He turned to me and said, “The way we label and categorize time makes it seem as if it is an endless commodity. Like, ‘Monday’ and ‘next weekend’ and ‘next year’ make it seem like if we miss this one, we just get the next one. But that isn’t true. We will never get another day like this one. This is it.”
“Yes! This day will never come again!” I said, reciting the Herman Hesse quote I had recently heard in an online seminar by Caroline Myss:
“This day will never come again and anyone who fails to eat and drink and taste and smell it will never have it offered to him again in all eternity. The sun will never shine as it does today…But you must play your part and sing a song, one of your best. ”
― Hermann Hesse, Klingsors letzter Sommer
After lunch we strolled along the small malecon next to the beach and stumbled upon Jesus and his disciples.
The sand sculptures were most likely created for semana santa (holy week) and they were spectacular.
To be honest, I did not become aware of the metaphorical thread until later. Posting pictures of the sculptures on Instagram that evening, my own inner Yoda made the connection with impermanence and the importance of appreciating the beauty of each moment.
Easy for me to say, I guess. I live on the Caribbean, am healthy and materially rich by world standards.
That is what my inner gremlin says when it wants to shit all over my Yoda.
But I know I am only able to appreciate what I have because I have become dedicated to presence. I started really practicing presence when I was absolutely miserable in Guatemala a year ago.
Moment by moment, I attempted to see the beauty of it, even when it was challenging and tough.
For much of the last year, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Geographically. Creatively. Emotionally.
And yet, I knew I was where I needed to be and that the miracle of breath flowing through my lungs was cause for celebration even though at times my mental and emotional state was in flux.
I think it’s normal to think of other people’s journeys as being easier than they are and that joy comes naturally to some but not others. I used to think like that. Yet I have come to see joy, presence and gratitude as practices. It has very little to do with what you have but with what you make of it.
I have practiced these things over the last few years, stumbling around in my own psyche, wrestling with it in the darkness. I’ve discovered tools which work for me. Breathing mindfully, meditation, stillness and movement all play a part at different times.
But it’s been a willingness to let go of everything which blocks me from the beauty of the moment (shame, blame, fear) which has benefited me most.
No-one can do this for me. While I may have a blessed life, I can only fully embrace it if I do the work.
Now my challenge is to not to feel like I have to contain the joy which abounds within me.
Because this day will never come again.
My time here is precious and limited and I am relishing the miracle of it like never before.
My next e-retreat, ‘Journey to Shine’ begins May 4. For twelve weeks, I will be sharing tools, practices and stories from my personal journey to encourage you to embrace your own. This will be the last e-retreat for the year and I hope you will join me in this space of healing and transformation.
My friend Sam just wrote about her experience of participating in the e-retreat and I am so touched by the connections and discoveries she made.