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Changing Places: Kristin Noelle on Los Angeles


Three years ago I moved with my family from a place I loved to Los Angeles.

My husband had landed a job in this city and he and I both agreed it was a great opportunity. He could work in his field of choice and, because of the stability of his income, I could launch a business I had long been wanting to start.

But…Los Angeles?? Our hearts were not soaring.

I came here with a set of stereotypes that weren’t hard to confirm. LA is crowded. People do plan their days around traffic. The weather does have little variance and there is a thriving industry around altering the shape of your body, the color of your teeth, and the quantity of your various types of hair.

None of these things endeared me.

But as I grumbled about them and months of actually living here passed by, I noticed a few things happening.

I noticed myself finding friendships and acquaintances with people who share my love of nature, my yearning for space and for quiet, and my orientation toward things far below surfaces.

I noticed that it didn’t feel good to focus on what I don’t like here – that became a kind of oppression – and that a different “landscape” (of people, values – even literal nature) is absolutely possible to see and enjoy when I set my mind to find it – not in a different city entirely, but right here, where I live.

And I began to question how much of my dis-ease with Los Angeles was actually a projection of things within myself – a restless dissatisfaction I would carry with me no matter where I’d settle on the globe. A dissatisfaction I can conveniently blame on my location, rather than doing the tougher work of inner excavation, mindful attention, and healing.

Truth is, there are things about my appearance I’d like to change.

Truth is, I’d rather get in my comfortable car than ride a bike or take public transit.

Truth is, I’m so socially taxed by the work of parenting and maintaining my business that I couldn’t appreciate or handle a town full of folks with whom I have a ton in common.

Though I’m embarrassed to say it, truth is wild nature – the kind I love so much in theory – frightens me, and I feel safer with distance from it.

Los Angeles has pushed and invited me to see and acknowledge and tend to my inner life more truly, and to soften and dissipate some of the judgments I’ve unthinkingly directed outward.

It’s challenged and challenges me still to discern whether this is a place that will eventually stifle some important part of my soul, or whether it’s a kind and incisive teacher, helping my soul, which is really what matters most to me, flourish.



Kristin Noelle lives with her family in LA from where she nurtures her beautiful website and business, Trust Tending.

Changing Places is a guest post series about the power of place to change us.  You’ll find other stories in this series here.  If you’d like to share your story, please contact me for submission details.

Reader Comments (3)

Krisin's story gave so much food for thought about the deep place that moving to another place can take a person! I admire how she's handle the journey, and love these words: "truth is wild nature"...the truth is a wild thing! Great to meet Kristin. And hope you are feeling better, Helen :o) ((HUGS))

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

a lovely interview!
"a restless dissatisfaction I would carry with me no matter where I’d settle on the globe"...oh, something i think about a lot. loved kristin's call to work on the inner excavation...indeed.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichelle gd

Thanks so much for having me, Helen. A true delight to be here.

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin Noelle

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