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Into The Forest - and out of Cambria

In my October 2005 Update Newsletter I shared an excerpt from my online journal in the Joy2MeU Journal as part of the processing I was doing while working on accepting that I was probably going to be needing to move away from Cambria.  Now in June 2021, I am again doing some processing about perhaps having to leave Cambria again.

I first discovered Cambria while looking for a place where the Mountains and Ocean came together.  The title of the story I wrote about finding it is Miracles because there were so many miracles involved in the discovery.

“. . . . Even before I went to Taos, I had gotten the message that I would be in Taos for about a year and then I would go to somewhere that the mountains and ocean came together. . . . .


. . . . . By September, I was coming up on my 1 year anniversary in Taos and was imploring the Universe to tell me where this place where the ocean and mountains came together was located. . . . .

. . . . . .When I turned off of Hiway 1 to go into Cambria I knew immediately that it was the place I was looking for. I checked it out. Got a post office box and headed back to Taos to pack my stuff. A few weeks later I moved to the Central Coast.

That is how I first came to live in this area. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt like a place was home. Cool story, huh?” – Joy2MeU Journal  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul Miracles

In my Update Newsletter in June of 2018, I talked about how much I Loved being able to move back to Cambria in August 2017.

"I am soooo incredibly grateful to be back here in Cambria.  I take a walk on the Ranch at least once a day - and twice whenever I can. I see otters and deer almost every day.  I saw dolphins one day last week and a whale on another.  I haven't seen any turkeys for a couple weeks but when Darien is here with his dog - whose name is Hunter - and I take him for a walk in the morning I can usually hear them gobbling.  I also have seen a weasel on the Ranch a few times - cute little thing.  And lately a skunk - I do not want to have any close encounters with it!

I love living here - and want to be here for the rest of my life.  I feel so much gratitude and Joy on a daily basis.  I started a CoDA meeting and it is really great.  The meeting yesterday was so emotionally honest - such great recovery happening.  There is also a CoDA meeting in San Luis Obispo that I go to most weeks - one of the few times during the week I leave town.  After all the driving in traffic in San Diego, I am all about staying in my little home town as much as possible now.  Except of course when I am going to pick up Darien. ;-)" - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter June 2018

I first discovered Cambria in 1989 - and lived here intermittently since then.  I mention that in the Wordpress Blog version of the story I call Miracles that I quoted above.

"After discovering Cambria California on that trip up the Central Coast at the end of 1989, I lived there through 1992 – and then later for most of the time between 1995 and 2006 (with some time spent living in Santa Barbara in the late 90s.)  It was in Cambria where I first did the talk that became my book Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls.  Then I moved back to Cambria (after having lived in Taos for a few years again) in 1995 when I published my book.  For an overview of my journey you can check out my Bio where you can also find out that when I wrote the above installment (Miracles) I was actually experiencing a form of homelessness.

“I spent 6 months in 1999 being homeless. Not on the street homeless – I had an office for my computer – but crashing on someone’s couch kind of homeless. The lessons in acceptance and patience and letting go that I learned during that time were sacred gifts. The level of faith that it forced me to access and practice, the depth to which I was forced to integrate my Spiritual belief system into my relationship with life, was a manifestation of Love from my Higher Power that I am now – and have been – reaping great benefits from.” Bio page for author"

The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul Miracles

The office I refer to in that quote about being homeless was in Santa Barbara where I had to move a few years after publishing my book Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls.  I mention how Cambria is a hard place to make a living and a hard place to find affordable housing in an Update I published in the summer of 2000 - when I share about how much I wanted to get moved back to Cambria. I had gotten back to the Central Coast at that point and was living in Morro Bay renting a room from a friend.  I went on a trip to visit my son that summer, and on the way there stopped to interview for a job at the Meadows Treatment Center in Arizona.

