New Year’s Eve 2019
The wind was bitterly cold, with a few hardly visible snowflakes, (yet very feel-able) aimed directly at my eyes, as my dog Randy and I walked across a flat, open land to pick up some freebies. We had walked so fast to try and make up for the not-enough-clothes that I had chosen to wear for this walk. Now the perspiration that had helped me for the first two miles was starting to freeze. I couldn’t feel my fingers.
We took a shelter from the wind at a bus stop. I was trying to navigate with my phone. My frozen fingers kept touching the wrong icons, opening up wrong apps, prolonging the process of getting to the destination. The goal to get it over and done with, hop on the warm bus to go home, seemed so far away.
Another turn. And another. No, not that one. Further.
Oh, finally! Was it definitely this way? The painful process of checking the google maps again. Fuck. I can’t feel my fingers. I have no control over where they’re pressing on my phone screen.
Yes! It’s this way.
Houses after houses. Footpaths. People with their dogs. Buses. Oh! The bus! How I’ve never wanted to be in the bus as much as now!
A hill! YES! A hill – a chance to get more out of breath, the heart beating a little faster and perhaps a little internal heat.
And suddenly. The destination!
Quickly, grab the freebies and get to the bus stop. Ah missed one – just! Damn! 20 minutes to wait for the next one.
Thank god this bus stop has a shelter. We snuggle against each other. My dog and I. I don’t care about the muddy jacket he has on, he shivers and I hold him in my arms. His tiny body is warming mine in return.
In this moment I feel like we’re the best friends ever. His non-judgmental existence, always there to welcome me home as if he’d not seen me in months. His ability to communicate without words.
My heart is overwhelmed with the love I have for him.
And we wait just like this.
Time seems to pass quickly, the bus comes, and we’re safe!
I keep holding him in my arms as we look out the dirty bus window and I secretly wish this moment would last forever. Or certainly at least a few minutes longer than it actually takes before we have to get off again.
Out of the bus, we run the remaining distance home and OH GOSH the warmth of a Finnish house! What a bliss!
I remember those many, many times in the UK as I returned home from the bitterly cold, damp English winter weather and I couldn’t get warm. It’s as though the heating went straight through the drafty windows out to the birds, never quite reaching my body.
Here I am met with a wall of warm, solid air that gets right in through the skin.
It is so easy to live in the mind, in the future or in the past. It is effortless, especially when the present moment is unpleasant in many ways.
Its as though imagining the destination or remembering the past could make things better somehow. That the present moment as harsh as it seems, has to be over and done with as soon as possible. Always in a hurry to be somewhere else. To run with the mind.
But the present moment has a gift. And it’s often hidden under pain, intolerance, impatience, discontent and un-acceptance of what is.
The mind is delusional in thinking that it’s in control of life and the outcome of events, just because it can imagine what will probably happen. Yet, when it hasn’t calculated or planned accurately, it seems to fail in recognizing that it is not at all in control of life, or any outcome of evens. It doesn’t see that because a dissatisfaction and all the unpleasant emotions that arise in those moments are a distraction that keep it blind to the obvious truth.
This experience was so beautiful. It was just an ordinary winter day. (The concept of “New Year Eve” doesn’t really reach me in any way.)
Yet I came out of it with a story. A clear memory of how it felt to struggle in the harsh northern winter, with nothing but a small dog’s body by my side. Just the two of us shivering together until the arrival of a bus and the immense relief that it brought with it.
How privileged I am… to have such a divine experience full of gratitude and insight, masked as a mundane, unpleasant series of footsteps, and a short ride on a public transport, that my mind has taken for granted all my life.
I am a heretic, after all, so… no, I don’t really want to wish anyone a happy new year.
I want to wish everyone a happy NOW! 🙂
My perspective is that it’s way more important to be PRESENT with one’s life, whatever it is that it is, instead of packaging it into segments of days, weeks, months or years, infinitely measuring and analyzing, setting goals and staying trapped in the illusion that we have to change it, or ourselves, into something other (better!) than what is here right now.
Change is the only consistent thing anyway. It is going to happen whether we want it or not.
So you may as well just love yourself for who you are now. You may as well just love your life for what it is now. And welcome all the changes – face them strong, fearless and ready, like the true warrior that you are inside.