This is a follow-up post to, “Moments that Matter”.
I believe there are points in our lives that we become cognizant to truly living our lives. When I was young I flew through life, moving back and forth from state to state, doing what I was told to do, and focusing on where I was supposed to be going according to my mom or my friends. Whether it was work time, play time or boy time it was always what’s next and how can I make tomorrow’s life better than today’s life, at least according to everyone else? Living in the present was not something I knew how to do.
During my relationship and ensuing first marriage my focus was on where he was going or where our relationship was going. I focused all my energy and thoughts on what my role was in getting the both of us to the magical place called the perfect life. It wasn’t until we were separated and I moved out at 39 years old that I sat with myself for the first time and explored what that felt like. Instead of asking what someone else thought about my life, I instead asked myself where do I want to go? This period with my “self” was revolutionary. For the first time there was no one there when I looked around. No one there to tell me where I needed to go or to “do” life. There was only me.
It was difficult, too. When I asked myself where I was going; the truth of the matter I wasn’t sure I really had the answer. More so, I didn’t know if I would find the answer or rather if it was even there to be found. It was then I had my aha! moment.
I asked myself, did it matter if I found the answer to my life’s path or not? What was I really seeking in the first place? Alternatively, was there a possibility that by stopping my search could I happily allow my life’s path to unfold without structure and planning?
What happened on the other side of my introspection was incredible. In admitting the possibility that there was nothing to search for, and also in not allowing myself to get caught up in what others or society was telling me to do, I simply slowed down and stopped thinking about it. I mean I really slowed down. In a way I now sometimes yearn for. I had many hours when my daughter was with her father to just be with myself and allow the weight of a life’s eternity to settle onto my shoulders. It’s an uncomfortable feeling just sitting with your thoughts. I didn’t let it deter me. In fact, in many ways I reveled in it. It was so new to me. I had lived a life to that age where my path was directed and determined by others. Letting go did become easier over time and soon I accepted the uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring as my truth.
Standing in front of a mountain and knowing you have to climb it to get to the other side of freedom is hard. During these periods of reflection I would feel anger. Confusion would surface and I would do what I could do fight the distraction of doubt. With each passing day those feelings and periods would continue to dissipate. I would feel them wash over my psyche and rather than hold onto and ruminate, I chose to accept them for what they were. I would then breathe and allow them to pass through me, never looking back at them again.
By taking a new approach in interacting with my feelings and thoughts I opened up my psyche to rejoice in the sweet feelings of liberation. That was an extraordinary way of being. I’ve learned that when we actively take responsibility for our bodies, our decisions, our words and our actions we are choosing to liberate our selves rather than enslave them.
As I think back to this period of my life I recall feeling a spirit of sort permeate my body and mind. Perhaps it was the liberated feeling I felt so often. Perhaps it was my sense of being alone and able to notice new sensations and ways of being.
While I wouldn’t have known to call my experience “spiritual” at the time. The idea of spirituality was not in my framework then. Now though, I’m considering the possibility that my psyche experienced something spiritual after all. I actively explored the spirit of my self; and the spirit of my life.
I was awakened. I had a smack-in-the-face realization that I didn’t have to go anywhere to “do life”. I was already in life. I was right where I was supposed to be and life was happening in the moment. I was not coveting it from afar like I had when I was younger. I was not chasing it like I had in my marriage, as if I held a net and was attempting to catch an unpredictable butterfly flying erratically through the air. I wasn’t trying to appease a false sense-of-self that had been molded onto me by so many others through the years. As far as I was concerned I was living in eternity at that moment, in the moment.
These feelings have been everlasting. They have not left me, even now six years later.
I’ve had moments with the closest people in my life where it’s just the two of us and time seems to stop and we are living in the moment. What I believe is happening in these moments is that I am connected to each of them by that same “spirit-ness”. In those moments, we are not two; we are one. There is no where for us to “go” and nothing for us to “do” because we are already there and life is present around us. I believe these moments are signifying eternal life right in front of our eyes. Eternal life is not the future, or something we are seeking or going to. It’s happening now.
I told K that two things struck me about the experience I had with the homeless man and my daughter. The first was that the man never saw my face. I didn’t plan for that to happen. It just did. Now in reflecting on it, I think about how people engage with one another. We see the other person’s face when we interact with them. It’s just what happens.
The man was facing into the street when I approached his wheelchair. I spoke to him from behind asking him to hold on as I pulled his chair up and onto the curb and sidewalk. He motioned which direction he was headed when I asked him and I turned him that way, still behind him. He never turned around. I pushed him slightly forward to get his wheelchair and him going, and with my hand on his back I told him to please take care. He never once saw my face. And, I never saw his. He didn’t know if I was a man or a woman. He didn’t know if I was old or young, black or white or brown. He didn’t know and he didn’t need to know. He just needed to feel in that moment that someone else cared enough to help him.
And, maybe, that was his moment of spirit. Maybe in a split second he felt his eternity intertwined with mine, just as I did with him. As hard as the situation was to experience, he was where he was supposed to be. And, so was I.
That must be it. The living of eternal life, like right now.