Posted by: Jane Valencia | January 14, 2010

Where Am I?

I started the New Year intending to complete my two blogs, this one and A Harper’s Garden, in order to start fresh, from new perspective, a renewed sense of purpose. I had plunged into this one last year during a time of huge transition. Our family had sold our home and land on Vashon Island, where we’d lived for ten years, and where I thought we’d live for decades to come (if not forever) in order to seek a life further out, far quieter, more wild. We ended up in NE Oregon, an incredible corner of the world–and in many ways just what we had been seeking, but not in the end what we were looking for.

But a year ago I didn’t know that we weren’t just going to stay there. That we weren’t just going to go through with our plan of buying land and building our passive solar home in this remote, beautiful, but very different (for me) land. For me, it was a huge struggle to be there. In many ways I loved the area and the life, in other ways, it just wasn’t for me. I knew that if I had to I could root well enough there, and our family could weave into the community in some way, and I knew that it was important to understand that we as a family could make our home wherever we were. And it was important for me to know in my bones that I can express my full wild self in some form no matter where I am.

In the end we decided that we weren’t finding the configuration of land we really wanted. Certain events came to pass, and we decided we’d move on, this time to live back in my grandparents’ house in the San Francisco Bay Area, for business and family reasons. We knew that we didn’t want this to be our final destination, so intended to keep looking for the land. But after a drive through possible places I realized I didn’t want to be looking anymore. Wandering has its time and place, but I wanted it to be done. I wanted that fundamental question of “where is home?” to be answered.

When I told my husband that if a certain property we’d looked at the year before on the island was still available, I wanted us to make an offer on it, he (surprisingly to me) agreed. He now had his own (practical) reasons for that, which he wouldn’t have had half a year before. Sure enough, when I did a little research, I discovered that though the land was off the market, it had not been sold. I wrote a letter to the owner and we made our offer.

… And with a little negotiation (one of the parcels was left off the sale in order for the owner to say ok to the price) our offer was accepted. The magic of right timing. And our lives have proceeded from there.

Interwoven with the question of “home” was my own internal questioning. We had shed so much in our lives in the whole long transition process of moving from our old island home–a transition that included living six months in a 24′ diameter yurt, winnowing lots and lots of possessions, and putting what was left into storage, closing sale on the property and leaving the island not knowing where we’d end up. And that had included shedding my own identity in many ways, giving away or boxing up so much of what I thought I’d been about and then leaving the way open and empty to discover what threads I really wanted to restore to my live, what I really wanted to live from this point forward, what I really wanted to weave.

So Jane’s Medicine Tree was really started as a way to sound my voice again. When I had nothing to prove, nothing I had to do, anything I wished to speak–what story might spill out of through my fingers? And where might it lead me? How might it lead me to discover/rediscover, reground and root into my life, and offer up the next chapter?

Here, a year later, I have answers to many of those questions, but I’m still fussing over the details, especially regarding the internet form of these things. I have a tremendous sense of purpose right now — one project to see to completion (my children’s novel) and another to start mapping (a book project of a different kind). Both those projects could use some blogging around them, to nourish them–to help me deepen my voice with them, flesh out my ideas, to propel me forward. But I certainly can’t write four blogs!

As usual, I’m spending too much time trying to figure things out. In my life the big message has always been about right timing. When the time is ripe I know what to do–or at least know that it’s time to take some kind of action. Here in balmy California, where I barely understand that it’s winter, I know deep down that it is that time of “wait-and-see”. Rest, hibernate, allow space, be quiet. Dream. Vision. The time of quickening approaches, but now is not that time. Roses may be blooming in our front yard, but this is not the time to be throwing forth the flowers of my efforts as finished forms–“Here they are, take them!”. The winter is here, and the rain will come (sometime) and the wind.

It’s time to be open, listening.

Soon I will know where to send those first tendrils of new and renewed purpose.

For now I keep them inside.



  1. Yes. . . Thank you for this reminder that, in time, our lives can take on more clarity, and that in winter it is appropriate to hunker down, to be patient and trust that what we are meant to do will present itself.

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