follow the flow
a travel journal and photography journey
Here we are. We are two weeks in. Two weeks into our van travels. On our way to Alaska, having passed through Big Sur, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle is next. And right now—as I sit in the van in the middle of a forest with no other humans in sight or earshot—what feels present with me is my partnership with Terence. There is a sweetness in the air, with us. A lovely way of listening and loving and honoring between Terence and I, that has been found over the last week or so. But it hasn’t been an easy ride so far.
When I think about these last 14 days, I feel some aggravation and frustration on the surface of my being. And it feels like it is past oriented. It feels like a part of me is holding onto some resentment and sadness about the tension that was between Terence and I when these van travels began. About how it hasn’t felt easy or smooth or clear to connect with each other in a compassionate way since we've been on the road. About how it still feels difficult, and not very fun at times.
When I drop into these thoughts, there is an angry part of me. A part that feels really satisfied by being in rage and righteousness. And I know this part really well. I know that it's a part of me that just wants to be heard. That just wants to be listened to. That just wants to know that it's okay to feel this way. And that it doesn't have to become a story. I know that if I allow this anger to be felt, if I go express it to the trees, stamp it into the earth, or let tears fall at my feet—which I actually ended up doing in the midst of writing this blog post—that the rage, resentment, righteousness and frustration are cover-ups. Cover-ups for sadness and loneliness. Cover-ups for a desire to connect. Cover-ups for feeling afraid of the unknown. Cover-ups for the mirrors of myself that are being offered by my partner.
As a wise man and woman once said: you’re never upset about what you think you’re upset about.
As I write this I am softening. I am feeling the tenderness of my heart. And I’m also feeling how necessary and important and beautiful it is to fully feel the angry-righteous-aggrivated-frustrated-resentment-rage so that I can fully feel everything that is underneath. And as I reflect on those moments when I crouched amongst the trees, feeling the subtle mist of rain on my face and the sound of a stream nearby, I felt utterly surprised that once I gave myself permission to feel my anger...laughter, and faith, and love, and also childlike innocence were hiding underneath. I certainly have the cunning mind to bypass the harder feelings to get to some of the softer feelings underneath if I want to, but driving over a bridge to get to the other side of a river will never deliver the same fullness of experience as swimming across the river myself.
I just chuckled to myself as I re-read this. Because I realized that this is where Terence and I find ourselves as well. It’s not just a me thing, it seems—it’s an us thing. We are not bypassing our shit. We are wading through our rivers together, getting wet and cold, but also clean and refreshed, through the ways we are meeting each other with honesty.
There have been moments of anger between us. Moments of frustration and miscommunication. Moments of sadness and fear. Moments of not knowing how we will find connection again. And then…there have been moments of smooth ease and playfulness. Moments of dancing with each other with intimacy and sensuality. Moments of being totally and utterly silly with each other. Moments of desire and attraction and flirtation. Moments of feeling like we are great team mates, journeying together with freedom and abandon and love.
And I am reminded that the journeys of life and love are never as linear as we imagine they will be. But that if we don’t make them wrong, they offer strength, and resilience, and beauty, and much better stories too.
So, here we are. Two weeks in. Feeling some challenge in the relationship. And feeling some strength in the relationship. And neither is better than the other. And I am learning from both. And I am grateful for both.
As I move across this river with my partner. Feeling fucking cold and wet at times. But catching his eye, smiling, laughing, and holding his hand, because we are in this together.