I’m in downstate eastern Michigan lounging alone on my mom’s flowered pastel couch with the deep aroma of coffee beckoning. The tattered book “Wild Mind” by Natalie Goldberg peers up from the round glass table.
Write, write, write, Natalie urges as her life mission. Write the chattering monkey mind, let it swing free through the jungle of its sense and craziness, don’t stop to edit, okay sip your coffee, but let the typing IPad finger never stop.
One fun exercise, she says, is let the monkey mind say what it wants and then write “What I really want to say…” and let the deeper stuff come up.
What I really want to say is how annoying smart washing machines can be. Have you ever used one? My brother and his wife put one in mom’s basement (they sometimes live here now that my mom dwells in assisted living) and I’m not smart enough to figure out how to outsmart it. Twice now I’ve washed the sheets and towels in preparation for departure and the load gets unbalanced and the machine misbehaves so terribly.
In fact I must quit typing, Natalie, and tend the naughty creature. Sip of coffee first! Oh Natalie, it’s impossible. We must sometimes divert.
Okay, back upstairs with clothes in the smart dryer, eating granola with sliced bananas, chia seeds and soy milk while typing with one finger and chewing. They say we really can’t multi-task as well as we think.
What I really want to say is that life seems to be this dance of challenge and joy. And that there’s some part of us that wants to get rid of the challenge part. Begone, all you troublesome problems that make us fret! Let’s just keep the happy parts, pretty please with cream and sugar on top.
It just hurts so damn much sometimes. This business of living.
This business of feeling.
This business of rainstorms and thunderstorms and tornados and hurricanes and wildfires and heat waves and viruses and cancer and heart attacks and war and arguments and differing viewpoints and divorce and…I could type for a long time. Couldn’t you?
Then there’s the precious joys, the sweet moments. Cappuccino ice cream with your 88 year old mom who couldn’t walk two years ago and now drives to the blueberry farm to surprise friends with fat juicy Michigan blueberries. Sitting on the sand and watching your adult children swim into frolicking waves. Morning friendly chats with a brother who lets you stay at his northern cabins on the way home to the shores of Lake Superior.
I could type for a long time. Couldn’t you?
It’s getting late. What did I really want to say that’s been left unsaid? I just want to capture a preciousness of life. The way it’s possible to pay attention to it all, the way tears can signal joy and sorrow. To say that it’s not just about laughter. It’s about tending ALL of us. All of life.
Hugging what hurts. Rejoicing when we’re happy. Learning to live with the fullness of it all, the confounding wholeness of it all, with the broken crack and the bell that still rings, inviting us into the next sacred moment.