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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Liquid Fray of Consciousness*

This weekend I found out a friend of mine from high school, who I was really close to for a few years in my twenties, is dead. I was trying to get in touch with her and she hadnt responded to my friend request on facebook. I was worried she was mad at me, since it has been years since we lost touch. Instead, I found her obituary from over two years ago.

I was gutted.

I am still struggling to accept the fact that this beautiful woman is gone from the world, and that I will never get to speak to her again or hear that infectious laugh again. I am struggling to find the words.

Asha, although it has been years, I never forgot you and I never will.

I know you are skipping through the universe.

The news threw me in a funk this weekend. I was already struggling a bit with where my life is and where it is going. I have a great life, a wonderful husband, a loving little boy, and a very good job. My only real complaint is a lack of time. I never have enough time to do all of the things I want to do in this life. I never have enough time to spend with the people I love. My job is very,very stressful and depletes my energy. When I'm not working, I'm thinking about working. I have also traveled quite a bit this year....over 60 nights away from home in the last 14 months. That is unusual for the job I do.
Anyway, the last few months I've been daydreaming of quitting and living a simple life as a farmer and housewife. I want days of unscheduled time to leisurely read books or color pictures with my son. To take him to the beach or park in the middle of the afternoon. I want to have another baby, but fear Ive already waited too long. I just want time to be.
Instead of harried weeknights, and weekends spent juggling family, playtime chores and various hobbies, I want a fulfilling and peaceful life.

But who doesn't right?

I had been berating myself for being ungrateful. There are so many people who don't have jobs, so many who are hungry, or are alone, or sick, and here I've been whinig about wanting time to quilt, or write my novel, play with my son, or work in the garden. All while having a great job and work situation that many would love to have.

But then I read Asha's obituary, and my heart broke for her mother, her son, her sister's and brothers, and her new husband and very small children..whom I have never met and probably never will, and I found myself in the midst of an existential crisis. Sadly, not my first, but this time, its different.

I have had many lonely, sad times in my life, but this is not one of them. life is good. I want more of it. I want to suck the marrow out of life. I want to live many more decades and come to a screeching stop at the end, with a body that is old from years but strong and healthy. I am not concerned with what comes after, only the time between now and then and how I live it.

Right now, time is racing by me. My son just turned five and it seems like he was only just born. I am not paying enough attention.
My energy has gone to my job and my son is left with what is left.

Its time to refocus.

The Tea Ceremony by Thich Nhat Hanh

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.

If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.

You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.

Life is like that.

If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.

You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.

It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.

Learn from it and let it go.

The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.

Worrying is worthless.

When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment.

Then you will begin to experience joy in life.

*The title of my post comes from a book by a Norwegian philosopher by the name of Peter Wessel Zapffe, who wrote about existentialism in The Last Messiah.

The phrase struck me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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