"Southern Coast" is about endless sunny days, dry brush + high cliffs and a crisp green-blue sea.
But it's also about seeing beauty in a place where you might've had a hard time finding it in the past.
About growing older and therefore, growing stronger.
It's about making peace with what you've been through and where you came from.
About realizing that you are whole enough now to stand tall in a place where you were once swallowed.
And about surrendering to where you are in your life--right now, in this moment.
And sinking in with grace.
It's about where the past meets you in the present moment.
And about it's about the ocean.
I have always had a difficult relationship with the place I grew up.
When I was a child and people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up I would (illogically) answer,
"I want to move to New York."
This was due, in part, to just being a sensitive human being with pain to work through.
Some acquired, some carried.
And as such, adolescence was hard: families are hard, high school was hard. I wanted out.
But I also never felt at home in Orange County, the place itself.
In fact, writing the actual name of the place and stating that that's where I'm from still makes me a little uncomfortable.
In a lot of ways, Orange County embodies many things that I am against. It took a lot of leaving to sort all that out and piece together the reasons I never felt that I fit here, in effort to understand who I really am and who I am really not.
And my M.O. was always to stay away.
For those of you who've been following me, you know that I lived in the Bay Area for quite some time and, more recently, sold all my things thinking I would be moving to Bali.
But the universe had a different plan for me than I had for myself (...typical) and I was called back to the US after just a couple months overseas.
More specifically, I was called to back to Orange County.
With BIG projects on the rise that have needed all of my focus (stay seriously tuned for that) and without a clear vision of where my next home will be, I have had the longest stay in the place where I grew up since I was 18.
With that, there have been lessons. Lessons in surrender, in healing, and in being open to receiving the beauty of a place I have fought my whole life.
There are many teachers who speak of importance of returning home (some of my favorites being Natalie Goldberg, Ram Dass and the Buddha, to name a few). I've come to understand that this is because where are we resisting--where we are intentionally staying away--there is often work to be done. The places, physically or otherwise, that feel messy to visit will eventually always call us back.
In my learning, part of what I've come to is this:
Where there is Earth there is beauty. Where there is past there is growth.
Orange County is where I'm from, for better or for worse.
The ocean is a part of me, this I've always known.
The Southern Coast is in my bones.
For better or for worse, I carry it with me.
This series is an honoring of the land that really does hold so much beauty. An honoring of my roots which I cannot change.
And a peace offering to the past.
A big thanks for Brie Lakin for the photos taken in Laguana Beach. You can check out her work here.