‘Home is Where the Arch Is’ – St. Louis, Missouri

‘Home is Where the Arch Is’ –  St. Louis, Missouri

‘Home’ is a concept that has always been shifting for me about every 2 years or less, since after leaving St. Louis in 2010.  

I left for school – yet also seeking warmth, sunshine, & adventure.   

I loved visiting friends & family each year, but felt my path was supposed to place me by a beautiful beach or in another country long term.  

I never thought I would come back for good. 

After solo-traveling internationally for the first time in 2016, I started listening more to what it seemed Spirit was guiding me to do rather than what I thought ‘I’ wanted.  (Picture on left circa December 2015 before the flight to Thailand)

First I had to learn the hard way – making a poor judgment call of where I thought my home should be.  I thought I wanted to move to Ireland for a bit in 2016, mostly to be closer to a man that I thought I was in love with after only one week of traveling Bali together (lol).  My young 23-year-old mind was attached to a delusion rather than reality.

 This plan quickly changed for legal reasons and I was devastated.  I was also able to see after being there for 2 weeks that my feelings were one sided & he was not who I thought he was.  Womp womp.  In all fairness the Universe was literally SCREAMING at me, telling me this plan was not good, messing up all my flights & connections.  Yet, I powered forward without listening to the signs because I thought I knew what was best for me. 

It all worked out in the end (as it always does) because when I was finally humbled & surrendered, Spirit led me to volunteer opportunities & people in Italy that I am still very close with many years later.  

Forever grateful for that entire experience & the deep lessons learned.  🙏🏼

On my travels in 2017, I became a little wiser (or so I like to think), yet was still also making lots of poor decisions that were mostly fueled by alcohol.  By the end of them, I didn’t try to move to another country for another guy though! Yay, learning!  Still wasn’t really in the mindset to look for a stable home and wanted to continue living nomadically, making many places my home.  

That year, some crazy divine timing that I could never have predicted or orchestrated led me to a person that was not who ‘I’ thought I wanted or should be with.  He was younger and one of my best friends’ little brothers.  And we seemed to be pretty different in many ways even though we always ended up talking for many hours. 

I thought I wanted to be with someone I had met from my last travels, even though he lived in England far far away.  Or that I should be with someone else international & older.  I would say that I’m not even attracted to younger guys. That’s when Spirit had to start talking more loudly to me.  Such as one night, when I was talking with this person, a butterfly came out of nowhere, flew in between us, flew INTO MY CUP, flew out of it, and then flew away.   

I said in my mind, ‘Okay, I get it, I’m paying attention to this. I’m listening.’  Instead of continuing to lead with my head, I led with my heart & allowed myself to deeply love this person.

Months later, this led me to farming in New Jersey, which I could have never guessed to be part of my plan.  But he called this place ‘home’ & I still had no clue where I wanted mine to be, so I thought I’d test the waters.

And I thank God that I did, because that experience in 2018 did a complete 180 on my life in terms of priorities and health. 

It made me desire to be closer to Mother Nature & to my own family

It shifted me into adopting a plant-based diet fully.  (Read more here)

It also led to me pursuing my love for painting more. 

I am grateful every day for that year of life that changed everything for me.  It just took me slowing down, surrendering more, listening more, & letting go of habits that were not serving me to do this.  It also helped to receive encouragement, support, & love from him & his family.  

Being so inspired by how close he & his family were started making me want to be closer with mine.  And not only this, but the Universe started talking to me loudly about it.  

One day, in the compost pile, his sister found a plastic ‘B,’ which we all found interesting and funny.   Then when we wiped it clean, we saw that on the B is said ‘ST.LOUIS, MO.’  

The mysterious compost B

Like, what are the odds?   Some things are too crazy to be marked off as coincidence. 

That Thanksgiving, I went home to visit family.  

