I have spent the last few weeks caring for myself more than I have done in years. My time has been spent counting calories and understanding the effect of food on my emotions and my body - as much as the effect of emotions on my eating and on my body. A lot of time has also been spent understanding me - the real me a lot better.
I give a hundred percent of myself to whoever I am in contact with. I give all of myself to whatever it is that I am undertaking. I am fully present in any situation I find myself in. All good things but then I also expected the same from the people and circumstances too. That can be a huge burden on others. It requires trust, respect, and unconditional love for and from people. How many of us are ready for this? How many of us know how to define these qualities? It has taken me 53 years to get a small glimpse of and know their effects on me personally and I know now that for years I lacked these essential values - not by choice but simply because I lived a life that was centered in ego. Ego is quick to build complexes - superior in some instances and inferior in others - causing trust, respect and real love to fly out the window and stay outside.
I consider myself to be an intelligent logical person who has a clear understanding of language, emotions, and most thoughts and ideas. When I discovered that this very intelligence and my own sharp mind are my enemies I was horrified. My mind and intellect very easily took over my life. They developed my ego. They scattered me. I became their slave and so a slave of time. When I stopped working outside the home I gave up wearing a watch or carrying a time telling device like the cell phone on me. It was a huge relief not to be a slave to the clock anymore. It was not enough, though. I may not have allowed the clock to rule my life but I was still a slave to time. The past and the future were still the determinants of my thoughts and actions. Eckhart Tolle speaks so eloquently about the destructive nature of time in his books (Power of Now and A New Earth). The only time we have is the Now and everything is always perfect in this moment. It is when we dwell on the past and imagine the future that the power of fear or expectation takes over and destroys the beauty of the present. The past can only be a determinant of the future if we do not acknowledge the present. There is no need to judge the present because there is nothing to judge in it. This moment is neither good nor bad it just is. That defines me too. I am neither good nor bad in this moment; I just am. My goodness or badness lies in my past. When I live only in this moment I do not think or act from memory or expectation because I am only in touch with my being-ness and that never leads me astray. There is nothing good or bad about a circumstance if I do not consider its importance based on past memory or future expectation. That dependence on time is what I am striving to free myself from. I find it brings a deep sense of peace under every circumstance. Tough times are always only imagined. Not being able to afford a meal I crave, for whatever reason - financial, because of health, lack of time - will not kill me. The craving will pass and I may or may not survive to have it another day but so what? That movie I want to watch, or the top I want to buy, or the slim body I want to have may all be elusive or may all be mine - do they really matter in the larger scheme of this moment?
I live my life now doing what gives me pleasure in the moment. I eat right, I walk, I joke around with my husband, I talk to my children, I watch movies, or take a nap in the middle of the day, I write, I read, I listen to music, or cook or clean - anything I do is for the moment. If in the middle of my writing a phone rings I shut my computer and pick up the phone or choose to ignore the phone - I give my full attention to what is happening now - if I feel like it. Nothing is dependent on my existence and yet my existence is purposeful. What freedom that brings.
Watching my children shows me the importance of living in the present moment. I love my children and it reflects in their being. I want them to be who they want to be. When they suffer or are in pain I believe it is their experience to have. When they make what I consider mistakes it is for their own growth. I have never lived my life through them and today I find myself more connected to them even though they live 500 miles away. I do not talk to them or email them everyday and yet I feel as close to them today as I did when they clung to me as infants. They are both more centered than I was at their age. They are more outspoken, more knowledgeable, more goal oriented, and yet more present than I was. They reflect the youth of today who have a much deeper understanding of life. They live in the present moment - maybe because they are not burdened by family liabilities like we were or because they are more self absorbed than we had the chance to be - whatever the reason they have developed a skill that I definitely lacked for the most formative years of my life - the skill to enjoy every moment of life. I am there today and am loving it.
I have chosen to distance myself from the social rounds - not because my friends and acquaintances are not important - but simply because this affords me the privilege and the time of getting to know myself better and gives me the opportunity to acknowledge the qualities that I do possess of trust, respect and unconditional love for people and circumstances. I feel like the bird who knows that she will be cared for and can choose to be a free spirit. I am choosing to die before dying and so becoming fearless of death. I know I am deathless, immortal, ever present. The ups and downs of circumstances and relationships are physically time bound and will pass but life is timeless and will always be in the present moment. I die and am born every moment and therefore every moment is a celebration renewed. People, things, thoughts, ideas, fears, desires, are all within a single moment bound by a strong string of deep awareness. If I let them be they leave me be too. I embrace all this in love expecting nothing in return for the pleasure is in the loving itself. Every now and again the peace disappears - there is turmoil and heartache. A pause to bring awareness to the ego and I find that all that is really left is always peace. Deep, lasting, overwhelming peace.