Someone recently asked me how relationships work while living nomadically. I’ve spent the last two and a half years moving from place to place. It was a conscious choice and a privileged choice to be able to make.
At the beginning my intention was to practice opening up to impermanence. To practice the temporary nature of life and to jump into that fully.
In the beginning I wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship. If one happened to find me along the way, I’d be open to it, but it wasn’t my focus. I needed to do a lot more healing of my Self first – my own trauma responses as well as any necessary growth to actually have the skills of being in relationship without betraying myself. Without losing myself.
I also sought to develop the practical day-to-day skills of sharing space with others after living alone for a long time.
This question has been sitting with me since asked. What about relationships?
I have moved 144 times in about two and a half years. I have trusted that the next place will appear and, thanks to so many people, animals and spirit, it always does. Without fail. It has been a huge exercise in asking for what I need at all levels and being heard. To not know where I’m going to step next and trusting that as my foot steps out into thin air, another stone appears. That solid ground manifests out of ether.
Sometimes I return to a place I’ve been before and yet it is always different. If there’s a person I’m staying with, they have changed. I have changed. We have had life experience and grown and each time we become more and more compatible. Sometimes I’m in a place for just one night or may never go there again. Sometimes I’ve never met the people before who are taking me in or leaving me in charge of their pets and household.
There is an agreement of trust that continues to unfold and it’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than this experience and it is through this way of living that I have learned to trust in trust. In myself and in others. In spirit. In so much more than I can even try to explain.
What about relationships?
When I sit with this question what I start to also see is a deepening. This process of living nomadically has required that I learn to let go. Instead of holding others too tightly – I used to try to hold them, contain them, control them into being somewhere or doing something because I didn’t know how else to relate or be “friends” and would be so very hurt if they didn’t come/show up etc. assuming they didn’t like me. I tried to hold onto many people in the ways I would never want to be treated or held. I used to do this out of fear of losing them, or that they would no longer want me/love me/need me. They wouldn’t come back. I would never see them again.
I would be lost.
Somewhere in the recent past, I loosened my grip completely. I can see the former clasp of fingers tight simply letting go.
Without fear. Without expectation. Without even really realizing that I had done it.
In that letting go there is a huge swell of beauty and spaciousness. It’s an amazing sensation of opening up and trusting in fluidity of relationship. The shape-shifting nature of each of us. Community and love that is never lost and never scarce but flowing in abundance. Abundance without the weight of attempting to hold on. Without any force. Without expectation simply with being as present as I can be in the moment to whomever I’m with.
It feels phenomenal.
So, what about relationships?
In all of this process I shake my head and smile because without knowing it. Without intending it and as soon as I was able to let go… My relationships deepened.
My relationships have grown beyond anything they were before because my capacity to be with them has grown. To no longer try to limit them. To let go of attachment. To trust myself with others. To listen without expectation or need. To hear more. To get the chance to know what is going on for other people by being present. To give support when I can. To allow it when I can. My relationships have grown because others have shared themselves and their space with me and that is a true privilege and honor. To spend real time in the presence of others in any range of being. Especially in their home. To show up honestly as ourselves and to share with one another.
I have been in peoples homes when a loved one has passed. When I’ve been sick. When they have been waiting for test results that weren’t always good to get. Animals I’ve stayed with have since passed or have become ill. Other friends have grown their families and now there are new babes to visit. New jobs. New trainings. New lives have taken place within the span of these short nomadic years. I have been fortunate now to bear witness to so much of so many lives and it never would have happened if I had stayed put. Not in the same way. I never would have been immersed and enmeshed in life and in relationship to all that is in the same way as I feel now.
Thanks to this, to you, my heart has expanded and opened to more without the fear of loss. Loss of myself or others.
Within this letting go and deepening that honestly sneaked up on me comes organically what’s next.
In truth, I’m starting to feel ready for a place again to live. I have roots. They’ve grown inside of me and are a part of me. Now I seek a container. A container that feels completely full and empty at the same time in the best possible way. A container of possibility within which to do more writing, teaching, and offering. A container for that work to flourish. I dream of co-creating that container with a partner who also has his own vision of what he wants to create and cultivate. For us to learn how to facilitate that together. Now that I feel ready and I’ll ask now for that and trust that it will come. Knowing that I can’t be lost.