follow the flow
a travel journal and photography journey
San José, CR
Terence and I are at the airport about to fly out of Costa Rica!
We are on our way back to Cali today after over 4 weeks through Uvita, San José, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, La Fortuna, Montezuma and Santa Teresa. As we were reflecting last night on our experiences over the last month, there were a few potent lessons that came to the forefront for me:
1. I need to be creative/be around creativity...
When I spent a week in Montezuma, I was overwhelmed by the amount of musicians, dancers, jewelry makers, visual artists, and playful spirits I found there. I noticed myself come alive and engage with life in ways I hadn’t been throughout other moments of the trip. I discovered this aggravation that builds in my body after not being actively creative for a while, and how when I am a little creative every day, I am a happier, more balanced and more blissful Teagan. And whether that creativity is singing, writing, dancing, or simply witnessing the art making and celebration of others, it is just as necessary as food to me.
2. Taking time to connect with myself, whether it’s a week or a few minutes, greatly supports my connection with Terence...
My last writing was about solo time in partnership, and how important it is. As Terence and I head into the next part of our journey in our van (which I am so damn excited about and will write more about soon!!!) this will be especially important to remember. I’m lucky to have a partner who I’m on the same page with.
3. When I listen to my body, I feel like a hottie...
This has nothing to do with how my body actually looks. I’m not really sure how much my body has changed while I have been traveling—if I have gained or lost weight or tone or any of those things I am continuing to realize don’t matter as much as I once thought they did. But I noticed that when I would give my body love, attention and affection, I felt radiant, sparkly, and beautiful. This body-love was in the form of stretching and exercise and yoga, sometimes it was in the form of a walk on the beach and resting, and sometimes it was in the form of laying with myself and crying. The importance of my daily-self-connection-practice is being reinforced in ways I hadn’t imagined. Because whatever the form, celebrating myself as I am is the best dose of “I’m a hottie” I’ve discovered yet.
4. It’s the people, not the places, that make traveling great...
When Terence and I look back on the most remarkable moments of this last month, each moment had a very special person or group of people associated with it. The waterfalls and rainforests and towns and little shops and beaches were all beautiful, but what made them memorable was the Surprise Music Making, the Laughter About Her Marriage, the Passionate Talk About Education, the Learning Spanish Over Breakfast, the Bumping Into You Three Times In Three Places, the Contact Improv In The Grass, the Jump Into The Rock Pool With A Stranger, and of course, the Terence y Teagan Time. The people give the places Life and History and Silliness and Craziness. And while I’m sure this is known and understood by most, I think it bears repeating and remembering, for the rest of my travels and my life.
I’m sure there are more lessons from this short yet long experience, but these are the ones resting at the forefront of my heart. I’m returning home more inspired, wise, and tan than I ever imagined possible.
Gracias, Costa Rica, till next time...
Santa Teresa, CR
Solo time is so important.
Terence and I decided to take a week to ourselves during our time in Costa Rica. I went to Montezuma, he went to Santa Teresa. We talked about this solo-time-thing before our travels began, and have even done this a couple times when we were living together in Santa Barbara—intentionally separating for a few days or a week or longer to nurture that part of ourselves that is still autonomous.
And it feels very different taking time for oneself once past the dating stage of relationship. Once we moved in together, have been in partnership for a few years, talk about family, etc., there is this feeling of abandonment that can come up when he asks for his own space, and a feeling of guilt can come up when I ask for mine.
A prevalent story in our culture is that if you love the person you should want to be with them all the time, and if you take space then something must be wrong. I was met with so many variations of this story when I was in Montezuma—when I told the people that I was traveling with my partner, but we wanted to be in different places for a week...
He’s probably off with other women you know.. Are you polyamorous? Oh, is something wrong? Well if he’s not here, that means that we can get together.. *wink wink*
And, I was met with understanding...
That’s amazing, I’d like to try that. Yes, time for myself is what keeps my marriage healthy. Wow! So glad you’re learning this at your age!
The truth of it all for me is that when I know myself, know I can take care of myself, know ways to meet my own needs, and can be happy on my own, I am bringing SO MUCH MORE of myself into my relationship with Terence. I then get to choose him, instead of relying on him to make me feel complete.
And that is what I felt when we came back together yesterday. This sweetness and care with each other, an excitement to be in each other’s company, a deepening of appreciation for each other (flaws and all), and a richness in our love.
