Don’t seek perfection.
Instead, be in touch with
the living quality of each moment.
~ advice from Pema Chodron
Try it right now. Open your senses—eyes, ears, nose, taste, touch, balance—and allow the living moment to touch you.
Take it inside you and allow your inner self to be touched. Let life make an impression on you.
What do you notice? How are you affected by this living moment?
Open your awareness to sensations, feelings, thoughts, inner soul-touch…
Can you allow this impression to actually reach you?
Can you allow what is outside of what-you-define-as-you to enter into your inner being?
Or are the walls of your ego too strong to let it in?
It used to be really hard for me to be touched in this way, but I didn’t know it until I realized how much more I could sense/feel as I gradually opened.
Now I recognize that I felt a bit cut off, a bit dry, a bit untouched… but that felt normal…
My Enneagram type One ego did not see the value of letting things in. I wanted to feel in control of myself and my surroundings, and to stay on task, not be distracted by outer information. If I let too much in, that wouldn’t be possible.
An inner psychic organizing structure that helps us to feel a safe and solid sense of self.
Greek from oikos = home/household. The same root from which economy (household management) and ecology (the study of home/household) come.
The study of our home/household.
We usually limit ecology to the study of physical organisms in the environment out there. But what if we expanded our sense of self, creating more porous ego boundaries, so that our sense of home were not just this safe, inner sense of self, but a much wider self, one that includes that which is outside of us as well?
What if the sunlight, the water trickling over the rocks, the hummingbirds that just got into a fight over the sugar water, AND the barking dogs were all allowed to enter and touch and in-form our sense of self?
What if, instead of resisting this touch—oh, I’m too busy to stop and feel the sunlight, or I don’t want to feel how the barking dogs bother me—we actually let it in and flowed with these impressions? What if these impressions are an important part of the ecology, our physical interaction as organisms with the environment, with our home?
What if our home included the forest, the ocean, the animals, and mountains?
What if we could know ourselves not just as a separate self, a separate ego, but as a self who is part of Self? An ego that is part of a much larger eco? A human who is a living expression of Eairth?
What I’m finding, as I dip
my toes into this running water,
is a deeper connection,
a deeper sense of home,
a deeper sense of perfection.
My relationships with others are easier, more fluid, with less expectation of how they or I should be.
My sense of being home in myself and the world, even in the midst of most of our household still in boxes and camping out in my parents’ guest room, is clear and flexible.
And my experience of perfection has changed dramatically! As an Enneagram One, I have always struggled with thinking there is always some perfect way for things to be, and I just needed to figure it out and then do it and/or get others to do it, too.
Not so, I learn ever more deeply as I spiral into what I am calling “true perfection.”
True perfection is about completeness and wholeness (which is why I call my business Nourishing Wholeness).
True perfection is this living moment experienced right now, exactly as it is, without any need to make it better.
It is what the Buddhists call “the suchness of the moment”—this, here, now, just so. And this. And this…
It is NOT an ideal to chase or attain. It is always found right here when we land in the living quality of the moment right now.
This move to the country, to closer contact with natural surroundings and more-than-human beings is helping me to soften the boundaries of my ego and allow a broader sense of eco, of home.
It’s gotten me out from behind the computer screen and engaged with hands-on living life that needs tending, nourishing, and participating.
I feel more whole weeding, preparing food, helping my parents, connecting with my family, unpacking boxes, petting the dogs, relating with the new forest and ocean environs than ever.
I feel more real even as I feed
and protect my individual
ego self much less!
For our moving trip, I drew the Medicine Card for Turtle.
Turtle is the oldest symbol for our planet Earth and the symbol of the Great Mother energy. Turtle reminds us to slow down and to let Eairth support us, “to flow harmoniously with [our] situation and to place [our] feet firmly on the ground in a power stance” (Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams and David Carson, p. 78).
If we find our ground in life, not only in our small, inner egoic sense of self, then we can be firmly planted in life and allow life to flow harmoniously and flexibly in and through us, feeling its touch.
From this place, the quality of the living moment sustains us and connects us to our true home, to all beings, in Eairth.
Happy New Moon and Lammas
from our new home in Port Townsend, Washington!
3 thoughts on “the living quality of each moment”
Wonderful to read and to re-read, as always, Katy; thank so much.
The measure of the big move’s refreshement may just be the richly radiant energy of this new post, y’know — I especially love the linking of ‘ego’ with ‘oikos/eco’ — “to soften the boundaries of my ego and allow a broader sense of eco, of home,” as you write here. Elements supporting my sense of the unity of these two ‘envelopes’ of Being at present include three treats: a recent course with Pema Chödrön on ‘Living with Vulnerability’, which softened me very much in that same way. And now, a newly-begun ecourse on The Holographic Enneagram with Jessica Dibb, AND not least a break from Ontario’s deadly humid heatwave today — allowing me to get outdoors. I did not go far. Into my tiny urban garden, much neglected these hot months, with my clippers for a bit of leisurely padiddling amongst the birds, butterflies and bees. Neither of my rather machine-noisy male neighbours (very close spatially) is home today, so the quietness-stretched sense of being breathed by peace was a special joy.
Now I am fit to hand-wash three days’ worth of dishes meditatively, and to let this (to coin a term) ‘cyological smile’ percolate on!
You write of the role of animals in our spiritual centering, and I must ask if you’ve ever read Sy Montgomery’s moving memoir titled, ‘The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood’ (2006)? I recommend this book highly as very likely just your cuppa tea too.
In closing, here is, aptly today, the Rumi quotation I’m using as this week’s email signature:
“Spirit is so mixed with the visible world
that giver, gift, and beneficiary are one thing.
You are the grace raining down: the grace is you.”
Thanks again for this new post, and for its reminder that, ‘the living moment sustains us and connects us to our true home, to all beings, in Eairth.’
Hmmm — it’s Lammas, of course also Lughnasadh or Lúnasa for us Irish — time to make a fresh loaf of soda bread!
ah, Kit, so lovely to read your reflection! i will definitely check that book out. Pema is wonderful–her way of inviting us into softening is so welcoming and gentle… and i LOVE that Rumi–thank you for that. enjoy Jessica’s course, and say hello to her from me. we know each other well through the Enneagram. i’ll be soaking a loaf to bake in the morning, too. 🙂
‘cytological smile’ ☺