In this visit, I was able to finally get out of denial and look seriously at my mother’s alcoholism.  For many years, I was in my own world, prioritizing my own drinking & friends, & also enabling hers by drinking with her.  My sisters had recognized it before me & tried to help encourage her to change her ways.  That trip I finally saw the seriousness of it too & felt the pain & the sadness of it all.  I felt that it would be my turn to help step in soon.

After returning to Jersey & traveling the Pacific Northwest that winter, the idea of coming back to Missouri for a bit stayed in my mind in 2019.  Even though I loved my partner & still also didn’t feel that Missouri was my forever home, I felt so certain that I had to go help my family at that time.  I arrived by Easter and started attempting to help her get her life & her health in order.

However, my Mom was still deep in her addiction – making strides some days/weeks, and then falling back into her depression and solo drinking habits that would cause damage with all of her relationships & job.  It was also severely affecting the health of her body & mind – she looked and acted like a completely different person during these times.  

It was beautiful to be home & connect with all my other family members & friends, but also increasingly heartbreaking to continue to try to help someone you love continue to reach for a substance that was doing nothing but ruining her life & creating suffering for the people who loved her.  My insomnia was at an all-time high (as that’s how my stress displays itself) & living with her felt like an emotional roller coaster.  

I was supposed to go back to New Jersey by the time farm season started in June, but my heart was also telling me to stay in Missouri.  But not because I had chosen it as ‘home’ yet.  Despite the struggles with my Mom’s addiction, I felt like I was connecting more & more with myself while there.  Making space away from farming allowed me to focus all my energy on creative pursuits & it felt like I was on fire from doing these passions so frequently.  But most importantly, I felt I needed more time to try & get my Mom to want to change.  Even though I now understand that the person will only change once they are ready to change.  I just felt like if I spent more time & had more talks with her, something would click & she would see the light.

Months go by.  Things didn’t change.  I felt like I had reached my energetic capacity & missed my partner a lot, so I left to go back to Jersey to finish off the farm season in September. 

However, the Universe pulled me back to Missouri as I promised my family that I would help my Dad move to California once our childhood home was sold. After being on the market for a while, I finally got notice it sold in November & I left to go back home for Thanksgiving & for the big drive around this time last year to move our Dad out West.  

Bryce Canyon on the way to California w/ Dad & Steph! (more videos of our trip here – Pete & The Sunset Chasers)

My partner and I decided to break up after spending 6 months long distance and realizing that it was about to be more of that.  Distance is hard.  It’s really not fun missing someone all the time. I’m sure many of us have experienced this in one way or another.  

Mom was still drinking.  But at that point, I felt that I had done all I could do myself to help her.  Not to say that I wouldn’t try again.  But I needed a break & had planned to try to hike the Arizona Trail in 2020.  I had also seen that Billy Strings was to play at a music festival in Tucson, AZ at the beginning of February 2020.  Since I had already planned to be out there, I bought my ticket & went – attending a music festival solo for the first time.  It was an amazing, magical time.  During the last set of the last day, I briefly met Zack Martin, (the author of A Trust Poem), who asked if I had ever been to Sedona.  I told him no, but that I planned on it sometime.   I had no attraction or romantic interest in him at this time as I was still missing & loving my past partner. 

Once I realized I didn’t have the proper money, gear, or plan to hike the Arizona Trail, I decided to hike & explore Arizona by car.  I made it up to Sedona and life changed more rapidly than I could have ever imagined – personally & all over the world.  

I felt at the time that I would make Sedona my home, even getting my license there.  

But also, every so often, I felt a whisper in my soul would be like… ‘But what about Missouri?’  

And I would argue back… 

‘What about Missouri?!  I’m in Sedona!  It has everything I could ever want and more!  Look at all of this beautiful nature, look at all of the conscious community events, look at all these amazing people that have become my friends, look at all of the new art I am making!  Look at my friend’s property that I get to help farm on & her unicorn of a golden retriever that I love so much!’

Spirit would listen to me and agree that this place had all of these things.  But the whisper would not stop.  

