“In the end, it doesn’t matter how many breaths you take,

but how many moments took your breath away.”

                                                                                   Shing Xiong*

I am currently staying at a home in the Berkeley Hills with an unobstructed view of the San Francisco Bay, Mt. Tamalpais and the Golden Gate Bridge. Today is my last full day here before I leave to go the Silicon Valley area. It was also the only day where I hadn’t scheduled time to see friends, so I could work on my book. Every day since I’d arrived there had been this glorious view: china blue skies with ferries skirting the surface the water, sailboats pulled by plump white sails, the skyscrapers and landmarks of San Francisco, verdant Angel Island, and the stately Mountain rising above it all. I’d spent days just sitting and staring, appreciating its beauty and the lovely garden just below the veranda. Then this morning, the day where I’d planned no interruptions, there was nothing but a low, chocked-in fog. I couldn’t even see the house next door.

    Inner Mastery Musing: Enjoyment Versus Attachment

    Because of the practice of non-attachment, I smiled inwardly as I woke today and saw a thick, cottony world. First smiling, that I was having my first true, Berkeley day since I arrived, but also because my mind had to adjust… and could. In the past there would have been a storyline about losing the very experience that had been uplifting and inspiring, JUST as I was scheduled to have a first full day of writing. Instead of it becoming the barrier, it became the muse. It became beautiful, mythical and mystical. I was alone on a hill of mist, seeing and being seen by no one. Of course, if you grew up in Berkeley like I did, you’re probably thinking “ah hello, it became typical, not mystical!” And you’d be right. I had become attached to the idea of sitting on the veranda’s table and writing while gazing away. I also got photos from friends who are staying in my home in Florida, this morning, with about forty mangos on the ground, all perfectly tree-ripened, but none salvageable due to bites from critters.  We cannot control the weather, we can’t be everywhere, get to all things, we can’t influence when or how someone shows up. What we can do is enjoy what is right in front of us. What we can do, is appreciate everything that we have right now by truly seeing it, as it is, for what it is, and not hoping it’ll become different.

    These are not deep or painful losses of course, but it is precisely because of having gotten to face so many deep and painful losses, allowed them to be felt and moved through, that that the daily events such as above, don’t engender the old responses. People are going to be themselves, we can’t make them different or ready for change, when they’re not. We certainly can’t control the vicissitudes and changes of Mother Nature. We can’t determine the stock market, the choice that millions make every day which hurtle this earth towards greater and greater environment vulnerability. We can’t make others care about the far less fortunate or maligned.  Instead, we can work within our own being to find peace, acceptance, and allowance regarding what is right in front of ourselves. In fact, it is by doing this over and over again, beginning with smaller things, that we can look back and realize the events we now work through as “small,” used to feel “too big” or “too much.”

    Enjoyment Versus Attachment

       Literally as I finished writing these words, I heard a text ping, saw it was from my son, and found out one of the boys in the neighborhood died from an overdose. I knew this family, and had attempted to provide some counsel, but they weren’t ready to hear it. I have no idea, if working with Al-anon principles could have helped this family, (letting go and surrendering to a Higher Power), all I know is that they are now going to have to walk through one of the most painful of losses— the death of a child. And the only way through that, is by slowly picking their way through a minefield of sorrow.

             The more we can face and surrender to what is, the less we are stuck in an attachment to what isn’t. Sometimes surrendering brings searing pain. Sometimes a dull ache. Sometimes annoyance. No matter, it is what Life has brought, and can’t be avoided forever. It has its impact. Perhaps we can layer over the pain with other attachments and escape habits for a while, but eventually its impact shows up. The counterbalance seems to be joy. Enjoyment {i.e. letting joy be experienced in(side)}, means letting joy arise unbidden by the smallest, sweetest, and most natural things we can. And… as often as possible. Simple joys such as touch, smell, sharing, play, nature, animals, friends, family, creative collaboration, loved ones, art, music, taste, moving, sleep, sex and… our own unique sweetness.

    Practice noticing one thing each day to en-joy.

    Let it touch your heart, your mind, your Soul,

    Your Being.

    Make it simple, make it do-able,

    And just decide to let it in.

    Enjoyment Versus Attachment