“One of the messages I had gotten consistently in the days before the trip, when I was considering the possibility of moving to someplace I didn't really want to live, was a line from a song that kept coming to mind.  It was a line from a song by the Eagles - a group in whose songs I have found words of insight and inspiration over the years.  This particular few words that kept coming up for me were "pick a place to make your stand . . and take it easy."  I was real clear that the place I picked years ago to make my stand was right here on the Central Coast of California.  The town of Cambria specifically, but absent of the financial means to live there, someplace in this area. . . . .

I came back to California ready to make my stand.  I had plans to schedule some workshops, do some advertising, and generally to generate the income that I needed in a variety of ways.  I also had in my plans the intention to try to create the opportunity to move back to Cambria as soon as possible.  The place I have been living, Morro Bay, is a very nice place on the ocean.  It is a beach town, and I would sure rather be here then almost anywhere else.  The reason that Cambria is so special to me however, is because it feels like a mountain town right on the ocean.  I had discovered Cambria while driving up the coast looking for a place that the mountains and ocean come together - and had recognized it as the place I was looking for, as soon as I drove into it the first time.

It is a small town, about 5,000, that stays small because of the water shortage in the area.  It was originally called Cambria Pines because of all the trees.  The trees are special to me, as is the ocean.  It is a hard town to make a living however.  It is also a hard place to find affordable housing.  Probably half of the homes in town are second and third homes for people who live elsewhere.” - News of the Adventure, June & July 2000

In my the latest Update Newsletter I published in February of 2019, I talk about how much I have loved living in the place I have been living since I returned to Cambria in August of 2017.  I include a lot of pictures in that Update.

"February 9th, 2019  7:28 pm: 

Instead of starting back in June and telling you all what has happened since my last Update as I was envisioning, I am going to start with something that happened this week because it is indicative of the magic of living in Cambria for me.  From the window that my computer sits in front of, and the window in my kitchen, I can look out at a hillside behind my house.  On that hillside I often see deer and turkeys - one of the things I really love about where I live.  In recent weeks I have had a little herd of 7 deer showing up back there on a regular basis. . . . .

. . . . . What happened this week is that my deer herd doubled in population overnight.  On Wednesday afternoon I was on a phone counseling session and stood up at my desk looking out the window at the hummingbird feeder.  Suddenly deer started running down the hill from beside the house that is pictured just at the top of this picture. At first I thought something had scared them, but then I realized that they were running haphazardly - some running back and forth, some kind of going in circles.  It seemed that rather than running from something, they were being frisky and playing.  It was almost like they were stoned or something.


As they came down the hill I was astounded by how many there were.  I counted 14 of them.  I had never seen that many in one group around here before. Then yesterday I looked out and they were there again - in the picture on the left.  I counted 14 again.  Amazing!

Then I remembered what had happened on Tuesday afternoon.  Suddenly in the afternoon I heard the raucous noise - that I recognized immediately were turkeys.  The can be really loud when they are agitated - and they often seem to squabble among themselves.  I went out on the deck and the 7 deer whom I had seen earlier laying around in the meadow were running away.  The turkeys were stampeding right into the deer.  I think the turkeys were upset that the deer were in their way.

So, I realized that the deer must have called in reinforcements so that the turkeys couldn't bully them again.  ;-)" - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter February 2019


Things Changed


What is happening now, is that that the apartment I have been living in since August 2017, is part of a triplex that got sold last fall.  The new owner has been doing massive remodeling work on the house - with no regard whatsoever to giving any consideration to myself and the woman who lives in the studio apartment beside me.  He cleared a place below my deck and put a goat in a pen below me.  That goat was unhappy at being alone and baaed all the time, so he got it a companion that turned out to be pregnant.  She had this adorable little baby on the Spring Equinox.  So, now there are 3 goats below me - that the landlord neglects and who are looking at me every time I walk out my front door baaing to be fed or let out or whatever.

The male goat - Emilio - is a real butthead, who will get his lead all tangled up and when I go down to untangle him, he butts me.  I have a scar on my finger from wrestling with his horns as he tries to attack me - but I can't stand to see them neglected.

The baby goat is so joyous and playful. If you bend over she will jump on your back.  Here is Darien with Ostara on his back with mother Amelia and step father Emilio in pen behind her.  Just below is when she was a baby.


