Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time in a Bloggle

It has been a year since I started this blog. I know it has been a year (although it certainly doesn't feel like it) because I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with our family and friends while we went on a 3-week road trip that included a visit with Jules's doctor in Los Angeles. What a great trip that was! Of course, the news at the doctor's office was great (no tumor growth) and then we enjoyed LA, Disneyland, Northern California, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and several other stops. It seems like a dream, that we're home and in a routine (of sorts) and not planning any sort of big vacation.

So where has the time gone?

Looking back at the early pages of the blog, at the memories of that trip, I am amazed at how much everyone has changed in a short year. Joel looked like a boy a year ago. Now he definitely looks like a teenager. And Camille and Jasper look so young on those pages! Jules is losing boyishness, and Ellie looks different, too. And oh...crappers. Here it comes. It is creeping up, right through the heart where I feel the sense of heaviness, working up to the throat where it will settle like a lump for a few seconds before filling my mind with.....a little sadness.....and loss. But wait. I stopped it. I got a little heaviness in the heart, yeah, I feel it there. But it went no further. I have not let it fill my mind. Nothing is missing. There are no ghosts, here. Nobody has been lost. They have just changed. Change is what we do. Change is good. And it sure beats the alternative, as they say.

I am getting better at grasping the reality of impermanence. Initially, my grapple with impermanence led to a sort of fixation on "now". Everything was about the now. Everything was about presence; about being present. The understanding that the present is all we have took root with a sort of irrational need to cling to each and every moment. There was this sense of, "Oh God...there went another moment I wasn't paying attention its gone. Oh geez - and there went another! I will catch the next one. I will! Here it comes! God, there it went." Yes, that was my mind chatter. Annoying, right? And when I was able to grasp a present moment, it took on such monumental importance that its passing felt like something to mourn. I tried to memorize the faces of my babies...their smells...their sounds. With such intensity I tried! As if the baby was all there would ever be. As if the baby (not the person within the baby) was what was important to hold onto. And of course, the babies grew up. The babies are gone. But there is no real loss. There is only change. I am not the child I once was. But I am not gone. And the dead are not gone, either. Not really. Just changed. And death is the ultimate change...loss...that we all fear, is it not? Is that why we try so hard to hold on? To slow down the approaching end of the party that we all know is coming but prefer not to think about? I don't know. I just know that time will keep marching, we will all keep changing, no matter how hard I try to be present or try to remember or try to hold on.

I am somewhat able to stand back from it all, now. Instead of trying to catch each and every moment...of trying to be present in each and every moment...I am learning to watch it all, instead. With a smile. Instead of trying to attain presence, I would rather see time (my life and the people in it) as a shower that washes over me. I don't try to grab any of it. I don't have to actively participate in perpetuating, stopping, grasping, clinging, or letting go of any of it. I just stand and feel it caressing down my skin. I breath it in and I breath it out. I don't go after it. I just watch. I don't try to collect the memories pooling at my feet; dripping down my body on all sides. I feel it there, I feel it passing. It doesn't bother me. Instead, I turn my face upward and focus on the shower coming down....there is no present, no now. That was just buzz from popular mystics making the talk show circuit...there is no pause button that freezes the present moment...there is just the shower coming down. And all I have to do is be still. It needs nothing from me. It will continue to originate from some unknown source and disappear into another. It just is.

I will watch it run through my fingers with the curiosity and awe of a child watching a balloon disappear into a bright blue sky. I will not cup it in my hands to slow its flow...because I can't. Because I don't need to. Because even if I do, it is still going to slip through, eventually. And I'll miss something else if I try to hold onto a little puddle...I might not feel the rest of it pouring down around me. And I want to feel all of it.

So happy birthday to Sardines in a Can. There has been a lot of change in the past year...the past month...the past hour....and it is all good.

Sardine Mama


  1. Happy Birthday Sardines! I've laughed, I've cried, I've enjoyed it all.

  2. What a beautiful post. My eyes are all watered up. I love the shower image. I think that might help me on the days when I feel so frustrated by my inability to focus on the NOW all the time.

  3. Happy blog birthday, Sardine Mama! Impermanance... that is something I've been really thinking about lately. The waves of my life wash in, they wash out, they wash in in again. Your post was beautiful.