follow the flow
a travel journal and photography journey
I AM AN AUNT! For the second time, I am an aunt! But "auntie" is much better. Auntie Teagan. Has a nice ring to it, huh? Two beautiful boys have entered into my family, and it is the best thing. They are the best thing. And this writing is about the one who arrived a week and a half ago while I was in Massachusetts.
I am an auntie to a delicious, beautiful, bright eyed and open souled little boy, named Grayson. Grayson Moss Rose. He has the hairline and bright blue eyes of my brother, Braxton, and the adorable button nose and theatrically expressive mouth of my sister-in-law, Meghan. He was born on his due date (punctuality, I like it), Saturday, January 19, at 7:55am in Brax and Meg's home in Wayland, MA.
My parents and I showed up at their house in the afternoon on Saturday, after Brax had called to say that he wanted us to come meet his son. When the door opened, Brax was crying. It was a gentle, overwhelmingly happy, I can't believe how amazing this is kind of crying. And so, naturally, none of us could keep it together. We all wept right there at the door. Brax sort of chuckled and said I've been sobbing all morning, with a smile on his face.
We slowly walked through their kitchen of fairy lights and plants, down their calm and dim hallway, and into their bedroom. The air felt both soft and weighted. That room had held the experience of birth a few hours prior, and I felt so honored to be there. Sitting on her bed, in the light of reflected snow from outside, was Meg, with a new little human in her arms. She was glowing—in that way that women glow after feeling and knowing the strength and miracle of our bodies. And I stood near the door as my mom and dad entered. They gave her a hug and a kiss and their hearts poured into her lap and into the boy laying in it. And I was smile-crying at the door. The sheer Godlike nature of this sight—of this new mother, a few hours after childbirth, sitting peacefully with her creation on the canvas where he was conceived. Smiling and sobbing, I walked to the bed and gazed at this beautiful boy, and his Goddess of a mother. I looked up at Brax (who was still crying) and could viscerally feel the connection between him and this little boy who looked just like him. Braxton's son. I thought. This is Braxton's son. This is, my brother's son. The truth of this only made me smile-weep more.
And I'm suddenly struck by how many times there was this "smile-weeping," "cry-laughing," "joyous-sobbing" throughout this visit and this experience. I think one of the reasons for this is that we are looking Change right in the face. And Change means that things will never be the same again. We are letting go of something amazing to embrace a new amazing. My mom actually wrote about this on her blog, and Meg wrote about this quite often through her Instagram posts throughout her pregnancy. Posts about motherhood that I think everyone should read. Posts about the grief that is present in the most joyous of experiences. Posts about being in each moment fully, because a new one is already on its way. We are, of course, always living this reality, but rarely here enough to feel it. The beauty of it. The sadness of it. The gift of it--because man would life be boring if it wasn't so. This is why the moments of smile-crying are so magical to me: the moment Leaving and the moment Entering being felt at the same time.
The moment Entering was this boy. Grayson. Amazing Grayson. Watching him—as we sat and talked and hugged and cried—his eyes were open, his presence full, and his energy wide. He felt so here to me. So centered in his body already. He had landed, and was ready for the ride of his life. Literally. This baby is a special human. And I love him so much already.
Right before my mom and I flew out from Massachusetts, we went to visit the new family of three one more time. I got to hold Grayson's little body in my arms and get lost in his absorbent eyes. We chatted a bit—meaning I talked and he telepathically told me that he was pretty into what I was saying. I had learned recently that if I am calm and in my center, the baby will typically feel calm and in his center. So I stood up gently to rock him and create an easeful flow between us. Braxton picked this moment to tell me Teagan, Meg and I want you to be Grayson's godmother.
I almost screamed, but kept it to a silent scream thankfully. I started shaking and crying while smiling and laughing. And Grayson started crying, because I was clearly no longer calm. Fuck! I'm sorry Grayson! I'll be calm! I'll be calm! I said, as I was nowhere near being calm again. Before I handed him back over to a laughing and radiant Meg, I rocked him sweetly for a few more moments; feeling the welcome weight of his body in my arms, feeling the welcome responsibility of loving and being there for my nephew, and my godson.