Right before the property sold last fall, my old landlord gave me a year extension on my lease.  As of the first of June, the new landlord gave me 60 days notice to move out by the end of July when my lease is up - with the condition that I could move sooner with 30 days notice.  I had already been looking for awhile, because the noise of the construction was sometimes interfering with my phone counseling sessions - and he didn't care.

On May 19th I looked at a cottage on Lodge Hill.  It was too expensive, but I realized that it was one street over from a place I lived in for about 6 months in 1990.  I had tried to find that place from the past once before since moving back, and couldn't remember the name of the street.  It was the place I was living when I learned my April Fool's Day lesson.

“This was shortly after I had moved to Cambria California - which is the only area that I have ever lived or visited that really felt like "home" energetically.  I was living in a wonderful place - mostly it was wonderful because I had a hot tub.  The place itself was a very small studio apartment that was furnished with way too many things for the limited space.  But the hot tub was divine.  I could sit in the hot tub naked in the middle of the night gazing at the stars and listening to the seals barking.  It was a very short walk to a small forest that contained a meadow with what to me felt like a sacred mound. . . . I could then walk up a forested ridge to the top of a hill - and there was the ocean.  Often when I got to the top I would see whales.  Often in the forest I encountered deer.  I Loved it.” - My April fools Day Lesson about falling in love

Rediscovering that street, caused me to remember how I first discovered the ranch that I love to walk on.  

“The place where I walk by the ocean, is locally called the East West Ranch.  When I first moved to Cambria back in late 1989, it had been a ranch that went bankrupt.  It is something like 600 acres, and sits between two of the main residential sections of the town (the east and west sections) - on the ocean side of Highway 1.  Back then, it was posted with no trespassing signs, but there were spaces in the fence to climb over and get through - so the effect was that the signs protected the owners from liability but people could walk on the ranch as they pleased.

I love this ranch space.  When I was living in a place near the back edge of it in 1990, I would go for walks on the ranch all of the time.  Near where I would enter the ranch, I could cross a small stream and come to a meadow in the woods.  In the meadow was a mound - and it felt like sacred space to me.  I would commune with the meadow and then walk up the hill through the woods.  Coming out of the woods I could see the ocean and then walk down the hill to the bluffs overlooking the ocean.  Along the part of the ocean that the ranch runs along there is no beach.  There are bluffs with rocks and tidal pools below.

It brought me great pleasure and serenity to walk through my meadow and up the hill - or though a passageway through the trees that came out in a different part of the ranch.  There was a place just after this passageway, where a tree stood alone.  A tree that was bent over almost double, creating what looked like kind of a portal.  I would visualize that being a portal to other dimensions or to the future where dreams would come true.

As I would walk through the woods, I would see deer.  Deer in the Medicine Cards are about gentleness.  Whenever I see a deer, I take it as a direct reminder from my Higher Power to be gentle with myself. I get to see lots of deer around here - to help me remember gentleness.  (My present landlady doesn't like it that they come into her garden at night and eat the flowers - but I think it is cool.)  As I came out on top of the hill where I could see the ocean, I would sometimes see whales.  A whale - again in the Medicine Cards - is the record keeper, the keeper of ancient knowledge.” - The Baby Otter  A Mother's Day Story 

The place I lived where the deer came into my landlady's garden was a short distance from where I live now - within a mile.  It was a place that I got in September 2000 thru a series of miracles - and the place where I wrote millions of words that appear in my articles and books.

"It was the gift of $5000 from someone who had been touched by my writing - and wanted to align herself Karmically with my message - that made it possible for me to move back Cambria in September 2000 and rent the apartment that I lived in until I moved in with my partner this past July.  I did the majority of the writing on my site in that little one bedroom apartment here in Cambria - this place that I feel emotionally and Spiritually nurtured and inspired.  The place that I recognized as "home" the first time I drove into it." - Joy2MeU Update October 2005


The Ranch is now the Fiscallini Ranch Preserve - and I only realized recently, that it was called the East and West Ranch not because of what I said above, but because it was both on the east and west sides of Hiway 1 - the Coast Hiway that goes north through Big Sur to Monterrey and Carmel.

