Living in the Sea of “What Is”

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photo by Gina Marie Mammano

Today followed a yesterday of tears. A difficult diagnosis for someone very close. So, the slow, but sacred morning dictated a hearty bowl of oatmeal laced with blueberries and then a daylong fast to seek out clarity. And focus. Breath. “I do not want to live the drama of panic, fear, anxiety and life projected out months into the future; I do not want to live in the melancholy of wistfulness, regret, and sentimentality of the past. What does it mean to live in the gentle sorrow of today, and today only?”

I chose to begin my journey by hiking down a forested path that opens up to a beach at the bottom. I lay down on a large, toppled tree, and let the sun bleach the sand out of me, bleach the pearls out of me, bleach me raw. It felt good. Simple. To be in the body, and the heart, with nature as soul companion, a wise choice. I lay there, noticing the free flowing streams of tears moving down my face, the integrity of this, as well as the commitment to myself to not project into the future the worries and fears that might loom there. I realized that this is living in the sea of “what is”. I don’t know tomorrow. All I know is that I am here. And I am o.k. Sad, yes. Concerned. Yes. Warmed by the sun. Yes. But o.k. for today.

I ended the day finding some sweet peas. Smelling their aroma and admiring their colors. Taking a breath. Each day is filled with so many things.

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Standing on the Threshold of Now

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On the threshold of now.  A door is opening. I don’t know what is on the other side. I guess it is being open to all that is that counts. The possibility of pain, hardship. The possibility of release, relief, beauty, gratitude. It is all there. And I am here.

For a moment, I step out of my own shadow. Sometimes we look at shadows as the places of our own darkness, and that’s fine, but they are also the sum of the sun and earth- proof of our own physicality. My hair blows in the wind in the late afternoon, strands of shadow on the ground are the picture show of what is. We are here. A black silhouette of ourselves moving or standing still shows it.

If I can step outside of this portrait for a moment, what do I see feel in front of me? What can I see in the long stretch of shadow that feeds into the distance? Will it be a surprise gift? Good health? Strength? Or will it be illness, challenge, difficulty?

I don’t know, but I’ll standing in that outside place for just a moment. Looking on. Hoping to be open to receive the bounty beyond the door.

 

“The Search Withholds the Joy From What Is Found” – Wendell Berry

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I had a friend stop me in my mental tracks the other day and say these words to me. I swear I was ready to run out the door and have it tattooed on my forehead immediately. The nest of the conversation that held these words was the tangled struggle many of us have as we try to “figure things out”, untie the many knots of the universe, and ourselves.

“Wow! I love and admire you so much, but you seem to spend so much of your time wrestling with so many things” was the gist of what my friend said to me. And then came Wendell Berry’s wise words from his lips: “the search withholds the joy from what is found.”

What have I already found? Can I make a list? Can I enjoy each ribbon of knowledge or experience without tangling them all up into a knotty stew? Can I slow down and enjoy some gratitude for the things I already know? The things I already feel? The things I’ve already experienced?

The answer is, “yes I can”. And, I can continue to search, but may it not take up so much of my life, so much of my time that it “withholds the joy from what is found”.