Reflected in my computer monitor is my face, behind that the blue and white of the sky and the green of the apple trees. The scene is nearly distracting in its realness and clarity. Human, sky, clouds, trees. She makes faces at me. Smiles. Sighs. Focuses beyond the image to the words.

In my reports on gardening and being an aspiring herbalist I have this exercise – take an herb in your mouth – start with plants you know to be edible – and eat it. Name three words that come time mind. Basil for example brings to mind: cooling, clarifying and present.

Yesterday I sat with Jeannie Zandi in satsang. I highly recommend it; you can find out more here:

As with most spiritual teachers, she recommends bringing our attention into the present moment. All of it. Here. Letting it be simple like the ocean beating against the shore. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” I find myself longing for and avoiding slowing down enough to actually bring my full presence to each experience. Listening even more fully.

This morning, this nothingness that I am (alas my mind is the last to know), sat in the garden and listened to the birds, felt the wind, watched the grass and leaves moving. Then, tried to figure out if I’m going backpacking next weekend or not. Found lots of conflicting feelings. Cried. Ate breakfast.

A habitual belief passes through: I am afraid I’m not doing enough with my life. In this moment, I can also see the other side where that is impossible, a habit of the mind to keep me from feeling this: tiredness, warmth, peace, and a touch of constriction in my belly. Nothing to do? Is it possible to trust the moment enough to stay here and see where it leads? There are those who would say, “yes.” Without ambition I will simply tend the garden and play and rest. My whole being has been calling for less doing, more sitting. I want to be cool and inspiring, but why? So I can feel good about being American? So I can justify my existence? To make me more significant than the movement of a wave on the shore? To save the world? Bless us, and bless us, we are all so afraid of being nothing.

Last night there was a thunderstorm. I lay in our tent listening to the crash of the thunder, watching the flashes of light, being thankful for dryness, feeling the bit of fear that rain brings (childhood panic of always leaving toys out because it never rains here) and snuggling against my sleeping husband. It was a very alive moment, in and out of sleep. Very sweet.


2 thoughts on “nothingness

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