Image: pic I took at Short Sand Beach on the Oregon coast, Feb. 2019 (feel free to use it, I don’t mind :)
Last weekend, a friend of mine and I hopped a plane to Portland, Oregon to visit a mutual friend. In the span of a short 90-minute flight, we were magically transported to a place whose winter looks much different than ours does, here in Montana.
I penned this in my journal in the early hours of our first morning there:
Intoxicated by the allure spurred on by showing up in an unfamiliar place amid terrain I’ve not spent time accommodating into my bones, I sip from the fountain of beginner’s mind with a heart full-throttle and open-choked, ready to greet whatever comes my way, with a smile.
I penned this in my journal on our last morning in Portland:
Just because you lean bar side and I lean zendo side, doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. In fact, it may even mean we should be friends for just that very reason.
I don’t need all my peeps to give up meat and swear off alcohol and weed; we don’t even need to fully uphold the same values. Though if we are to kick it close enough for us to soak it up hot spring style sans suits in the woods, I’m not interested in spending time with those who don’t hold in high regard the same foundational bones as I do, such as: impeccable speech, deep listening, and a commitment to the finer things in life, like showing up in the world on purpose.
One of the things I really appreciated during the course of our trip, was seeing how the fruit of my practice of choosing to go with the flow has developed and matured over the years. I used to be a pretty self-righteous/judgy type of person. But now, with consistent practice and joyful intention, I see how the benefits of learning and strengthening this skill-set can apply to a myriad of situations.
Case and point: while visiting our friend in Portland, we all went for ice cream at this great local homespun place in the Pearl District called Salt & Straw; we went to an oyster bar during happy hour; we went out for cocktails at a swanky place in a high-rise overlooking the waterfront; and we went for doughnuts at the famed Portland institution Voodoo Doughnuts.
This is me now imagining you’re all like: Um, yeah, so? What’s that got to do with going with the flow? That stuff sounds amazing, what’s your point lady?
The thing of it is: I don’t eat meat, I don’t drink alcohol, and I avoid such sugary delights as ice cream and doughnuts. AND I was still perfectly content and happy to tag along with my friends who do partake in all of those things. And it was more than just “tagging along.” I wasn’t just going along with what they were into in a ho-hum-I’m-agreeing-to-do-this-but-I-don’t-REALLY-want-to-be-here sort of way (I’ve been there done that many a time), I was authentically showing up with joy and curiosity and genuine interest. I asked questions about the world of oysters; I tried to help troubleshoot the predicament of my friend’s huckleberries getting locked up under her cocktail’s ice cubes; and I purchased a sticker of the ice cream shop’s logo and spearheaded us to pile into a photo booth at Voodoo Doughnuts. I was super into all of those outings because I was with my friends. I was able to get my eyes of interbeing on, seeing clearly that their happiness was my happiness. Their delight was my delight. I didn’t need any more conditions to be happy. I truly had everything I needed.