Travelin' Fool.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Humility is a bitch precious gift.
Excuse me, sorry.
But it is.
An ill-fitting coat we fight and struggle to slip over our broad shoulders,
yet so good to stimulate more growth and show us the areas we have room for improvement, or need to have let out a titch.
Which (for me,) is a continuous occurrence. 
But I'm learning to love it, welcome it, actually.
Settle in to it (humbly,) like an old pair of shoes that I don't really like, but fit me perfectly.
Humility has a way of reminding you how:
1. insignificant you really are in the grand scheme of things.
2. insignificant your "problems" are.
3. little you know about anything.
Life (I'm thinking,) is not an up and down thing.  
Although it feels that way and we're always quick to describe it in our roller coaster way.  
It's always moving forward.  
Some days "FEEL" up or down, 
but really, 
we've only just moved FORWARD to THIS part of our journey,
wherever that may be.
Sometimes we feel like we can say, "Oh, I've taken two steps back!"  When no, really, you've just moved forward to THIS next part.
I find that to be a comforting perspective.
A gentle reminder that there doesn't always have to be anticipating of the next crescendo, waiting out the crushing wave in to the rocky shoreline,
or white-knuckle-riding from the top of every wave
gripping for dear life at the crest.
That it's totally okay to let go and surrender.
No matter what.
That regardless of how firm your grasp or how loose your fingers hold,
everything will be okay.
It always is.
It's about learning to float wherever you're at.
Knowing you will naturally move forward with time and space,
without force.
What am I getting at you ask?  Other than speaking my usual, "let's-contemplate-the-great-questions-of-life-mumbo-jumbo" mixed with some amazing images of my last trip and somehow tying the two together?:)
What I'm saying is I'm not good at this. 
The floating.  It may appear that way.  
But I don't float for long.
It's not hard for me to be still,
but it's hard for me to let go.
Two totally different things.
I follow a lot of strangers on Instagram.
Yogi's and world-renowned photographers, 
seasoned travelers, self-proclaimed nomads, vagabonds, adventurers.
Footloose and fancy free without the restrictions of corporate jobs, the tether to young children or even spouses.
I'm FASCINATED by their lives, the places they've traveled, 
the images they capture of worlds I feel so far from and will probably never see. . .unless. . .
I do.  Learn to take up space and settle in wherever I end up.
Face my fears of travel, unfamiliarity, relinquishing control
and go see those places too.
I have a strong inner urge to explore, 
but I also have children and a husband and an overly-active imagination and an unhealthy perception of reality,
mixed with a (for the most part,) dormant
but on occasion crazy paranoia and fear guiding my every move.
It's not good.
Is it weird that my ego quietly prepares me to die when I leave my children?
It causes serious anxiety for me. . .having made it a habit to assume that if I leave them the world will fall apart.
THEIR world.
Not just their daily lives, the rules and safety net I work daily to shape and mold and provide them so they will grow to be strong, independent and self-sufficient happy children,
but a world without me. 
Never mind the reality that we're more likely to perish on the short drive to Yoga class, 
or making a late night run to Target,
then cross the open ocean to a secluded island for five days.
Nevertheless, before a trip where we'll BOTH be gone,
I frantically organize dresser drawers,
shop for the next season's clothes,
make sure there are extra toothbrushes in the linen closet
when their current one gets gross.
That the toilet paper is stocked and there's enough granola bars in the pantry for after school snacks to take them in to the New Year.
All these little weird and ridiculous things I can control and prepare for dieing, because, you know, mommy and daddy are going on vacation.
SO insane, I understand:)
Although I've done a lot of work for this, 
there's nothing like taking that leap,
traveling far from home to remind me of the person I THINK I am and the person I really want to be.
Like one who may APPEAR to be living fully and fearlessly,
but really has to force herself to do a lot of these things.
And often times, wants to run, 
is often full of self-doubt, zero confidence and
crippling fear.
Again, humility.
So long story even longer,
I typically set my sights on a destination.
Whether a place, a goal, a dream, a desire.
I research, I plan, I scheme, I organize, I go through the motions without stopping to think or question if it's really a good idea.
This is the foundation for all decision making in my life.
Letting my heart be the guide, which is often times stupid,
foolhardy, immature and impulsive.
But how I do things and arrive to places I wouldn't normally think to visit.
Envisioning myself winning the race,
reaching the summit,
or being featured in a really lovely Club Med ad, 
a young woman wild and free, cool and relaxed.
Those daydreaming moments at my kitchen table of wanting more,
propel me forward.
I convinced myself that we needed to do something grand to celebrate ten years of marriage 
and go to a place far away (which isn't really,)
but some place totally new and original (for us) 
and off the beaten path.
Never mind I would've been TOTALLY fine taking a weekend get-a-way to Duluth. 
It's close, it's safe, it's familiar.
I LIVE for frigid Minnesota lakes and pebbled beaches and towering Evergreens.
Even the dense and relentless winter snows.
But this.
White sand, Cerulean waters, is unimaginable to a home-bound Minnesota girl.
Turks and Caicos.
Where swimming under water is like nothing I've ever experienced.
Well, other than in a pool.
But this is the ocean.
As I mentioned, 
I follow these travelers.
where a trip to Maldives, Indonesia, the Arctic Circle
is as pedestrian as a morning trip to Starbucks is for me.
It's just what they do.  Without fear or hesitation.
And I TOO want that picture from the plane,
flying low over shallow sea green waters and widespread coral reefs.