When I get to be me, and he gets to be him, we’re reminded of why we came together in the first place.
Last night I sang and improvised at an open mic night with musicians in Montezuma. And I am feeling delighted and mushy and vulnerable and grateful for the whole experience and the people I met through it. And said experience was not very smooth or expected, as the most memorable and remarkable tend to be.
I got into Montezuma yesterday afternoon. Terence and I have been desiring some solo adventure time, so he is in Santa Teresa until I meet him there next week. I walked around the downtown area—which is really the whole area, Montezuma being such a small and intimate town—and I felt so unexpectedly lonely. This solo-time I had been craving was here and I was terrified of it. I knew, though, that these feelings were natural and beautiful. That I was in the midst of the process of discovering what travel is like without Terence by my side. Discovering what travel is like for me, by me, with me. This necessary and fulfilling journey. And that if I just let myself feel lost and alone, the energy stored in those feelings could be free to circulate through my body and be used as fuel for whatever my time here would hold...
So I cried. I curled into a ball and cried in my hostel, praying that nobody else would check into my room so I could be alone in my grief of being alone. I felt my child-self desiring a lap to lay in and a hug and an everything will be alright. I tried my best to give that to myself, without making my feelings wrong, or forcing them to move quicker than they needed.
Eventually movement happened. Movement of emotion which led to movement of body and motivation to get outside. And I met a man on the side of the road selling jewelry. At first, defenses were up. They were saying I don’t want to really engage with this person, he’s just trying to get my money, and I don’t want to use my energy connecting with him. But this man was a divine gift, saying hola in the right place at the right time, I just didn’t know it yet. In his genuine offerings of information about the town and questions of getting to know me, he shared that around the corner there was an open mic night where many local musicians come to play...
Sitting down in Orgánico Montezuma for the first few minutes in what felt like a sea of people—which was really only about 30—I felt raw and fragile, but knew that this was where I needed, and wanted, to be. I could feel my masks of “okayness” wanting to come up, trying to cover the clear remnants of my sadness. But more than that I felt my desire to be myself, raw fragility and all.
Some magic started whirling through the air...people coming and going and music filling the space with sublime melody and passion. Within a few minutes a man asked to sit down with me at my table, to clear up his table for a bigger group of people. His name was Stephen. So friendly, so warm, so genuine and excited about music and life and connection and creation. And I realized within our getting to know each other, that I felt open, I felt honest, and I felt grounded. My recent experience of raw-sad-alone-ness had opened up the gates of authenticity within me, becoming the nourishing fuel telling the parts of me that were scared and lonely that it’s safe to connect and it’s safe to be yourself. And pretty soon, Stephen was introducing me to other locals and friends and creatives—the sea of people I had been afraid of, opening their arms to me, welcoming me into their world, con gusto.
Before I fully realized what was happening, Stephen was up on the little stage playing drums for a friend of his who was on the guitar, and Livio, the owner of the restaurant, was asking me to get up and sing with them. I don’t have anything prepared... I said, the musical theatre girl in me coming through. Livio shrugged with a smile, and said neither does anybody.
So I sang. Timidly at first, waiting for specific moments to add a little harmony, or a background hummm. But the more I allowed the music to move my hips and shoulders, the more I allowed my body to trust that what was wanting to come through was enough, the more sound came forth. And then riffs. And improvisations. And then no more background vocals for me I was full force IN IT. And positively vibrating with delight in every second of it.
And music was made. And it had peaks and valleys and unknowns and freedom. The gods of expression moving through us in those moments we allowed ourselves to be open. And my emotions, those sneaky messengers of divine flow, guiding me to that place.
The performer and perfectionist and critic in me wants to come up with ways that I could have done more; been more creative, sounded better, been more connected, etc. But while I hear those voices and appreciate them for what they are, I know that they are ultimately coming from the space of vulnerability that occurs when I am letting my soul speak through me, when I don’t control myself as much, when I am a vessel for creative energy. And pure creative energy is not always the smoothest, but it is certainly the most alive.
Hola from Costa Rica!
Terence and I arrived a little over a week ago—I can't believe how quickly time goes by when exploring new places! Were we really just recently in Australia?.... Time is so weird.
