Yet past is remembered as past in the present moment, and future is expected as future in the present moment. Each moment carries all of time. Thus a moment has an aspect of timelessness, In this respect, “now” is eternal.
Tanahashi, on Dogen’s Timelessness of a Moment
Every year, I choose a word. A word that becomes a touchstone, an anchor, a whisper under my breath. This year’s word was “present”, and it took everything in me to be present with it.
It has been a year of silences, of cycles coming to a close, of battling between what I know intuitively and what I desperately want to believe. A year of being present with feelings, unwanted feelings, that I would’ve done anything avoid– and yet, there was no escaping what needed to be faced, as painful as it might’ve been. The challenge was to stay present with the pain, instead of forcing myself to face my past suffering over and over again, as if somehow it would suddenly make sense.
It has been a year of being present with experiences so filled with magic and joy that they passed through me like mist— knowing, while I was experiencing them, they were fleeting— and wanting to prolong them for as long as I could.
But reliving the present is just memorising the past.
This year taught me, and is continuing to teach me, how to love at a distance. That love, in its truest and most unconditional form, does not require grasping, wanting, holding, desiring, asking, demanding, begging. That unconditional love is felt, deeply, in silence. In prayer. In body. In the alchemy of the heart.
That to love unconditionally does not mean that I’ve forgotten how to honour myself and my needs. I’m learning how to draw a circle around myself, and stay within in it— despite my habit of wanting to step outside of it. I’m learning to protect what is precious, uphold what is worthy and to have deep, abiding faith that what is meant for me will remain, without meddling in it. What leaves, must leave, and there is nothing I can do to keep it close.
I have learned, the hard way, to hold myself accountable for what I deserve, to not waiver in what has been given to me as a gift— the gift of intuition. That the signs I’ve perceived as auspicious are sometimes just reminders for the moment, and not necessarily fingers pointing to a lifetime.
This year exposed a habit I have come to wear as a badge of honour, one that has kept me in situations that drain the deep wells of my heart and spirit: If I could just compel people, with my words, with my presence– to remain, to come to knowing, to allow me to embrace them, to be held in their fear. If only.
Perhaps this is the fate of the poet— to forever be a fool at the mercy of wanting, so badly, for others to see the beauty you see in them.
A clear pool of reflected stars.
And yet, how selfish— to want others to see what you see in them— on your timeline, according to your schedule, in your language, in the way that you’ve imagined so that they can finally hold you in the way you can hold them. So you can be saviour, and perhaps saved. So you can prove to them that you saw them all along. So you can be seen. So options become priorities, so occasional becomes always.
Water is water, stars are stars.
What else do you need to know?
‘Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being.’Rumi