by Anne Martin -- March 23rd, 2015
I once read a quote by Rachel Brathen that I loved.
“Life is made up of a collection of moments that are not ours to keep. The pain we encounter throughout our days spent on this earth comes from the illusion that some moments can be held on to….clinging to people and experiences that were never ours in the first place is what causes us to miss out on the beauty of the miracle that is the now”.
There is something to be said for living in such a way that you could let go of everything. It is the sense of possession, and more than that, the sense of need, that keep us from feeling happy.
Rays of sunshine and rippling waves are beautiful not in spite of their ephemeral nature, but precisely because of it. Letting go of moments as gracefully as they appear allows us to feel the next ones just as vividly. There is a state of happiness outside of the realm of exuberance and joy that can be achieved by doing this, by recognizing beauty and then releasing it. There is a happiness that comes in the form of a deep appreciation for transitory moments of time, for stopping for all the little things, for listening to the rain on the roof at night.
I am seeking that everyday happiness found lying in the shade, alone. If you are lucky, you open your eyes to sunlight filtering through the tree branches. There’s a breeze, and you’re barefoot.
In that moment, when you stop to listen to how even your breaths are, you realize that you are okay. In that moment, YOU ARE YOU OKAY. You see the ways in which the world is changing, how the sun is at that very moment shifting through the sky. You realize that you don’t know how your world will look when that happens, only that it will be different that it is now.
If life is a series of ups and downs, and the only constant is change, then the only thing you can be sure of, is that wherever you are is exactly where you need to be.
I sat with my toes in the sand last week reading the Desiderata: “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste…you are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have the right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world”.
It is a beautiful world.
It is beautiful and it is imperfect, and it is beautiful because it is imperfect.
It feels so easy to get swept up in a flurry of commitments and obligations and ideas about what we should be doing, where we should be (especially in our career), and when we should get there. I worry that this leads us to forget what we want to be doing, where we want to be, and if we ever really want to get there. There is a danger of missing the journey and all the spaces in-between.
The perfect life is an illusion.
Give up the chase of it, and it just may set you free.
Acknowledge the happiest moments of your life and embrace the people that you love. Open your heart to the hard decisions and the sad days and the fearful hours. Stop asking “why me?”, and begin to wonder, “why not me?”.
Our existence on this earth may be short or it may be long. It may be fiery or it may be mundane. But I think that it is time to begin to examine it. To fully live it. Not just the spring breaks and the Friday nights and the days when you receive good news. But the days when you wake up to clouds or don’t hear what you wanted to hear, the days when you let your cereal soak far too long or you miss the bus or you forgot the keys. You’ll miss the next moment, you’ll be looking at the ground when the sun sneaks through. Let it go!
I am only 22, but so far I have learned that life is pain, and it is fear, and it is bewilderment, and hurt, and betrayal. It is angry tears and hollow, gut-wrenching nights, and shivering in a cold rain.
But it is also love. It is also sunny days, and a rainbow just when you needed it.
Go because you never have enough time. Live your passion. Move to Costa Rica and live in a treehouse. Plant a garden in your home. Pause to look out the apartment window at that exact moment when the first sunbeam of the day peaks over the building next to yours. Embrace the sunrises and the sunsets. Always.
Eat an apple. Think about all the millions of sunrays that made up that small creature held in the palm of your hand. You’re eating sunbeams, and you’re made up of stardust (or so they tell us). So what is there to be afraid of, really?
I don’t know why we are here. I don’t know where we came from, and I don’t know where we are going. I am seeking to let go of the old so that I can ride the next wave. I am trying to pursue adventure and new spaces and to discover old books in the forgotten corners of the library. I’m looking at my approaching graduation and making a promise to wake up with the sun and to sleep with the moon and to live simply…and somewhere in there probably go in a million wrong directions.
…loving each moment…and then letting it go.
It might just be about doing the best that we can, with what we have.
It might be remembering, in the darkest moments, that where there is beauty, there is hope. Where there are tall trees and mountain streams and fireflies on the warm nights, there is a need to love and share your secret thoughts and to travel and live all the little joys to their fullest. To shed a little light on the quiet places, on the people speaking much louder than words.
I want to live and let go. I want to embrace the moments without claiming them as my own.
I want to choose the scariest path…always.
I want to go down dead ends and live in pursuit of life. It feels time to step aboard ships and walk down new beaches, and plant a small seed and watch it turn the sun into bright red fruit. To remake life as magical as it was when I was a kid.
I want to relish discomfort, use it to keep moving. To embrace our changing world in the best possible ways.
It’s time to live.