There is a line in that song, "Like painted kites, those days and nights, went flying by..." and I couldn't help but think about all the people who have commented on how fast this summer is going. We are all trying to squeeze as much as we can out of these days and nights, aren't we? In my experience, it's not just the summer that flies by, is it? It's the years... Seems the older I get, the faster it goes. Throw in some children, and it really starts to sprint.
This past week I was away with my family. We went to a beach... and each year when I go there, like many people I'm sure, I always look forward to that first step on the sandy beach. The way the sand feels between my toes, the heat of it under my soles. One of my and my kids favorite part is the freshly raked sand in the early AM before everyone gets to the beach -- that feels really neat.
I've noticed, in past years, that usually by the 3rd day or so, I have lost the excitement of how it feels and instead, I'm caught going through motions. Of course, I smile through my exhaustion as I chase excited children to the beach after being stalked since the early hours asking about when we can go down. Then it's immediately into the waves, followed by digging and castle making, followed by feeding and bathroom runs, followed by more waves and more sand games... Typically - at least for the past few years, I can honestly say, the last thing I felt was how "neat" the sand felt between my toes. But this year, it was different.
Some of you have heard me mention a classmate of mine who was in a tragic accident on Jul 18th, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. She is my age.. three kids, like me. And not only may she never walk again, she may never FEEL the sand on her feet again. And I couldn't help but think of her each time I stepped on the sand. And suddenly, each day - there wasn't just that amazing sensation of "the sand beneath my feet," it seemed like I could feel every granule. Every step I took, I took with an acknowledgement of gratitude. And it didn't start/end with the sand..., it was with everything I did and experienced, I did it with that same acknowledgement.
I was awake.
Totally aware that tomorrow is not promised to me or anyone I love. Accepting that the way I know myself in this moment may not always be the same as it is now. And in REALLY accepting that, in acknowledging how time really does fly, and how blessed I am to have made it this far with all I have, I noticed how the lower qualities I usually carry weren't there... (the ego, the judgment, the frustrations) - they didn't seem to matter as much. I suppose because there wasn't enough room in me to carry all the lower qualities if I was filling up with the higher ones (compassion, kindness, empathy). For the first time in a long time, I was able to live and exist from my soul. I was just me.
I couldn't wait to get to my mat with this same awareness. To BE in asana, thankful for that pose, then leaving it behind as I breath into the next. Knowing that this practice I have today may never be the same again. Accepting that and being okay with it because it was and is a blessing to have had any moment.
So as we feel the summer wind pass through, let us not be holding the days and nights only of this wind, but of the autumn and winter ones too because all the days and nights are our gifts. All the moments, the good ones and hard ones, are our gifts.