Assessing the Present

I like to stand on the surface of the island of now and plant an adjectival flag into the soil. I shall declare you …… fill in the blank.

Last night the weather was violent. Rain and furious ice chunks flying through the air were striking my bedroom window. It was “bad”.

The gift of angels

People were posting on Facebook that it was “horrible”. The dreadful snow that had fallen the last two days became icy and slick. This morning was a gray locked in kind of day where the sky is frowning so that its cloud filled forehead was lowered below the mountains ringing the valley.

But the snow was beautiful. When the while fluff is lining the limbs of the trees so the black contrast delineates the shape of each branch, I feel as if I am in some handicrafted miniature village or on a 1930’s movie set (without the fake asbestos doubling as snow).

And the violence of the storm was exciting. There was such sheer energy at work that I opened the door and stood in it just to feel my pulse increase.

The sky has pushed back the gray and some dripping water color blue is starting to fill the gaps. Sun is shining along the branches of the trees where yesterday it was white. And the grass is now revealed with crocus plants pushing up from the soil of the garden bed.

And as I look at this day opening up before me, I think about the script we are given by our society. We need to name the thing. We must give attributes to the moment. We are like teachers in a classroom constantly ranking our experiences and assigning grades to each hour, each day, each season.

“Did I do well?” we ask.

As I was reading a post from a woman who is growing and stepping away from past chaotic experiences, I see that she is in a poignant place. She is not yet but no longer.

It is a time and place that leaves her unable to assess who she is. And my Buddhist teachers would say, “Congratulations.” When we no longer know who we are; when we no longer judge the events around us; when we simply breathe, make intentions and watch ourselves everything opens up.

The death of labeling; the death of catogorizing; the death of having to construct an emotional reaction to each now means that all is possible. It also, for me, has meant I can connect with the knowledge that my view is so limited that I have no idea at all the importance of any given experience. What I do know is that it is not to be found under a planted flag of “good” or “bad” and remaining standing still emotionally.

Life is an adventure and what seems good may become better or worse. What seems terror filled may be growth in disguise. What seems to be important may be, in the end, just another small lesson. Ending something is not the end. Beginning something is not the beginning.

Our lives are a single flow of lessons and there is no head teacher to judge our “progress”. I simply watch my own growth and see how submitting to the process has brought me greater peace and confidence that nothing is ever lost. And in that trusting place, I am able to be more loving because my anxiety is softening.

Every instance is new and fleeting. There is no need to call it by a name. We are here to learn.