Hey.  Welcome back.  Glad you took the time to read this.  In a moment we will be going in on a short wet journey but as you’re reading this page you will remain safe and dry, so you can just settle back and enjoy the story.

 I am sitting in a cafe on London Road, watching the rain hammer down outside.  Its patterns today are not ambiguous, not tentative nor changeable, just full on.  People on the street are not standing around but neither are they in too much hurry, having had to accept with out question the inescapable fact that they are wet.  Once this point in any rainy day is reached, and it has become absolutely clear that there’s no way of staying dry, we often find it’s possible to actually enjoy it!

I had the same experience this morning, beginning my cycle into swirling sheets of an autumn shower, down roads which were running like theme park water slides, through long queues of traffic which swum in an ongoing torrent.  While a series of puddles kept spraying from the wheels and systematically soaking me, I realized at last that there was no way to keep from being covered, and with that revelation a tension released inside me, and suddenly, unexpectedly, I was here:.

“I’m riding in the rain, and I am wet.”

Now the excitement of flying through droplets which batter my waterproofs (hahaha!) is no longer hampered by my hopeless attempts to try and avoid the wetness.  Just letting go.  It’s like I’ve been struggling to go swimming without actually getting wet.  I start to feel the damp material of my clothes as almost pleasant on my skin.  My senses are open, it may be city air which I’m smelling, cars and concrete I’m seeing, but I’m here.  I’m alive.

Meeting place

I have made an arrangement and soon enough I come to the meeting place.  Weaving through people who all have their own problems and yet still they keep finding the reasons to walk through the pouring rain, persevering to get where it is that they’re going.  But I’m in the heated cafe now, and it’s nice to watch the rain from in here, with hot drinks warming us and conversation progressing comfortably.

My new friend is telling me about his community project, collecting surplus food from various donors and redistributing it to groups and soup kitchens.  We’ve been talking about how easy it is to start feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless stream of challenging problems, the things in the world which all seem out of balance.  But one person can’t do everything.

Making a difference

It seems that, no matter what your background, we all want to live at peace within a friendly community of healthy people, doing our thing and feeling united.  And we can certainly contribute to the realization of this situation, and we need not measure our individual success by the general feeling expressed in the queues.  Just as there are always problems, there are always solutions.  When we keep our focus adjusted, we can keep our eyes on what we’re doing, and feel good about even the seemingly small progress we make.

Once we’ve opened ourselves with compassion to the world and we realize there is so much out here, it’s easy to feel like we have to take it all on and solve every problem.  Looking at the big picture is useful, but we can’t really act alone on the world all at once can we?  We might have to scale down our thinking to the level where we can take action.  There may actually be limits to our own individual sphere of influence, but when we keep moving our dance combines with everyone who’s feeling the feeling and doing the doing.

Learning to give is not about using ourselves up and burning out, but doing what we can while keeping in tune with our sense of well being.  We can stay connected to the needs of our family, our community and the world, while at the same time maintaining our central connection to the source of our energy.

I say “yes” to the banquet of life.  But not all in one mouthful please.

Just like those folks in the rain, in life there is chaos everywhere.  We can do what we can, if we accept that the chaos exists.  We can look at the patterns, make choices and decide what we like and where we want to go.  But it’s good to beware of expecting a finish line.  An ordering of chaos may not be what we want.  One person can’t control everything.  If we immerse ourselves fully in all aspects of life there will always be times we can’t avoid getting wet.

In life there is no ultimate home and dry, that’s really only found in death, when all complications will truly be over, and there is infinite peace.  That moment will come, but right now we’re alive.  So dive in!

Diving in

I know I’ve been hesitant.  There have been moments when could have jumped in but I didn’t, I held back, though really all I wanted to do is let myself open completely.  To throw open all of the doors of my perception and scream out my love for experience!

Of course it’s true that the world may hurt me, but the most insidious trap that exists at this time is that, in our fear of the pain and the difficulty of life, we can retreat back in ourselves and never really dip more than our toes in the stream.  Are we waiting for safety?

I know I need reminding, there’s no later to wait for.  No holding back on living ’til the time when living will be easy.  Is that even what anyone wants?  Would you rather an easy life?  Or do you want excitement?  There will be plenty of time to do nothing when it’s really all over.  I know I can’t do everything, but I can do something.  Scaling down that big picture into manageable bite-size chunks, then opening up and taking it in.  Yum.

So how do we open ourselves now?  I think that life is about learning to give.  I know I’m surely learning now that if I have something to do, which is my purpose in the world, then I can only do it unconditionally.

Here we are now

Fulfillment will not come at the end of the journey.  It’s here now.  The journey is it.  And also the journeyer.  Here I am.  I’m alive.  I am going somewhere, that’s for sure.  Some day I will die, disintegrate and my energy and atoms will re-coalesce into new forms and new patterns.  While I have this form I can affect change on this physical plane.

So what do I want to do?   It’s getting late so I think it’s a question for another story…

And it seems that our chat was really rewarding.  We travelled through concepts and played with ideals.  The last thing I’ll leave on this page is a poem which resonates charmingly with how I’m now feeling.  I don’t know where or when will be the end of the story, but I do know one thing;

it’s happening now.

Isn’t it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.
– R L Sharpe