Some time after moving back up here in August 2017, I started talking about getting my vitamin DDD - daily dose of deer.  It is one of the things I love about living here.  The miracles that helped me to get moved back up here were powerfully symbolized by the deer who appeared in the driveway of my new place the first morning I was here.

"I spent my first night here on Saturday - and when I woke up on Sunday morning I went outside and there were 4 deer right beside my driveway.  I posted the picture of the deer on Facebook and sent pics to Darien and Susan and other friends, saying something about them being my new neighbors.

When I spent my second night on Monday night and went out on Tuesday morning there was 1 deer there.  Having those deer standing outside my new place those mornings was so important and such a message from my Higher Power that I was right where I was supposed to be.  I had been saying for years that one of the things I miss most about Cambria is seeing deer all the time.  When Darien and I were here back in April, I was complaining to Darien that I hadn't seen a deer - and he had.  The day before he had spent some time with Susan and they had seen a deer.  Just after I said that to him, as we are on our way down Main Street to our favorite pizza place - 5 deer cross Main Street right in front of us.  Magical.  And it was magical the first two mornings when I went outside - and has continued to be magical for me here in Cambria.  In my blog about The Medicine Cards I talked about what deer symbolized for me and how wonderful it was to see them regularly.

“As I would walk through the woods, I would see deer.  Deer in the medicine cards are about gentleness.  Whenever I see a deer, I take it as a direct reminder from my Higher Power to be gentle with myself. I get to see lots of deer around here – to help me remember gentleness.  (My landlady doesn't like it that they come into her garden at night and eat the flowers – but I think it is cool.)  As I came out on top of the hill where I could see the ocean, I would sometimes see whales.  A whale – again in the medicine cards – is the record keeper, the keeper of ancient knowledge.” - The Totem Animals of the Medicine Cards 


. . . . . We got to my new house, pulled in the driveway and got out of the car - and 4 deer - 2 does and 2 fawns came bounding up the arroyo next to my driveway and ran up the road.  Darien said, “You weren't kidding about your neighbors, were you?” - Update Newsletter June 2018


I realized that I used the same paragraph in two different articles.;-)  On the left are the deer that I encountered on my first morning in this apartment that I moved into in August 2017.

As I write this, I am crying because of the grief I feel about having to leave here.  As I said in the quote from my June 2018 Update above, I wanted to live here for the rest of my life.

On May 19th - the day I rediscovered the street I lived on in 1990 - I went for a walk in the forest using the same entrance to the ranch that I had used when I first started exploring it in 1990.  That morning it had been windy and cold on the lower part of the ranch - the bluff trail - where I normally walk, so I figured I would walk in the forest that afternoon after looking at the Cottage that was for rent.

I had gone with Darien for a walk in the forest a year or two ago, but the entrance we had gone in that time was very steep - and not good for someone with COPD from all the years of smoking.  I hadn't really considered going through my old entrance since that time.

I was so glad that I did.  The stream that I had to cross now has a bridge over it, and there are miles of trails.  It feels like a cathedral up there to me in some places.  I had forgotten how much I loved walking through that forest.  So, since rediscovering it, I have been walking there in the afternoon / evening most days - while walking on the bluffs in the morning.

It is sooooo sad to me, that just as I had rediscovered this magical place, I have to move away.  Of course, the reason I rediscovered it was because I knew I was going to have to move.  


And it is only 13 miles away, so I will be coming up 2 or 3 times a week - but it isn't the same as being able to walk on the Ranch twice a day as has been my pattern in the last year.

On the left and below are some pictures from the Forest.


Here is the Portal tree in 2021- and me standing in the portal in 2004.


There are benches at various places along the trails.  Sitting on the one to the right gives one a view of the venerable old tree above.  I took a picture of Darien on it, the day we had walked up there.


The entrance marked F is the one I come through to get to the forest - and I take various trails and sit on benches for my affirmations when walking up there.

