I read “A Pebble for Your Pocket” by Thich Nhat Hanh this week and he explained how it appears to us that we are watching the sun set 8 minutes after it has already set because it takes 8 minutes for the light to travel across the solar system to our little planet. I think that is a good example of faith. We see something that is not really there. Which means in darkness, we continue to see light.
I would lay beneath the sunlit sky, feet buried in sand, in front of waves who relentlessly crash forever and I would still be mesmerized and perplexed by the esoteric beauty of it all. I learn so much just by sitting still. Listening to music and the sound of air and the noise of distant lands finally reaching the shore. I like the way the sunshine illuminates everything it touches in gold...my curls that vignette my vision, damp stones, mounds of seaweed, and everything the color green shines in saturation.
I watched a man on the beach create giant bubbles in the sky as a small boy in a red sweatshirt chased after them in amusement. I thought to myself how bubbles are such a simple pleasure that teach children that everything beautiful is ephemeral…and everything that is temporary is beautiful. The impermanence is the only permanent thing.
The sky very well might be the most beautiful thing on our planet. And there is sky within us...within everything. I could watch the sky forever…
The following morning I drove to the forest, listening to The Beatles as I navigated winding roads framed by viridescent trees. I sat beside a creek upon a large rock to journal about self-love. Self-love to me is being unapologetically oneself. It is an agreement with yourself to wake up with the intention to treat yourself with respect and to indulge in the simple things that provide you with purpose, fulfillment, and happiness.
To me, self-love is eating mindfully, it is taking time to meditate, to journal. It is listening to Elder Island. It is wearing clothes that make me want to take photos. It is carrying notebooks, pens, books, and my camera everywhere: always providing myself with the tools so if inspiration should strike I am prepared. It is going to the beach alone at sunset to feel the warmth of the setting sun as I write down lyrics that relate to my mood.
You know that feeling when you are walking down the stairs in your own home and you anticipate another step but your foot finds nothing but air? It is sort of a ghostly feeling, a moment of recognition. Recognizing that just for an instant, a minor second, your memory and intuition has failed you in some miniscule way.
Sometimes I get that feeling in a more esoteric way. Metaphorically, as my mind wanders and my thoughts traipse the spiral staircases in my brain, I tend to miss steps and stumble over familiar rationale. Being busy remedies this problem as the solution is being present. The more I live in the moment the less I concern myself with spiraling thoughts. Similarly to sliding down the handrails of a stairway, overthinking can feel like an efficient way to test out infinite possibilities and scenarios in your brain but it doesn’t take into account each individual step and you spiral out of control. Just as sliding down the handrails takes you down. Down to the bottom. It isn’t a pragmatic way to ever reach the top of a flight of stairs in the same way overthinking isn’t a practical way to live your life and make your decisions.
But what do we do when we get caught in the spiral of our own thoughts? How do we break free from the mentality that we want control and speed and perspicacity? I think that by making a conscious effort to live presently we have a restored capacity to reach clarity.
During this week I have spent a lot of time in my own head unintentionally. It’s easy to get caught into your own spiral of emotions. But that’s all it is. Emotions. Take control of your surroundings and your sense of self. Separate the boundaries between your existence and the rest of the world around you and remember that you’re just a small piece of the universe around you.
Feel the way the sunshine cascading down from the cloudless sky warms you. An all encompassing warmth that gets absorbed deep within you and touches your soul, warming you further from your very core. The sunlight you allow yourself to bathe in is a remedy for your inner essence as a human being. As you close your eyes from time to time to appreciate more deeply this sensation of warmth and radiant light, and smile as you recall earlier memories that provided you with this same sensation. Don’t push away memories of the past. Welcome them and allow them to drift through your mind...passing thoughts like drifting clouds. As I sat on the beach this week doing this meditative exercise I remembered that although quintessentially the same, this beach I frequently visit was also entirely different. New layers of sediment have revealed themselves and new stones and seaweed garnished the beach as the waves that had traveled for many miles finally reached my toes to say hello. I recalled an evening in October. A night which felt no different than summer. That fleeting memory brought me to the present moment. As I opened my eyes I smiled watching as my friend gracefully collected smooth stones down at the shore in front of me. She returned to me with a ladybug in hand. A small gift, representing luck and delight. That moment was the best simply because that moment was the present moment and I consciously chose that it was wonderful.
I create conflict in my own life, and I think that most people do. Conflict arises from a subconscious desire to try and either understand the past or try and theorize about the future. Allowing yourself to accept the now as your only reality is how to be present. Nowness is key: the key to happiness, success, and finding your own power. The power to love. The power to learn. And the power to create light, energy, and beauty in all that you do.
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