Wifi out here is rare and spotty, so I haven't been able to update the blog as frequently as my creative side would like. Which, a part of me actually LOVES, because it means that I'm allowing my body to drop into the the land and the totality of my very physical experiences of travel and heat and discovering and carrying our bags from place to place to place. Ah, Pura Vida! And the other part of me is going fuckkkkkkkk I have so much I want to write about! So, in rare moments such as this, sitting in a quaint and surprisingly happened upon little vegan café in Cahuita, the blogger in me is happy and grateful. And the foodie in me is equally grateful!
Terence and I spent last week in Uvita, attending the 4 day Envision Festival with a lively crew of friends, sweetly captured above. Surprisingly, Envision was a super mellow festival experience for me. Not really what I had anticipated when imagining going to a transformational festie in Costa Rica. And, this was all absolutely perfect. Perfect in the way that the Latin root of “perfect” is “complete”. Not good or bad, just complete--how lovely is that? And how perfect is that. Credit goes to my awesome mama for pointing out this delightful new awareness of this word. There were of course plenty of opportunities for staying up for sunrise sets, playing with medicines, taking a plethora of workshops, and buying the gorgeous clothing and jewelry being sold by vendors and locals—but it wasn't that kind of festival for me. Where the completeness existed for me at Envision was in the people I spent it with...
This is one of those beautiful realizations of life—that our fellow humans truly are, and become, the spaces we are cradled by, the homes we are loved in, and in this case, the jungle of creativity where I was brought to laughter, tears, discoveries, universes, surprises, and, often, delightfully comfortable stretches of time of sitting in each others company, just simply being. The Envision crew (myself, Terence, our friends from SB Aaron and Sarah, and new friends Abigail, Shmoo, Lorin, Dan, Rowyn, Kris and Julia) decided to rent an Airbnb together for the week of the festival. It was absolutely lovely to get to know these humans, and to allow for the ebbs and flows of sinking into rich conversation and connection, and doing our own thing.
There is a kind of joy I feel in my soul when I meet people for the first time and within 24 hours I am witnessing naked yoga and invited to play games of authenticity and revealing....this kind of joy is giddy and bright and connects to the roots of my humanity. The roots of me that have embraced literal nakedness as a space of comfort and liberation and acceptance over the last few years, and goes ahhhh soooooo beautiful when I witness others doing the same. And the roots of me that have embraced emotional and metaphorical nakedness, all the weird and exuberant and sometimes shadowy parts of myself as perfect/complete and welcome when I am meeting people for the first time.
And, there is another kind of joy that I feel when I am specifically adventuring with friends from home, Aaron, Sarah, and of course, Terence—these friends who get me, friends who see me, friends who accept me and support me as I am. And this kind of joy is felt in my soul, too, but also emanates from my heart, and fills up my entire body with this sigh of ease, rippling out in colors and patterns and smiles that start to hurt my cheeks. I suppose another name for this joy, simply put, is love.
We jive very well together. Our little foursome, of me Terence, Aaron and Sarah. The highlights of the entire Envision experience for me were roaming the festival grounds with them. We lazed about in hammocks and sang to my ukulele. We drank cacao and then people watched, because festivals are prime grounds for this kind of thing. We danced—and when I say we danced, we DANCED, and it was booty-shakin good. We sat in the shade of trees—trees that were dropping flowers on us, which sounds delightful, but these flowers were so strangely heavy that each time they dropped it felt like a personal attack. And we talked. And hung out. And relaxed. And Sarah and I flittered about the festival like two fabulous fairies because that's what we are. And within all of this, not necessarily doing anything hugely different from how we might do it back home in SB. And that was so much of the beauty for me—we were ourselves.
The Envision crew has gone our separate ways now, and Terence and I have been traveling with our sweet Sarah before she heads off to a permaculture course in Puerto Viejo. The journey continues, as it always will, changing, shifting, blossoming, unraveling. And as Sarah always shares gratitude before she eats her meals, I'm inspired to share a gratitude here:
In this moment, I'm grateful for the unpredictability of travel. I'm grateful for the richness of the human experience in culture, in connection, in friendship.
Canoe adventures with Terence and his family were amazing! It was a three day trip down a river, and there were only two capsizes, one case of almost missing the trip because we forgot what day it was, one almost lost phone—which was plunged into some rapids, mourned of its passing, and then miraculously found in the river via a surprise pair of goggles...definitely the only time I have ever heard of that happening, and it was fucking incredible—four cases of really bad sunburns, four cases of crying from exhaustion, and countless delightful dips into the river when it was too bloody hot. Not to mention the gorgeous scenery, the super fun and often super frustrating rapids, and the hours each day spent tossing banter and support and play from canoe to canoe, from person to person.
