How’re you holding up? I asked myself this morning how I could most help you right now, and for some reason what popped up was to tell you this story, and I have no idea why, but I trust my instincts, so let’s see where this goes…
Last summer we took a 2 week trip in our RV up the coast of California, through Oregon, Washington and into Canada. We were set to do it again this year for 3 weeks, but you know… we’ll see.
These trips are one of my most favorite things that I have manifested in my life since I started creating my life and business with intention. Me, my love, and our two fur-babies out discovering beautiful new places, being in nature, and living a different pace of life. The marvels of nature’s beauty makes me come alive, and everywhere I look there’s a metaphor I want to write and share immediately.
The wind, the sea, the misty pines, the seagulls flying, the sand under my toes… the emerald lakes, the rivers and falls… the gas station chips, and open windows… the simple, miraculous wonders of life. It feeds my soul like nothing else.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though, it’s a mixed bag like the rest of life. There’s fights over wrong turns, snuggles under covers watching sunsets, regret over that 2nd (or 3rd donut), laughter at the dogs running down the beach like they just got out of prison, tears over a faded memory, hugs in a moment of genuine connection after you’d missed that boat 10 times before. It’s all of life, untethered and untamed.
Last year, a little over a week into our trip, I dropped my phone to the bottom of a lake. A deep, sparkling, COLD lake, right near the border of Canada. We had just been to the most beautiful places, I had just taken the most BEAUTIFUL and priceless pictures and videos of us, and in one second it was gone.
And you guys… I am not embarrassed to tell you I cried like someone I loved had just been shot.
I was literally beside myself. Okay I am a little embarrassed, but that is how I felt. We were sitting on this dock out over the lake that had not yet fully warmed from its winter. The water was crystal clear, you could see all the way to the bottom. The dock was like a grate though, and when Haddie moved on my lap and I went to grab him, my phone slipped quietly through the bars and into the abyss with nothing more than a an uneventful “bloop” sound through the surface on its descent to the fathoms below.
And as if to make up for this lack of drama in its exit from my life and pocket, I immediately flew into hysterics and starting repeatedly crying “NO! no!! no!! NO! No no no no no!!” … as if these words would somehow will it back closer to the surface so I could retrieve it. There were tears, and sobs and the repeating of the “No’s”, and the begging and the pleading and the disbelief.
There were some women off on the banks nearby and the part of me that would normally have been keeping myself composed and collected so as not to make people think I am insane, was utterly out the window in this moment. I could have cared less if I thought I was a ridiculous blubbering fool, my grief overrode every impulse to contain myself.
And my sweet, beautiful Kenny did not know what to do. He was struggling to understand what happened, to console me, and to try to come to the rescue all at the same moment.
The waters were deep, and absolutely frigid, the bottom was 3 foot tall reeds and settled sand. Nonetheless, this man stripped down to his skivvies right then and there, and dove into the water to try to find it for me. This man who has been free diving all his life, and is like a fish in the water, and who can hold his breath for great lengths, but who is NOT accustomed to doing so without a wetsuit in freezing lakes 20 feet down with no mask. But here he was risking life and limb to retrieve my photos and sanity from the underworld.
Because it was not the phone, people.
I knew the phone could be replaced, I could have cared less about the phone even though it was new. It was the photos. The videos. The precious irreplaceable moments that I knew had not uploaded to the cloud since our last destinations. But just as my reaction was not about the phone, it was also not really about the pictures either… it was about the terrible reality of the unpredictability and impermanance of things. It was about my deep grief that no matter what you have or what you get, that it can all just be taken away from you so easily. That very human raw exposed state that we cannot escape, even as we know we’re SO much more than just human.
But I didn’t know any of that in that moment, I just knew… “NO, no, NOO!! My phone, all my pictures, all my picturessss!! 😩😩😭😭” Like a loop tape stuck on repeat, trying to hang onto what was already gone, and hoping it was just a bad dream.
Fortunately I was quickly snapped out of this stage when I realized I was now endangering my husbands ACTUAL LIFE to hang onto this, and I told him to come up this instant and not go down there again. I was at once awe struck by how loved I am, and how crazy this all was, and how beautiful and terribly vulnerable this all is.
So he got out and grabbed his clothes and he held my hand back to the RV where I sobbed more in private for a good long while. In the end this loss was such a gift to me, I got to see how much I was loved, even in my big, ridiculous, out-of-proportion-to-actual-events feelings, even in my ugly cry and absurd demands.
And not only that but I was forced into being more present with actual events instead of capturing every one of them on camera, and so the rest of the trip slowed down, and connected me with what, and whom, I was trying to capture even more — including myself.
A new phone was ordered, and more pictures would be taken another trip. But for a time, the thing that was standing between me and the awe inspiring things and people I loved, was removed.
Instead of capturing it all, I had to FEEL it all and just be IN it. And I think that is what’s happening to us now.
I think the reason I was prompted to tell this story today is that when that happened I was suddenly disconnected from so much, and yet simultaneously CONNECTED to so much, at once. The external world was further away than ever, and the internal world was inescapable and closer than ever before. I had to reckon with deep feelings that had nothing to do with the actual event, and that’s what we’re all doing now.
We’re reckoning with feelings that are so much bigger than this actual event, and there is none of the usual things we can use to distract from that. Well, there is less of them anyway.
So in the place of a bunch of lovely photos from that trip, there is a video that Kenny took on his phone, of me sobbing in the back of the RV after we just came in from all this happening, and it’s not cute. It’s not like Kristen Bell adorably sobbing over Sloths in the house, people. My face is red and puffy and swollen and I am holding Haddie in my arms like a teddy bear crying into his fur, and in it Kenny says: “what happened sweetie?”, and I reply through inconsolable sobs, “I lost my phone. all my pictures 😭 ”…. and he replies “I’m sorry sweetie. I love you.” and I reply again through broken sobs, “I love you too. … but my pictures…” and he says, “I know. I’m sorry. But we’ll have many more pictures and many more phones.”
And that beautiful, tender, singular not-pretty moment trumps all of the hundreds of pictures I had before that. That was the preciousness that really needed capturing, not on his phone… but in my heart.
And that’s what I wish for you in all this too.That whatever has been taken away be replaced with a deeper joy somehow. And to remind you, that no matter what, there will be many more pictures and many more phones. Meaning many more precious moments, and many more ways to capture and celebrate them.
There is a light at the end of this that is so bright it will open your heart in ways it’s never been opened before. And that will generate new abundance for you and for everyone, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. I believe this with all my heart.
You don’t have to know how. Just trust this process. Laugh if and when you can. Love yourself and your people, and sob like the dickens when you need to.
Bright new beginnings are afoot. Hold on sweet pea. Feel it all big, and hold your vision close.
We’ve got this. But more importantly…
this has got us. 😉