“For the time being the highest peak, for the time being the deepest ocean; for the time being a crazy mind, for the time being a Buddha body; for the time being a Zen Master, for the time being an ordinary person; for the time being earth and sky. Since there is nothing but this moment, for the time being is all the time there is.” ~Dogen
Take a deep breath.
Where are you? What are you doing? What are you doing that for?
As I write, I sit at my childhood desk in my childhood bedroom in Round Rock, a suburb just north of Austin. Lots has changed in this town in 25 years. Population more than quadrupled. (Dell moved in.) Strip malls built, housing developments explode. Lots has changed in this room in twenty years. The walls that were three shades of pink are now a subdued ivory. The baby blue carpet has been replaced with wood flooring. The twin-sized bed is long gone, a queen in its place.
I’ve been obsessively organizing. There is so much shit in this house. My mother is a collector. (Okay, I am too.) Or, was. When I chose to leave the country, I stashed a lot of my stuff in my parents’ closets and game room. But I’m staying abroad for the foreseeable future. Or maybe not. I’ve gotten better at letting go of my attachment to a five-year plan. I love that I don’t know. It’s fearsome and exhilarating.
Evidently I’ve gotten better at letting go of material items, as I’m about to purge heaps of kitchen wares, books, clothes, knick knacks galore, empty picture frames. All these things that were mine and could be someone else’s on Saturday for a dollar fifty. I’m on a recycling rampage, sorting through photographs, a filing cabinet of obsolete paperwork, shoeboxes crammed with ticket stubs and birthday cards from the nineties. I shuffle through memories: a snapshot of forgotten friends, a mix tape, a portfolio of high school art projects.
And, oh the journals! I am submerged in my biography. I’ve been a prolific writer since circa 1992. Everywhere I look, more diaries, calendars, planners, notebooks and index cards with scrawled notes to self emerge from the shadows. Am I ever going to read these again?
Wait, I’m not quite ready to dispose of everything just yet. Is there a secret in there? What threads of truth are woven through my personal archives?
It can get overwhelming, this process. This processing. I’ve been meditating each morning here in my cozy old space. This is, after all, the room where I first started to practice yoga almost 20 years ago. I sit and my mind is full… what to do? who to see? what hasn’t this friend called me back? why aren’t things like they used to be?
I’m airing out ancient pages, feeling flurries of nostalgia, disgust, indifference and above all, gratitude. I’m grateful for this safe, familiar place, this unfettered summer of yoga and visits and writing, movement and stillness.
I love that writing is minimalist. Pen. Paper. Brain. Focus. Put words on the page. In any order. Any words. Maybe no one else will ever read them! How liberating. I have a sleek new Mac laptop, which I duly worship, but how simple and lovely it is to write with a ballpoint pen on a lined sheet of paper in a spiral notebook at this very moment.
Indeed, this summer is a blessing. I want to soak up every second. The moments expand when infused with presence and mindfulness.
I slip into almost automatic meditative states at points. I come back always to the breath, my heart, my center. My most frequent intentions: patience, peace, gratitude for the present moments of the past that fit together so seamlessly, the countless experiences that lead me here.
Take a deep breath.
What are you doing?
You are home again in the present moment.