Topanga stories BY ERIN CASTELLINO PHOTOGRAPHY BY BUNNI WYLDEFLOWER
have lived in Southern California my entire life; born in San Bernardino, raised in Burbank. I’ve lived in many areas in this vast city of Los Angeles – Pasadena, Redondo Beach, Los Feliz, Downtown, South Pasadena, Brentwood, and at last... Topanga.
I had been wanting to feel part of a community, and for a brief but fleeting moment, I did. The transient nature of Los Angeles gave me the gift of having friends all around the world but I searched for a place to belong, a place to really root down.
Through breathwork and sound, I hold nourishing, sacred space for healing, transformation and integration.
Before buying a home in Brentwood, I looked at Topanga, a small mountain town close to the ocean, devoid of chain stores and fine dining. I dreamed of finding a place there but nothing surfaced, and it was as though the energy there said... it’s not time yet. So I listened, and I lived in a sweet neighborhood called Brentwood Glen. I spent 15 years there, made a few friends in the neighborhood but I still had a deep yearning to live in Topanga. I started noticing that some of my very favorite things were made by people that lived in Topanga – Earth and Element pottery and ZenBunni chocolates, to name a couple. Then I started meeting more people who lived in Topanga and I could feel the call of moving to this magical place was becoming much more present. One afternoon, I was in a meditation that revealed to me that I was to work on attachments. This flummoxed me... I felt as though I had removed myself from so many things that I was attached to – whether it be things or people, ways of being, businesses. 2016 and 2017 were the years of reassessment, letting go, deep listening, re-inventing, re-structuring... all the things that one needs to go through to fully awaken – or better stated – learning to live in my full truth. I called a dear friend and said: “I feel like I’ve given up everything, what could this mean?” He so kindly replied, “What about your house, you seem attached to that?”
At home with my daughter India. Audio and sensory experiences are an important part of my daily life.
I felt my heart drop. He was right. I was attached to my home, and yet I was not fully living in it. 24 hours later, I met with a realtor and a week after, I moved out all of my furniture and I painted, staged and put my house on the market. I found myself breathing deep breaths, nervous and excited for a new adventure, one that would take me to where I wanted to live for the last 15 years. Topanga. There I was at PCH and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, ready to find a place to live, and I did. It was as though the house was waiting for me. Topanga accepted me with open arms and I moved a few weeks later. Topanga is the first place in my adult life that feels like home, a place that has allowed me to flourish, raise my child in nature and find alignment in the way I live. The friendships are deep, the people are kind, creativity flows and community is alive. I thought perhaps after living in Los Angeles my entire life that I might only be able to dream about what community means, but Topanga changed that for me. For that, I am forever grateful to this beautiful land and the teachings it brings me every day. Over the following pages, I would like to share some of my favorites places, people and animals of Topanga. I hope you enjoy, and should you find yourself driving through, take your time and look at the landscape, stop and support our local businesses. This is my community, my friends and my family.
With Love, Erin
53 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2019