Things are. Life is. I have been reading lately about non-attachment… to outcomes, people, material possessions, health, love.. In theory, it is supposed to free your mind and soul up for experiences and really taking them in as opposed to be tied to expectations and facilitates the ability to relate to the world and people just as it is or they are because I am not emotionally tied to anything.
I like life packaged neatly in a blue Tiffany’s box… bow and all… predictable, reliable… where the hell is the fun in that… I’m not spontaneous. I plan. I always have. Hell, I even ate the same lunch for all of elementary school… I don’t like change. Few people know this about me and they are always surprised.
Digressing… I don’t love New Year’s resolutions… I have always found the concept of giving something up or harshly modifying a behavior out of nowhere, which for me leads to inevitable failure 6 weeks in and my self-esteem tanks… so I try to live each day with kindness, compassion and love in my heart… sure some days I scream like a maniac at the asshole who cut my off on the highway… but I give each day my best.
This passing New Year’s was not really different… I didn’t give up dessert because I love ice cream too much… my weight is fine… not setting myself up… Check.. continue on… but this year I wanted to focus on Mindfulness.. not awareness but true deep mindfulness while integrating the ability to be still in the silence… What the fuck right? it’s hard… I wanted to enable the beauty of the world in the richness of my experiences to rush over me, finding sacred space in my crevices… and this world has delivered… though there is often incredible pain in beauty.
Life is a funny thing… we sit across from one another and accumulate years and years of family tradition and daily routine. We travel to the same 5 destinations and eat the same meals at our favorite restaurants… but I never looked up long enough to understand what we were not saying… that over time, each day we wake we re-committ to our children and our lovers… our spouses and our friends. We communicate with our actions.. “I won’t leave your side.” We speak with our bodies, friends wrapping their arms around you when you don’t even know you need it. We lock eyes across a chasm littered with unsuspecting bodies… “I love you.”
and you nod your head with that intimate understanding… “I love you as well.”
We don’t get all the time in the world on the ground here… As Nitza frequently posits, “The only thing certain in life is death.” It used to drive me fucking crazy… like, why do you have to go there.. death. death. death. I have always been a million percent terrified of death… of the ending… of the darkness.. of the unknown. Remember, I like life packaged beautifully and death isn’t a reliable peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich on white bread that I can pack for lunch every day… it’s bigger than that.. In undergrad I was a psychology major. I had to take many elective psych classes, so I decided once and for all to address the fear of death. It was a really stupid decision. I enrolled in Psychology of Death and Dying… and I didn’t think that one through very well.
We naturally read Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, other memoirs of death, visited a funeral home, saw a crematory, an embalming room, a morgue and watched eighty bajillion movies in this 4 hour class about death. All kinds of death. Illness. Suicide. Old Age.Murder. I had a true panic attack before and after each class. I suffered extreme insomnia and had panic attacks doing homework and studying. I had no idea… none.. I was nineteen or twenty funning for myself and I ended up in the arms of what I fear the most. I finished the class and got an A. I invested 12 weeks of my life studying death, but I didn’t learn.
Today… some 20+ years later, I have finally come to understand one of the magical lessons in life… I no longer fear death like I once did.. I mean “The only thing certain in life is death.” I now fear my legacy… the story of my survival is so critical and that people just like you and me (maybe not JUST like you) are out there silently (maybe not quite silently) suffering due to genetic or not health conditions that spiral downhill so fast that I spent years trying to “get better,” and so sure I would… My planner was out and I had already chosen my next marathon…
The single most critical aspect of my life right now… is living it. There are things I want to do and have wanted to do since I was 15… one of which is drive across the country and see all the beauty there is… and surf the eastern and western sea boards. I will do that. I enjoy moments… the ridiculous laughter of Ale and I playing football in the house while mommy is away on a business trip… taking him almost spontaneously to Thai Food at 6:30pm because it’s his favorite food and I love to see the joy on his face while he eats… pouring compassion from my heart for people out there in the world suffering… and knowing that I can be the change…
It sounds so fairies and unicorns… doesn’t it? Living… really living and experiencing life is fucking hard… it’s easier to numb the feeling and perpetuate the daily routine, and often rut that offers more predictability than even my need craves. Putting the whites in the washer actually can wait until tomorrow so I can spend thirty minutes writing… but putting that into action is paralyzing because that head thing happens.. it says “Well, you are home and Nitza is working so hard for the family so of course the whites need to be done today.” <puts whites in washer> “Well, I might as well fold the dry laundry.” <folds all three laundry baskets of laundry) “Now the whites need to go in the dryer.” <puts whites in dryer and delicates in washer> “I might as well wait until the whites are dry so I can do the delicate cycle on dryer. I can put the clothing away in the meantime” <loses thirty focused minutes of writing>
Fuck the laundry. The child has many articles of clean clothing. Fuck the grocery store. We have enough milk until the next century. Fuck the abyss of Facebook. The same news feed will be there in 4 hours and then again in 12.
Life is. and it is only once. and the days are finite.
Today I will do what I am called to do, not what I think i should do. today I will feel the experiences I have and share. today I will live out loud with kindness, compassion and love in my heart…