And that is the photo you see below. So many emotions. So much love. So much of the amazing Leavings and Enterings. And the YES that I feel in my body to all of it.
Welcome to the world, Grayson. I am so happy that you're here and that you chose Brax and Meg to be yours. You picked great ones.
I'm in Massachusetts! My physical travels are beginning.
I sit here in my aunt and uncles house in Framingham—wearing fuzzy socks, sitting next to a fat purring cat named Albus (yes, as in Dumbledore), and observing the stillness of the winter cold just outside.
There is a scent of Massachusetts that strikes me whenever I visit—it runs through my nose and down my spine and it let's me know I came from this land. The air is crisp, and seems to penetrate the lungs in a sometimes harsh way, but so pleasurable to me as I arrived.
I'm here, in part, to spend time with family without agenda—no plans, just seeing where the flow takes us. This is rare, since living in different parts of the country means we often only have the time for the big gatherings with the big activities. So this is different. And lovely. And refreshing. To spend each day not knowing what's next. To be in their house, in their presence, and learn the intricacies of their everyday lives. I have had such fun, long, multilayered talks with my aunt Jenny, and caught up over food with my uncle David. I have snuggled in my cousin Lily's bed—eagerly and openly absorbing what it's like in her world of high school in 2019—and have walked in the brisk air with my cousin Adam, talking about the different ways we move through, or with, our emotions.
I'm also here in MA to celebrate the arrival of my nephew into the world! My brother Braxton and sister-in-law Meghan are having their first child. An absolutely magical time that I'm so grateful I can be here for. And they are ready. They have read all of the books, done the meditations, recited the mantras, felt the emotions, done their personal work, had the baby-showers, made the plans—they are damn ready. I could actually feel it when I saw them the evening I arrived. They felt different, checklist aside. There was this easeful readiness in them both, grounding them with vibration. The knowledge that there was really nothing left to be done but to wait...and to go on the journey, whenever it happens. The Rose babe (as they frequently like to call him) is due any day now...
I feel this in the air, too. A similar energy to the one I experience in Meg and Brax. An allowing of inevitable change, by remembering to just let time move, and embrace the movement. I feel it in the energy of my travels. I feel it in my beautiful partnership with Terence. I feel it with my family, here, now. We are all affected by the entering of new souls, the exiting of souls, and the more nuanced evolution of the souls we see everyday. Like the chilled trees outside my aunt's house, or Meg's belly, I find there is always wild amounts of life and growth happening under the surface of something seemingly still.
It has only been 3 days since I have been here, and I notice that the ways my family and I relate to each other are not the same as they used to be—not in a bad way, in an actually quite amazing and necessary and good way. Myself and "the kids" of the family are adults now, as a new generation gets ready to make its entrance. And we are learning to connect with the "adults" of the family as peers, and as friends. We are all learning to connect with each other as peers and as friends. I notice a primary importance of connecting to myself first—through my morning practice, or the increased sense of checking in with what my truth is—and how that actually fosters more and more connection between myself and my family members. I feel a gradual learning that whatever dynamics were present during childhood don't need to become the stories of our adulthood. I witness us creating whatever kinds of relationships feel the best for us now. And part of the fun, and challenge, and amazingness of this is, it's not like we planned any of it. It just happens.
So I bathe in this stillness. The stillness of the Massachusetts winter. The stillness in this house. The stillness of waiting for a baby to arrive. And I am bathing in the presence of my wonderful, funny, quirky, intelligent, passionate, outgoing family. I never get the opportunity to just be here. To just be here. And I love just being here, and curiously wondering what growth has occurred under the seemingly still surface of all of us?
An intention for this year is to feel really good in my body. For me, this doesn't mean changing my body in any way.
