I was shocked, confused, and somewhat triggered. I had not consciously considered moving us back to Ashland since we tearfully moved away from Ashland 8 years ago.
My mind ranted a bit in protest~ all the reasons why it thought this was not a good idea. Everything from what we would miss, (mostly my beloved Mother Ocean!) to what we might lose, to challenging associations I still held in my mind about Ashland, to all the uncontrollable, unknown factors of change. But something deeper than my mind, in my body and heart, knew that this announcement was the truth. And so, from that very first moment of revelation, even with all the vulnerable uncertainty and unanswerable questions this kind of transition inherently invokes, my family has been called to lean in, towards TRUST– in this which is simply moving us onward, into the next welcome season and chapter of our beautiful lives.
In the days and weeks that have followed that initial lightning bolt, my Mama Self has done due diligence, researching the different variables– schools, homes, a suitable riding stable through which Arayla can continue pursuing her passion with horses, and a comparable Martial Arts studio for Ezra– to name but a few. More and more I can feel this return to the sweet community of Ashland– that was our beloved home when my children were tiny– is the right next move for my family, the kindest move for my nervous system, my blossoming work, my children’s innocence and passions. And to get to be closer in form once again to my beloved teacher Gangaji through this next chapter of life, fills me with incomparable joy and inspiration.
Alongside all the logistical navigation such a move includes for a family, this life-change has also inspired in my heart much poignant contemplation on the nature of life chapters and seasons– their wild beginnings and gracious endings, and the possibility of bowing in and out with innocence and gratitude.
With retrospect I can feel how a life change of this magnitude has actually been coming for some time, lurking in the background, simply awaiting the perfect moment for its revealing. It’s interesting how this happens, isn’t it? While my mind had never specifically clued me in on the potentiality of a return to Ashland, I have been getting hints for some time that I was drawing near to the end of my capacity to thrive in the Bay Area– as a human nervous system, as a mother, as a heart, as a light– and this made me wonder if perhaps I was getting ready to graduate from this amazing 8 year chapter in the Bay.
It’s powerful when we really turn and consider the many chapters our lives have included… chapters inside chapters, seasons within seasons– right? It can be so meaningful to really honor, at least internally, the large and small endings, closures and deaths, alongside the fresh beginnings and births that happen within a continuum of life unfolding.
As I turn and bow to this presently ending chapter, recapitulating its countless gifts, I am immensely moved by what a profoundly catalytic and fruitful chapter it has been. This is the chapter in which I transitioned from a marriage (and all my dreams of a particular form of family) through the painful early throes of single parenthood, endless tests and trials of my commitment to love and peace, through many seasons of navigating a divorced co-parenting, insisting I continuously discover my own competence and responsibility as a soul and a mother. This is the chapter in which I was initiated in ways of Grief and Forgiveness. This is the chapter that found me at my daughter’s bedside in the ICU, praying for her to stay alive with us. This is the chapter that brought me to my knees countless times, plummeting into the bottomless darkness of my own breaking wider open to life.
This is the chapter that returned me to the holy cauldron of dance, while fanning the fire of my passion for writing. This is the chapter, more than any other, that taught me how to pray~ how to lay my heart down bare before God, and give everything for love. This is the chapter that brought me home to an ever-expanding community of medicine men and women, sisters and brothers of healing prayer. This is the chapter that truly taught me about relationship, as well as solitude; that brought my fixation on romantic union to a peak, and then slowly to a close. This is the chapter that has truly nourished my creativity and growth and evolution as a woman, as a lover, as a sovereign expression and servant of truth, as a lightworker, in endlessly extraordinary and humbling ways. This is the chapter that delivered me from maidenhood to motherhood to high priestess and queen. And this is the chapter that has carried my beautiful children from chubby, rosy-cheeked toddlerhood into the tall, independent, radiantly engaged people they are becoming…
With tender-hearted compassion, I consider all the changes of form my little family has embraced over the years. It’s interesting how the ever-changing nature of life and relationship can inspire fear, bitterness and yearning in us, or it can encourage us to take deeper refuge in this that never changes in our heart of hearts; these threads of gracious constancy that weave through it all.
Twelve Springs ago, when our beautiful Arayla was just 3 months old, Chris and I eagerly moved our newborn family from Sonoma County to Ashland. Such a sweet beginning. Four Springs later, when Ezra was 6 months old, family karma and financial strain insisted we once again lean into the winds of tumultuous change. I was heartbroken to pack up our family and leave the most wonderful community I had ever lived in, but we surrendered to the change that was calling us. Eventually our surrender guided us into a new form of family, with Chris and I divorcing and moving back to Sonoma County together, apart; fiercely dedicated to keeping a sacred circle of love around our kids.
Eight years later now, in just a few weeks, the children (8 and 12 now), our little dog Freya and I will return to Ashland, embracing yet another change of family form~ with Chris staying in California for the time being. With love and faith in what’s True, we now lean into this new, unknowable configuration. Our family has shifted form so many times, in endlessly subtle and overt ways, yet what has remained a constant is the ever-deepening love that contains us and nurtures our evolving relationships. In this Love, I trust completely.
And so~ dear ones. I wanted you to know~ so you can hold us in your hearts as we embrace this beautiful change; just as we hold so many beloveds at this time~ all of us meeting new chapters and seasons of one sort or another.
To our many Bay Area kindreds~ thank you for all we have shared in this chapter! I promise we will get really good at visiting you in what will remain one of our most cherished places in the world, and we welcome you to come visit us in Ashland! And to our Ashland kindreds~ longtime loves, as well as those we’ve yet to meet~ we come home to you with open, grateful hearts, excited to meet you anew, eager to share our blossoming selves afresh with you.
What a mysterious play~ this life of so many endings and beginnings; this life in which change beckons our continuous surrender. And as I lean into yet another changing life season, I notice how deep my roots have grown into this that is unchanging: this Great Beloved Heart that witnesses it all, bears it all; this from which it all arises; to which it all returns..
Bowing in and bowing out~ with love in all directions. ~*~ Jesua