letter to yvette

To Yvette:

I am very fortunate to have met a handful of especially wise and enchanting strangers in my life. The meetings are always by chance and always perfectly timed. I have had several of these encounters on this trip—Will the Wise Man, the Crystal-Savy Alcohol Clerk—and you are one of them undoubtedly.

The Wednesday we met was my last day in Tanja, NSW. I was walking back to a beach located 6.5 kilometers from where I was staying so that I could get some cell service, which would surely fail to comfort my aching heart. After watching a family of kangaroos drink from the watering hole, their fat tails laid out behind them like railroad lines, I walked down the hill thinking that I should have brought an apple or something because I was starving. You were sitting on the trunk of your stationwagon, looking cheery, and called out, "Would you like some pancakes? They're banana."

I smiled and declined—kept walking. I kept walking to the top of the staircase that led to the beach where I stopped, leaned on the rail, looked up at the sky, and started conversing silently with the Universe or the sky or myself or something.

What am I doing? I feel hungry, think wistfully of food, and then not even thirty seconds later, someone offers me pancakes. And I decline. What the hell?! Why do I keep doing this?! I ask for something, the Universe delivers, and then I decline and block it. Why do I keep pushing away the things I want? That is not Gratitude. That is not Trust.

I have not been trusting.

Holy shit—I have to trust. I have not been trusting. I have not been allowing. I have not been open. I have been trying to control. I have not been patient.

My time in Melbourne has not been easy. Oftentimes, it has felt like the world was against me. It sounds dramatic, I know, but it's true. Things have kept falling apart... but the flipside of that is this:

I have consistently been given exactly what I have asked for and not appreciated those gifts. I have been wary of them. I have not trusted. And then "bad" things happen.

I am hungry and a perfectly lovely woman offers me pancakes and I decline for no good reason.

I need to stop spitting in the Universe's face every time it tries to help me.

So I plucked up my courage and walked back towards your stationwagon. A wallaby was perched nearby offering the perfect segue for conversation.

Your compassion and gentleness was apparent immediately. You were happy to chat—brimming with bubbly energy that never turned judgmental as I stood somewhat awkwardly five-feet away from your perch. Quickly, you explained the pancake recipe (spelt flour, water, mushed bananas, rice bran oil) and I was nibbling on a triangle that had been caramelized by the heat of your little stove and then coated with honey. Its taste was sweet and crepe-like.

We spent the first hour speaking about mankind's destruction of the environment, capitalism, and the struggles of and the injustices committed against the Aboriginal peoples both in Australia and in North America. When I described the events of #NODAPL and the peaceful resistance of the Water Protectors there, you cried and held your head in your hands.

Most people restrain their emotions. It is a relief to find anyone who is still so beautifully open and sensitive. I must admit, many of these issues slide right off me. I know that horrible things are taking place and I know that they must be stopped and I know that they are horrible—but I rarely cry. I know how to turn a blind eye. I suppose most of us do.

You are a woman of action. You helped organize the resistance that stopped the spraying of roundup over the Bryon Shire. You weathered abuse from wounded souls in order to be a light to a family in need. You act with the kindness that you hope to find in the world and it is returned to you.

We speak about the downfalls of individualism and the necessity of community. We agree that we are all stronger together. No one is alone and we have to lean on each other. The defensive notion of "not needing anyone" is a myth and it is one that I have told myself for years, hoping to shield myself from a loneliness that I am largely responsible for creating. Life does not need to be lonely though—not for anyone. Humans are tribal by nature yet we seem to have forgotten that. "Divide and conquer" has been a strategy of control for hundreds of years and it fucking works. I am thankful for technology and social globalization because it makes it easier for us to stand together whether it is to support a neighbour in a hard time or to halt a pipeline.

I know we all feel alone sometimes. I know you feel alone sometimes. I know I do too.

But love is a real force and it is plentiful.

When you tell me that we must be specific about whom we allow into the most intimate parts of our lives for many are not right for us—even if they love us—even if we love them, it is my turn to hold my head in my hands and shake with tears that will not fall. Some relationships are toxic, you say, and it doesn't matter who that person is, you must step away from them if they are hurting you or if you are hurting them. I nod. Sometimes, we become addicted to certain people. And you must have the strength to let them go. Send them love but do it from afar. We have to be specific and intentional when it comes to close relationships.

Our conversation continued for more than two hours with scarcely a pause. When a friend walked past (soaked and carrying a surfboard) and offered me a ride home, I declined because the space that we were creating was so precious and essential that I didn't want to break company. I knew I needed that long walk home to digest my thoughts and comfort my heart, which you easily saw.

"You have a lot to think about, I can tell."

I know you aspire to create unity and appreciation wherever you go but you do more than that—you heal. I feel healed. When we hugged goodbye, I thanked you for your light and your spirit and your love. And I thank you again.

Thank you for your clarity of thought. Thank you for reminding me that we are not alone—that there is an abundance of love everywhere—that there is goodness everywhere. Thank you for keeping your kindness in the furnace of this world. Thank you for your pancake recipe. Thank you for reminding me that although my heart is broken, it will heal and so will his and both of our spirits will be better for it. And thank you for reminding me to trust—

To take a chance. To open up. To allow life to love me.

To you, beautiful woman whom I will likely never see again, I wish you all the light and love in the world.



PS- When the Universe throws you a bone, take it. Say yes. You never where it will lead.

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