The moon, large, yellow, rises slowly above the trees, sounds of the jungle can be heard in the early evening, strange and foreign to my ears. Sitting on the cement flooring that marks the porch edge for the school we are building, I have a moment of clarity, my place on the earth. I see it on a globe, glowing brightly, so far away from everything I know. Rising with the moon, an urge in my heart, to walk into the forest, disappearing from all that is known, into a place where everything familiar to me no longer exists. Into a place where everything unnecessary, unessential, is stripped away.
Fresh snow blankets the world, the wind was absent last evening as it fell, so it come straight down, settling into fluffy piles upon the surfaces. Every branch has become a small shelf allowing the snow to rest for a while, the spruce trees with their small, tight leaves hold the snow so well among the branches, each one piled high with snow, undisturbed. The lower branches are weighted down, touching the drifts that lay below. In this space, there is a silence that is felt, the sounds of the world further away as these heaps of snow slow and muffle the noises of life beyond the pasture edges. It is a silence I have felt before, in other settings, in other places, but it always brings the same sense of peace when it is here.
The sky is so blue when the storm has passed. It is clear in a way that it never seems to be on normal days. When it is cold, deeply cold like it is today, it is as if nothing can be in that air other than the blue. There is a deep beauty to this kind of day, you have to take a moment, slow down, and let it unfurl before your eyes. It is funny, I did not used to look at the world with this set of eyes, and they seem to grown in clarity over the last year, as my vision has slowed down, the clarity with which I see has changed.
I did not need help. I could do it myself. I never asked, and anyone who worked with me for any length of time quickly understood that they did not need to ask either. This was my modus operandi. This was how I unconsciously organized my life, and it was no more in my conscious awareness than the steps needed to ride a bike, or tie my shoes, chew gum while walking, it just happened in the background all day long, completely unknown to me for many, many years.
It was an ordinary evening, we had enjoyed a lovely supper, and were engaged in the after-dinner discussion of the day. There was nothing to foreshadow the bomb that was coming my way… ‘you know’ said Nancy, ‘you left Texas to come someplace new…. And to do something different than you were doing in Texas… but it looks to me like you have recreated that life on PEI….’ She was right, and it had not even taken two years. I had come with the dream of finally setting boundaries between my work and the rest of my life, and finding balance between the two. I had walked away from the busy academic career to restart my medical practice and ‘get it right’ this time. But here I was, once again doing what I had always done…. Filling my life so completely that there was no room for all of it and certainly no room for anything else, medicine had once again taken over.
The short Answer? Because I don't have the time not to.......
I know, it seems crazy, how can I devote time to something like meditation when my life is already crazy busy? I do not have the time to do the things that are already on my plate, and you are telling me to add one more? Where will I possibly find the time to do this? That is just crazy talk. This is just a small sampling of the voices in my head on a regular basis when I first started to meditate. I wanted to sleep just a little longer, lay in bed just a moment more, and honestly, many times the bed won. Yet, at this point in my life, I cannot imagine not meditating at least once a day, and many days I find time to meditate more often.
It is no secret that there have been big changes in my life in the last 9 months. For anyone who has seen me, there is clearly a transformation taking place. There are two transformations taking place, one internal and one external. The external transformation is very clear to everyone, but what is harder to see is the transformation that is occurring internally. And of the two transformations, the internal one has had a far greater impact upon my life, and through those internal changes, the lives of every person that I touch.