of a forest, after two random hikes in oddly inappropriate clothing, the sun dappled the table and the “happy iced tea” was cold and tart. 

  

Somewhere between black and white, one finds, and must become comfortable in, infinite greys. 

   
 

Knowing that winter waits on the other side of a twelve hour drive to NM, I spent my last day in LA walking in the cool sand at Zuma Beach. At 67 degrees, the air was crisp as the sun peeked through scattered clouds. Walking along, I daydreamed about buying one of the mobile homes in the awesomely funky trailer parks along the PCH, opposite some of the most expensive homes in the world. These people seem to have the right idea, the worst house in the best neighborhood, low overhead, a perfect view, and resale value up the wazoo. Not that I’m thinking of buying any real estate at the moment. But I do love those trailer parks!

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