Here and Now

Irises planted at the old family farm by my sweet mother-in-law Donna, who passed away 10 years ago. Still loved, still missed.

The cycles of things are at the forefront of my awareness. I have spent so much of my time focused on how to find each new beginning, and how to make desired (but feared) endings come to pass without disaster.  Should I quit this job? Should I buy a different car? Is it time to move? I have wrestled with countless personal life choices, and their meanings, rewards, and consequences. I have learned that there are very few limits to the number of paths and places available for my choosing, and beings who will step up and walk alongside me. And I also discovered that staying in an emotional space of love and appreciation is the secret to letting go with less pain.

Time and distance have contain the power to soften and illuminate. Though so many things felt interminable in the moment, in hindsight those places and situations fill only a single heartbeat. Who would ever have anticipated my fond memories of people who once drove me completely bonkers? Or how much I would eventually hope for their grace and compassion in remembering me?

All of my beginnings and endings, and my strivings to be somewhere else, have brought me an unexpected gift. It is the gift of being able to ground myself, to notice and appreciate that I am here now. So many times, in recent years, I have looked down, and noticed my feet on the floor, and the chair in which I am sitting. I have thought to myself “I won’t always be here in this place, with these people. I’ll move on, and so will they, and we will all change, as will this place. So what is it that I need to do, what do I need to be aware of, and what do I need to celebrate while I am here? While we are all here in this place, and being present with each other at this time?” Because now I know that I will blink my eyes, my heart will beat once more, and onward we will go.

As the late teacher and physician David Simon said, shortly before his departure from the Earth, “There’s no better preparation for exiting than living fully, living compassionately, and living lovingly. Treating each other as if we were aware that it wasn’t going to go on forever.”

And so today, I am blessed with the opportunity to notice where I am, in these places and relationships that I have chosen. I am blessed over and over to spend my heartbeats with teams of skilled, dedicated teams of professionals – people who can offer support, mentorship, new adventures, camaraderie, and shared leading edge learning. I go home every night to my loving spouse of 10 years, and my sweet, saucy kitty cat of 16 years. I could not ask for more.

One more thing that I have learned along the way: when life inspires me to try something new, I need to go there. I must answer the call of growth and adventure, or its ringing becomes so loud that I lose my focus on appreciating the here and now.

And so, the places I find myself contain the endings of cycles, and the beginnings of new ones, and the opportunity every day to notice the beating of my heart and to know that I am lucky.