30 October 2021

Now Always

Sunrise over False Bay

How do you love
How do you say: I love this
I love you
I love this now
Without laying claim
How do you love without holding?
I look at this place, this shining place
And my heart sings
But the song says
Always always
Just like this: Always
– Di McDougall –

I struggle with attachment. With wanting things to be the same. No change. I don’t go through my days thinking: no change no change no change. But when change happens, I drop the anchor, dig in my heels and try to hold back the ocean with my bare hands. Then I become angry and resentful. I think that if I resist hard enough, the universe will have a moment of clarity and with some difficulty for sure, some creaking of gears and wheels will make a u-turn and restore my life and the world to what it had been. It does not happen and so I become sad. I weep, I am afraid and still the changes move on. Eventually, after great expenditure of energy and emotion I become reconciled to what is. I reach that state of sanity where I actually accept reality. With some self congratulation I may say.

What puzzles me, and what is at issue is why time after time it takes me so long to reach acceptance. Why do I not recognise what is happening?

Platboom Beach Cape Point

Platboom Beach Cape Point

There was one time when I was clear that my circumstances could and would change. We lived and worked on a small island off West Africa where access was strictly controlled. I absolutely knew that when we no longer worked there we could not live there nor even visit there. It was a very happy time and happy place for me. But I knew my time there was limited. It was there I first really started engaging with the concept of attachment. Of course wherever I am, or any of us are, always our time there is limited. On that island it was apparent to me, I could see it. I believed in the limitations of that time and that place. And when I left after 8 years it was with sadness but no inner turmoil.

I allowed the lesson to fade. I regressed to being half asleep in my own life. And now I see that attachment is an issue but only part of the problem. What I did different on the island was to be aware. To be there, to be present. To know that every moment was the only moment.

Today isn’t every other day, you know
– Lewis Carrol –

Sunset in the Kalagadi

Sunset in the Kalagadi

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Heather Noon
Heather Noon
10 months ago

A fascinating topic, Di – thanks for raising it. I liked your description of relating to a place which was time-limited – it brought my own (flighty) disposition into focus. Crikey, 8 years..?
I love change, and have historically fretted against ties that may get in the way. Even down to resisting future-based plans (such as holidays) in order to ‘leave my options open.’ I know, a right royal pain.
It may be to do with experiences from early life: 12 houses, 10 schools, 3 surnames – by the age of 10. But I went on to add a further 3 surnames of my own volition, and have always enjoyed moving house/location/country without a backward look.
As I get older, though, I am discovering the magic of being still, enjoying the habits a shared personal life inevitably creates, and treasuring the moments. I agree to future planning activity with grace … and have even managed to live alongside the same surname for the last 10 years.
Thank you for the invitation to reflect!

Matt
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Matt
10 months ago

Just love your poem!…. Just like this: Always….

Sue Hepworth
Sue Hepworth
10 months ago

Very thought provoking as I too hate change.