Where are you now?


In the past year as I’ve traveled, I have often gotten that text: where are you now?  It’s the first point of contact.  My old friends nestled into family and mortgage, my new friends traipsing through different parts of the world, they all send out their greeting by locating me in space.  Or rather, on the earth.  It’s how we know where to send our love.

I am in 29 Palms, California; I am in Little Petra, Jordan; I am in Delphi, Greece, I am in Crossroads, Kansas City.  I am right here, right now. 

One of the pivotal books of my youth was “Be Here Now” by Baba Ram Dass.  I remember the way that idea both harnessed and rebuked my imagination.  After all, reading the book, wasn’t I connecting with Dass, who sat in a room with his pen on the page years before I even read his book?  What is here?  What is now?  What counts? 

The intention of that book is to recognize that everything you want in the world is right where you are in the very moment you inhabit.  You can’t access the good in this moment unless you are present for it.  I remember reading the square pages of that book in Spring Lake, Sonoma County.  It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school.  I would walk by the lifeguard stand in my white one piece and jean shorts and plop on the blanket to read how everything I wanted was available in the moment.  And then I would gaze with longing at the handsome lifeguard, who clearly wasn’t reading the same book. 

But to me, that book did make sense.  At the end of the day, I only have so much control over my life.  I can’t make anyone love me.  I can’t change the weather.  I can’t change the body I was born into.  But I can change how I look at things.  I can change how I react.  And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned, I can change the ground I plop onto and the books I read. 

And the funny thing is, the reason I felt so called to the road in the first place is that same question.  Where are you now? 

photo by John Baker  @jlondonbaker

photo by John Baker @jlondonbaker

When my friends text me, it’s snaps me into the archetype of explorer or nomad.  And it’s apropos.  The question is about place and distance.  Our connection is not part of the question. 

For me, the question was as much about the You in it.  On one hand, I’m curious about whether I’ll ever settle into a long term partnership again.  After decades of romance like seasonal celebration, I wonder if there is a you I will see through frolic to family.  And on the other hand, in a more important way, I wonder about the you that is neither man nor woman, but divine. 

At the core of this question, there is longing.  At the core of longing there is a sense that something is missing.  There is a disconnect.  Brene Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness tells us that that true connection begins within.  Isn’t it strange how you can know a thing, but not know a thing?  For me to be here now, I have to acknowledge that this longing isn’t going anywhere.  I have more questions than I have answers.  No partner is going to snap up my restlessness like a Tupperware lid.  No religion or philosophy is going to plug all the holes in the night sky. 

I don’t know where you are now.  But we are alive and frail and amazing.  Now might be jubilant.  Where might be a below deck berth at dusk.  But that question begins the chain of actions that leads to answers.  Who are you?  What are you feeling?  How far away are you?  Where will you go next?  Can I come? 

Right now I am housesitting in Ballard, Seattle.  My dog is barking at the 28X bus barreling down the street, and I’m going fusion dancing in a few hours.  Come if you’d like, I’ll save you a dance.