“Enlightenment does exist, unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the divine … these experiences are more common than you know and not far away.
But even after achieving such realization — after the ecstasy — we are faced with the day-to-day task of translating that freedom into our imperfect lives. We are faced with the laundry.”
It’s eight am. The overly zealous song alarm on my phone is going off. Ugh, I have to drag my butt out of bed to feed our dog. For some reason, I don’t understand; I stayed up until midnight watching TV. It was so riveting that at this moment I cannot remember what I was watching. I am not a fan of staying up late; most nights, I am in bed by eight, asleep by nine and up at seven. Boring, but it works for me.
I’m not fully awake; I feel groggy, achy and stiff. I am hungover from the handful of chocolate eggs I ate last night. As a general rule, I don’t eat sugar, so when I indulge, I feel it for a couple of days until it’s out of my system again. Something is brewing inside, an understanding I have come to know about myself when I binge on TV or food. I will unlock that later when I journal.
Aragon is patiently waiting for his breakfast. I let him out for a pee while I prepare his dish.
After he finishes eating, I pour one quart of water into a glass jar to drink, put the ball launcher in my pocket, grab my cane, and we go outside to play fetch.
I have my favourite, well-worn, heavy green plaid sweater on, as it is a cool, damp and grey morning. After I throw the ball, I feel a peaceful surge of energy settle in my old bones, and my body relaxes a bit. I close my eyes and listen to the cacophony of sounds that some mornings annoy me. The sporadic roaring of diesel engine transport trucks as they drive by on the distant highway, and the flock of crows’ blaring cawing. It’s jarring, at first. I chuckle as I remember a friend, who lives in New York City, made fun of me when she saw where I live. “Noise is relative,” she says. 🙂 I take a deep breath, open my eyes, throw the ball, and close them again. Now, these noises are mixed with the melodies of the chickadees, goldfinches and a cardinal. As the sounds blend, they elevate into a symphony. There is a sweet-salty scent of the distant ocean and morning dew in the air, and suddenly, my feet feel grounded to the earth, and there is only this moment. My mind is settling, and my heartbeat slows, my body relaxes; I am in this soulful, mindful moment of bliss. For a few seconds in time, there is no war, no pandemic, no dishes to do; here, there is only relishing in these sensations. I feel deliciously calm; it’s been a while.
I throw the ball a few more times. I grab my half-full glass jar, limp back to the house, and open the door. I put the jar down on the floor inside the porch. I grab the side of the door-jambs with my hands and struggle with a bit of pain as I lift myself up and inside. As I do, I knock the jar over and water spills everywhere. “FOR F**K SAKE!” Bliss is over 🙂 ; Aragon runs past me, forgoing his treat, for this woman is nuts! Seeing him hurry to slink past me startles me back to reality; I call him back with a softer voice and give him his treat.
As I clean up the water, I laugh at myself at the overreaction to the spill. I remind myself these are all parts of being alive; life is a series of ordinary moments that are sometimes frustrating, but they remind me of a well-lived life. I feel a bit of hope in those tiny moments of bliss I have in between the rest of everyday living. They remind me of Buddhist Monk, Jack Cornfield’s book, “After the Ecstacy the Laundry.” How lucky are we to still be able to do our laundry and to be able to refill our glass of water from a tap after we spill it.
Off to do the laundry. I like mornings like today when I am reminded to get over myself.