30 August 2009

then and when

Sweet Elizabeth's comment on my last post included the following quote by Cynthia Rylant in her book called All in a Day:

"The past is sailing off to sea, the future's fast asleep./ A day is all you have to be, it's all you get to keep."

And it struck home with me and many other commenters. (THANK YOU ELIZABETH)

It is so hard to feel that now is all we know we have since that feels so scary, so limited and puts so much pressure on the importance of the moment. Zen bends us toward living in the moment, living in the now, the present, but I suck at turning off the spigot of whatifs that lead to futures that may or may not happen, and I suck extra at turning off the spigot of regret, memory, historical obsessiveness...

Time is a funny thing-- taken alone, I like sweeping second hands that remind me that this is all one continuous stream, and it lets me know how arbitrary our increments are for marking it- a second, a minute, an hour--- days start to make more sense, as do moon phases, as do seasons-- those have physical bases-- things that we can observe and experience more or less directly (assuming we trust our senses)--

Time during trying to conceive is crazybatshit as we all know-- waiting and rushing and waiting and panicking and rushing and waiting.... two week waits, marking time by ultrasound appointments, blood draws, inseminations of various kinds, test dates, all with the metronome of morning and evening stim shots...

We feel the panic of aging, the sheer and utter panic as if our ovaries will seize up the moment we turn ___ and we'll be done with a silent Ding. We feel the utter visceral panic of running out of time.

We spend time hoping for a future we can see so clearly- our kids at the beach or on a bike or in our arms...
We spend time fearing a future we can see too clearly too- one in which our dreams have not been realized or that things don't go as hoped, that something goes wrong, now, soon, or eventually. And we fear losses we know and those we cannot imagine. We fear loss of opportunity.
We regret not starting sooner, not realizing what we had or what we could lose, we wish we had made different choices...

I am all about "then" and "when"-- back then..... or when I....
and trying to stay right here, in this moment, is brutally hard. Sometimes because it sucks rocks, but sometimes just because it is just so hard to stop bungy-ing around, pingponging, crazy superballing (sounds better than it is, I promise)--

I think that is why this simple little challenge has been and continues to be so meaningful to me-- it is not changing my situation but it is changing my instantaneous experience of time.
My cat is lying next to me on the sofa cushion. For the past 10 seconds I watched the stripes on his sides expand and contract as he breathes, the black if his stripes is so dark it is not-light. And the hairs that sit to each side are those magical cat hairs that start silvery brown, and are tipped in white.

Why does this matter? Because for those 10 seconds, time stretched. My life slowed down a little.
And for those 10 seconds I was just simply kate, looking at the stripes on my cat rise and fall. Not old kate or failing kate or worried kate or maybepregnant-maybenot kate, or kate who might never be pregnant or....
just kate
and cat
and stripes.

9 comments:

Sprogblogger said...

Beautiful post. I suck at living in the moment - it's why I post 5 things that made me happy each day, because sometimes I have to look for them, and that's always good for me, to slow down and remember what feeds my soul. I shall have to spend some quiet time today just being Susan.

Thank you for the most excellent reminder.

Michele said...

You inspire me... I'm currently stressed and in my what if mood and this post just gave me a breath of fresh air. It is beautiful.
Thank you.

meinsideout said...

Beautiful.

Kate said...

This is among the ranks of my favorite posts ever. Wow. Thank you for sharing this, it has given me a lot of food for thought.

alyssa said...

one of my faves also. i deeply suck at living in the moment.

love you.
xxx

Mad Hatter said...

Thank you for continuing to remind us to stay here and now. To choose joy in this moment of what is. Ever thought of writing a book - Meditations for Trying To Conceive? - I'd sure buy it. ;-)
XOXO
Maddy
P.S. I know we're just thinking about here and now, but it just occured to me that tomorrow is the last day of August!

IVF 40+ said...

It's amazing how quickly moods can be effected when doing the treatments. I am up and down and all over the place thanks to the hormones. But your post was like a calming cuppa! Thank you. It's good to be reminder to stop thinking and just be.
thanks
EB

Elizabeth said...

Welcome to September dear Kate. It's finally here. I hope it travels much easier than August and is filled with the joy of changing seasons and good news. Today we had an evening of late summer sun, watered garden plants, and wondered if we've seen almost the last of the garden-ripe tomatos. Love to you.

IF Optimist, then... said...

Thank you for this. I'm glad it's September too. Today's 10 seconds came waking me to the longest rumpling sound of thunder I have ever experienced in my life. I snuck out of the room, not waking MrBeep to listen to the rain and (hopefully) more thunder.