For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
― T.S. Eliot
While many were talking about a lull due to the #stayathome and #stayhealthy order, at our current home in Bellingham, Washington it was anything but. With three kids in Zoom school, eating around the clock, and growing at record speeds, we were experiencing a surge of new energy in our home that was very familiar to us in many ways. We were so distracted by managing this transition that we didn’t even recognize we would soon be challenged with creating a way to keep the journey alive when the travel stopped.
During our nearly six years as nomads, we have spent a lot of time together as a family learning, cooking, working, and everything in between traversing more than 30 countries. The difference is, before this pandemic, we were leading more of an All American Life than we have in the past. We would drop the kids off at school, go to Costco, sports practice, and family gatherings.
When this shift happened globally, we felt it, and we knew it was important to embrace the change. While we have never lived through a pandemic before, we have been practicing dropping ourselves into unknown territory and uncertainty for many years. It took us a few weeks to recognize that those same skills can work during this unprecedented time in our worlds’ history.
We often write about how mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time and that you don’t need to travel full time to practice landing in the moment. This #stayathome order gave us time to test our theory in a very real way. Staying home is the opposite of what we have been doing for the better part of a decade. Here is what we know for sure:
Three Questions to Ask When the Path is Not Clear
Momentum doesn’t come from travel, or music, or work, or art, or whatever the physical manifestation of our passions may be. Momentum in the direction of our dreams comes from within, and therefore it is always accessible. This time, for our family, has felt similar to stopping when we were on the road. We would use the opportunity to reflect on our experience by looking at what we appreciate about where we are and where we see ourselves going from this point forward. It is important to question progress even, and especially, in times of uncertainty. When there are no clear answers, we ask, “What do I appreciate about where I stand right now? What do I want to take forward into this new chapter? What am I comfortable leaving behind?”
The Best Laid Plans …
We hoped to head back to Europe this fall for a work opportunity and to begin looking at EU universities with the kids but with that plan on hold, it was time to reinvent. Our plan, like many people’s plans, wasn’t going to happen in the physical sense given the world environment with COVID-19. Even if we don’t believe this is the time to go, we can still take inspired action that builds excitement around our dream. When our plans take a turn, it is then time to ask, “What can I do to build momentum given the obstacles I am currently facing?”
Hope is everything, as Alfred Lord Tennyson penned, “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…” So, we decided to finish the Livology Ebook, and when it was done we thought it deserved a new website. Projects like these keep the dream alive and the momentum toward our dream building.
We haven’t left the house or traveled anywhere and yet the excitement is visceral. Yes, travel has been our shortcut of choice to enhance presence, but it is not about flying to far off lands. It is about finding a portal, a shortcut to feeling joy, love, and appreciation wherever we are currently planted, and then making time to stoke that passion. We often picnic on our map blanket in the living room (pictured) and inevitably the conversation turns to excitement about future destinations.
There were days we would wake up at 3 AM to work on the Livology Ebook and the new website before the kids got up and the work and homeschool day commenced. This Ebook and website project was our portal back to our wandering days, forward to our dreams of future adventures, and most importantly it landed us in this moment of the possibility of what is coming when the world opens up again. It doesn’t matter when or how but it does matter that we believe in the vision and the possibility.
As we reflect on T.S. Eliot’s quote, we are grateful for last year’s languages, curios about next year’s voice, and coming to terms with this year’s endings. We are mostly, however, waiting with excited anticipation for all that is emerging.
What new beginnings are stirring in your corner of the globe?