Yesterday I had a day with moments of joy, and peace. I’m not sure why.
Is it because I have walked with and held grief for the past year? And at the same time, reached for gratitude, over and over?
Perhaps because I have written every day this year? Or maybe because I no longer believe everything my mind tells me, and I no longer follow every emotion that rises up?
Is it because life has broken me open so very many times, over and over, and I finally resolved to hold my heart open instead of nailing it shut, and at the same time to take care of myself and protect myself?
Is it because I’m talking back to the rules with which I grew up, the lies of perfectionism and certainty? The messages of never good enough, don’t ask questions, don’t speak up, you won’t make a difference, never say no, your life is not yours, the world is dangerous, be afraid, …?
Is it because I’m learning to practice self-compassion more often than not, to be kind to myself? But also to hold myself accountable to my values? Is it because I’m learning to forgive myself, to make peace with my past? And to hold on to the lessons my past has taught me?
Or is it that I am learning to take a deep breath and feel my feet on the ground and sink into this present moment, again and again?
I’m not sure what it is. It’s easy to think that it’s the most recent things I’ve been learning and reading and changing in my life that have made the most difference.
Maybe, more than anything else, it was that I decided to become willing to try all these different things – questioning, talking back, writing, forming different habits and practices – and seeing which ones are helpful to me. Maintaining those habits that are helpful, leaving behind those that are not.
Whatever the reasons, I am deeply grateful for these moments of joy and peace. I wish I could hold onto them, stretch them out, make them last forever. That’s the other thing I’ve learned: I can’t do that. I can’t make them last forever, no matter how much I want that. And clinging to those moments usually ruins them.
But recognizing those moments when they are here, and feeling gratitude for them as they rise up: when I do that, the joy and peace deepen and shimmer, and I think to myself, I’m not sure it gets any better than this. And while I question and disbelieve many of my thoughts that arise now, I know that thought to be true. So far, it doesn’t get much better than that.