It seems to me that Spring has been a long time coming. Maybe it’s because I always feel like I’m waiting for something. When you work freelance you spend a lot of time living in the future. We are always waiting for jobs to start, checks to come, content from clients, deadlines loom – always in the future.
And it all runs around as chatter in my mind. What if we don’t get that job? What if the check doesn’t come? What if they don’t like the job we did? All the questions asked over and over again as if the answers will appear merely by repeating the question just one more time.
It’s sort of like opening the refrigerator every time you walk through the kitchen to see if the perfect food (champagne & caviar?) has magically shown up to solve your problems. Unless someone from Vive Clicquot or Petrossain has been wandering through your kitchen unnoticed, it’s probably still leftovers from last night’s dinner.
After listening to Oprah’s live web event with Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth) talk about how we need to get past the whining liturgy, constantly repeated, that takes up most of our mental energy and separates us from being able to experience peace—I was willing to give it a try.
Now let me say that I do meditate (not enough) and have read his previous book The Power of Now but it’s easy for me to forget to do things that will make me feel better because when I am worrying about the future I don’t seem to have time to enjoy the now.
So I sat…still…on my living room couch…with no agenda…with no expectations…listening to the purring cat on my lap. I just sat there and breathed—in and out, aware without naming—of the warmth of my body, the rise and fall of my chest, the soft light of the room. The “what if” questions slowed down, quieted, and stopped. Pretty soon is was just me and peace sitting there together in the present moment. It was bliss.
Right there, right then, everything was perfect.
What I needed was more of this present moment living…
I took off the next day—the first one is what seemed like weeks—and set off with my friend Richard to look at a building in Winsted. It’s an old brick building, long ago abandoned, its use hidden in history. We like unusual buildings, especially old factories, haunted by ghosts of a different time. We talk about what we would do if we owned them, could renovate them, and could make them useful and proud again. We walk around them and make up stories of what might have been and take pictures so that they will be remembered.
When we had our fill of climbing around the building we were long over due for lunch and headed for a little restaurant on the main drag that had great food and a very pleasant atmosphere. Anticipation whetted our appetites and we were disappointed to find out the restaurant had closed and had been replaced by a coffee shop. The coffee shop owner was lovely and suggested a diner and a pizza place they didn’t sound appealing.
I could feel the disappointment mounting and the voice in my head starting to whine. The restaurant was closed, now lunch would be terrible, they wouldn’t have anything I liked, the ladies room would be dirty…we might as well go home… Oh what was I doing! Stop whining… deep breath, deep breath.
We were heading for the door when a customer called out asking us how far we were willing to travel for lunch.
“There is a good place about five miles down the road.” he said. “It’s a tea shop (I love tea) and they have great food (right up my alley) and they have an herb store attached (how interesting). It’s Passiflora.”
“Passiflora! I’ve always wanted to go there!” I turned to Richard.
“I guess we’re going.” He said.
It was easy to find, less than five miles, a beautiful drive, and the minute we walked into the shop, I felt at home.
We sat at the perfect table right near the window. Sunlight streamed in, banishing the chill of the not-quite-spring day. The waitress was cheerful and accommodating, the food was delicious and they brewed tea in a pot just like my British Aunt Dobbin used to do. There were also boxes of angel cards on each table. Angel cards are the new age tarot like decks that give you a spiritual message when you draw a card.
We placed our order and while we were waiting for our meal we opened the boxes of cards and looked at them. Richard held out the deck for me to draw a card. “Guardian Angels” it said were watching over me. Well, I thought, maybe they are.
The place was so pleasant, the window so sunny, I started to be glad that the restaurant had closed (no bad intensions directed toward the previous owner and best wishes for the new coffee shop). How lucky I stopped to take a breath instead of bolting for the door the gentleman could tell us about this place.
I ordered peach tea and curried chicken salad. When they arrived the tea was herb tea and I had wanted black tea with peach flavor. Seeing my disappointment waitress whisked it away and brought back a teapot with exactly what I wanted…cheerfully, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to want her customers to be happy.
Richard looked up as the waitress set down an amazing piece of apple pie and cup of fresh brewed coffee.
“Speaking of angels…“he said, nodding toward the door.
“The girl has wings.”
I had to laugh; it seemed like the perfect comment on the day.
So spring is here, at least by the calendar, we don’t have to wait for it anymore. Now the trick will be to be present for it, to savor it, to breathe deep and enjoy it.