Every morning this year I'm making a commitment to listen. To listen to what my body has to say. What it yearns for. What it's afraid of. What feels out of balance. What is actually, genuinely, feeling really damn good.
The thing is, my body's language is not always linear. It is the language of trusting a feeling, with perhaps no tangible explanation for why that feeling exists. And often, what my body is telling me I need is contradictory to what my mind tells me I need. And this is okay. I feel it's important to hear them both, to find the space of harmony and respect between the body and the mind. They are both ridiculously intelligent information keepers, there just tends to be a language barrier between them. But as with connecting with another human who speaks another language, once we get past the potential frustration of you don't understand me, we begin to realize the subtleties of communication that comes from a place beyond the language itself.
For the last 12 days—since the start of the new year—I have been doing a self-connection practice as a way to really learn the language of my body. To build our relationship. I intend to do this every day for the next year. I'm excited to share my findings as I dive deeper into it. So far, the practice involves movement, breathing, stretching, breast and yoni massage, meditation, and perhaps other additions, or subtractions. This practice is not set in stone, it is a total make-it-up-as-I-roll-along thing. Because the practice is of my body, and my body often likes to take me on a ride to some unanticipated places...when I let it. This practice was born out of the realization that my body knows what it needs. And its needs today may not be its needs from yesterday, or its needs for tomorrow. The only thing that is set about this practice is the promise to my body that I will enter into presence with it every day. And that can look like many things...
I need touch. It says. Here, and here and here. So I rub my shoulders, my breasts, my feet and toes, and wait for more instructions. It feels sooooooo good to move like this. Say my hips. So I move them in circles, I drop them down and back up, and wiggle them until they're giggling. Yes! I love that! Say my vocal chords. So I allow sound to flow out of my mouth with melody and breath and abandon. Ooh, that's a bit too much. Says the back of my neck. So I stop pushing for the stretch and reach for kindness instead. Please hold me. Says my yoni. Please cradle me and massage me in a way that is not sexual, so I can learn that I'm more than one thing. So I hold the yoniverse between my legs lovingly, opening my heart and releasing agendas.
Doing this practice every day has been enlightening for my senses. I am beginning to feel the tingles of trust being formed between my body and me. And I am beginning to tell the difference between something my body desires out of habit, and something it desires out of pleasure. A part of me gets intimidated by how much knowledge and awareness my body holds. There is even information that rests in my DNA from my ancestors and my ancestors' ancestors. Lessons and Journeys and Traumas and Pleasures and Families and Dramas and Bliss. Ugh, so much feeling! It can get fuckin exhausting sometimes, yes? And there have been some days so far where I haven't done the practice until bedtime—noticing the resistance to feeling all the things. There are some things that my body has shared with me in the past that have been really hard to hear. And I'd actually rather not share them right now, as some of them I am still learning to be with, and writing them down might press on the wound. But through this practice I am telling my body every day that I want to hear what it has to say. That it can trust me to listen. That it is safe for it to feel. I am telling my body that I will do my best to be present with whatever comes up. No agenda to fix, change or coddle, only to love, accept and nurture. Yes. Let me write that one again. No agenda to fix, change or coddle, only to love, accept and nurture.
After my practice this morning, I noticed a satisfied thank you come from my body. A thank you with the weight and relaxation of coming home for the first time after a long, arduous journey. There was also some sassy-ness in there too, something like it's about damn time, girl, my god. I'm lucky my body has a sense of humor.
I am loving this communication, this learning of a language, this intimacy that I'm building with myself. It's interesting and difficult and surprising and scary and expansive and super fucking delightful. Body, you're epic.
Fuck transition is hard.
Change change change, and all of the emotional baggage that gets stirred up with it.
The beginning of this new year has actually been one of my favorites in a long time. Absolutely sweet, and vulnerable, and fun, and playful, and fucking delightful. And I don't know why I didn't decide to share anything about that on here while I was in those moments. Probably because I wanted to be in it. Experiencing it fully. And probably because I had originally planned to only write once per week. But clearly this is changing, as I am reminded of the catharsis of writing a journal. And as I am reminded that the journey of life, in my experience, is certainly not linear.
