‘Moss is inconceivably strong. Moss eats stone; scarcely anything, in return, eats moss. Moss dines upon boulders, slowly but devastatingly, in a meal that lasts for centuries. Given enough time, a colony of moss can turn a cliff into gravel’ ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
There is a woman who runs past our window each weekday lunchtime, training, I imagine, for a charity climb of Kilimanjaro.
At the hairdressers last week, I endured a blow-by-blow account of a morning spent corralling four children to three different education establishments, from the woman in the next chair. The precise cut of her wool skirt matched her chic blonde bob; the calls she received on her mobile, suggest she also ran a successful business involving ‘imports’.
And even though I don’t want to do any of those particular things, sometimes I am deflated by the aliveness of other women.
The energetic sap they seem to have running through their veins; the extraordinary number of things they manage to fit into an average day.
I have noticed lately, that the immensity of a life lived at a full pace often leaves me feeling bereft.
After Mum died I was so angry that at 53, her life ended when she was just getting started.
I think I unconsciously decided that if I had 20 years left, I was not going to waste a damn minute of it. In the decade since, I have just kept going, doing, achieving. I have prided myself on being impatient: this was my go-juice to get shit done. I soaked up the praise and admiration this seemed to engender.
But I’m starting to question this.
The pace of a life is not a reflection of its substance. And I know I have spent many years confusing the two.
It’s horrible to feel as though time is running out.
The thought that I am falling behind and there is no way I can catch up, creates a gut-clutch of anxiety that leaves me feeling panicky. And separate. If I believe I am ‘behind’ someone else, I feel that awkward discomfort of icky comparison. It’s the fastest way to erode any enjoyment of being in my own experience.
This time of year is like facing a mountainous tidal wave of motivational double-speak: it is both utterly our fault that our lives are not optimal, and the power to create such a life is utterly dependent on *this* magic solution. And we must act now!
This tsunami ignores privilege and circumstance, sweeps all excuses and protestations aside, leaving us alone on the shoreline, vulnerable to the judgement of our flabby human “failings”.
But what if none of this is true?
What if any sense of urgency about where you should be, is contrived?
What if no one is further ahead than you?
What if where you are, is perfect? Even if you are in the murky shitawful swamp of a life that doesn’t fit you anymore (how else would you know this, unless you were in that discomfort?)
What if nothing good, get’s away?
At our December meeting, our meditation teacher said we only ever have this moment. There was a brief pause just after he spoke, where ‘nothing’ happened.
And in the next moment, we were all laughing. Something imperceptible had changed in a second, it shifted the energy of the room. Something was created in that ‘nothing’.
I’ve found myself thinking about this a lot – that when we are content, relaxed, present, we are properly here. There is no lack, no missing out, nowhere else we should be. And in that energy, literally, anything can be envisioned, created, birthed.
I’m realising that when I am impatient, or comparing or believing I should be further ahead, I miss out on right now.
It’s no wonder feel so bloody bereft; I am grieving the loss of the moment.