“Stop reading for a moment, and imagine that you are going to die in one minute. The last things you are going to experience are reading these pages, sitting in this room, thinking and feeling what you are thinking and feeling right now. This is the end of your life…You have no time to write a note or make a phone call. All you can do is experience what is, right now. This is a very simple exercise, but it is quite profound. It brings you into presence very quickly. You stop fighting, you stop needling, you stop being concerned with physical comfort, you stop wanting, you stop achieving, and you stop maintaining. Enlightenment, attainment, realization, all become meaningless. You are just present.”
I read that in a magazine as i was sitting on the edge of the bathtub waiting for Eleanor, the little girl that i babysit, to finish brushing her teeth before i tucked her into bed. I was biting my thumb nail and Charlie Browns Christmas was playing in the background, filling in the quiet that is a small house on Patten Street. I glanced up, practicing the exercise, and thought of the loveliness of my day playing mommy (cutting apples for her and her playdate, walking the dog, helping her with homework) as i watched her oversized polka dotted nightgown gather and sweep on the tile floor. Her cute brown bob tilting from side to side as she meticuliously scrubbed each tooth in her intelligent head.
I caught my own reflection in the bathroom mirror and liked the way I looked; brown hair swept across my face, bright green eyes, my complexion looked fresh and happy sitting relaxed, beaming in my favorite red hoodie with my magazine and my pedicure and my sweet little Eleanor. It felt so simple and pure and, had it actually been my last moment, I would be content (though also worried as to who would make Eleanor’s turkey sandwich and drive her to school in the morning).
Last week someone asked me, with a sharp tone in their voice, like Napoleon Dynamite… “So, like, do you feel all mature and smart after ur Japan trip? Er waht?” The way that they asked the question told me they wanted me to say “No”, like if I said “YES, the world is such a big, amazing place how could I feel the same after leaving the luxurious corner that is Sonoma?” it would confirm their fears that there is, infact, much more for them to learn.
Everyday I see the same young woman pushing a baby in a stroller and carrying one on her hip. Shes a small, delicate girl who i recognize because she only recently graduated from Sonoma High School. She’s amazing! Even though shes so young, she looks so happy with those babies. She makes me feel pity for a fleeting moment, and then I realize that some people are much more simple than I am. Not ordinary, but simple, and able to enjoy routine and the world they are familiar with.
The truth is, I feel more myself than ever– and more mature (thats for the person who, with their tone of voice, convinced me to deny it.) Why is it that we seem to lose ourselves in our adolescence and spend our early adult years reclaiming what we lost? I’m luckier than some, to feel i’ve found it again, and yet some never really lost it. I admire those people, and I find myself attracted to them. My sister is one of them.
Lately I’ve been grateful of my luck. I’m one of the luckiest women in the world to be born in California–I can do anything, I have the world in my hands. I hope I can live it in such a way that i can share my success as a person with women who have fewer options than i do. Many cases, no options. I know nothing of hardship, and for that I am grateful. I have no hardship to account for! Whats a highschool heartbreak and a few sports injuries amount to in the world, other than small things that have helped build my character? This worry can be easily dismissed by saying “Its all relative.” My character is my only fortune; the same goes for all of us.
At this time in my life I simultaneously feel that i know a lot and that I know absolutely nothing. Apparently somewhere around my late twenties-early thirties I will realize that i know nothing. Why do people tell you to anticipate things like that? What a horrible epiphany to try to anticipate.
I end with 2 quotes that I found recently. They are seperate, but i like seeing them together:
“Well, I have no complaint with life. So why cry?”
“What is to give light must endure burning.”
Even suffering is meaningful to life! Why cry when burns can be turned into light? I see it as life giving us the exact ‘teacher’ we need, at the very moment we need it. From every parking ticket, inexpressable joy, and every breath. Its all beautiful and important to the big picture, even the ugliest most inhumane acts are important (once committed, that is–but they could just as well be done without in the first place.) Its all a lesson learned, and I take it as such and then move on.
This is me typing to myself, forgetting that others will read this… I didnt mean to sound preachy, typing just helps to straighten the thoughts in my head…
Its kind of lonesome in this house, watching after little Eleanor. Domestic bliss doesnt seem right without a strong, warm body to share it with. And my next post might be about timing… or rather, bad timing.
I hope that some day someone will get to know the softer, more conservative side of my personality. But thats for another time,
g’ night babies, sweep tight dont let tha bed bugs bite 🙂