I’ve just returned to San Francisco after Seven Years in Vermont. Which sounds like a movie or book. It was definitely an adventure into the wilds, into my past, into a deep internal transformation that I’m not really sure how to bring back into the world.

It feels like I’ve come through a worm-hole, from one universe into another and I’m feeling the kind of space-sickness one would feel if you actually did break down all your molecules and transport them through time and space and then reassembled yourself. It’s taking a while to get my bearings.

I’m definitely home. That feels solid. But I’m not the same person I was when I left and neither are any of my friends and family here in the Bay Area. With certain people there’s no dissonance at all. With most though, there’s an odd experience of being at different “baud” rates.

"In telecommunications and electronics, baud (/’bc:d/, unit symbol “Bd”) is synonymous to symbols per second or pulses per second. It is the unit of symbol rate, also known as baud rate or modulation rate; the number of distinct symbol changes (signaling events) made to the transmission medium per second in a digitally modulated signal or a line code. The baud rate is related to but should not be confused with gross bit rate expressed in bit/s."

I know Vermont operates at a much slower pace than the Bay Area and I am definitely thinking, moving and speaking at a much slower rate. But something else is going on too. While I was gone, I seem to have let go of some kind of fear propulsion, some kind of something that has been pushing me through most of my life. It’s not that I’ve lost ambition or desire, it’s more of a sense that I don’t need to push anything.

During the past Seven Years I feel I’ve had co-dependency, the need to do something to win approval, knocked out of me. There’s nothing quite like moving to a new place and watching yourself try to make new friends to bring up your relationship patterns. Denial fell away and I got to see my own fears & manipulations. Not pretty but the end result of acknowledging my inner fears has been, of course, a transformation. The fear in me seems to have quieted down.

Most people who know me would not identify me as a fearful person. I’m more noted for leaping off metaphoric cliffs. But looking at my own fears and all things I told myself to avoid admitting them, has changed me. It remains to be seen what effect that change will have but for right now all I can say is I’m not sure who I am or what I’ll be doing next. I just know I don’t feel pushed and I don’t feel like pushing anything. It’s strange to be feeling the absence of a fear I didn’t even know I had.

People in Vermont say the great thing about the place is that it never changes and the horrible thing about the place is it won’t change. Something about that stubborn, flinty refusal to be anything but exactly what it is has left its imprint. Am I now like rock? Like water? Like trees? Or am I finally knowing a kind of rightness in myself? Time will tell and for the first time in my life, I feel comfortable with that.

It’s just really strange.

Re-post: Originally written for Build Altars April 2012