Lately I’ve been making the time (no, not finding the time- when I try to find it, it is endlessly elusive, I have to MAKE it) to do some simple things. Breathing (don’t laugh, I’m doing breathwork- it’s a thing), coaxing and stretching out my wound-up muscles, taking fifteen minutes to sit quietly in the sun, designing my day so that I can have twinkling candles lit and dinner on the way in time for sunset, so that I can sneak away for a moment and drink in the last moments of the day.
To my Nan and the generations before I suppose this sounds like nonsense. Of course we would do these things. Of course you need to breathe with your whole lungs to keep the recesses fresh and clean. Of course your body works better if it actually works a little. Of course sunshine helps you to grow in more ways than just making your legs tanned. Of course the best time of day is when the light is low, delicious food smells engulf you and your nest is full of people you love most. Of course.
Yet somehow, some days, in the bustle of the hustle it’s easy to forget and forgo these little of courses, in search of a new course. Perhaps it might be something as fabulous as a new book, a new bar, a new job, or a new restaurant. Or it could be something more benign- just the rushing about in the minutiae of life- taking kids hither and popping to the supermarket thither, grabbing this or that or the other in order to tick all the boxes and have all the things.
Don’t get me wrong- these comings and goings are what makes up a life. They are the things that give meaning to our years, so long as we actually take the time to make the meaning and the memory by accepting the present of the present. With our presence. So many opportunities to receive. It’s often said that our true power lies in our ability to receive, and so that is the lesson of the simple of courses that I’ve been indulging in.
They feel so deliciously indulgent, which tells me they are something that my mind and body craves- so much so that I wonder how I ever let them slide. Yesterday I went down the slide- we have one in our own backyard, so I can’t tell you one reasonable reason for NOT sliding more often. As I slid, my scalp remembered pigtails flying behind me as I hurtled down a slide as a four year old. My skin remembered the sweet burn, as bare legs touched hot metal of slides that had baked in the sun all day. My eyes remembered looking to the sweet line of the horizon as I flew high in the air at the end, and wondered if I would ever touch the ground again. But most of all, my heart remembered the thrill of all of the slides: fast ones, slow ones, twisty ones. Ones where I crashed into some kid who had stopped at the bottom, or fell off the end, tumbling on grass or sand. Ones where I hurt myself a little, and then ran back to the ladder for another turn anyway. And best of all, it remembered the ones with the heavy-vulnerable weight of my own children in my lap. Feeling them press their backs against my chest, feeling for my safe heartbeat as they learnt to love exhilaration.
Those slides were the best ones of all.
…From The Ashers