HERO’S JOURNEY part deux: Answering the Call

We’re still moving to California. But things have slowed down.

Well. Not really. Jon originally said we would be gone by winter. We got a little carried away by the thought we might make it much, much sooner. Then life through us a few hiccups which I won’t go into because I’ll start whining again. Some of the hiccups are major. Some are wicked hard. But none have changed our original goal–to be outta here before the snow flies and the ice slides again.

In our initial enthusiasm, we blabbed and bubbled a lit-tul too much. So now, when people see us here in Keene, they exclaim, “You’re still here?!”.
It’s embarrassing, but inevitable. We feel perhaps we’ve outstayed our welcome.

And of course, now I’m working my way through my studio, picking things to keep, slowly sorting things to sell or donate or give away. Couches are replaceable. A printer’s type tray chest is not easily replaced. But it’s not easily moved either.

One of my TWO chests of printer's type tray/drawers. And the box of creepy doll heads.
One of my TWO chests of printer’s type tray/drawers. And the box of creepy doll heads.

And slowly, understandably, our dream of California is fading. It’s hard to remember what set us on fire to move, as the reality sets in: living in a stripped-down home, packing up box after box of books, winter clothing, art supplies and sorting through a lifetime’s collection of wonderful knickknacks.

Last Friday, I wrote Hero’s Journey, sharing how a friend’s words of wisdom got me back on track. A few days ago, I found my own words of wisdom to describe where we’re at.

We went to California, as we had so many times before. We’ve always enjoyed it. But we never felt we could live there. We had so many reasons why it wasn’t possible: The traffic, the density of people, the sky-high cost of housing.

This time, it was different. It created a powerful sense of yearning that I couldn’t ignore, and couldn’t forget.

Weeks later, when Jon shared he felt the same way as I did, I felt a rush of joy. I realized we had BOTH heard the call. And we could both choose to answer it.

That’s it. That’s what all this life upheaval is about.

Only afterwards did we layer our choice with explanations and rationalizations. Yes, it’s the chance of a lifetime for both of us to reboot–professionally, physically, emotionally.

When people challenge you about your decision (“Are you crazy?? Why would you ever want to leave here?!”), they will accept that your husband needs to do it for his work. And that he needs it for his mental health. (Seasonal affective disorder and the Northeast climate do not mix. Trust me on this.)

We eventually grew quite a list of excellent reasons why we needed to do this. I could rattle them off right now for you. But this is all you really need to know:

We heard the Call.

And we are answering it.

The first time I heard the Call in my life, I felt like a great wave had engulfed me (in a good way.) It was a clarion call to take up my art, and assume my place in the world. I answered with my full intention, with my heart and soul.

The times I’ve heard it since, I’ve done the same. I answered. I acted, with my full intention.

I have never, EVER regretted it.

Each time it has opened a door in my life. When I walk through, everything falls into place. When I look back, I see miracles and angels. Sometimes, I have to “lie down in a dark room” for a bit, because it is so powerful.

My only regret? The one time I ignored it. It was “too hard”, “too far away”, and I “didn’t have the time.”

That’s it. It’s that simple.

We heard the Call. And all our intentions are focused on answering it.

How do you tell it from an ordinary whim? From an ordinary “post-vacation buzz?”

I don’t know what to tell you. Except that maybe vacations are trying to tell us something, and we’ve simply gotten used to ignoring them.

We didn’t want to come home.

Because suddenly, wonderfully, we already were.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

9 thoughts on “HERO’S JOURNEY part deux: Answering the Call”

  1. as you say, no sleet, or snow, unless you chose it. When you are tired, nothing looks good and everything looks overwhelming. Calif. has it’s draw backs also, but usually not in the weather, just depends where you want to live.


  2. I admire your courage. You write from your soul, a place many of us feel uncomfortable sharing. Thank you for that gift. May fair winds and sunshine find you when you need them most.


  3. Hi Luann- interesting synchronicity! We are moving out of a 100+ year old family home to a mini-farm with orchard in the Sierra Foothills at the end of this month. The land, home, life is amazing there. It is a bit sad to sell the lovely home but it is become waaaay to congested in the SF bay area and the rural life calls. We did not tell anyone our plans and people have been sooo surprised!! I am not un-necessarily secretive, but I find that it can be easier to focus on your *star* when there are no distractions. California is worth every penny… I have lived many places,, NYC/Brooklyn, SF, Caribbean, and traveled many continents. Cali is home. and big !WOW! to those flat files.. been my dream for years to have such beauties. best wishes~ Kara


  4. Moving a studio and all it’s bits and pieces *is hard*! Kudos to staying the course and listening to your heart!


  5. I guess we are lucky since all we have to say is….”we are retiring to Arizona”…no questions are asked. Just “Oh how lovely and won’t it be too hot in summer?” My move is farther off though. It is hard to “be here now” while still making the plan! But you will do it! I am sure!


  6. And remember that if you do want to stop in Oregon for a visit on your way home (or anytime after), I have guest rooms and a big welcome for you both.


  7. About a year and a half ago I moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona. My move was much easier because we were able to toss nearly everything (mostly donated) and we shipped a few flat rate boxes through the postal service and the rest we stuffed into my tiny hatchback along with a big dog cage that our two cats travelled in.

    It was a challenge to be sure, especially because we left in January just ahead of a big snowstorm and had to stop more than we had initially planned because of the weather. It was cramped, and achey, and terrifying because neither of us had jobs lined up and we had an apartment lined up but had not yet seen it in person. I’d never been father west than Kentucky.

    But, It was a huge step for me especially in my art… because I proved to myself that I’m stronger than I thought. As terrifying as it all was, I did it, and I survived, and I learned so much, so quickly.

    When it gets scary, or seems like it’s got to be too much work, just remember than when you’re on the other side, and you’ve done it, you’ll know just how strong you are. (I’ve been following you a while, artistically and your writing here… you’ve got this.)


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