Where My Pieces Fall In Place

Saturday, May 09, 2020

tuasan falls camiguin

The day’s early rays are glorious on my skin and the patter of water from the plant box is a heartbeat.

On our humble balcony, I take in my slice of peace: a quirky patchwork of foliage and tin roofs, various forms of steel and stone, and a score of birdsongs and sundry dins.

Some have a garden. Or the beach. Or the hills. I have this. And, make no mistake, it is just as wonderful.

In the course of the day, this view undergoes countless shifts. It transforms in a way you apply a filter on a picture, or a person changes clothes. The time of day its vast and varied wardrobe.

This morning, it is bright and cloudless. And while it is early, everything has already taken on the sharp relief of noon. I recite my morning mantra, for its truth still holds.

It is a serious thing,” I intone, echoing Mary Oliver.

To be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.

Around this same time last year, I was all over the place – searching and searching for god-knows-what. At that time, all that mattered to me was I kept going. Sensations were chased. Joy was sought. Peace was hunted down. It was quite violent and utterly reckless, and I called it breathing. It’s a wonder my lungs held up.

But I was exhausted. And many, many days and nights of aimlessness followed. I was shooting shots but did not really care where or if any of it will land. More than you can imagine, I thought of calling it quits. I toyed with the idea of ending my life more times I’d care to admit.

Yet here I am. And this life I have now is so unlike what I had that I still have trouble believing it’s real. But, really, it’s no different. All remained. It’s just that I finally was able to settle in.

All there is to it, really, is attention. You gotta use that shit up like it’s an unlimited resource – because it is – until you learn to see the beauty in the ordinary. After all, what is life but a series of “ordinary” moments? It’s finding the remarkable and the wonder – not necessarily the good – that makes every bit of it worthwhile.

Then, you must receive everything with grace.

Hard it may be to believe, there is value in all that comes our way – even the bad, even the tragic. They are gifts – some are great, some are nah. But they are gifts nonetheless. And we must accept them graciously, for what we accept we go beyond.

Beyond is a good place to be, and the only way to it is through the present.

The other day, my eyes welled up from seeing the way water fills our green glass drinking bottle – how beautiful the light shines through, the tiny splashes that effervesce.

Recently, Grown Ocean by Fleet Foxes came on my music queue after what seemed like years. My heart just swelled. The chord progression was delicious. And oh, how the right words could elevate!

I let out a satisfied, grateful exhale each time I drink water from the fridge. Man, cold water is underrated.

And then a few days ago, I thought I was off of my game at work. I fretted over it and it threw me off-center. So, I paused and breathed. I realized that this anxiousness stemmed from a deep-seated fear of being “found out”, of being revealed as a fraud. Now that it was acknowledged, it began to lift and pass. And in no time, there I was – beyond it.

The more I recognize these things, the more I pay attention to these oft-overlooked and/or avoided seconds of magic, the more the Universe (or God) throws them at me. More grace comes my way. And each day, I feel more alive. That sounds soooo cliched but it's true.

There is a name for this phenomenon apparently: the Virtuous Cycle.

By simply paying attention and accepting graciously and with gratitude, all aspects of my life are slowly becoming this circle of sustainable inner nourishment.

And you know the other great thing that came with all of these?

Compassion.

When I began considering the things I’ve been through, how it took nearly all of me to step away from that place of lack, I started to look at others differently.

It is so freeing – and unifying – to think that we are all doing our best, that we’re all just running with whatever hand we’ve been dealt and making it work. It brings all of us closer, I think. Makes us kinder to each other. Patient.

In the grand scheme of things, after all, We are all One. And, personally, I find that the way to understand and take care of the collective is through none other than the individual.

While there are still days that I’m plagued with doubts and fears, instances when I feel like a fraud and not deserving of great things, there is pride in being able to recognize these too. I meet these challenging emotions with kindness. I sit with them and say:

Your mistakes do not undo your good deeds. The success of others does not diminish your own. The context in which you are born is not your fault. It is your choices that define you. Not saying a word does not mean you’re silent. Fight in the best way you know how. You are beyond your looks and your thoughts. Celebrating your life does not mean you’re ignorant of the suffering of your fellows. Sometimes, when you feel helpless, it is enough to rejoice in the good of others.

This reassuring, gentler voice is in each of us, I’m sure. I bet they say different words but with essentially the same meanings.

Every day, I try to speak with this voice, to choose to listen to her when less friendly whispers come for a visit. She speaks with assuredness now, and a knowing, curious glint in her eyes.

Oh, how far we’ve come.

Where we drift and call it dreaming
We can weep and call it singing

My slice of peace has on a different outfit now. It is noon and there are clouds to blur the borders. Dogs are barking. There’s the drone of the fan. The scent of things frying. The warble of birds.

Where we break when our hearts are strong enough
We can bow 'cause our music's warmer than blood

And here is my breath, too. Always here – my one precious breath, reminding me I’m right here. Alive. On this fresh morning. In this broken world.

Where we see enough to follow
We can hear when we are hollow
Where we keep the light we're given
We can lose and call it living

I turn a year older today and for the very first time, I welcome it not with a grudging tolerance like for an annoying sales rep, but with the warmth and welcome reserved for a dear friend.

Say it's here where our pieces fall in place
We can fear 'cause the feeling's fine to betray
Where our water isn't hidden
We can burn and be forgiven
Where our hands hurt from healing
We can laugh without a reason

For the very first time, I can say these words sincerely:

Happy birthday, Celine.

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