October always makes me nostalgic. I think I’m even nostalgic for this moment. I want to hold it, like a tiny acorn, in my hand. I want to carry it in my pocket, feel the weight. I want to take it out over and over and enjoy it. Basic goodness is streaming through my window. The light on the leaves illuminates my spirit. My fingers are just the tiniest bit cool from the crisp morning air. I love October.
Last night I found something stuck behind our living room radiator. It was Halloween candy from the 1960s. Now, I know this doesn’t speak well about my housekeeping. I’m not sure how we never discovered this when we basically gutted the house, but it’s been stuck there for about 40 years. It was just so strange to think that this little time capsule, this little pocket of ancient junk was with us all this time. It brought to my mind what I’d just told Marco the night before. I feel mostly healed of all my food issues. Sometimes circumstances make me discover that there are still little pockets of gunk in the folds of my being, but mostly I am done with all of that.
When I think back, to who I was, to the tempest, to the desolation to the utter weakness of being, I feel as though I’m remembering someone else’s life. Why did I throw up? Why did I feel so inferior? Why did I put myself in such dangerous and harmful circumstances? And, how did I make it through that and get to live this life I’m living now? I sometimes grieve over the loss of my youth. It’s not grief that the fun times are gone. I have grief that I wasted so much time, so many years, with sadness, with self-hatred, with wastefulness. It’s gone now. I’m losing weight, but I’ll never look like I did in high school. I’ll never have the chance to actually appreciate that body which was probably gorgeous. I just didn’t know it. I asked Marco last night, “Do you think I’ll get another chance in another lifetime to get to be young again?” He pointed out that I wouldn’t remember. But maybe I would. Maybe I’ll take some growth along with me. I like the idea of that. I like the idea of enjoying myself earlier in life. Is there anyone who does that?
I’m just at the beginning of my understanding of basic goodness. I’m just learning what it means to stay with the suffering, to embrace the difficulty of life and see it as my chance to connect to goodness. It’s heartbreaking, this life. I think of the Coldplay lyrics, “Nobody said it was easy; No one ever said it would be this hard.” My neighbor just died, at 32, from a heart attack. I just saw his father walking down the street and my heart just nearly broke thinking, “This man’s son just died.” I cannot imagine the pain of that. But yet I think we feel it a little bit every day. We feel the sense of loss in the most perfect of moments because perfect moments are impermanent. I watch my children in their footie pajamas dancing to silly songs and my throat closes in joy. Each day is so, so very hard, yet each day is so completely full of immense and utter joy.
I’m crying now looking at the leaves. October will pass, and it will be cold. I want to remember that it comes back around again. But it will be different. Who knows what will happen in this next year, what pockets of pain I’ll encounter, what moments of bliss. I can’t control it. That’s the thing I have the most difficulty accepting. I cannot stop it. I cannot control it. I cannot make babies sleep when I want them to or keep my toddler from shouting and waking them up. I cannot get Elliot to stop fighting every diaper change. If I can just ride the chaos, if I can just accept the flux and challenges, I could really have more of this joy in every moment. I’m always trying to change the circumstances, to order the chaos, to make life the way I want it to be. But it’s really me who needs to change.
Pema Chodron talks about here how the greatest teachers are the troublemakers in our lives. The day after I watched that YouTube clip, I looked down and realized that the shirt I had put on Maya said, “Troublemaker.” Maya’s name, in Hindi means illusion. It is the belief that everything we see in the world is an illusion, the product of our dualistic thinking that there is a separation between physical matter and consciousness. I really believe she was put into my life to cause trouble, to help me see my own neurosis and also to help me see the basic goodness in the phenomenal universe. She’s the link that connects me to now, connects my consciousness to this physical moment. Well, all three of them are. I didn’t do this on purpose, but Elliot means “the Lord is my God,” and Zoe means “life.” It’s just interesting the connection between all of them – spirit, physical life and illusion.
I’m supposed to be here, now. My troublemakers are waking up. My little pocket of time is gone. I hope someday, maybe in heaven (who knows), I can watch my life again with time-lapse photography, to watch the fleeting moments, to see the passage of time. Right now my life is fertile ground for growth. I’m sure I’ll pass through more winters of difficulty. Tomorrow I might melt down and actually cry over spilled milk. But today the sun is streaming. Today is Friday. Today is October. Today is perfect. I’m going to attempt to just breathe today, to feel the way I get so agitated when things don’t go my way, when I have to face painful truths about myself. I’m going to feel the itch to get out and not scratch it. I’m just going to try to be. I’ll let you know how it goes.