To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. -Alan Watts
This past week we took a brief hiatus from our van build to journey out to Burlington, Vermont to visit my father for some birthday celebrations. This was our first time to Vermont and just one blog post cannot describe how truly beautiful it is out there.
Not just the mountains, changing leaves and random log houses, but also the soul of the residents openly exploring themselves musically, artistically, educationally, etc. Absolutely a must visit for all, and we are excited to go back and visit again.
One day we drove northeast to a little town called Johnson for a hike along a mountain stream that feeds into a river. It was a powerful, noisy stream that had much to say, so we gladly stopped for a moment to listen.
Sometimes just a moment of meditation feels like a month of reading books if you truly pay attention.
Accept Obstacles and Flow Around Them
Building a van to be a miniature living situation can be stressful. There may be unexpected obstacles that arise and make you change your plans.
For example, we drove almost three hours to middle-of-nowhere Illinois expecting to drive home with a van, only to find out the battery was dead and the seller didn’t have the paperwork ready. We ended up not going home with the van that day and it was a somber ride back home.
When we finally got our van home, we took it right to the tire shop to swap out its unsafe and worn out tires. But the van had special hubcaps installed that needed a specific key to remove. We did not have this key, nor did the seller, nor did any of the tire shops we visited.
When events don’t conform to your preconceived expectations, it’s important to accept them and adjust your plans.
We kept setting deadlines for the progress of the van – “Let’s have it gutted by Tuesday,” and “We want to be done with insulation before Sunday,” etc. But there are variables that are difficult to factor in sometimes like getting sick, taking longer than anticipated to get a plan together, or just crummy weather preventing us from working outside.
These situations worked out and became part of our journey, but we could have easily gotten frustrated and discouraged and given up. When events don’t conform to your preconceived expectations, it’s important to accept them and adjust your plans. Resisting change and unexpected obstacles only causes distress.
Let Your Fear Flow Through You and Motivate You
John had officially wrapped up the 9-5 office job he had been working for almost five years. We were both obviously ecstatic! Finally, we were one HUGE step closer to freedom! And now John could devote all of his time to building the van and working on his freelancing!
But even with this happy event there was also some unspoken tension between us. Fear, actually. We had snippy moments with each other here and there with no conscious thought of where this was all coming from.
Until we finally listened to the water. We were afraid. We were afraid of the unknown and this next big step in our lives.
Acknowledge your fear when it arises and use it as a motivator instead of letting it hold you back.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being afraid. We both believe that you should acknowledge your fear when it arises and use it as a motivator instead of letting it hold you back. This is where the water brought us back home and grounded us.
We were getting into tiny arguments and lacking strong conversation because we were fighting our fear instead of being like water, accepting these emotions and allowing them to flow through us as they were meant to.
Life Lessons from a Flowing Stream
Bodies of water are truly beautiful things and they can teach us countless life lessons. There was a boulder jutting out in the middle of this creek in Vermont, and I was just watching the water’s reaction to encountering this obstacle.
Some of the water would fly straight into the air upon greeting the boulder, symbolic to our feeling of fear, but then it would land back down on the edge of the stone and peacefully roll off joining with the rest of the water particles.
The more you try to ignore or control things, the more friction you will have in your life.
Water never forces itself to do what is unnatural. It accepts anything in its way, even if it has to change course or slow down. It never comes to a halt and permanently stops because it is not meant to stay in one place. It keeps flowing onward.
This is what we have to remind ourselves throughout this journey. We have to remember to be like water at all times. There have been several moments in this transition where we have had the best outcome when we slowed ourselves down, took a deep breath and reevaluated our next steps.
Life, energy and water are always flowing within and around us. The more you try to ignore or control things, the more friction you will have in your life. Once you accept the obstacles in your way and allow them to become part of the process, everything will glide much smoother.