Ugly Crying On a Plane


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How tears of grief watered seeds of future dreams…

In June 2016 I visited a completely off-grid homestead in Big Sur, CA, with zero electricity or plumbing.

Highway 1 near Big Sur, CA

Nestled in a ravine a few hundred yards back from the Pacific Ocean, we made food in an outdoor kitchen surrounded by a tangle of bright nasturtium flowers.

Dinner was grilled fish and seaweed salad, both fresh from the ocean.

Fresh fish on an open fire
Wild harvested seaweed

After dinner an evening fog crept down the mountain, filling the ravine and my heart.

I felt a sense of being home that I’d never felt before.

It was a mix of ease and energy in my body.

Outdoor kitchen at an off-grid homestead in Big Sur, CA

I later traveled up the coast on Highway 1 to Mendocino, CA, where I spent 5 days in the redwoods and hills.

From Big Sur to Mendocino, the coast held me unlike any place I’d been before.

Library at an off-grid homestead in Big Sur, CA

When it came time to leave CA, I couldn’t stop crying…

…ugly crying in the airport and on the plane with sobs and snot and endless tears.

A kind person tried to comfort me, but the grief I felt at having to leave this land that felt like home was too much for me to bear.

In just 6 hours I’d be back in the miserable heat and humidity of a North Carolina summer, a place that I appreciate, but have never felt home in.

A bouquet from CA that I carried on the plane back to NC

I’d been living in North Carolina for nearly two decades, unable to escape its grasp, as it reeled me back every time I tried to move away.

It seemed impossible that my husband and I would ever live in CA, much less leave North Carolina.

And then in 2018 my husband lost his job.

Witch’s brews on the fire in Big Sur, CA

It was scary, but also exciting because it was our chance to find a place that fit us better.

Facing rejection after rejection, he finally connected with an old friend who was looking for someone like him to fill a role.

Spirit Weavers near Mendocino, CA, in 2016

This role was located in Mountain View, CA, 45 minutes from the magical CA coastline and 2 hours from Big Sur.

Six weeks after accepting the job, we moved to CA!

I was ecstatic at being so close to the coast, and for four years I visited the ocean as often as possible, like one would visit their best friend.

Looking out over the Pacific Ocean in 2016

Through the devastation of wildfires, a global pandemic, health challenges, and growing a business, the coast held many more tears of joy and sorrow.

And as grateful as I was to be 45 minutes from the ocean, it was difficult and dangerous to drive over treacherous mountain roads there and back.

I wished I could just live on the coast, rather than in the heart of suburban sprawl that makes up Silicon Valley where John worked.

Somewhere along Highway 1 in 2016

Last month, after years of watching the rental market, we finally found a place that checked our boxes.

We took the leap and moved to one of my favorite places in the world, Santa Cruz, CA, land of the Ohlone, Awaswas, and Popeloutchom peoples.

Santa Cruz is a coastal town on the Monterey Bay, and looking back I’m blown away and in deep gratitude that we ended up here.

John and me on our first night living in Santa Cruz in August 2022!

If I could go back in time to 2016 and tell myself that we ended up here, I don’t think I would believe it.

It’s got me wondering what my life might look like 6 years from now that current me wouldn’t believe?

Me, left, with my friend Katie, right, on the coast of Big Sur, CA in 2016

As I’m settling in to my new home, in a place that finally feels like home, my creative voice is coming alive in a way that I haven’t seen for a long while.

Thanks for being here, reading this first personal newsletter. I look forward to sharing more!

I’ll be sending out regular personal newsletters like this one, as well as business newsletters with insights on non-manipulative marketing.

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Nasturtium and a rose in Big Sur, CA

🏵 This book is making orchids feel approachable: A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and their Culture by Mary E. Gerritsen. Now I have to decide which type of unusual orchid to try first.

🏖 John and I have been popping over to the beach almost every day for lounging in the morning, a midday lunch break, or an evening stroll. It’s a game changer for our stress and creativity.

🌊 Having grown up next to wild waters pulled by the moon’s tides, and then being landlocked inland for almost 20 years, it is a RELIEF to finally be with tides again. I’ve been considering getting a tide clock to track their ebbs and flows at a glance throughout the day. The tides in CA, however, rise and fall differently than the east coast and require the clock to be calibrated every week! I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with it…

🎤 Naomi Love and I just recorded a podcast episode about the witch hunts and how they were basically a marketing campaign for the Protestant church to gain followers. We connect the dots on the killing of innocent people with the witch wound that many magic folks still carry today. The episode is out now on the Earth Speak podcast!






Invitation to work with me:

I have one space opening in October for 1:1 messaging coaching where I’ll help you learn how to talk about what you do and convey the value of what you offer without sacrificing who you truly are. This is best for folks who already have a proven offer they’re ready to amplify. Apply on my website, and we’ll chat to see if this offer is a good fit for your needs!

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  1. Marie

    This moment right now seems surreal.
    I have been following you for several years now.
    I live in Severna Park, Maryland. I have been through a couple of years of grief, and decades of self doubt, depression. Recently, because of the stress my job was causing me, I hit a wall, and felt the urge to get away from it. I was away from work for 5 weeks. What I took out of it is that I could be perfectly happy not working (if finances allowed), and that it was time I took my health in my hands. I went back to work not giving a damn crap about what would happen there. I still don’t. The experience is still fresh. About a month ago I decided it was time to visit a dear friend of mine in California. I booked tickets last minute, for me and my 5 year old. My husband insisted he stayed home to “get stuff done that he doesn’t have the time to do when he has to parent”. I spent a week in Southern California falling in love with it. I had been there before, about 14 years ago. But I didn’t experience that feeling then. When time came to leave and come back to Maryland, I felt so sad. I didn’t want to go back. If it wasn’t for my husband I may not have come back.
    Now I feel like life is waiting for me to make my moves. But I am not taking action.y husband talks about getting jobs

    • Natalie Ross

      Wow, thanks for sharing. I’m from Annapolis, and I’ve spent a lot of time up near Severna Park!

      I hope it helps you to hear that I had no freaking clue or hope that I’d ever live here. I certainly wanted it, but my logical mind couldn’t see a way where it was possible. My heart held on to that desire, while also accepting the reality that I probably wouldn’t ever live here. But somehow life brought me here, and it’s in ways I never would have imagined that have turned out more amazing than I ever hoped for.

      It wasn’t easy. There was a lot of turbulence, hard decisions, and old patterns to shed. But it was all worth it, and in the end, what I had to shed wasn’t serving me anyways. I hope your life brings you either there or somewhere that lights you up and brings you alive. The felt sense of a landscape and geographic location is very real, and it’s totally valid to feel a special connection to a place. Safe cosmic travels to you!

  2. Marie

    [… technical difficulties…]
    Taking jobs in CA but we aren’t ready yet to look for any. It is a process I guess. I sort of feel still, standing and observing. Having no idea what the future holds, or which way to focus my energy on. I don’t entirely feel lost. I just feel at rest. Maybe I am fooling myself in thinking that things will fall in place. I don’t know…


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