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Time

Time

 

Time is too slow for those that wait,

Too swift for those that fear,

Too long for those that grieve,

Too short for those who rejoice,

But for those who love, time is Eternity.

Henry Van Dyke

1852-1933

We are all only here for a fixed amount of time, life is a terminal condition and the question is not if this journey will end but when. To a person such as myself, this is a comfort rather than a fear. I have always known that I am not from this place. Never one to feel any sense of unease with the unknown of the thereafter, I chose to embrace this other with hope and joy.

 

Each day I look at my body with curiosity as it begins to make this aged transition. My hands, wrinkled and worn from years of work. My face a canvas the shows brush strokes of both sadness and joy. My legs, more tentative and careful with a slower pace. Everything is in reverse now. I catch myself forgetting the title of a book, the name of a street or the ingredients for a favorite recipe. I witness it all and know that this part of my journey has just begun. I call on the Divine for grace, guidance and strength when feeling overwhelmed.  With each new reckoning I continue to shine a light toward home.

 

“The world’s thy ship and not thy home.”

St. Therese of Lisieux

 

The poem by Henry Van Dyke speaks to a curious fascination with time, specifically death. We are energetic beings and as such will persist even after biological death. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, one cannot deny that the moment of passing is one of unimaginable transformation. No amount of worldly success can be called upon to make this transition. We venture into eternity alone, taking with us only the love and connections we have shared with others.

 

Believing that the soul is eternal can be reassuring for anyone struggling with the peculiarities and challenges of life. Energy never ceases, it simply changes form. I choose to hold in my heart a knowing of a time when all the hustle and bustle of the day will stop. The constant worldly distractions, to do lists and commitments will be replaced with a restful and glorious peace. Silence will prevail and all will become clear. This knowing is enough, it must be.

 

Nothing Remains

Nothing Remains

 

Nothing Remains

 

Pictures drifting as before, when frailty roamed with an audible roar

Apparitions lifeless and complete, in precious memories so very sweet

Blink and the fragile forms will change, faces and stories all appearing strange

Set your watch and shed your chains, at long last nothing remains

 

-Lavinia Busch 2019

 

Having just returned to work after a six month sabbatical, I am caught in a fog of “work stuff”. As a librarian in higher education, I have the wonderful opportunity to work with young adults excited about learning and exploring new ideas. By the same token, the culture of busyness and the hierarchical structures of university life have left me conflicted.

 

What I am left with is the idea of impermanence and contribution. Well aware of the fragile nature of life, it is striking how much energy is expended doing things that have nothing to do with permanence. Pepper this with what can be real injustices in the world, and I find myself constantly thinking about an elusive other way forward.

 

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them.”

― Paulo Coelho

 

As a person attempting to let go of all that weighs heavily, what remains clear is that the practice of minimalism is not just about stuff. Minimalism is what we allow into our lives and what we set free to move along on the rivers of fate. Nothing remains static; no problem, institution, relationship, river or mountain. Everything is in a constant state of change. Stepping away from my workplace for six months really demonstrated this concept for me.

 

When I am gone, my work contribution will remain as if an echo bouncing off the walls of a vast and empty hallway as new voices, ideas and leadership step forth. What then is really important to me? How should I be spending my precious life energy?

 

The answer I always return to is family and writing. Both are extremely important to me and deserving of my very best. Through my family, I leave a bit of myself in all that I do. My children may not grasp the value of this work, but I am convinced my job is only to plant the seeds of hope and inspiration. They must tend their own soil and allow unique flowers to bloom.

By writing, I contribute my voice, my heart, in a format that will far outlast my physical body. It would be lovely if in 100 years, someone picked up one of my poems and felt unfamiliar emotions after reading. To me this would epitomize life energy well spent.

 

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

― Heraclitus

 

Remembering that nothing remains is also a comfort during times of unease. Everything that confounds me about this life will pass. The discomfort of this physical body, awkward relationships and the many mind numbing tasks that make up a day. In the future, the world will no longer be as I see it now.  A new landscape will emerge as the cycle of life returns and repeats.  Taking this in, my desire to spend more time doing what speaks to my heart is pressing. We must all ask ourselves, if these were our last days on earth, what would we do with the time remaining?

 

 

Hiding in Plain Sight and The New Year

Hiding in Plain Sight and The New Year

I am an expert at hiding, a chameleon that blends in everywhere I go. I am naturally guarded and only a few know me as I truly am.  This is not done intentionally, but is inherent to who I am and in part a protective mechanism. If you read this blog, you are well aware that I am a deep thinker. I may seem uncomplicated on the outside, but there is not one thought, discussion or idea that I do not analyze and mull over internally. I am in a constant state of wonder and curiosity that is not often expressed in my external world. This constant analysis of the world around me has allowed me to move about inconspicuously, hiding in plain sight.

Over time I have developed some strong opinions on a variety of topics.  I hold these close to my chest, but I have them to be sure. I often struggle to keep an open mind in all instances. This apparent paradox results in a constant tug of war in all aspects of my life. I have written much about embracing both the dark and light of a soul and I personally work moment to moment to take my own advice and live in this way. It does not help matters that I am often perceived as a wholesome and pious woman, a stereotype created by my incessant need to be kind and accommodating to all I encounter. This stereotype could not be farther from the truth.

 

There is nothing in this world, which does not speak. Every thing and every being is continually calling out its nature, its character, its secret; the more the inner sense is open, the more capable it becomes of hearing the voice of all things.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

Given the New Year being the typical time to evaluate all areas of life, I have pondered the possibility of trying once more to step out on a limb and live more transparently.  By this, I mean living without the walls that we all build in the hopes of projecting out to the world how we wish to be perceived. The hiding out in plain sight and chameleon like habits are all things that I hope to let loose a bit more this year.

I will never be an easy book to read, but rather a complex work that requires great attention to detail and constant questioning. I know this will not change even with a more open approach to my daily routine. What I can work towards is not purposely moving away from my true self because of uncomfortable vulnerability or fear of rejection. I can freely choose each day to move a bit closer to my true center, my soul and honor what I find there. This requires a knowing that what I find may not be what I envision it to be.  My true self is made up of a multitude of pieces that come together as a puzzle would.  Complex, yet simple, beautiful yet messy, each piece while not beautiful by itself, becomes a work of art when completed. A piece of a puzzle by itself can never tell the complete story of the whole; it is only just that, one piece.

 

The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.

Sue Monk Kidd

 

This New Year, I commit to stop judging myself by just a few pieces.  I commit to not being as selective when showing myself to the world and I commit to loving myself in my unfinished and messy state.  If I am able to make some headway on this, I will have taken a step further down the road on this crazy journey called life.