Funny that saying goodbye starts as soon as you say hello. We've all heard that before, but this is my first time leaving a place I had sincerely hoped to stay.
Santa Barbara seems dreamed up by every person who could use the word 'winter' as a verb, and by every nervous child that looks at a topographical map and thinks a perfect place to live would be one without winter, with both oceans and mountains but little chance of mudslide or tsunami... although that may have been just me...
A few weeks ago I told my patients I was leaving, I gave notice at my office, and told my housemates in time for them to find another renter. Since then I've had wild swings between excitement and despair, wondering if diving into an abyss of unknown is really the best and least harmful decision. But the hollow feeling in my gut when I think I could try to stick it out here longer tells me there's no real decision to be made. If I'm honest, I know I started moving away months ago when my catalyst first appeared.
I've realized just how much I'll miss my closest friends here, how fun it will be to return to Santa Barbara to visit the lovely people that have been so wonderful to me over the last few years, how I can't imagine finding a more beautiful place on Earth, how much I won't miss the strange plastic culture here, and how relieved I feel when I know I can stop trying so hard to get my life to flow.
This goodbye isn't because there's anything wrong with this place, this time, these people, with life, or even with me. Everything is always perfectly arranged for continuous growth and evolution, and I've lived enough places to know that we follow ourselves wherever we go...
This leave taking is intended to shift the ground of my awareness by visiting people I have loved for years, driving roads I have not before, and finding the holes that still exist in my perception which can only be understood by quiet open listening.
Until I see you again, stay safe, my beautiful adopted city by the sea, and thank you to my ocean goddess that has waved goodbye to me with so many dolphins and whales and sea lions lately.
I've seen all the signs that say 'go no further,' that say 'turn back!' and the maps that are labeled 'here be dragons' to keep sailors safe in waters they know... well, I've finally decided to join the dragons.