Friday, November 24, 2017

The Terror of Inertia

"Society is just a clearing in the forest" -Osho

I have been ready and willing to leave Seattle for so long now. I won't even bother equalizing that statement with all the things I do like about this city. It will forever be a place I return to, if only to take in the mountains in every direction and the people I can't live without.

Two years ago I was primed and ready to make Vancouver, Washington my home. I had a great job opportunity there with one of the finest cannabis companies on the medical market. I had a chance to work alongside some people I really respected and liked. Plus the entire area around the raging Columbia River is essentially a magical faerie dreamscape.

My boyfriend and I unceremoniously broke up maybe two months into house searching. This was the apex of disaster at the time: I was on crutches after dislocating my knee cap, my long term job was coming to an end as the business shut down, my mom was phasing in and out of treatment constantly, and now my great plan for escape was thwarted. I could have moved to Vancouver by myself, but I didn't. I stayed.

I stayed because my north star was flung far outside myself. I handed off the compass that directs and moves my life to other people, sure that they would be better equipped to make my decisions for me. They became easy scapegoats for my befuddling inertia. The boyfriend I didn't want to leave when I applied for colleges. My mom, always suffering. My best friends.

The faster the city parades around me and the higher the buildings go, the more I shrink into myself. Trapped, confused, unmoving. Each small victory met with a higher cost of living. Where do I go? What do I do with myself now? Why hasn't the lightening bolt hit me yet? Why do I seem to want to live totally separate from other people? Despite my issues with modern life and the human condition, I don't in fact dislike human beings or social interaction. I thrive off attention and rewarding bonds just like any other warm blooded mammal.

"I feel like I lost something there and the traffic is heavy and pointless. I stare out of the window waiting for something to make sense....I do not feel like the Saint I want to be, I do not feel like a prophet or even a priest. I feel like ET or someone left behind. I feel homeless, landless.....To see that it is all bullshit and not to clock off, that requires faith. Only faith will do. Only faith." -Russell Brand

See, I crave a living situation outside of the city (any city). I want isolation but occasional respite from this isolation as well. I want a warm house with a stove for fires and land for my dog. I want the sound and smell of water nearby and trails I can easily access. I want to write for long hours then stretch my body with crazy dance and bagging peaks.

Here's the thing. I've been able to access my north star and to pull it back inside myself. None of the things that held me back all these years have really changed, but I have. I am almost to  the other side of my commitments (lease and work and otherwise) and on the precipice of finally leaving..... Yet I have a stinking suspicion that the hole I talk about so often in my posts will still be there. That I could find the best bungalow to live in for an affordable price and still yearn for an RV to drive off in.

I think part of why traveling is so addicting and satiating is because we are confronting newness over and over. We are too busy experiencing something for the first time to default to habituation. When it comes to home and putting down roots, the newness will always evaporate eventually. The peace of knowing a place is addicting in its own right, in its sheer comfort. But the hole will still be there. The wondering about other places that might be better suited for us, especially as things around us inevitably shift and change. The desire for a different climate or commute, a larger or smaller space, a home that can be picked up and moved on wheels.

All that matters at this point is that I act and do rather than just wondering. I am currently asking myself how I want to optimize this leap of faith as I finally prepare to pack boxes and leave Seattle behind. I have to challenge myself to think beyond the scope of personal limitation and to create something, anything, that lasts beyond my own attention span.


“there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
a space
and even during the
best moments
the greatest times
we will know it

we will know it
more than
there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled
we will wait
in that space.” -Bukowski


  1. Ah Juliet...we are at war with similar demons...true contentment aways around the corner or down the road.

    As someone who lives in one of the most beautiful, mountainous places on earth...trails of wilderness escape right out the door...I still lie awake wondering what else is out there and if I'm missing "something."
    No one person has the answers for someone else. Life comes with a million choices, and when we make them, we are bound to live with the consequences. The good news is that of all the choices we ponder, few will prove to be wrong. The less good news is that few will prove to be right. Choices are just a direction we are heading, not journey's end. There will aways be more choices. The point is to venture out, as Donald Miller says, so that we (if choosen) can go home again and see it in a whole new light.
    You are not alone in your search for "place."
    Here are more lines from Donald Miller, a fellow restless soul...

    "We get one story, you and I, and one story alone...It would be a crime not to venture out."
    "I want to repeat one word for you: Leave. Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”

    “I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made fo figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.”

    “I could not have known then that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing.”

    “It occurred to me, as it sometimes does, that this day is over and will never be lived again, that we are only the sum of days, and when those are spent, we will not come back to this place, to this time, to these people and these colors, and I wonder whether to be sad about this or to be happy"

    We get one story, you and I, and one story alone....It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.”

    “When you build a city near no mountains and no ocean, you get materialism."

    “I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die."

    And so, I will leave you with this: I left Missouri at age 26 in search of a "better" life. It was the best decision I ever made.
    love and luck,

    1. Mark, I absolutely agree. So much time spent thinking and wondering and weighing choices. I realize that I am often my own greatest sabotage by letting the inertia take over rather than just doing. Maybe it is a deep fear of failure, I am not sure. I know the time has come to simply ACT, so I am ready! I really appreciate your wisdom and your interest in my journey. It means a lot. Thanks for the excellent quotes too. Do you have a favorite Donald Miller book that I should check out? I just started The Circumference of Home after finishing a long list of library books.

    2. Donald Miller's "Through Painted Deserts" is good (the title grabbed me...). It's a story of his own journey...a "road trip" where he searches for what we search know, meaning, purpose, happiness, fulfillment, etc.. It's a worthy read, but I must warn you he writes from a theistic point of view. Still, I found much of his "enlightenment" is valid and can be helpful.
      Change is good...we are excited for you!
      mark and bobbie

    3. PS: I thought you might enjoy "The Circumference of Home" because it takes place in the Seatle/Whidbey Island" area...and, it shows how we can conserve the planet.


Comments Welcome