Notes on Following Intuition + Returning to California

san francisco golden gate bridgeSurprise! I’m back in the states. San Francisco to be exact. And I’ll be back in the damn whimsical state of Oregon starting this weekend. And then back to San Francisco again. Last you may have heard, I was in Copenhagen, Denmark. And I was planning on being there for a while. It’s one of my soul places in the world. One of the places were I just feel so authentically me. Leaving Copenhagen ((temporarily)) was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make this year; luckily we’re only four weeks into 2016. But it wasn’t really that hard of a decision because I had such a strong intuition that heading back to California was what I needed to do. 

Leaving Copenhagen after two months wasn’t what I had imagined. I landed an epic internship in the Copenhagen start-up scene that was supposed to start the first week of January. At the time, I was waiting on my 6-month visa approval. Sadly, after my new years extravaganza, which for the record was insanely fun despite the aftermath, things spun out of control. I was emotionally and physically hurt and was in a foreign country alone. It was time to head back home for some deep healing and self-reflection. My fall brought up a lot of emotions. It brought up fear associated with the severity of my last concussion that I projected onto the very mild one I was dealing with, it brought a new wave of grief around my break-up and it completely uprooted me. I spiraled into a stress attack. Sadly, since my break-up, I’ve been dealing with these periodic stress attacks where something mild triggers a stress reaction and from there things just spiral out of control, so much so that I become paralyzed in my own life. I get insomnia, I get heavily inflamed and I get really, really sad. It takes me weeks to recover from these and it usually includes a lot of personal time and slow living. I use to rely so heavily on my ex-boyfriend for comfort and soothing; now I’m learning to lean on friends, family and myself, which I suppose is more sustainable in the end. I have so many things in my life dialed in: my work, my diet, my lifestyle, my relationships. Stress is not something I manage well, which is why I will be focusing a lot of attention on learning and implementing stress management techniques into my life in 2016. 

Following my most recent stress attack in Copenhagen, I knew that there was no way I was going to recover there. I tried. I tried for three weeks. But I was being energetically called to California on such a deep level. Finally, around mid-January, I couldn’t deny the intense energetic pull I was having to California. Despite having a nearly perfect situation in Denmark ((I had an apartment, an awesome roomie, tons of new friends, so many work collaborations, a visa and a dream internship,)) staying wasn’t something that intuitively felt right. I kept questioning how things could be so incredible and so awful all at once. However, the longer I stayed in Denmark, the louder the Universe spoke to me. I find that once you align yourself with the Universe and listen to its divine guidance you realize that it will send you sacred messages. If you know me, you know that all of the decisions I make in my life are based on gut intuition, which I associate with being closely tied to Universal guidance. For three weeks I fought the subtle messages I was receiving, which is so unusual for me. I wanted to make Denmark work so badly but I couldn't find my vibe. However, as I know through personal experience, once you step onto the divine path laid out by the Universe, things in your life will fall into place. And that’s exactly what happened when I finally made the decision to return to California. 

I ended up booking my flight two days prior to leaving the country. As I began my journey from Copenhagen to San Francisco, I was gifted small little signs that it was the right decision. The first sign I received was when I checked in for my flight. I had arrived at the airport with no seat assignment for my Stockholm to San Francisco flight. I feared this meant I would be stuck in a middle seat in the back of the plane. Well, as the Universe would have it, I found myself enjoying first class on the twelve hour flight while paying only $250 for a ticket. More than that, the journey was beyond easy. I suffered almost no jetlag other than general fatigue following a long travel day. I took the week following to heal, sleep, feel supported, cook healing foods and do yoga. I quickly came into balance. I had missed my menstrual cycle during my stress attack, which is not a good sign, and was nearly 18 days late. Three days at home, and I got my period. 

I continued to receive Universal whispers that my decision to return to the U.S. was right. One of the most deeply healing and joyful things in my life is my photography work. As the Universe would have it, I got completely booked out with photoshoots while here in San Francisco. I mean, literally, every last slot was filled with exciting lifestyle, engagement, headshot photoshoots for cool start-ups and even a wedding. I’m also photographing an amazing event put on by the owners of Stedsans CleanSimpleLocal, a roof-top garden restaurant in Copenhagen, for a Visit Denmark press event. Go figure, right? Lastly, plans for a food photography workshop are in the works for late February at my favorite restaurant in Berkeley, Mission Heirloom. On top of all this, it turns out I have to re-shoot the cover of a book I was commissioned to photograph. This would not have been possible if I had been in Europe for a variety of reasons, mainly being I need to do it with the authors of the book in order to style it correctly. It would have been hugely disappointing for me to have photographed a book and then have someone else's images on the cover. Another whisper from the Universe that being here in the US at this time is important.

All this is to say that following my intuition to come home has clearly been the right decision. For one reason or another, the Universe needed me to be on the west coast. I really feel that coming back to California to find balance was essential. It was a bit disappointing in the moment because I felt like I had to return because of my on going struggles with my health; managing my autoimmunity and what goes with it has been such an on going thing in my life. But with all that I struggle with, there has also been so much light in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for the people, the work and the opportunity to pursue my passion for capturing beauty. I do experience great darkness but I think without the darkness in my life, I wouldn't see the beautiful light. My time in California has been so special. Now, I head to the Bend, Oregon for some deep spiritual and physical healing. Bend is my “place” that I go to in order to restore deep balance. I find brisk walks along the Deschutes River, sleeping with my windows wide open so I can breathe the fresh mountain air and the constant sunshine in the Cascade Mountains to be deeply nourishing to my soul. Thanks for listening to my rant, and I hope that it at least encourages you to start tuning into the divine guidance of the Universe, because she always has your best interest in mind.