Last night, Central Texas was battered by a fierce storm system: golf ball-sized hail, tornadoes, flooding, crashing symphonies of thunder and lightning hit all around us. (We are fine, although exhausted from lack of sleep.) Then this morning I awoke to a world scrubbed clean, on the first day of Spring Equinox, to the sun shining, and to that moment I have been waiting for for weeks: Silas' return to daycare, and (hopefully) my return to sanity and normalcy, all calamities behind us.
In the early days of this stretch of bad luck, I had the wisdom to give up. By which I mean, to stop fighting the onslaught of mess and trouble, to let go of the internal struggle against what was happening, to give up resisting what was being demanded of me. On many days, that meant giving up my formal practice: no sitting, no yoga, no writing. And even on those days, I had this quiet sense that even as I had to leave my practice for a while, my practice hadn't left me--I had the keen feeling that my practice was working. I wasn't on the cushion so much, but I was sitting--on hospital beds, hospital chairs--with an open, non-judgmental awareness of what was in front of me. I took care of what needing caring for, knowing that the time would come again when I could take care of me.
Now that that moment has finally come, the return to normal so long awaited for, I have the sneaking suspicion that there is no such thing as returning to normal, because there is no such thing as normal. Normal is an idea we have about what life is like, and maybe on a handful of days over the course of the year we get to live that best day, the day we wish every day was like. The day we call normal. And the rest of our days are spent half falling away from normal, half trying to get back to it. By this accounting, most of our days are spent wishing things would be other than what they are.
Surely there are seasons in life. Seasons for work, for friendship, for happiness, for sadness, for love, for grief, for inspiration, for lying fallow. Seasons when family members are sick, when family members are dying. Surely there are wild storms, and days of peace and sunshine. But normal? Either all days are normal, or none of them are. Either way, normal is not something worth striving for. Presence is. Or better yet--the absence of striving.
That all being said--I am so happy to be sitting here, a bowl of strawberries and dark chocolate at my side, the window open to birds singing, my wee boy happily busy playing with his buddies, peace & sunshine, and writing. It's good to be back. I hope to be back again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.