“What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger: feel the now.” — Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
The universe swirls about madly all around us, and we, living in our small circle of sensory awareness, trust in it blindly. When you feel the breeze on your skin, do you wonder where it’s calling to you from? Do you ever look up at the stars and wonder at the infinity in between each? So many feel trapped in their human construct, as if any of our petty human thoughts matters to the universe. What is a construct but a story we tell ourselves? A fabrication of the moment?
Our awareness of this moment is a celebration of being alive. If that sounds rather New Age crazy, well, I get that. That’s the frenzied mind talking, the part of us that thinks we don’t have time for such mad thoughts. We have things to do, places to be, ideas to bring to the table, transactions to make… Sure. But what else do we have but this instant with infinity lurking all around us?
So why then do we grind away in jobs, sheltered from the elements, sipping coffee to power through another day? Why do anything disciplined and proactive at all when the universe stares back with blank ambivalence? Because our small circle reverberates. We touch others through our deliberate engagement with the world. Steve Jobs might have thought he was putting a dent in the universe, but really it was a ripple through humanity. Our ripple might not change an industry, but it can reverberate in the now. We’re here to be in the mix: a part of each other’s lives as we each sort out the implications of all that swirls around us.
Be who you are. Become who you might be. But maybe just savor a bit more. Why do we gulp life down like a power lunch? Pause between the big gulps of living and taste the moment. Feel the now.