I felt like in my surrender I had found Sedona and that this place would be my home.  Yet, it seemed like my mind or something/somebody else was still leading the decision-making.  And also the whispers of going back to Missouri did not stop & I missed my family.   Something wasn’t quite fitting right.

One day, I was feeling extremely lost and confused for a number of reasons.  

And I also had some psilocybin mushrooms.  

I went to the creek in Sedona and took 5 caps and 5 stems of the mushrooms.  I still have no clue what variety they were or how much that amount was.  But I had an experience that I have never had again even after taking the same dosage or more.  

Most of the time, I was bowed down with my head on the ground, eyes closed, hands in prayer position – sobbing, praying, meditating.  When I would try to open my eyes, the ‘reality’ of the outside world was fractaling & moving in all different directions, as if I were in a dream.  So I stayed in my position with my eyes closed, focused in at my third eye, praying & allowing myself to receive whatever the medicine wanted me to know.  It was one of the most deeply surrendered points of my life.  

I was praying and asking Source, ‘Where do you want this vessel to be?  Where can I do the most healing for myself and my family?  I give up thinking that I know where that is…’ 

The answer came in VERY clearly: 

‘Go home to St. Louis and to your family. 

You were born there for a reason.  

It is time that you go and find out why.’  

Then I cried some more, feeling the pain of who I would have to hurt & the steps to make in order to do this.  

Then I cried some more in deep gratitude for all that I was experiencing, being shown, & from the powerful, loving connection with God.  

After I started coming back into my body, mind, & this ‘reality’ – I felt stronger & had more clarity & inner knowing than ever before.  

It was time to go home.  This was in July 2020.

Since surrendering to Missouri as home, myself and my family have all gone through massive growth and changes.

My mother is coming up on her year and a half of sobriety on December 12, 2021. 

Which makes me tear up right now thinking about how freaking proud I am of her and all the positive changes she has made for herself.  She is a completely different person.  She is one of my best friends now. I even got to road trip with her to Sedona earlier this year! God is good.

Getting to hike all the vortexes in Sedona with both my parents = one peak experience of this year!

Through her journey, I have been able to watch & heal a lot of my own addictive tendencies as well.

By spending so much time with my family, I got to see & understand where I inherited many different traits in myself.  And then decide which of these I am grateful for & would gladly pass down vs. which of these I can clear & release for good.  

The more time I spend here, the more that is revealed to me.  

The more layers of understanding who I am & why I am here.  

The more shedding of fears & aligning with my dreams.  

The more lessons & synchronicities. 

And I haven’t even been here super long term as I have been traveling back & forth to Sedona so much of this year!

There are always more layers to shed and more lessons to learn. The work is never done.

And I am excited to change that & see what new adventures staying rooted brings about.

In December, I signed a year lease with my little sister for a new home in the area – EEK! A very scary move for a person that has been a professional at avoiding commitments & staying in one place for a while now.  

However, it’s what we both have been calling in for many months. 

We needed a bigger fishbowl for more growth to continue.  So here we are.     

The ‘B’ from Spirit has now found its happy place on my new bedroom door

I know I will always travel – because there are just too many gosh darn beautiful, wild, interesting places in this world & I have a very curious mind. 

Yet, it’s nice to have a stable place to call ‘Home’ as I go back & forth. 

To be creating a sanctuary with someone that I love so dearly & am so like-minded with.

A basecamp to store things, recenter, regroup, & reflect through all the crazy twists & turns of life. 

In Mexico, people meeting me would ask… Missouri?  Sounds like ‘misery’ – why would you want to live there?

I would just smile & the simple answer is ‘It just feels good.’ 

I don’t expect anyone to understand exactly. And I don’t try to analyze it or understand it anymore myself really.

  It’s just where my heart is at.  And where it seems like Spirit is asking me to be of service at this time. 

It reminds me a bit of my favorite book, The Alchemist.  He goes in search of this mysterious treasure out into far, far away lands for many years. 

 Only to find that the treasure had actually been exactly where he had first started, in his own hometown.  

Life is trippy like that. 

Happy to be Home, St. Louis. 

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