On Waiting For Your Real Life To Begin

Good morning from, erm, paradise.

Yup, pretty much.

A whirlwind 4 days later, we're moved, dusted, vacuumed, cleaned, unpacked (for the most part), and happily ensconced in the new place. It's pretty much way more rad than we ever could've imagined. I've logged two sunny outside-on-the-deck asana practices already. The fridge is stocked. The chimes are hung. The (mismatched) towels are all folded. Shiva Nataraj is holding court from his spot on the fireplace mantel. The Meyer lemons are busting out on the new tree. The mega-speed internet is finally hooked up. The long-ignored keyboard is set up in the new music studio space so that I can get back to sucking a little less on the black-and-whites.

Happy lady pose.

Last night I had my final Monday evening class at Flying Yoga (our second studio space, aka the Annex, will open tomorrow, and with it, my schedule will change to Tuesdays instead). I got in the car after class around 9:30pm in the usual post-teaching state: buzzing and slightly sweaty and definitely dehydrated and certainly hungry and not excited about the long drive ahead of me, now made longer by 9 minutes (yes, we clocked it) after the move.

I usually don't mind the drive — it's a nice buffer of solitude and quiet in my day — but at night, when you know you won't get home til pushing 11 and you'll be dodging Bambi and Pepe Le Peu the whole time, it's hard to get psyched up for sometimes.

So I sucked it up and plugged in my iPod and dialed up the Tara Brach podcast I was halfway through, and sailed onto the freeway back home from Oakland. I was somewhere through the police-car-lit construction zone around Richmond, wishing away the minutes so that I could get home already, when Tara said, quite matter-of-factly, in the midst of a thoughtful teaching on presence:

Let this moment matter as much as any moment in your life.

I thought: wow, well, hell.

She's right.

It seemed particularly apropos given that I'd just been in a state of vague blah-ness, wishing away the next hour of my life, feeling a heavy sense of blasé in the knowing I'd need to stay awake at the wheel to avoid unexpected deer and twisty-turns and the usual high(low)lights of my commute.

And why shouldn't that moment in the car — wrung-out and hoarse and happy and ready for bed after a big weekend of moving — be just as sacred as any other? Why shouldn't it be just as powerful, as meaningful, as the day I was born or the day I graduated college or the day I die?

'Cause the idea really is, of course, that one moment is no more precious, no more inherently holy or blessed, than any other.

We spend our lives waiting for, wishing for, other moments. Thinking we'll really feel whole (full, alive, achieved, worthy, lovable, content) once we get that job, once we find that partner, once we get the body we think will make us happy. So we ignore all the other moments in between — these sometimes-blasé, boring, unsexy, dirty, awkward bits here and now — thinking our "real lives" are somewhere Over There.

I see it all the time with this whole weird wedding countdown thing. Friends who've got counters running by the day ("Ohh look, it's only 133 days and 2 hours and 13 minutes til I'm so-and-so's wife!").  I know there's a spirit of excitement behind this sort of thing, but to be honest, it makes me crazy. Enough with the countdowns already. Be right here, in your life, right now, as you are, not 133 days from now. Because your life won't be any different in that moment, you won't be any happier, necessarily, you'll enjoy some pleasure in that moment, for sure, and then it will pass, as all things do, but is it really worth futuring for the next 133 days and ignoring the grace and the richness and the holy in this very moment?

I remember working in jobs that just flat-out sucked. Jobs that left me feeling worthless and like a failure and like a big mean judgmental clock was staring down at me and angrily counting all the time I was wasting in my life doing something menial and mind-rotting and embarrassing when I should've been doing something Meaningful and Purposeful and Respectable.

And you know what?

Fuck that.

I wish I'd been more proud at the time of all the ways in which that mowing the lawn and the washing the dishes and the squeegeeing the floor (is that how you spell squeegeeing?) were sacred. I wish I'd bowed with deep reverence to the embodied prayer that is cutting lemons and filing papers and vacuuming under the desk. I wish I'd seen the holy dance in the answering the phone, in the greeting customers, the opportunity to connect in making simple eye contact with the (likely suffering) stranger across the bar or the desk or the room.

We spend our lives thinking life will begin when we get the ring on the finger or the right house or the right job. And those sweet sacred moments in between get so sadly overlooked.

Don't overlook them, waiting for things to line up. Be right here in all of your life's mundane glory.

Moving over the weekend, I realized this, so deeply. We were internet- and phone-free for a good three days, what with the remote location of our new place and nothing having been installed yet, so our days looked like so much hustle and dust, exhaustion and hunger, the weary thrill of moving into a charmed place coupled with the sense of never-ending mundanities like deep-cleaning the bathtub and dusting behind the old refrigerator and trying failingly to get the furniture indentations out of the bedroom carpet.

I sat there with the vacuum Saturday afternoon, a beautiful sunny 80 degree day, spent inside with bleach and brooms instead of out on the beach (that kind of Kodak moment we think more worthwhile, somehow), and hovered the handheld attachment over an indentation in the carpet for 10 minutes probably, trying to coax it back to life so that it might subtly blend in with the rest of its brethren.

I could've sat there and just seethed, been irritable the whole time at how I was wasting a gorgeous day sucking carpet indentations up with a vacuum. I told myself: Ok, Rach, you have a choice here; be super bitchy about how stupid this is and what a waste of time it is, or find the meditation in it. So, instead, I tuned into my senses, hardcore. I thought about the marvel that was that moment, knowing my partner was knee-deep in bleach in the next room scrubbing shower doors down as the water leaked all over the floor, directing my drishti to that vacuum, hearing the sound of the suction, feeling the vibration in my fingers, looking up to see the light fall in through the drapeless windows, and really being in my life.

And it felt sacred in the sweetest, most boring of ways.

Please don't live for your wedding day. Please don't live for the day you get out of this dead-end job and do something that will "make you happy." Please don't live for the day you get that sexy car, or wait to go to the pool til the day you hit a certain number on the scale. We spend our lives with one foot out the door, thinking happiness and pleasure and contentment are Over There.

Be in it, now, with the dirt and the spilled blueberries and the Softscrub staining your pants.

Be in it, now, curled up on the sofa in an old turquoise Urban Flow hoodie wearing sweatpants and unbrushed hair, sleep still in your eyes, a stained coffee mug at your feet, watching the sun burn the fog off over Tomales Bay.

It doesn't get any better than this.

Let this moment matter as much as any moment in your life.


Ellen said…
Thanks Rachel! This is a great, powerful, inspirational post. Super similar to how I see and try to interact with the world. Not waiting, enjoying.
Lisa said…
Love this! I so enjoy your posts. Thank you for the wonderful reminder (as a bride to be as well) that life is happening now!

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