Here is a map of the trails on the Ranch.  I used to just walk on the Bluff Trail - # 1.  During the pandemic, the bluff trail - which is quite narrow in places - was made one way for social distancing reasons.  So, I got used to walking down trail #4 and cutting over to #1 to come back north.  It was a good 2 mile walk - and I kept doing it that way after the trails were again two way.  Below is the rock I sit on to do my daily prayers and affirmations when I am walking on the lower ranch.


So this morning - July 10, 2021 - I am getting ready to move.  I got the key for the new place yesterday.  It is in the little beach town of Cayucos - which is a real cool place, but it is a beach town and not a mountain town.  I don't know where down there I will be able to see any deer.  Last night as I was coming from my walk in the forest, I saw the two bucks below sitting beside the road. The one has one of the largest set of antlers I have seen around here.

When I moved into this place, I didn't even realize that it had an ocean view.  I have gotten some beautiful pictures of sunsets from my deck.  The one below is from last night.  I have a little slice of ocean view, and it is only in the summer that the sun sets in my little slice.  I really could have lived in this place for the rest of my life - but obviously my Higher Power had a different plan.  And here is a picture of the goat pen below my deck - I will miss them actually.  I just hated to see them neglected.


The day I went to see the cottage - May 19th - I was thinking in the morning that I might need to let go of Cambria.  I was asking myself if my attachment to Cambria was all in my mind, or if it was an important connection.  I texted Susan to ask her opinion, and asked my Higher Power / Self for some guidance and clarity.

That afternoon, while sitting on the bench pictured above, I was doing my daily prayers and affirmations - and when I got to the point where I thank my Higher Power so many things I am grateful for - it was this part that got me all emotional.

“Thank you for helping me get back to Cambria and to stay here for the foreseeable future.” - Daily Prayers and Affirmations.


I started crying, which really affirmed for me that my relationship with Cambria is Truly an important and powerful connection.

And then I also realized that I needed to be willing to let go of Cambria for now, if that was part of the Divine Plan.  The last two new articles that I have published have both dealt with how important Acceptance is in recovery.

Standing up to evil - and Accepting the Divine Plan

Acceptance is the Answer

"When I go out of town on a trip now (even if it is just 20 miles south to the next bigger town for something not available in my little town), I send up a little prayer asking my Higher Power for a safe and successful trip.  I ask that with the understanding, that though my definition of successful trip is one in which I get back home without any unpleasant surprises - like a breakdown - my Higher Power's idea of successful that day may very well include a breakdown.  I hope and ask for the best and am willing to accept - what to my human perspective looks like - the worst." - Update Newsletter Part 2 January 2002


This morning while walking Darien's dog, I had the thought that I hadn't seen - or heard - any turkeys for awhile.  So, then they appeared.  With babies.

I really have a great deal of grief about leaving this place, but I am so grateful for the time I have had here since August 2017.  It was a miracle that I found this place then - and it was so reasonably priced.  I felt so much Joy while living here.  I wish the first landlord had never sold it.  But as I said, I am sure the HP has a Loving reason for me to make this move.  More will be revealed as usual.  I have added the following change to my daily prayers.

(As of 7/11/21, thank you for the almost 4 years in Cambria - I really loved it, and hope to move back again at some point in the future.)

With wishes of Joy to Me and You, RB 7/10/21

Posted on Facebook the next afternoon.

Robert Burney is feeling blessed.

July 11th  4:23 PM  · 

So, yesterday we got the wifi hooked up at the new place and spent the night. Today we moved the furniture. I had shared with the friend who was helping with his pickup and moving skills, that I probably wouldn't see many deer in the beach town of Cayucos.

As I was saying good bye to him, I looked to the top of the hill behind my new house - and there were deer!!!! My Higher Power is taking care of me - as usual!!


Robert Burney

In the evening we took Hunter to the local dog park for the first time - and there were no other dogs there, but there were a doe and two fawns on the hillside above. 2 DDD sightings my first full day in town!

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