the journey is always now

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

We moved. We moved to Denver, and now here we are. It’s been three weeks but it feels like it’s been both three days and three years. My sister recently reminded me that when we are anxious or when a lot is changing all at once, we have the tendency to lose track of time in this way. Days can feel like minutes, like months, like years. Or they can disappear from our memory entirely, gone just like that. A while ago when I was first starting out in my mindfulness meditation practice and was completing an 8-month MBSR course, I wrote that as humans we are always chasing after time, feeling so often like it’s slipping through our fingers. We feel there is never enough time. But I noticed while meditating as a beginner that time seems to slow down to a dreadful pace - a pace in which one notices the legs going numb, the mind wandering to all sorts of weird thoughts we never knew existed within our brains (Am I ok?), the sounds in the room - the coughs, and the bumps - and the shifts in energy. I wrote that if it’s more time we are seeking, perhaps the answer lies in being present and noticing just what is in the moment. Not chasing after the future to-do lists of the day ahead, or ruminating on what was said or done last night, but just being here. In the present moment we are one with time and time no longer exists as an illusion. We just are. It just is. 

Even now, two years into a practice, I falter and I stumble. Some days it seems like I’m further from myself than I want to be. Furthest from my hopes and dreams than I’ve ever been. Lost. Fumbling. Splashing around in this ocean of a life, as all the other fish swim past me with such clarity. Or at least it feels this way. See, we arrived here in Denver and the first few days were great. I compared everything to Brooklyn. Trader Joe’s is empty in the early evenings and I can happily push a cart through the wide aisles. The sun has been shining every single day since we arrived. Even when the forecast calls for clouds and rain, it seems we still wake up to the blinding sun shining through our bedroom curtains. The rain falls here and there in the early evenings, making way for gorgeous sunset skies and a break in the late day heat. No sticky subway platforms either - here people breeze by in the mornings on their bikes, or drive to where they need to be. Also, it’s no lie that strangers seem friendlier. They smile and say hello on the sidewalks walking their dogs, and in the park, and at the coffee shop, and even in the checkout line at The Container Store (where you can then get in your car and drive your detailed plan for an organized life straight to your back door instead of transferring from one crowded train to the next before then walking a mile and up six flights of stairs). 

Okay. But here we are three weeks in and things feel heavier. The sun is still shining. The people are still friendly. And I compare everything to Brooklyn. I miss my friends and family. The beautiful home we moved into is empty and will remain that way until we find jobs to pay for all the furniture and things we need to fill so many large rooms and walk-in closets (honestly, I had become accustomed to using the space under the bed, on top of the fridge, and inside of the stove for storage in NYC). Time is spent job searching and worrying about things I told myself I was okay with months ago. Even in the midst of the miracles and beauty entering my life I seem to only have my eyes on all the things that are wrong and that feel hard.

This is where the importance lies in speaking our “truths" and having someone close by to love us and to say, “Well, not quite. Have you ever thought that maybe truth also lies in the opposite of what you are believing to be true?” Yes, I miss my friends and family, but I missed them when I was in NYC as well. And living life there was so fast, everyone was always on the move, and time together never did feel as quality as I expected. And yes, the beautiful home we moved into is empty, but it felt so good to rid ourselves of all the unnecessary things that are just things - they don’t provide the joy or happiness we seek in this life. There’s room now to buy only what we feel we need, or what does bring us joy, and decorating a new home with vintage and flea market finds is seriously one of my favorite things to do. And as for lack of structure and routine right now, well on one hand it can feel overwhelming to wake up and not know what I need to get done in a day, but on the other hand it allows me the freedom to design my day according to my heart and my needs in the present moment.

The key to all of this is patience, and patience is something I struggle with deeply. When I think I know what I want, I tend to want it right away. It creates suffering - for while I seek or wait or work, I am wanting. Yet I know that all the goodness and growth lies in the journey, not solely in the destination, and so I am proclaiming here my desire to embrace this journey now. Let me use these moments and recognition of truth to redefine the ways in which I will tackle and embrace some of these challenges that lie ahead, and to focus my free time on the passions, people, and places that sustain me and lift me up. 

Anything and everything is possible, as long as I believe it to be true. 

 

Below: photographs taken on our 4-day road trip from Eastern Pennsylvania to Denver, Colorado.

Overnight stops: Toledo, Ohio (not pictured) - Chicago, Illinois - Northwestern University/Lake Michigan - "Brooklyn" in Iowa/Iowa City, IA - "Coney Island" in Nebraska/Lexington, Nebraska. Small reminders of home along the way.