Deja Vu All Over Again
Today my husband and I were talking about one of the traits we’re glad we share: we’re both very willing to enjoy things over and over, and at the same time, we love finding and experiencing new things. For instance, we wake up every weekend morning and look out our bedroom window at the trees, and the Hudson, and the sky, and find it beautiful and engaging every time. And each spring we’re charmed anew by the fresh unfolding of the season.
And then tonight, I was searching ‘spring’ here on my blog – just to see what I had said in years past, and found this post from last April:
Spring never fails to charm me. Everything gradually waking up, reviving; all the rough grays, browns and tans softening, showing green or red. Purple croci, yellow daffodils. Running water appears from snow. Mist on the river instead of ice.
You’d think it would get boring – after all, it’s pretty much the same every year. But I find that if I’m open to being touched, lovely things always touch me.
Which makes me think that the experience of being jaded – “been there, done that” – is pretty much entirely a matter of what you assume about what’s happening, vs. the event itself.
For example, I know that I could look at the tree outside our bedroom window – we call it the beauty tree – and think, “Yeah, OK, here it goes again, just like every year: the buds that are starting to swell. Then the leaves will unfurl from the buds. Ho hum.” And that if I framed it that way in my mind I wouldn’t really see it; I would just check it off my mental list as something familiar.
But I can also not do that. Instead, I can sit in bed and notice how something that seemed completely dead two weeks ago is changing before my eyes; that the angular structure of every branch is softened by the rounding of the buds, making the ends of the branches almost hazy, and that tiny stripes and touches of the tenderest green color are beginning to give that haziness the look of green gauze. I can be astonished by the beauty and the relentless, quiet swell of renewed life.
I can choose to be bored; I can choose to be enchanted.
And I thought – that’s exactly the experience I’ve been having the past couple of weeks; that’s pretty much the experience I have every year.
I very much appreciate that somehow I am mostly open to what’s happening in a given moment. In the present moment, there is almost always something to be learned, to be enjoyed, to be explored, to be savored. And that moment can be fully engaging whether it’s filled with brand new experiences or experiences you’ve had a hundred times.
Almost every spiritual tradition in the world encourages people to live in the present moment (even Christianity: a verse in the gospel of Matthew notes, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”).
Why do you suppose that is? I’m convinced it’s because we’re only fully alive when we’re aware of this moment. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about some mindless state of not thinking or planning (I’m all about envisioning/planning/executing). I’m just saying that when my consciousness is grounded in the present moment, even as I’m thinking about the future; when I’m aware of myself and of the world and the people around me – I truly enjoy being alive.
I recommend it highly.