I’m back at Terence’s mum’s place now—laying next to my bubbuh, passed out, about to have our final sleep in Australia. We head off to Costa Rica tomorrow to meet up with some of our dearest friends and to go to Envision Festival together! I feel a sense of shock and discombobulation that our time here is already done, that our next adventure is upon us—though I know we will meet our next chapter with wide open arms. We are approaching the parts of our travels that are a bit more unscripted—the parts allowing for the wonder of being in a new place and wanting to explore without restriction. After Envision, we have no plans and no plane tickets home until the beginning of April. AND I AM SO EXCITED. To be in a part of the world I’ve never been to before, to continue traveling with my partner, and to soak up all the juices that Costa Rica can offer.
There has been an overwhelming abundance of beautiful and meaningful encounters and moments that have occurred over the last two weeks here in Australia. Particularly, moments spent with Terence’s family. And moments where I witnessed Terence connecting with his family in ways that are completely new. T’s sole intention in coming to his homeland this time around was to connect with his family as authentically as he could. To spend the time re-learning who they are in each moment, and developing more skills and patterns for communicating and accepting each other as they are. In my experience, the Carfrae’s have some of the most tender hearts, the quickest wits, and most intelligent and ruthless ways of poking each other with banter I've known. Not to mention how ridiculously capable each of them is—whether it’s starting a business, winning triathlons, or rangling chickens, this family has got amazing determination. And, this family has been through some shit and a half—the details of which I don’t feel right in sharing, but I will say that their resilience is palpable.
And today, the day before we leave, Terence looked at me with a sense of gratitude that his efforts to open his heart with vulnerability and integrity did, indeed, lead to a deepening of connection with his family—just as the entire family gathered for their first family photo in about sixteen years. The grandma, grandkids, kids, and partners. And with the depth of emotion and chaos of the planning of this photo, I witnessed sweet, genuine play—from everyone, but more specifically from the mumma of the whole fam, who wore a rainbow dress, and a shiny rainbow wig for the shoot (making it clear that Terence and I must get her to Burning Man). And I felt so honored to have been included in this photo, in this gathering, in this blossoming intimacy of family. To have been welcomed. To have been embraced.
As I feel the time of this evening passing, I recognize there have been many more of these special moments of family over the last two weeks. Moments that I have wanted to write about, and didn’t feel that I had the time or space to write about them with the fullness of presence I felt they deserved. And part of me is grateful for this, because it means I got to have the moment for myself. And another part of me realizes that these stories want to be told. They want to have a listener as well as an experiencer. But there’s too much! Too much to say! How could I possibly put that into words! say the anxious parts of my body, wanting to do the moments justice. But I have given myself this commitment of writing this blog for at least one year for this very reason. Because there are aspects of it that are challenging for me.
I am enjoying the memories of this time in Australia resting in my sun kissed skin and my activated heart. I am working on getting better at creating the presence in myself for the stories to fall out as they desire. I am allowing the multilayered epicness of the Carfrae family to inspire my gratitude and my creativity of words.
There are these moments in life where kindred spirits are met and found. I imagine this will happen quite a bit along this year of travel. These moments of synchronicity, where regardless of the actual events, there is a feeling of I know you, and I'm grateful to have met you, for however brief it was.
I was going for a morning walk around where Terence and I were staying in our little Airbnb in The Pocket, and on my way back past houses and pastures and cows and birds, I found a sweet brown dog, wagging his way into the middle of the road to meet me. His owner came out from behind the fence to tell him to get back inside, and we got to talking. Before I knew it, we were discussing art, bubbles, and photography.
I enjoy getting into conversations with strangers. And I really enjoy getting into conversations with strangers when there is an ease of being who we really are—the bullshit of the weather or where you're from, even names, aside. We didn't end up exchanging our names until we learned each other's energetic names first. These kinds of unexpected encounters are some of the most moving for me as an artist. They remind me that inspiration often comes from the most unexpected of places, that age and gender and beliefs has nothing to do with capacity for connection, and that it's always a good idea to allow a playful state of mind.
His name was Peter, and he couldn't quite pronounce my name right as it sounds a bit weird in an Australian accent, so he tried to do it with an American one instead. It made me chuckle inside.
