The other day I stood looking out the window of the apartment at nothing in particular, and I realized in that moment how calm I was. This moment was different than other times I may feel at peace; it was as though there were an absence, rather than a presence of any thing, a depth of no thing. Almost as soon as I noticed it, it vanished. The event wasn’t replaced with anything, just that the moment ended.
Over the past few years and most recently through the pandemic, angst, fear, anger and similar emotions have been present more often than not. Every day there was a reminder of division, hatred, violence. The morgue trucks outside the hospital that I saw from my window were a constant reminder of the pandemic and its toll, and while long gone, they still haunt me. Early on in the pandemic, Jerald reminded me of the Serenity Prayer (in my head I heard, “Is that all you got, man?”). Once I put that thought aside, I started working at accepting the things I could not change and changing the things I could.
As far as changes go, I started sewing; I made masks, then a quilt with scraps of fabric from masks. Then I made another quilt and another. I changed my diet and continue to follow my “new rules.” I incorporated the meditation practice into my morning routine rather than using a time spot which somehow eludes me at times. Since I made this adjustment I have not missed one day. At about the same time that I changed the meditation practice I started “The Quilt.” This quilt was well beyond my expertise offering the best of challenges, and each day I spent hours working at it. I made mistakes, recovered or adapted.
I believe that the accumulated effect of acceptance and changes that I made helped to reinforce single-minded focus, so it became possible to glimpse nothingness. It is in this nothingness that I experienced pure serenity and the rediscovery of this strength.