After nearly 7 years of living in Brooklyn, 5 of which were spent in a gorgeous condo that made me feel like I won Bob Barker’s showcase showdown when I first moved into it, I recently became overwhelmed with a feeling of remorse. There’s an ache in my heart and a deep longing for something more with regard to where I live.
You see, since I left my hometown I’ve lived mostly in cities: San Diego, San Francisco, New York. I even lived in London for a short stint when I worked in theater. Despite this fact, I’m a nature girl at heart and there’s nothing I love more than being in the woods or on the beach.
I get off on silence, love trees and can lose myself for days in wonder of the ocean. I revere the elements, bathe in moonlight, and yet, here I am living in a loud, cranky, cosmopolitan scene where I can barely see the stars. With our early summer heat wave this year and the fabulous mix of exhaust and humidity bouncing between tar and concrete, I started experiencing suffocating feelings – basically I had a bit of a meltdown.
Seven years in one of the world’s largest cities flew by without warning and the realization brought on an urgent need to not just visit nature, but to actually live there … RIGHT. NOW.
The intense emotion shocked me, even with my understanding of Mercury Retrograde and Jupiter in Cancer – two significant astrological events recently asking us to get clear on what we really want when it comes to our homes. My near blinding compulsion to arrive at an immediate answer spawned a knowing that it was time to get serious about reprioritizing my love and need for nature.
For almost two weeks I obsessed over how I was going to transition from city life to potentially living in the remote wilderness of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the Colorado Rockies or even Woodstock, NY. The problem though is that there’s a strong “we” inside my fierce “me” and my husband, a senior executive in media, works between NY and LA. Given that a fulltime move to nature is not in our cards right now I figured maybe the next best thing to moving to the boonies would be to rent a home in the suburbs. (See the flawed thinking there?)
I started calling realtors, exploring tree-lined neighborhoods with white picket fencing, all while pining to live anywhere that has a higher tree to person ratio than Williamsburg, Brooklyn … certain that a different environment – any different environment – would relieve the ache in my heart.
The thing is that although I do have a deep longing to live in nature, hastily moving to the burbs (or anywhere else for that matter) isn’t going to solve anything.
After some serious soul-searching we’ve determined that while we both really want more space in our primary living environment, and an additional place we can regularly escape to in nature- we actually don’t have a clue how any of this is going to play out. The truth is, right now we have more questions than we do answers.
And then it became super clear: despite my desire for total clarity on how to quell my lust for change this is going to take some time. Finding the best solution is going to require vision, curiosity and a buttload of restraint to resist my urge to “solve” my problem with a right now solution that probably isn’t right in the long run.
What I (re) learned in this process of tripping out on where I want to live is that distress is generally not the best place to make major life decisions from. (Thank you Captain Obvious!) What I need most isn’t the perfect solution to my living space, it’s actually just to come home within myself, chill out and get curious about what potential solutions might look like. From this place I can begin to explore my next steps and start to garner some clarity on the issue in general.
Does my experience resonate with you? Have you ever thrown yourself into a tizzy to immediately quell a deep longing or need?
The next time you find yourself in the throes of confusion, try these 3 tips to help you step back, take a breath and accept that some things just take time:
- Practice patience. You may want instantaneous clarity, but it’s important to give your situation the time and space it deserves to get the right answer. Ruminating over problems only enhances your confusion. Surrender the problem and trust things will work themselves out. Patience is a practice. Much like meditation, it requires bringing yourself back to the moment, and your breath.
- Don’t try to do it all alone. Confusion and angst are ripe to arise when you refuse to ask for help when you need it. Unhealthy independence is never the answer – even if it feels right in the moment. If you find yourself going round and round trying to figure it out all by yourself, it may be time to ask for help and garner support where you are stuck.
- Access your courage. You might not be as confused as you think. Chances are you know your answer, but may be afraid of what it entails. Sometimes we use confusion as an excuse to not make a move because we’re afraid of admitting what we truly know. Trust that you’re on the right path and will be protected as you make bold changes for the better.
For my own crisis, I worked to develop patience and today, my frantic search through Internet real estate sites has dwindled into a relaxed curiosity. I’ve got my eye on incorporating more nature into my life – in fact, last week I luxuriated at a dear friend’s lake house in the Adirondacks – but I’m also allowing myself to settle into the process of exploring what all of our potential options are from a place of trust.
Until I come to solid sense of knowing about where I want to live, I’m just going to make sure I get enough doses of nature in between to keep me going. For instance, thanks to airbnb I am writing to you from a cottage this week in Southampton. Sweet sounds of the ocean, I love you!
How are you planning to slow down and relax into your process of finding the right answers for yourself? Leave your comments below.
I wish you all the best in getting honest with yourself about what you really need and getting the support to make it happen!
As always, I send my love!