It’s a beautiful fall day. The leaves are finally turning. Were you wondering, like I was, why the leaves were still green so late into October? I guess it has something to do with the hot dry autumn. But now they’re turning, and the bursts of red and yellow and orange in the tree tops make me glad.
I got to babysit for G this morning.
Housekeeping note: If you are a reader of this blog, you know that in the first couple of years, I gave my children and grandchildren pseudonyms, so as to protect their privacy, but I’m done with all that. Except for the grandchildren who will be referred to by first letter of their names. G is my fifteen-month old granddaughter. L is my three-year old grandson, and B is my 8 year-old granddaughter.
G and I watched Shrek; ate cheese sticks, raspberries, and bananas; and played peek-a-boo and tickletickletickle. Nothing like spending time with a sticky and giggling baby to help you forget for a minute that the US government is denying the brutal murder of an American citizen by the Saudis and that transgender people exist.
I’ve written a lot about hope on this blog. Mostly because it seems so ridiculous to have any, and yet we seem to have a bottomless capacity for hope. Like the sun and the array of colors across the tree tops, this capacity makes me glad. In spite of all the bullshit and the fact that we also have a seemingly bottomless capacity for cruelty.
Walking home from G’s house, I thought about this blog. I thought about missing two weeks, and how it was likely that I was going to miss this week too because I had nothing to write about, when it struck me. I had to begin again. Shit, I was always beginning again.
But the concept of having to begin again grated.
I didn’t have to begin again. I got to begin again.
I get to begin again.
I have a seemingly bottomless capacity for beginning again.
For now anyway . . .
A few years ago, my husband was visiting his parents in the assisted living apartment they shared. His mother, who had always been an avid cleaner, was sweeping in the small kitchen while Eric visited with his dad.
Eric said to her, “Mom, why don’t you come sit down with us.”
“I have to get done, Eric,” she said.
“I don’t know, Mom. What comes after done?” Eric said.
It was one of those moments that stick with you. Eric came home and told me the story. He was always trying to get done too. And he couldn’t get over the revelation that when you get done, you’re really done. Life isn’t about getting done.
It’s about beginning again, right.
Living is about beginning, again and again and again.
I’ve been meditating since January. I’ve tried my entire adult life to start a meditation practice, and just this past January it stuck. Who knows why.
I have a lot to learn, and meditation wants to teach me.
Meditation is about beginning again. It’s not about transcendence–at least not for me. I’m not transcending anything when I sit on the floor for fifteen minutes and try to follow my breath. Instead, I’m getting a nice fifteen or twenty minute lesson on beginning again. Every time my mind wanders, I get to bring it back to my breath.
Every time I put a load of laundry away, I get to begin again because there’s always dirty laundry around here.
Every time I sweep the floor, or make the beds, or mow the yard, I get to begin again because dogs keep shedding, and people keep sleeping, and grass keeps growing.
Every time I finish a blog, I get to begin again because Monday keeps showing up.
I won’t remember this. I never do.
I have a seemingly bottomless capacity for forgetting.