Not Someday - This Day.

When do we arrive at the end, having learned all we need to know?

Someday, I believed, I will find the secret to being a perfectly attentive mother. I am still new - my babe is only six months old; I have time to grow and practice and perfect. I will learn the trick to encourage him to sleep through the night. I will understand how to balance my priorities as an adult engaged in the world with the responsibilities of being a mother. Someday, the mystery will lift like fog and the ideal alignment will settle like sunshine on my shoulders.

Someday, I will have a perfect confidence with myself as a wife, co-worker, friend, daughter, sister, employer. I will stick to a meditation routine that gives me pause every morning. I will limit my groceries to all local or organic, whole, unprocessed foods. I will study the daily news and research its authenticity. I will better educate myself on the history of structural oppression, philosophy, politics, global economics, poetry, and writing composition. My yoga practice will be daily and reflexive. I will revere my body as a temple that is the gateway to earthly salvation.

Someday, I will offer perfect compassion to everyone I meet. I will work for justice in the world to forge new possibilities for my child and the world's children. I will speak to amplify unheard voices. I will express myself eloquently through written word and speak with clarity. Each act will flow as an extension of my most core values and visions.

Will this ideal embodiment culminate in a moment of perfect enlightenment, an irreversible occurrence of self-actualization? Will thunder roll, the clouds part, and light shine from the tips of my fingers? When will I know that I am close to this illumination?

I once thought of this life - the adventure of personhood - as a linear journey with clearly demarcated steps of advancement. I looked forward to finding my way to the end, taking a deep breath, and settling beneath a welcoming tree for a rest. I could imagine reflecting on my life and connecting one place to another in my mind to reveal the elegantly simple plan that led to my finale. What contentment and peace that would bring!

This old vision lingers as a mirage at times when I wonder selfishly how and when my hard work will be recognized. Its temptation shimmers when I think I have arrived at an ultimately right idea. I long for the false refreshment of satisfaction in knowing I completed the Task, finished the Race, and stand correctly in the best place.

My living has brought me to the edge of this imagined oasis and, at times, I have had a seat and patted my back. Soon, however, a challenging friend or sharp insight or internal voice of consciousness identifies the hole in my self-constructed landscape. The mirage melts away with my sense of certainty. Lately, my primary mentor has been my child - his vulnerability presses against the edges of my self-preoccupation and I see that my previously defined boundaries of care must again expand. I begin to realize how easily I succumb to distraction and how ardently my love for him fuels my renewed focus. My once firmly established understanding of my physical, emotional, or spiritual needs have shrunk or expanded in direct proportion to his more earthy rhythms.

At some point, I started to wonder if perhaps I might never arrive, but perpetually travel in ebb and flow through this life. I began to imagine this path not as a destination at which to arrive but a state of being to practice every step. The only adventure on which to embark is the journey of now. No achievement, only work. No end, only endless beginning. No fulfillment, only flourishing.

Not someday, but this day.

My path led me to fertile ground of receptivity and, in this soft soil, I planted myself as a seed. My becoming is now blossoming; layers of personal evolution unfurl around one another. Like a complex lotus flower, there may be a shifting and temporary center or edge, but the waves of potential are the points of exploration. By the time I feel I have learned something, the ground shifts - either the object of knowing or myself have changed. Both seem to transform with each emanation of wisdom that situates me at another beginning.

In my former life as a wanderer, I created the fear that I was always in the wrong place, the space of not-quite. While I undoubtedly have aeons to go and light years to travel, I now hold a different perspective: that we all are ever in the place of possibility, space of abundant resources, framework of infinite opportunity. The only real chance is this thought, feeling, word, action, response. We do not have somewhere to go, we have somehow to be.

This shift is seismic though elusive and at first imperceptible. As a person, I find that I fall in and out of this perspective from step to step. But the beauty of the vision is that it is always possible to begin again. The sum of the beginnings amounts to something more than the eye can see. It plows the furrow for more seeds, more chances to say yes, and creates soft places for others to pause on their paths and sit long enough to remember and root. My wandering has turned to wonder at my, our, privilege to be something new every moment. The collective fruit could nourish a revolutionary appetite for interconnected efforts to manifest lofty potentials in the here and now.

As a national and worldwide community, I wonder what could happen if we paused and planted. Imagine a country where assumptions of what constitutes progress are relinquished for a vision of radical presence. Imagine if citizens looked one another in the eye, listened, and then decided how to be. Imagine if politics were dominated by the constant attempt to see and tell the truth that there is no placeholder for the greatest country or ladder of economic achievement to scale - there is only a more real way to be together at this moment. Not someday, but this day. There is no Worse or Better, only Less Life or More Life flourishing.

In these times, I hear all around and within the protest that it is too difficult to change, as if the tide of possibility has swept us away beyond agency. I hear that progress toward the non-existent utopia of our dreams is a valid path, as if all people currently have equal or any access to lives of meaning. I hear denial that things need to change at all, that the world is fine as it is, as if the clamor of myriad animal and plant species did not resonate with urgency. These counterpoints ring with the vibration of my own fixation on the false comfort that we have somewhere to be, or are already there.

Not someday past or future, but this day. We cannot, should not, deny our history; if only we knew the reality of where we have been, we might not recreate its horrors or triumphs so thoughtlessly. We cannot, should not, deny the need for forethought; if only the generations of Earth creatures to come were accounted for with each breath of Life, there might not be so much work to do. These form the yoke on our shoulders as we walk and till each attentive second; these are the frequency gardens to marvel and examine as our present flowers of awareness grow into new dimensions. This day, we can move in a less detectable direction - not backward or forward, but outward.

I wake and turn my thoughts to gratitude.

I celebrate my child how he is.

I look a homeless passerby in the eye.

I listen to the words of my enemy without prejudgment.

I choose the simpler, more sustainable meal.

I acknowledge every person I encounter.

I write to my representative.

I pay careful attention to my husband.

I rest and reflect.

I try the bus instead of driving.

I do not buy anything new.

I examine my position as a person of privilege.

I speak the kinder word.

I notice other forms of Life throughout my day.

I ask a question without assumptions.

I demand better treatment of marginalized people.

I negotiate for peace.

I am.

I wonder. I plant. I wait. I act. I nurture. I hope.

I make connections and affirm I do not have the whole vision.


Where will these practices take us?
How will we know we are doing the right thing?
When do we arrive at the end, having learned all we need to know?

No Where. No Way. No other time or place.
But this day, we can begin, and begin again.