I need to sit still, because it means I stop – for a while – the momentum of a busy life. I get to listen to the silence, and remember my own death. I remember that this fixation with worldly things/people/experiences is only temporary. And that feels relaxing, relieving and revitalizing; a blessing which makes each moment more precious.
I need to move my body – not to get anywhere or do anything but for movements’sake – because it draws me down, out of the dominance of my mind into a visceral, simple, direct experience of the moment. And if I give this enough time, and if I am lucky, I get to feel that I am being moved by life rather than making anything happen. This is glorious, very very satisfying and wonderfully pointless. Fingers touching space, opening like blossom; breath invited into every available cell; rocking hips dancing to a music I cannot hear with my ears. Today as I move, it is gentle and slow.
I need to write because it plugs me in to what is moving in the stream of my mind – in a way which starts to form a satisfying coherence to seemingly random happenings. There is never a final statement about anything, but I love how when I give space, this intelligent life form that I am, seems to want to create order and meaning and shape to the unfolding of things.
I love the play of body and mind together.
For years I was at war with my mind and its endless, tedious, repetitive chatter; its’ catastrophizing, self obsession and boring dramas. These days I feel more or less at peace with all of that, it is less in the foreground, and I know it for what it is, which is often just outdated old habits.
And having spent decades focusing on the wonders of embodiment, right now, it is the intelligence and capacity of the mind which thrills me. Not that I have a particularly brilliant mind for a human, but I love that it is able to make meaning and pattern and it is able to communicate through words and be heard and – on a good day – understood. That seems wondrous to me! That I can think something and then write it down as I am now with these funny little black symbols on a computer screen. And that you can read it and have some idea of what is being expressed. The less I take all this for granted, the more amazing it seems.
And then, even more amazingly, I can talk with someone and bounce ideas around, and on a good day we can spark each other off, create projects, make sense of things which previously seemed to make no sense at all, or fall about laughing at the absurdity of something which suddenly strikes us.
As I get older my memory is going. When I name this (having just forgotten the name of someone I know quite well) I see most people nod their heads in agreement. Our memories are suffering these days, and I don’t think it is just age. I think we are overloaded with information and the mind is simply over stuffed. So perhaps you are reading this now and I am contributing to a bit more stuffing.
Sorry about that.
But one of the things about a waning capacity is that it highlights the sense that everything is falling away and it would be a huge shame not to appreciate what is still here. In many ways I am happy to say I am still as bright as a button.
Back to these needs of mine – to sit still, and move, and write…
What makes me sad is that often I don’t.
I let the speed take over and make it seem as if these things are not necessary; and I give in to a strange resistance which would prefer not to feel anything much and just get on with what needs to be done – a thousand jobs to do in the house or the garden or admin or emails or people to attend to
And the difficulty with this is not only that I am less happy and less at home in my own skin, but I am invariably more inclined to mess up in my relationships, love less and contribute more to the general fuck up.
So this is, apart from anything else, a semi public pledge to myself (and maybe an inspiration to you reading), to spend time each day, however short, to give attention to what is precious, to what brings me home and what supports me to appreciate the incredible bounty of what it is to be human – whatever happens, regardless of whether I am in the mood or don’t think I have the time.