My next post will be about some of the truly amazing things that occurred in the beginning of this new year. But this post is not about that. This one needed to fall out of me now. And there is so much wanting to move through me that I must pace myself--whoaaaa womannnnn--and connect into why I chose in this moment to grab my computer, run into my bathroom, and sit on the floor and start writing.
Anger and Frustration and Sadness are consuming many of my senses.. Hot and Red and full of Pressure that is building and ready to burst. I don't feel that it's in integrity to share the story of what my anger and frustration and sadness are about, because it is not solely mine. But my emotions are mine. And they are the ones that are crying for attention when the stories are giving them nightmares.
My emotions are sitting right now. They sit, and sit, and sit, and some tears come, and then they sit some more. They are not sitting calmly, as it may sound. They sit in places where they wreak havoc but I can ignore them if I want to. They sit in the homes in my body where I have allowed them to get comfy. These places are dynamite real-estate, in the shape of a shoulder, a furrowed brow, a tensed tummy, and likely some other homes that I have not discovered yet. Inside these homes my emotions wait for me to feel them. And I don't mean to put them there...but convenience sometimes takes over.
I know that it would feel really good to go and yell all of this out. To get out into some nature. Somewhere where nobody can hear me. Somewhere where everyone can hear me fuck it. And to allow my emotions to move. Not at anyone. That is not what I want. I don't want to hurt anyone, or cause anyone pain, discomfort, or create feelings of not being safe. But I need my emotions to move and be heard, by me. And they don't feel safe to move here. Not yet. I'll probably do some yelling in my car later. But now, I sit quietly in myself, and breathe into the belly of my flames.
As I write this I am calming. I can sense where much of my story is only that, story. I am reminded of the power of self inquiry... is it true? is it true? is it absolutely true? Of course it's not. My own expectations, and fears, and confusions, and triggers are being tickled with a hot poker that is being held by no-one but myself.
But the feelings are true. The pain in my belly. The sadness in my throat. The frustration around my eyes. The numbing in my feet. The heat in my shoulder that moves in and out of my heart. The overwhelming sense of shaking within me while my physical presence is holding itself so still.
And I remind myself that this is a gift. This, actually is, a gift. The ability to feel.
And as I settle into this reminder, my heart is softening. Ahhhh...and owwww. There is so much in there. And the tears come. And I feel my heart. And it is beating.
And I'm reminded of an experience that happened a few weeks ago...
I was on a 5 day cleanse; a colon cleanse, of only apple juice, supplements and water. It was a fucking fantastic cleanse. Difficult, but worth it for so many reasons. On day 3 of the cleanse I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to engage with anyone. Not because I was cranky from not eating. I didn't feel any emotions at all. My mom came by my bed and asked if I would look at the sunset with her, that it was beautiful. So, because I love my mom, I got out of bed and sat on the porch and looked at the sunset. My mind could comprehend the magnificence of the pinks and the oranges twisted together, the artistry of the shadows folding over the mountains, the whispers of clouds dancing above it all. And I felt nothing. I kept waiting for something to happen inside me, and nothing came. I thought for a moment should I cry? I don't feel happy right now, so am I feeling sad? Is that what this is? But no tears came either. There was nothing.
The next few days I could feel everything. And began to appreciate the opportunity to experience pure Apathy for the first time. Looking back I believe that I was letting go of so much shit (quite literally) in my gut, that a lot of my emotional traumas were moving along with it. And as I was releasing some of the things my body no longer needed, Apathy took over to keep me safe. Or, Apathy showed up as a divine reminder that feeling all the feelings is worth it.
I was talking with Terence about what happened and he said I have experienced that before in my life as well. Yeah, to live life without feeling anything, what's the point? And I resonate with this. The gratitude for every feeling I have ever felt, because it makes my experience of life so much more interesting. And challenging. And beautiful. And...and...and...
