Being present, something I strive for in daily life, over the past many years, as a tool for healing, is something I am feeling. This virus forces me to feel present, and it is not all of the peace and bliss I had anticipated. Covid-19 has helped us let go of the past because our daily lives have been so drastically affected that it is clear that how things once were, no longer work right now. And our grasp of the future is more ephemeral than ever because we have no idea what is going to happen. Where does that leave us?
The present. Yes. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my children are with me and healthy and that we are in Kauai, able to feel sand on our toes, dive under water in this salty ocean, see the stars over the mountain ridges, and pick papayas and arugula from our yard. We are so blessed. And there is so much struggle all around. And there are people who are stuck inside, and cold, and hungry. So many of us are uncertain of the stability of our homes. We feel our loved ones waiver in this uncertainty, and at times it feels almost unbearable.
What can we do? We can keep our hearts full of light and pray and help, but not all of us can sustain this every moment of the day, not all of us have the constitution of Mother Theresa or Jesus, and we fall into our human tendencies...fear, pride....etc...you know. I personally like to escape when these slips occur. To go camping, and the parks are closed, to get on a plane......to get out of bed fist thing and run and run and run...and for some reason it is not every morning that I leap out of bed, feeling 20, eager to pump this now cleaner oxygen into my blood. And when I do, sometimes it feels great, but sometimes it just hurts. And there is wine...and there is that line with wine. And this is feeling the present. It changes from breath to breath, and I understand practice aids in the acceptance, the peace. But apparently, this is a practice I really just started.
In the present, we are forced to look at everything. It is so clear what works and what does not. So clear that most of the consuming, driving, hospital visits, expenditures, are superfluous. And that slowing down is a relief. And clear that our children and our loved ones have opinions and personalities and thoughts and desires that are powerful. And we are with them...all the time. And I am grateful.
My dad died in a car accident 23 years ago tomorrow, and I remember him standing, as I drove home, outside on his deck one day a few months before the accident. He was so excited to tell me something. He looked up at the blue sky with whisps of white clouds that encircled the top of Sopris Mountain that towered in our view, and said with his huge smile, "I am OK!" I knew he struggled to accept himself. And that is why he sailed the world, and ran up Sopris mountain, and fell in love, and had so many amazing friends...and why he often tripped and stumbled, as we all do.
And in the present, we can either accept or fight. Accepting by all means does not mean lying on our backs and giving up, even though I find myself doing this often. It means we find the deep inner charge that brings forth the surge within that inevitable title wave of change. We use our strength and courage and all we have within us, and inevitably all that is beyond us, to move through to the next moment. It is our choices in each moment, as individuals and as a whole humanity, that lend to the practice of peace, and acceptance. A place of acceptance in which our actions and choices are something we are proud of, so the present is more bearable.