Saturday, December 29, 2012

On Settling Back Into Life

How easy it is to fall back into old patterns of living in this world. It’s now been less than two weeks since my brief but powerful encounter with mortality. It’s been less than one week since I was released from the hospital. At the time my experience of hyper-focused awareness on life’s real value and meaning was so powerful that there was simply no room left for anything other than what was most important. And the effect is certainly still present in ways which seem at times to be almost tangible. But already I can also notice it fading. Other distractions are creeping in from the edges. The sheer, overwhelming joy of just being alive is no longer front and center in every moment. It was a profoundly exhilarating way to live, and I already miss it. But perhaps that is not what mountaintop experiences are for. Maybe it is simply not possible to live at that extreme altitude of awareness all the time. After all, there is laundry to do, a kitchen to be cleaned and bills to be paid. Perhaps the gift which such experiences bring is one of perspective. And that gift, once received, does not need to fade and be forgotten. I have been reminded, in a very deep, very powerful way, that life is precious and should be savored. If I can find ways to keep the awareness alive (such as my current practice of creating a daily “Today I’m Grateful For . . .” photo) and allow that awareness to color and flavor even the most mundane and ordinary parts of my living, then the profound transformation of my life into ever richer, ever deeper levels of gratitude will continue, even if it isn’t always hyper-focused and exhilarating. I can live with that.