Peter showed me some of his work as we sat on his porch with his dog Tookie, classical music playing faintly in the background. He brought out abstract cartoons done with black pen, depicting stories he had visioned in his mind. Each scene had a descriptive paragraph below it explaining where the vision had come from—a second work of art accompanying the first. All I want to do with my art, is to make people chuckle, or make them think. He said. He then started blowing bubbles with a little gadget of his, wanting me to see the amazingness of my own reflection in the giant rainbow mirror slowly falling to the grown. I was lit up inside—by the weird profundity of his cartoons, by his gentle excitement in sharing his creations with a stranger, by the artist in me yelling yippeee I found another one!
I didn't see Peter for a few days, but promised to visit one more time before Terence and I finished our stay in The Pocket. I returned the day before we left, and we sat on his porch, classical music playing, his dog Tookie at my feet. He asked how my stay was, and I shared about my relationship, some highlights of our stay, and eventually shared a bit about this year of travel—the excitement, the intentions, the journey's already had. And then, happily, I listened to him tell stories from his life...
He shared about a faulty Fuji camera he once had, and how he sent cartoons making fun of Fuji to Fuji until they gave him a new one that worked. He shared about how dancing saved his life, and the boys and girls who he has taught to dance, and, with tears in his eyes, the dances he has shared with his daughter. He shared that his real name is not the name he signs on all of his art, so many still don't know that his art is by him, and the giddy pleasure he gets out of someone asking him have you seen this cartoon in the paper? He shared about his neighbors' son demanding a mobile phone, and how Peter cleverly took two tin cans, painted them with all the fixings of an iPhone, connected them by a piece of string, and gave it to the boy as a gift. By the next week, everyone at the boys' school had their own tin can phones. He shared about his life of art, what he has created, the photos he has taken, the people met and the places been, shuffling past anything about awards and money only to say Meh, I don't need money anymore, I like to do it for myself now. He draws his cartoons as gifts for his friends, and is continuously coming up with creative ways to entertain, inspire, and fascinate his neighbors and himself.
I rave, I know that I rave, he said, of all his storytelling. Living alone, I don't often have people to talk to, returning back to his gaze out towards the road, where the cows and grass and trees were. We just sit here, every day Tookie and me, listening to classical music and watching the trees grow. And oh how I have seen these trees grow...
When I first asked him if I could take his photo, he said Why don't you get one of me at my drawing table? I don't have a single photo of me like that... That is the photo you see above. I feel so honored that I could take it. That he opened up his studio and himself for a moment to be captured in time of him in his space of inspiration and creativity with his best friend by his feet. But, I still felt like he was feeling the need to pose for the camera. Innocently assuming that I would only want a photo of him in the space of his life's work. But after we had transitioned outside once more, and I was getting ready to leave again soon, possibly not to return again for a long time, I asked if I could take a photo of him where he sits every day. Him and Tookie, listening to classical music and watching the trees grow. That, was the true essence of this artist, to me, from the short experience I had with him.
So that is what you see below. Accompanied by a photo of two pieces of art that describe a part of his soul and his humor—one by him, and one from a friend.
Thank you, Peter, for inviting me into your space, your art, and your stories. My artist heart feels full, and I'll long cherish this moment of befriending.
The Pocket, NSW
I LOVE THIS HUMID HEAT.
You probably think I'm crazy? Or lying? But honestly, the humid heat here is the best. It is literally hugging my body. It is hugging my body oh so sweetly. It is hugging my body like the hug I shared with Terence when I first arrived in Australia 8 days ago--stimulating my joy, inspiring relaxation, igniting excitement, kissing me with history, gently opening my heart, and inspiring the desire for sweat stained skin and giggles in a cold shower. The rain here certainly takes care of the showering part though! I didn't realize that it rains as much as it does here...and it is so nice. A perfect refuge when the heat becomes a bit too much. It has sprinkled down numerous times each day, and (as Terence likes to put it) pissed down hard many times as well. Ahh that Aussie charm.
Terence and I spent our first few days in Brisbane with his family—eating hella mangoes, having dinners drenched in the witty-biting-charm of his mum and siblings, and going for long walks around the neighborhoods in the mornings. We are, in a way, rediscovering each other after being apart for one month. So time with his family filled up one part of my heart, but this other part was needed...
