What a strange time: where the many thousands of people who have been telling everyone to stay home to "save lives" and avoid groups is now leaving their homes to go out and protest in large groups. Those who protested COVID-19 restrictions were considered dangerous, irresponsible jerks but now racially charged protests are a-okay. I'm taking some time to reflect on my time in California.
The image above shows the hero's journey. Any hero's journey essentially follows this sequence. As you can see, the circle is actually a Fibonacci spiral and in a sense the hero ends up in the same place he started, but on a higher plane. The journey always involves leaving the ordinary world to enter a strange new world, facing obstacles and then returning to the ordinary world with the treasure, often new knowledge, that could not have been learned at the starting point.
I prefer to view my time in California in this same way, but instead of being on a path that spirals out to a higher plane my journey is a spiral inward to a deeper or more core plane. It would look like the image below.
I remember being in small town Indiana at a facility for at risk youth and it being the best time in my life. I also knew that I was about to turn 30 and that if I chose to stay I would have a very hard time being exposed to anything outside that wonderful little world in the middle of a corn field.
At first I refused to go knowing that life would be much easier to stay. But I did end up leaving for California. I have many stories. The first day I got here a coworker at my new job told me the not for profit I was working for was a scam and in lots of legal trouble. Talk about the wind getting knocked out of my sails after a long cross country journey to what I thought was the promised land.
He was right and I spent the next 6 months enduing many struggles in that situation. This led to botched dental work that resulted in metal poisoning and serious health issues. Getting involved with a fake guru. Going through a divorce filled with deception and infidelity. Having a best friend run off with the business I had created. Almost dying from the health issues I was facing. Trying to escape to LA only to find myself back where I started but now on a friends couch. Countless attempts at relationships. Countless attempts at business success. Learning lessons the hard way such as - A partner with no ownership is a fool and never ever pay any attention to money that is coming tomorrow, instead work for a dollar today.
I have spent the past few years at a store learning patience and stability.
I would like to think I have transcended so many of the obsticals walking around California on two legs.
Now ten years after I came I am leaving. Returning to a small town, to a simple life bringing with me a cat a beautiful woman and her child that I raise as my own. I have not made millions of dollars, I didn't become a famous self help guru. I didn't start a business that gained major success (at least not one I was able to keep)
I did learn about the world, about myself. I am a much better person now than I was when I showed up. I don't have many relationships to show for it. No good byes even from those I thought to be closest to me. A long list of people who hate me, which is not a bad thing. I often tell people the type of people who hate you says as much or more about you than those who love you. Horrible people often do wrongs so if horrible people like you, you probably didn't right many wrongs.
I have found the psychology of California to be a certain type of shallow self centered, fake way of being that comes from the idea that everything simply gets better over time. (I have written about this in great detail in the Psychology of Abundance Vs The Psychology of Scarcity Blog)
Not every individual but places have personalities and Hollywood permeates the west coast.
I am very excited to leave and to leave with special knowledge. Knowledge that the tangible wealth and prosperity that I wanted and so many in CA are chasing is empty.
California is the siren, the woman in the red dress that seduces you and also enslaves you. The distraction from what really matters. The addiction. Much like a drug. It is so easy to get hooked on the easy life where the weather is perfect and the ocean is beautiful. It draws people in. I have learned that if I see a group of people in one place I know to go the other way. Control systems are simple, they wisely use their resources on high population areas and California has 40 million reasons for there to be a focus here.
As I leave ten years after I came and I reflect I can say I am happy for the experience. I am happy that I was sober for it as most of my ten years leading up to this journey were spent heavily intoxicated. I am glad for California the way a person is happy for the bully that beat him up. A beating often makes you stronger, it also removes your innocence. It doesn't make the bully right but it makes it easier to accept if you look at the lesson and not the horrible methods used to teach it.
Of coarse everything that has happened had to happen because it did.
I am now ready to start the next chapter. I was supposed to get married on the 31st of last month (covid put a stop to it). I am now learning how to be a father and a good husband as I have only been a bad one in the past.
I am going to turn 40 next year and I hope the next journey takes me further inward to places of self awareness and in turn universal awareness that I could never get to in the chaos of a state so populated. I'm looking forward to a meditative season in the tress and snow.
When I leave I will not look back. I can honestly say I have no desire for the gold I came here for. If I had found it I would be stuck here digging for more.
Instead I leave the casino having lost my rent money, gotten it back and happy to walk out on a winning streak but not wanting one dime more than what I came with.
I know people I would consider rich who genuinely think they are poor. I've seen people who where rich become poor and I've seen people get rich, others stay rich and get richer. All of it has a cost. I'm looking forward to a simple life. Having access to a small amount of money makes it very easy to make decisions. I no longer dream about a big house or being noticed by others. Even this blog is more of a journal than anything else. Instead of marketing it on social media I've make it password protected. If it got much bigger I would have to find some other way to keep it small, maybe charge a dollar or something. I have had people tell me how to write to appeal to more people, to attract more readers. Simplify the messages, dumb it down, they say. I'm not trying to make it bigger. The info is there, it has several layers. The content in some blogs goes so deep but other ideas are very basic. I have fun with it. This is a fun way for me to have a conversation with myself. Every time someone tells me they have read it, I feel kind of naked as I never really expect anyone to read it. I ask "what did you like" as I long to discuss my ideas with others. I don't often get a response back, so to those that have read it, please reach out, I enjoy the conversation. I find it kind of funny to put out my best truth and have it get no attention and have some picture of a grumpy cat or something get all the comments. It makes me smile.
California is a land of many contrasts. As this beautiful place faces 5G, riots, drought, and much more, it is all my cue to go. I have made a few allies here. There are a few people who have asked for nothing and given me things of real value, like memories and time. For those people I am grateful. San Luis Obispo a far cry from the place I came to ten years ago. But I bow to my teacher that still has the switch in its hand hoping I will turn back to give me one more wack before I go. My head will not turn to look back. I have outgrown this place and am not longer drawn to shiny things. Everything rusts. It becomes a drug, a high to chase. I'm living this life to learn and make sense of it all the best I can before I inevitably rust too.
A golden cup that is empty, in the desert will never quench your thirst. I'm off to a place where there is no cup but water falls from the sky.
Rob Alexander is on a journey to learn not just about health but everything else.
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