Coming back from a brief and fast walk with my dog, my cheeks are burning from the nip of the cold rain. I love the contrasts of sensations. Each step, I recount the moments of stepping on slippery rocks and roots along the trail by Lynn Creek in North Vancouver. My dog, sniffing the carpet of dripping moss under a Cypress tree lingers, and lingers. And now my mind lingers too. My heart is heavy, my steps are light. I accept, finally, that I can never go back home.
The home I had was a memory that lived in my heart. And I recognize that if I continue to yearn and ache for the past then I will continue to bear the weight of loss and longing. So how do I cure myself of this malaise?
Many of us are self-isolating in our homes waiting for this tide of pandemic to pass. It is April 7th, 2020, and in a few days Easter will be celebrated quite differently from previous times; and also the beginning of Passover will be a new experience. These religious milestones are periods of deep reflection and reverence for events that uplifted the mentality and the hearts of people living the Christian and Jewish traditions. The rituals of these “Holy Days” conflate the past, present and the future. The past is the remembrance, the present is the practice, and the future is the hope.
And there seems to be an answer to what I just thought and put down on this page. The past is the remembrance, the present is the practice, and the future is the hope.
The practice can be anything. It could be walking, writing, or anything done with mindfulness. Today, I am remembering to be present to what’s happening now. It can seem so overwhelming to consider the “what if’s” of the future not yet here. There are so many permutations that can come out of this present moment. And the wisdom I’ve read and sometimes remember to do is to be aware of my intention of the moment. My intention(s) will produce the outcome just like a simple or compound math equation that has two parts on either side of the equal sign.
So I practice awareness of the feelings and the thoughts that come in flurry, like the raindrops slashing across my eyes, cheeks, nose and lips. My warm breath condensing to the temperature drop beyond, and I pause to weep for a moment only, then walk on, calm, assured that hope is just beyond the next step, the next breath.
Easier said than practiced, but this is what practice is all about. It is showing up to the page, to the mat, to my feet on the ground, to the listening with an open heart. An open heart that accepts all foibles and doubts without judgment. Once in awhile, I can easily open up the trinket box of memories and wish for things to be what they once were. The scent of a perfume or the colors of a bloom, a snippet of a conversation, a dream – all these can pull me back, but I mustn’t linger lest I lose track of the moment now.
The way of life as I knew it before the lockdowns, a domino effect in towns and cities across the world, will never be the same. Neither you nor I can go back to that way anymore. It’s odd to “feel dirty” after grocery shopping, as I dispose of masks and gloves and anything that might be contaminated into the garbage and the washing machine. Grocery shopping of the past was a treat, filling the basket with favorite things and believing these things will always be there.
So savor the moments, the flavors, the scents, the observations, because it’ll be over soon enough.
Home is where my heart is, to be present and to be aware of the gift of this time.