A brand new day
“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.”
― David Nicholls, One Day
It hardly needs saying but today is unique.
But after a bit of living, one day blends into the next and it begins to feel a little bland or at least repetitive.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit, just once in a while, to getting snow-blind to how precious each day, each hour and each moment truly is. I get tired, my inner critic goes into its mania phase and it doesn't take long before I'm questioning, yet again, the purpose of it all.
I'm lucky: a brisk walk in nature normally sorts things out, and if nothing else, looking up to the sky (whatever the weather) or standing close to or touching the wide expanse of a majestic tree reminds me of the blessing that is life — right here, right now.
One thing, though, I'm always cautious about embracing is the idea of hope for something better. In my experience — and mine alone — it can be a dangerous game to constantly wish for something better because apropos of making lists, vision quests and a whole lot more, it elides all that is unique and momentous of the present moment. (I'm sure I've written about this before and there's a quote somewhere in the ether that says something to the effect that you're so busy making plans — which I assume are hope-laden -- that you forget to live. Guilty as charged.)
Does that mean we should live without hope — right now?
I'm not sure.
What we would hope for?
A swift end to isolation?
A comprehensive and rapid cure for Covid19?
A wish to return to life as it was?
That we live out a full life and never again have to experience any of these things, especially the god-awful grief?
How real is any of that? I mean, how much 'control' do we really have?
Very little it seems to me.
Oh sure, we can want it better, but when everything is constantly changing — and that includes us — why do we think it should only be one way? To my mind, that feels a little like wishing for a miracle. And that's not to say miracles don't happen but how much then of our attention is placed on the present moment?
Sorry, I'm sure this message is out of whack with reality. But as I sit here to write this post, I know that this moment will never come again, and whilst it's good to hope for something better, we also need to apprehend the import of the here and now.
The other thing we need to consider is...what does it mean to Die Wise — see the book by Stephen Jenkinson? Yes, you heard me. As well as constantly talking about a good life, we also need to consider a good death — not just the final bit or even the end-stage but all of it.
I recognise this is antithetical to the normalcy of the modern age and even if it seems hugely crass with the passing now of so many people, many taken no doubt before their time, we should never forget that death is our life, as are all the other things we've done or want to do. For me at least, they're two sides of the same thing. Does that we mean we have to recalibrate our lives and do something different? I can't really answer that but I do know that there's way too much word voodoo associated with the 'D' word, as if that should be reserved for another day — most likely right at the very end. Why? Why should we not say that, in acknowledging the uniqueness of this moment, that we're one day closer to death? Yes, we want to live a good life but shouldn't death also inform our purpose and reverence for the happening of the now?
So, if you have a daily practice — I'm sure you've got one — perhaps, just perhaps, we need to find a way, even by sipping our cup of coffee or tea or looking out the window to whatever view there is to remind ourselves that this moment is unique and it will never, ever come again even if or especially if we feel it could be a lot, lot better.