Yom Kippur #9

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Life has been full of dailiness since my return home from our European travels.  There was mail to sort, arriving in piles for days after we got back — hardly a personal piece in any of it — plants to water, laundry, shopping and cooking, driving to visit all the family we’d missed, spending time with friends we’d missed, watching the trees turn and turn again to bare, meetings to attend, dump runs, doing dishes, running and recovering from running.

Staying present to all this dailiness, in the way I was to the unfolding amazement of traveling in beautiful places, when my only occupation was to see and think and absorb, has been easier than I’d expected.

I’d actually been surprised I was able to be so present during our trip — there was hardly a moment of overthinking about the luxury and privilege of comfortable travel or worry about someone back home.  Not that I didn’t think about how lucky I was to have the time and resources to enjoy Europe for weeks, or worry about friends and family back home. But those thoughts didn’t turn into feelings of unworthiness and my worries, mostly, didn’t get in the way.  I let myself sink in to the experiences: drinking wine on a leaf-shadowed patio in France, hiking in the Alps, sitting around a breakfast table in a garden in Italy, drinking coffee and chatting with European friends.

Really, what I’m saying is that I haven’t been anxious, the most common reason for me to lose track of my connection to each moment.  Was it the magic of travel that kept my anxiety at bay?  Meditation?  Medication?  Whatever the reason, I’m thankful my ability to be present to myself and what’s before me hasn’t shifted, even now that much more of what’s before me is the routine maintenance of life.

This is a long way of explaining why I’m several days behind in my annual Yom Kippur post.  Services were lovely — good sermons and outstanding music — and connecting with friends was sweet.  As usual I thought a lot about forgiveness and the knot of unforgiven hurt that still comes up for me every year.  I thought a lot about Eric — this is Yom Kippur #9 without him — and could picture him beside me through both services.  David and I told each other what our intentions were for behaving closer to the ideals we pray about on Yom Kippur.

Now it’s a bright autumn afternoon and I’m enjoying the light gleaming on the leaves of the plants in my study’s tall windows.  I know time is passing because otherwise nine years couldn’t have gone by.  But I also know there is stillness in the center of time, in the center of everything, and somehow I’m getting better at living in that stillness.  Centered.  Maybe it’s just a function of slowing down as I get older.  No matter.  It’s a pleasure to be here.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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2 Responses to Yom Kippur #9

  1. Sharon says:

    It hardly seems possible that 9 years has passed . . . and, maybe even more incredible, that you have been so intentional and mindful through all of it. May your continuing journey this year unfold in mindfully creative ways. (A mouthful, I know, but hopefully you my drift!)

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