When I spoke to you last week I was on a 6am flight to LA with hopes of finding my new home down south, or at least having a good warm up round of looking.
Well, guess what?! I found my new home (yay!) … and that Wednesday was perhaps one of the most dysregulated overwhelmed nervous system days for me in recent memory!
I was up at 3:30am to get in my Lyft at 3:50am, sitting at my gate in Oakland airport by 4:30am … and on the ground in LAX by 7:30am. 🤪 I was looking at the first place by 9am, and promptly got completely overwhelmed and kind of heart broken because I wasn’t sure the area was going to work for me despite my love of it.
In reality I had barely even landed on the ground, literally or in my body, and I knew it … yet something about looking at the place was helpful because I was finally doing the thing I had been preparing a long time for … looking for a new home. And I was quickly becoming a completely overwhelmed and very emotional.
Both things were true.
I took a pause and went to my sister’s place to sit on her floor, eat the protein bar I had with me, and use her wifi for an hour before I met a client in a park for an in person session that day (part of my springtime pop up irl joy these days).
I checked into my air bnb before my afternoon sessions only to have the wifi not working at all! So glitchy sessions it was, and thank goodness for flexible clients and ways to improvise that I have learned over the years, because it was 2 hours of glitch city. 😅
In the midst of all this my emotions started going wild, grief kicked in HARD, and my mind was running all over the place with how impossible this felt to find a home somewhere as giant as Los Angeles.
Then, I finally asked for some help I had been avoiding. Asking for help shifted something in me … I felt my nervous system relax, I could breathe easier, and some part of me knew I was going to be okay however this home seeking process panned out. And funny enough, even more help began to appear.
Just in time, because after I finished sessions I went to another appointment to see a place I was really interested in. It was a semi chaotic experience, yet somehow wonderful. I felt so happy and grounded there. And because I knew my nervous system was all over the place that day I made an appointment to come back 2 days later … to take a pause … and give myself a chance to be most present and clear.
I also knew those bits of ease from asking for support earlier were not at all enough to truly help my nervous system recover from such an overwhelming day.
I needed sleep … as soon as it was dark, I was lights out … and while I did wake up for about 90 minutes in the middle of the night with thoughts of this new home I fell back asleep after I jotted a few things down.
I did some other things to take care of myself too … I did my best to stay hydrated, I ate my meals outside and stayed off my technology even though part of me felt like I had to be looking for places to live every moment I wasn’t working (that’s a lie btw!). I connected with people who were supporting me, and who reminded me everything would work out, that I wasn’t alone. I watched the bees fly into the flowers and get drunk on the nectar inside and kept slathering myself in essential oils.
The next morning I was super clear that the one I’d see the night before was the right place, so I turned in an application and kept my appointment for the following day to go back and make sure it still felt right to be there. Then I rested into my day of sessions, which was grounding for me, familiar, and gave me structure (even with still glitchy wifi).
I went back to take another look as planned on Friday. I got a more spacious look around and saw some areas I wasn’t able to see on Wednesday. I fell in love, I felt myself really wanting to live there. I even asked my Mom to help nudge them along from her non Earthly realm to give me an answer one way or another since I had already submitted my application.
Not 5 minutes later I got the email while I was up on a deck looking out over the grounds … “Welcome Home, Karin!”
Before I knew it, the next 2 hours of time vanished somewhere … I was so excited and happy and grateful and proud of myself … I felt alive AND my nervous system was completely overwhelmed, with joy. I was so relieved in so many ways and I was barely touching the ground.
I needed to keep tending to my nervous system … to help it integrate all of these big movements. The seeming speed with which I found my place was in my awareness (what may have looked like 2 days to some was, in reality, 6 months in the making).
And so I kept tending … I layed on the bed at my air bnb in the middle of the day for at least 90 minutes all weekend whether I napped or not. I read my novel, went to bed early, canceled some plans and gave myself as simple a schedule as I could. I even dug in to finish some admin work, because letting it accumulate is an energy drain for me.
All along I had you on my mind a lot. I kept thinking, “I wonder if they realize that the goal here is not to never have an overwhelmed nervous system, it’s to learn how to respond to it and take care of it for the long term.” And so I really wanted you to know that even after all this time (14 years now) my nervous system goes off the rails too … of course it does. And becasue I can track that and keep enough awareness of what’s happening (knowing I definitely am not catching it all) I can make choices that help bring more settling and ease … especially when there is a long process ahead like moving to a new city.
So can you.
Keep it simple in times like these.
Be gentle with yourself … For example, I do my best to be as loving as I can when my energy drops, or when my belly swells and my body holds more inflammation than it has been, or when I feel my jaw clenching. Go easy. It’s really important for the mental chatter to be gentle in these times.
Remember you can ask for support.
Next week I’ll share some more specifics about what I was tracking in my nervous system to help with flushing out what the heck “overwhelm” even means.
Before I go, you may be wondering where I landed (if you haven’t heard yet) …
Playa Del Rey, CA … a beach community just north of LAX located on unceded Chumash and Tongva land.
My new home is a few blocks from where I lived my junior year at Loyola Marymount University and a couple miles north of my hometown, which is fascinating me to no end at the moment. It was never on my radar to move back here again, until this year.
And so the journey continues …
I’m back in Oakland for about 40 hours before I head down to Santa Cruz on Wednesday to work for a few days and revisit 2017 Karin who chose to leave LA and journey north. I’ll be sharing more on this process I am sure … so many layers, so much somatic and intuitive process to get here, and a healthy dose of patience that I am still sitting with (which is not my fav 😬).
I invite you to notice how you are responding or reacting to any moments of overwhelm in your week … take a breath and see where you can tend to yourself with gentle care, and perhaps even thank your body and your nervous system for all it does to support and protect you every day.