At my first birthday celebration after I got out of the hospital, my new daughter-in-law brought me a Splenda cheesecake, since I was still on a strict diet. We put some candles on it for me to blow out. I remember thinking, “I can’t think of a single thing to wish for: I have everything I want.” As someone who, like most people, has spent her life in a constant state of want and need, I found this revelation to be pretty amazing.
I remember one time, before I suddenly woke up and found myself in the hospital, when I was still living in our old house. I was searching for something in my clothes closet and was just about to decide that I absolutely had to go out and buy a certain item, when I realized I already had it. It was hanging on the clothes rod right in front of me. I heard a voice in my head tell me, “If you just look, you’ll find that you already have everything you need.”
This happened again recently, when I was walking down a lovely shopping street filled with boutiques, each one with tempting items displayed in the window. Some cute striped tee shirts caught my eye?then I realized I already own some tee shirts almost exactly like them.
I’ve been reading a book that traces French couture and gourmet food back to the days of Louis IV. This reminded me of how the French people I’ve known seem to enjoy life more than we do. They savor every morsel and those don’t need to have such large amounts of food, or of anything else. The Japanese are the same way?they tend to sip rather than gulp. They sip, then they pause, take a deep breath and inhale.
When I was in the Gurdjieff work, we were told that the secret to living was to be “awake,” that is, to be conscious of your life passing, to be aware of every moment. We would attempt to gain this ability by doing elaborate sensing exercises.
Now that I’ve reached a “certain age,” and have had a brush with death, I’ve learned that yes, I do have everything and also that the things I don’t have will come along in their time. I just need to be patient. I’ve also lived long enough to know that when I do get them, they won’t seem very special anymore. I may not even be able to figure out why I wanted them in the first place.
Some of the happiest days of my life took place when Whitley and I were first together and we were poor and needy. But nobody could have told me that then, and I won’t try to tell anyone else that now.
Like most people who are getting older, I fear the onset of senility, that dreadful state in which the memories you’ve laid down over a lifetime disappear, and cannot be accessed anymore. Yet I also know that if I do reach that state, I won’t care, because then I truly will be living moment to moment.
I have everything I need but the one thing I don’t have is enough time. My life is so exciting, so much fun, that I don’t have enough time to do all the living I want to do.
Yet quantum physicists tell us that time is an illusion, not a constant. It’s a concept our brains have created in order to make sense of the world that we experience.
Maybe I can slow time down by savoring every moment, by “being there” for every experience. It’s something I’m going to try.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.