Thank you emotions, for being with me. All of you. Every single one of you.
ONE YEAR OF TRAVEL. It is h a p p e n i n g. And it may continue to happen after I’m “done.” That’s the thing that I’ve heard about travel…that it seduces you in the most delicious way. And it feels Right and Exciting and Risky and Liberating and many more feelings that I honesty don’t know if I have the words for that are wanting to drip down my chin as I type.
In my mind, today marks my first day of travel. Although, I’m sitting here in my parents' house in Ojai—a place I have lived before, visited before, and is essentially home to me. But today feels like my first day of travel.
Perhaps because today I’m choosing to share my inner (as unfiltered as I can be at this time) self, publicly. On an actual blog; a devoted space for whatever I want it to be, and an agreement with myself that I will practice sharing authentically, publicly, regularly. Which feels like a really scary thing to do in the current social-media-landscape of “Likes,” and “Follows,” and “Shares,” and criticism on top of validation on top of the desire for attention on top of the need to be accepted and loved for who we are. And there is a fair to good chance that nobody will read this blog (except probably my family and my closest friends because they are amazing supporters). And that actually gives me even more of a reason to write it. To do it for myself.
Today feels like my first day of travel.
Perhaps because I’m choosing to let go of, or let rest, many of the ideas and patterns and stories I have had about myself. That if I’m not an actor then I have nothing to offer, and therefore have no worth. That my appearance is something that has been reinforced as a high priority, and if I allow it to be messy, ugly, unaware, or uninteresting, then my value declines. That it is threatening to those around me for me to be a sexual being. And many others that have come into my awareness this last year. That I have sat with. That I have felt. That have moved through my body in painful and challenging ways. That I have tried to ignore because of the discomfort. But I’ve been consciously looking at these stories for months, and looking at them with reverence—how they have shielded me, cradled me, kept me safe in many ways—and am choosing to open myself up to who I am beneath them.
So, today feels like my first day of travel. And the dictionary definition of travel is "to make a journey." Hm. It feels quite fitting. I’m journeying into myself. And TODAY is the day that I have chosen energetically. To begin? Continue? Start again? All of the above.
In literal terms (I suppose you’ll learn quite quickly how much of a sucker I am for a good metaphor) I actually WILL be traveling for all of 2019, and potentially beyond.
I will be traveling to Massachusetts to support my brother and sister-in-law in the birth of their first child (eeeeeeeee!!!!!!).
I will be traveling to Australia to meet up with Terence, my partner, my loverman, my sexy, Aussie, bubbuhganush (oh no, I definitely just revealed publicly what our pet name is for each other…heh heh), and spending a month there with his family, and with the absolute magic of that part of the world. I was lucky enough to visit for the first time last year. I’m convinced it’s where fairies are born.
I will be traveling to Costa Rica with Terence and a few of our favorite people to attend Envision Festival, and visit Pacha Mama, and perhaps some as-yet-unplanned spots nearby.
Terence and I will then be traveling to Oregon, to pick up our VAN HOME!!! A 2500 Ram Promaster that is being kitted out by this amazing company, Overland Van Project, to be the sweetest little tiny-home-on-wheels we have never experienced before. We then plan to make our way to Alaska. To take our time. Enjoy the unexpected journey there.
The rest of the year is yet to be discovered. And surprisingly, I feel a deep relaxation in my belly and a softening of my mind with the thought of spending so many months following the impulse of the moment and not being tied down to a schedule. I believe this is something Terence feels, too.
I have been receiving a clarity of messages from the deepest parts of myself lately, that this next year of travel (inner and outer) is going to be about the non-planning, the following of instincts, the allowing of what feels good, exciting, juicy, alluring, honest…and not pushing the agendas of fear, doubt, or stories.
And with that, I realize the beauty that this next year may be everything and anything that I never expected.