Facebook reminded me that my partner and I were in Ho Chi Minh City a year ago….
We hardly travel by choice, because the place we desire most to be in is at home, watching the tropical rain falling into the ocean or long runs along our beloved roads.
But on that occasion, we ventured out of our comfort zone and visited Ho Chi Minh City, the former romantically named Saigon. There, we walked round the sweet bookshop street (links of our trip at the bottom of this article) and found the spiritualist Thich Nhat Hahn (“Thay”) in the books he wrote. And for the year that has been, long after we left Thay’s country of birth, we continued to journey within guided by his words.
This shared learning has made a difference in our relationship. We are learning together, learning something outside the scope of our normal lives. Wherever we were apart, we would often message each other short excerpts of Thay’s timeless words, and in troubled times, we would cast our eyes heavenwards to the (temporarily) stormy skies and find Thay’s words there. We stayed strong for each other, instead of drifting apart seeking easier pleasures.
And this is what I have learned from my one year with Thay – we are always changing, growing. Even if we resist change, change is forced on us. This applies to everything, even relationships between two middle-aged people. We are constantly shedding hair and skin and youths and layers until the moment of our deaths.
And we have a choice: to be the flow, namely the butterfly that emerges from its chrysalis and flies to new horizons with the death of our old selves, or choice #2, which is to fight the inevitable and die in our cocoons like silkworms.
My gratitude always to my partner for being my companion in all my journeys. Stay tuned to see where we are heading next.
Our Saigon journey: