“Being fully present to what is - without judging or evaluating or wanting something different - is the most basic act of love.” CW Huntington, Jr.
Don’t know about you but that is kinda a TALL order...but very painfully true.
I know that my life occurs right now in the present yet I leave it all the time for the past, for the future. For some place else that is not now. I know that every single time I do this, I leave my life. I leave my present which fucks up my future. Yet, I leave still.
When I am capable of remaining, I often judge, evaluate or want something different. This is nice but ____ would be better, feel better...and that is the most aggressive thing I do every single day to myself and then to all of you.
There are moments, many more now than before, that I am here and nothing else is happening. I am not judging the moment to be too full or too lacking, I am not evaluating it to death, and I am not wishing it be anything other than it is. It is just fresh, current and here. So clean.
I have many more moments like this than I used to. I am, in fact, dazzled by the present, all that it holds and all that it doesn’t. I seem to be able more and more to access the now and appreciate all that it contains and lacks without demanding that it be something other than it is. It is a skill developed over time, hard won and long fought. But more recently, I see that it is just here all the time for me when I am not too busy ignoring it or fighting with it, or railing against it. The present, being present with the present can just occur in spite of me. And I can be fully and complete in love.
I can feel the love of the present with my children. Those moments sublime when we are not doing anything in particular, but I am there with them and I SEE them. I am fully accessible to them. And I believe what we all feel is the love. We bathe in it, we laugh in it. We are there loving what is and we are not clamoring for other things.
If this is love at its most basic form, why do I leave? For me, it is because this tender, vulnerable place is so foreign to me, I lose my way often. I am there and then I start to think and that is the end of everything.
Regardless of whether or not I am good at being present or suck at it, I know that my life and love exist best in present’s glory. I know that my most immediate way to feel, express love is right here, right now. And that is something I can rely upon.
I was sitting at a restaurant last night eating dinner by myself. I sat at the bar because it was a long wait for a table. I watched the bartender madly pouring drinks, cascading liquor into metal tumblers, shaking them into intoxicating stemware. And I couldn’t shake the hollowness. I was surrounded by all these people out and about spending their most important asset, time, carelessly. They drank to increase the moment, yet the moment really needed nothing. They drank to grab onto a feeling that can never be held. Many of them perhaps medicating an intolerable situation with their loved ones because their need to numb out was great, demanding their full lack of attention. Some likely just did it because it was habit. They drink because they do. They check out because they have not learned that everything that they have ever wanted, needed is right there with them.
I sat in the center of the restaurant. A full wall of booze staring down at me. An enticing kaleidoscope molded glass and colors. But I was not fooled. Those bottles contained empty promises that would never fail to disappoint. They would sing to me like sirens to Odysseus. Distracting me from my most basic knowledge: that I am here now and that is the best and most precious gift I will ever receive because it is the only place I can love myself, you, my children, the earth, my family, friends, complete strangers at the bar. And that is my Odyssey.
I ate my dinner bemused. I felt not superior, but free. I busted those particular shackles a long time ago, so I quietly ate my dinner hoping that each person present would be given access to themselves without judgment, evaluation and without wanting something different. And that each of us may continue to experience this most basic act of love.