Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Got Left Behind

I have left behind many people, places and things over the course of my life. Some were meant to be left, as I had outgrown them, or they had outlived their usefulness. Some I regret leaving behind, as I loved them more and perhaps was not ready to let them go.
From a young age, I learned to let go of things, and people, I loved. It readily appeared as a life lesson, and was presented to me over and over again. It still pops up in my life to this day. As a matter of fact, I count this life lesson as one of my favorites, for it gives much delight and satisfaction to practice it. By that I don't mean that I relish leaving things, places and people behind. But in some way, I am able to appreciate all of it in a much deeper way, when given enough time and distance. The letting go enables the perspective.
Certainly, there is also a cleansing aspect to "leaving behind" as well. I recently read a piece on the way that memory can obscure identity. Our minds become clouded by our memories, and we experience the present through the lens of our past experiences. This is the human condition, one could argue. To transcend this, we can reach towards the divine already within us. The divine within is a agent of renewal. So, to "let go" is to "let God" in a very real sense. When I let go of a place, person or thing that I am leaving behind, I am letting God cleanse my memory and restore me to my true identity.
Here is a picture of something that got left behind. It is a pair of painter's pants, which were popular when I was a teenager. I loved those pants...they were comfortable and they fit well. When I became ill during my sophomore year of college, we moved to California. Somehow, in the rush and confusion of that period, the painter's pants got left behind. All I have left now is a few photos of me wearing them, down at the beach near Jimmy's at Savin Rock in West Haven, Connecticut. I was seventeen, and in the full flower of my youth. Looking at the pants in the photo, I can recall the memory of who I was at that time. Life folds over, and for a brief instant, my identity is one with the person in the photo.
The pants were left behind, but I wasn't. I am here now, with my memories filtering my experience, while I endeavor to be mindful of their true purpose. It's an ongoing project.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Swimming in the Sea - A Reverie

I am swimming in a cool, clear, calm blue sea. It is early morning, and the light of the sun is just bright enough at the horizon to create a rosy glow about me. The sky appears to be endless. It contains lovely colors, and is dotted by a few wispy clouds. The air is warm and the breeze is light, with just the scent of the salt water. Far in the distance, a few birds practice their climbs and dives. They call out to one another. Aside from that, all I hear is the water lapping gently around me. My swimming is effortless, and I know that I can stop and rest at anytime, because here the water is not deep. If I stand up, the sand beneath my feet is soft and smooth. Yet I keep on swimming, because I am enjoying it so much. My body feels strong and healthy and alive. I am so happy to be here now!

Monday, August 4, 2008


I can't deny that I am getting older. After all, I get older every day no matter what. We all do! As soon as we are born, we start to age. There are peaks and valleys, spurts and lulls, in our aging process. There are "phases" and "plateaus" and "milestones."
Today is my birthday, so it is a milestone of sorts. Not a major one, but there is a major one coming up next year, so my mind does reach towards it.
I can't deny that I am getting older. My body feels older. My face looks older, especially (to me) in the last year or so. I am not really sure why the aging suddenly kicked in, or caught up with me like that! Maybe because of the weight I lost? Maybe the stress of the last five years? Whatever the cause, I see my aging before me when I look in the mirror. In any case, if I don't look, I don't really have to acknowledge it. But I can't deny it: I am getting older.
And yet: I am all the ages I have ever been. I am lucky that my best feature (in my opinion) is my lovely blue eyes, and they don't age, or haven't yet! I still have the radiance that has always been part of me. I can't imagine ever losing that!
I can't deny I am getting older. I think I am becoming wiser as well. That is truly the gift of age that I treasure the most. Aging does perhaps bring the necessity to slow down, to pace yourself, to make allowances for the human body. Aging also brings experience, of course. And as the mind processes more experiences, the learning opportunities do not end. Whence comes wisdom (I hope).