We've taken three vacations away from our children in ten years.
Which is more than many couples can say, and also way less then most.
All I envision distracts me from my reservations and fear.
And then it gets to be that time to leave and I panic.
I feel like I can't do it.  Can't go through with it.
"What was I thinking?!  The kids need us!  We can't leave!
They'll be screwed without us!"
But my husband's prodding keeps me moving forward in these moments where fear overrides all and fills my head full of doubt.
I pray like I've never prayed during take-off, 
as land appears below us, 
I'm already anticipating our departure.
I play my games, oh, this plane can't do down, 
there's a pregnant woman next to me with her whole life of mothering ahead of her.
That young couple is on their honeymoon, that family of five is on spring break.
The things I tell myself to calm my irrational fears and comfort my ego and its fear of death.
All the excitement and joy of months of planning a grand adventure quickly replaced with anxiety, restlessness, guilt,
fear of never seeing my children again just because we're leaving.
Fear of never returning, watching them grow, all because I wanted to see something else.
All the work I've done to learn how to hold the fear and do it anyway, out the window.
Forgetting the eternal truth, that our thoughts are no reflection of the future,
simply a barricade keeping us from what we want to do in this life
and who we were meant to be.
But all the while, pleading that if we can just land safely,
I promise I'll never leave my kids again.
It's twisted.  But my husband.  
He's the amazing one.
He effortlessly falls out of the past and although always prepares for the future, doesn't get caught up in that widely cast net.
He's fully present in whatever he is doing that moment.
A life I have to work SO hard to arrive to,
he does with the greatest of ease.
He's nothing short of the most inspiring person I know.
I think (most) men are naturally better at compartmentalizing and focusing on what's most important.
And he exemplifies that.
Me, a devoted Yogi and "meditator," still can't seem to make that connection.
I have so much to learn from him.
I am humbled.
Still a little (overly) cautious and gripping the ladder,
him, moving forward without trepidation.
But it's okay.
Although it feels I may be taking a step back,
I really haven't.
I've moved forward to this point, so far from where I was.
When I couldn't even BOOK a flight on my computer at my dining room table without hyperventilating.  
I am so lucky, beyond blessed to have such an unbelievable human being in my life, as a husband and friend and father to my children.
A reflection of the person I want to be.
Not spending too much time looking back,
wasting too much time anticipating the future,
but being right where he is.  Where WE are.
My dearest friend reminded me, 
we won't always do it perfectly.
This practice of growing and expanding and learning to let go
so we can be the people we were meant to be here,
isn't always smooth.
We will fall and falter and forget ourselves.
We just need to keep trying, keep practicing, 
keep showing up to ourselves and each other and facing our fears head on.
Finding inspiration where we can.
If not from ourselves, one another.
I've learned that by going through the motions towards a greater life,
walking through fear to fulfill dreams,
how much smaller, yet more connected we'll feel.
And how much bigger our world becomes.
"Fear isn't the end point 
but a point of entry into a life of incomparable joy.
I've realized each time I've stepped beyond and challenged myself, no matter how terrifying, 
how impossible, 
how much I want to run, when I stay and be with it, 
I feel more alive then I ever have."  -Patti Chang Anker


gabbygrace said...

One of my fav posts- your words impeccably crafted to show every ounce of emotion.

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