We're now at an Airbnb in The Pocket in New South Wales together for 8 nights. All that can be heard is the breeze, the bugs and the birds. It is this gorgeous little getaway experience—with nature, with each other, with ourselves. An opportunity to do whatever the fuck we want, without being beholden to anyone or anything. Ahhhhhh....
We've spent most of the days naked or in a swimsuit--cuz we're either swimming through this humidity or this rain!--lounging around the house, eating more mangoes, napping or reading or watching this wonderfully silly tv show called People of Earth. We have explored beaches and towns nearby, and made a visit to my favorite secret waterfall spot in the forest (featured above) which I was introduced to last year—the place where I am certain fairies are born. We have made yummy meals with the food from local organic shops in Byron Bay, featuring lamb, beets, sweet potato, rice, bok choy, and my once arch-nemesis-turned-best-friend, sauerkraut. There has unfortunately been an instance of food poisoning since we've been here... Terence got sick and we are still investigating what it was. It was the salami Teagan! No, it must've been the kefer...NO. It was the CASHEWS. Definitely, the cashews. He makes me laugh. Truth be told, whatever it was, Terence moved through it like a champ slash devoted monk. Listening to the signals from his body, and actively inviting it instead of fighting it, he cleared that shit out thoroughly and effectively. It was almost like it was a ceremonial purging—which, in a way, I can't deny that it was—so much so that he said he had visions. Damn. I both admire and am amused by the way this man can experience profound learning from the things the rest of us so often dismiss as unnecessary. Nice work, my love.
After being here in The Pocket for 5 days, this feeling of raw exposure that the humid heat is offering me is such a surprising and welcome gift. I'm on my last day of menstruation, feeling the bloating and pudge of my belly as I walk around butt ass naked—and actually, genuinely, adoring it. I used to feel the need to hide behind certain clothing when my body went through this phase. Wrestling with the shame and self judgement that this isn't how I look most of the time, so I should hide this from the world. And the fucking exhaust of that pattern; influenced by the media and stories a part of me welcomes in, while another part of me knows it pushes away a radiance of my being. With it too hot and damp to wear pants (or anything at all), I'm able to see the amazingness of all of my body in its pure rhythms. And I love that Terence is witnessing me in this as well. I am struck with the resonant truth that rests deeper than my insecurities that I am in one of my most natural states of beauty like this: sweaty, bleeding, and bare. That there is no need to hide, from myself or my partner. And that I am actually celebrating this time of the month now.
So yes. This heat is divine. And it is a surprisingly delightful teacher, influencing my time with myself and with Terence. It's not necessarily a simple thing to reconnect with a partner after a month in two very different parts of the world, especially when the reconnecting time is overlapping with some solo-decompression time. But we have been finding some flow between the processing and the play, feeling the blessed heat and how it makes us sweat out all our junk whether we meant to or not. And sweating it all out with my caring, patient, quite remarkable partner, fills my soul with gratitude and a sense of ease. The whole experience so far has been rightfully, and deliciously sweaty! Yum!
A short and sweet entry, like my time in Australia so far...
I have arrived in Brisbane! Ahhhhhhh it feels so good to be here. Resting in the presence of my beloved. Cradled by Australian summer. After one month of solo journey and growth in California and Massachusetts.
Sometimes there is so much to be said—about an experience, a feeling, a transition, a moment—that not much can be said. At least not only with words. Not only with the words of this one language. Do you find this? Perhaps through dance, perhaps through the touch of skin, perhaps through silence, or a combination of these languages, it can all be expressed—the This of being here.
The This of being here is full. In Australia. With this land. With myself. And the This of being here with Terence, specifically, is so much. It is so much for me. In the best of ways. The absolute best of ways. And I'm sure he will chuckle as he reads this. I'm an emotional being sweetheart! It is so much that I don't want try to squeeze all of it through the confinements of words. I want to let it Play and Sing and Jump and Roll, and find its multitude of languages before I translate it into my own. And I know the natural flow of time will come for this language of words to re-become the form through which my This Plays and Sings and Jumps and Rolls. But not right now. Right now this is enough. The simplicity of This. The expanse of This. The This of This.
So for all the languages I may have—of English, of Heart, of Body, of Dance, of Song, of Touch, of Action, of Gaze—I feel that everything that is needing to be said right now, is being said.
As she smiles, naked in their bed, and goes to join her love in the kitchen to make breakfast...
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?