I took a bath today.
I’m marking that as a win.
I feel like COVID-19 is forcing us to look at ourselves. Us as the collective humanity, and each of us as individuals. We have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We just have to face ourselves right now.
It’s kind of ironic, I spent the last year and a half ‘finding myself’ and the biggest lesson I learned about myself is I need alone time in nature to be happy. – Aha! Break through! I am coming to know myself! Self-love! Self-love!
And now I am trapped in the suburban Milwaukee, where it’s hard to find nature.
Well-played universe, well-played.
And yet, if all the bullshit I’ve been spewing about meditation and mindfulness is true, it shouldn’t matter.
If I really believe everything works out exactly the way it should, I should be able to find love and gratitude in my heart for this lesson the universe is teaching me now.
So am I going to walk the walk, or am I going whine about the cruelties of fate?
Ok, but here’s the thing. Being alone in nature, reaaaaally helps me remember that everything is ok.
Trapped in a city, surrounded by the mental vibrations of people, and buildings that trap and reverberate these vibrations, it’s really easy to start believe what everyone else does, that existence is suffering, that nothing really ever quite lives up to the expectations you create for it.
It may be harder to remember in a city, but it’s still true: our reality is created by our minds. Our experience of the world is created by our reaction to the stimuli we encounter.
So if I really believe all that, it should be fine here in Milwaukee.
And it is, I just have to remember to keep looking for it.
Today, around 5pm, the sun finally graced us with his luminance – halle-fucking-lujah. After sitting at my computer all afternoon, battling a bug in my data-curation code that is still kicking my ass, I really wanted to go for a walk outside.
But my mom made dinner early, she felt compelled to try a new recipe – a hot German dish – beef stroganoff. (Cooking seems to be one of my mom’s stress relief valves.) So I sat down for dinner instead, trying not to rush too much, because I want to spend quality time with my mom.
Then I was heading out for a walk, the sun was now less than a fist’s height above the houses. But I had to stop by my sister’s house (her family lives next door – we’ve got a mini-compound situation going on here), because my sister’s dog, Dora, had come over to my mom’s house for dinner, and I had to bring her back.
After letting Dora in, my sister, Kristin, said she wanted to go for a walk too, then my nephew Harold said so too, so they started getting ready. Meanwhile my other nephew, Henry comes careening back into the garage on his bike and also wants to go.
I eyed the drooping sun, feeling the chances of his rays gracing my skin slipping behind the trees. After everyone was shoed, gloved, jacketed and hatted up, the sun had dipped behind the neighborhood buildings. We set off into a numbing wind that had materialized, seemingly just to mock me.
I wasn’t expecting it to be this cold, and I breathed through the urge to mentally kick myself for not dressing warmer. But it was warmer when I first tried to leave…
I don’t remember the start of the walk, cuz I was so engrossed in the mental chatter of whining in my head about not being able to do what I want because I always have to wait for people. And please god when can I get the fuck out of Milwaukee.
But then we rounded a bend in the nearby subdivision and the horizon opened up on a little pond, with the sun hovering just above the now distant trees, reflecting off the pond, and the beauty stunned my mind into silence.
Kristin was standing behind me, fiddling with Harold’s coat. Henry scampered off on his own, and I had a few blessed moments to stand there, close my eyes, feel the sun on face, hear the birds chirping in some syncopated rhythm only they understand – at least 4 different calls contributing to the symphony – and I felt it, that peace that comes from nature. That escape from my mental chatter, from the collective chatter of humanity.
And that’s when I remembered all the teachings, all the lessons. That’s when I remembered this experience is my reaction, I can influence it.
But damn it’s hard when I’m inside, surrounded by people, giving my attention to social media (when I’m procrastinating or doing social media stuff for Elephant Journal). It’s easy to get sucked into that mindset, to forgot all the mindfulness training.
But, if I had gone for walk when I first wanted to, the sun wouldn’t have been in that perfect position, just above the horizon, to create that stunning scene.
See, everything works out exactly the way it should. Why do I keep resisting it? What can’t I just accept the lesson with gratitude?