Archives for posts with tag: present moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is very little doubt in my mind that one of the greatest sources of joy in my life at the moment is Long Point Beach.  Every morning at around 7, I can be found alternately strolling or striding along its shore, accompanied by my faithful hound Maz.  I come for the scenery, Maz prefers the dead fish.  End result:  sheer happiness for both.
This morning, while driving along the causeway leading to the beach, I was startled to see a huge swarm of small black birds filling the sky above me.  From the point just above my head to one above hte marsh far in the distance, thousands of these feathered friends were beginning their exodus to warmer climes, their wings pumping madly in the chill of the morning sky.  There was no mid-air ballet today, no time for any such frivolity.  They had somewhere to go, and there were getting to it.

But the experience of all of those small bodies, those pulsating wings, dominating the heavens made me stop my car in the middle of the road and gaze upward in abject awe.

The driving force of thousands of palpitating hearts, all beating as one, created a moving mosaic of black wing against the light grey morning sky, and I was mesmerized.  But more than that.  For a few fleeting moments, I was a part of it, almost present there with them in the heavens, wings beating, core pounding, spirit lifting up and away into the promise of bluer skies, balmier breezes and tasty caterpillars only just contemplating the cocoon.

I drive that causeway almost every daybreak, and usually I give thanks for the simple beauty of the natural landscape.  But this morning … this morning was a moment of wonder in an ordinary day, and it felt like a miracle.

Tomorrow, I’ll once again rise at dawn to make the same pre-breakfast trek on those enervating sands.  Will there be another miracle?  Is there a miracle every single day, if I open myself to it?
I think there may be.  And I will be watching.

Advertisements

I ask you to forgive my absence from this page over the past several weeks, gentle readers.  The extreme heat and other pressures of life began to overwhelm me, and as is so often the case, I retreated into the relative safety of my little world, which has recently revolved around health and canning nature’s bounty and, of course, finishing the requisite changes to my thesis.

But, last night, I had a sort of epiphany.  Part of that epiphany recognized that the times when the world overwhelms is absolutely the right time to express that feeling through the written word.  And the other flash of understanding I will attempt to illustrate through parable.

When the weather becomes unseasonably warm, my thoughts inevitably clang like a clapper to the side of a bell, pealing out negative thoughts regarding the havoc we are wreaking on this poor planet.  No matter how I try to lift my spirits, the resounding knell of global warming rattles my bones, and at these times, I despair of mankind, assiduously proclaiming to anyone who will listen that even a dog knows not to crap where it eats.

The heat at Long Point was so extreme last week that my poor canine boy was unable to traverse the scorching sand to reach the cool of the lake unaided.  Halfway there, he began to limp, then his hind legs literally buckled under him from the pain of his burning foot pads.

This is exactly the sort of scenario which causes me to plummet into a downward spiral, and the apex of this slippery slope is the following limiting thought:  “This is awful.  This has always been awful.  This will always be awful.  Forever and forever, without the amen.”

But being reasonably stoic, at these times I remind myself of a tale brought down through history in the writings of the Eastern mystics.

The story tells of a village which was overrun by the army of a feudal king as he plundered and conquered far from his own lands.  This lord had given the order that the villagers should be put to death, but, being of a whimsical nature, he bowed to their pleas for mercy, offering them this challenge.

“I will spare your lives,” the king said, “if, by this time tomorrow, you give me a very special gift:  a gift that will make me sad when I am happy, and happy when I am sad.”

At first, the villagers were struck down by despair.  How could they comply with this strange request?  What gift could possibly achieve what seemed impossible?

But their wisest elders and their craziest fools joined forces, and at the appointed hour, they approached the king, bearing a small, plain box.

When the king opened the box and saw the villagers’ gift, he was filled with awe at the perfection of it, and holding it high in the light of the new day, the sun shimmering off its surface, he immediately ordered their release.

The gift was a silver ring on which was inscribed, “And this, too, shall pass.”

Last night, I stood outside in my backyard orchard, gazing at the stars, set like jewels in a cobalt sky, and felt the first cool caress of autumn on my bare arms.  “This awful heat may come back,” I thought, “will certainly be back next summer, but in this present moment, I know in my soul that it is just now, and not forever.”

Whatever the joy, comfort, anguish, confusion of an instant, the only certainty is that it, too, will soon pass.  Surely the secret, then, is to fully inhabit every moment; to embrace every aspect of this divine comedy we call life, secure in the knowledge that each tick of the clock brings with it a transition into a new experience.  It is the accumulation of these moments and experiences that make us who we are, and since we are all on our own perfect journeys to becoming our fullest selves, whatever the moment holds is, in itself, a silver circlet of fleeting perfection.

So today, I give myself this hero(ine)’s challenge:  I will slip the king’s ring on my finger, and try to encounter every one of life’s moments fully.

And make no mistake, the ring is there, patiently waiting for the present moment in which you choose to grasp it in your palm and allow it encircle your life.