From Don: 1 May 2013. I keep forgetting why we’re doing it, why we’re doing this nomadic life thing, especially when health concerns arise in the night as they did last night: what if my heart continues to be irregular, what if my prostate enlarges to the point where I need surgery, what if the pain in my right arm is bone cancer? All the bogies of the night rise up, rattle their chains and shake their bony claws to try to scare me. I’m seventy, for God’s sake. What am I doing gallivanting around the world with my younger and generally healthier wife? What’s the point, when we could have a nice little cottage somewhere and live a quiet settled peaceful life until I die quietly in my sleep: no more stress, no more worries, just an easy quiet end. Instead we have no fixed abode, no home of our own. We’re always on the move, and even when we’re not we’re thinking about the next move. Where will we go after Sweden? What about the longer term? Do we go to Montreal for a month and bunk down in Suzanne’s house with her and her family? And what after that? Do we go to Eastern Europe and then down to Greece? And after that where do we go? It’s endless, literally endless: no end in sight except the Big One. I feel like the Ancient Mariner, doomed to circle the globe endlessly with no place to rest. Jesus said the same thing: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” So that’s what’s up for me: whenever health issues arise I start wanting somewhere to rest my weary head. I suppose that we always have that option: to stop travelling, to find a small place to rent and live a much smaller quieter life, but is that what is really wanted? In the beginning, as we went through the process of dismantling our old life, I wrote every day, and it was all so very clear then, and obvious, that we were doing the right thing.
There is only one moment in which to be alive and it’s this moment: all of life, all of existence is one continuous now. Whether you’re sick, whether you’re tired, it doesn’t matter, you’re still stuck with whatever is going on in this moment, because there are no other moments. There is no past and there is no future. There are only thoughts that keep past and future alive in the mind, and those thoughts always happen in the now.
I’m always amazed and delighted by how much of a shift in perspective can occur with just a few minutes of circular breathing and allowing feelings to arise without censoring or trying push them away. From being in the depths of despair to arriving at a whole new awareness of life as it really exists with just a slight shift of perspective. It’s always the same: the mind covers over the truth of whatever is occurring in this ever-present moment with a miasma of fears and lies. Whether it be feelings of fear, terror, sadness or grief, tales of regret and shame from the remembered past, or stories of doom and gloom of the imagined future, the result is always the same: the glorious truth of whatever is happening in this present moment is hidden under a coat of crap. The instant the crap dissolves the truth of life reappears, because it never went anywhere: it’s always here available whenever our minds get out of the way. It is the true nature of being: what is, as it is, without judgments or expectations, the totality of everything in the timeless ever-present moment that we call now.
Every now and then I come up to the surface and see how ridiculous it is to worry about anything!
Photo of the day: At The Bliss Villa in Siem Reap. Settled in.
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.