I am not ready yet

When the natural rhythm of life is disturbed by acts of violence, terrorism or forces of nature, the humanity in us wakes up. We feel for the victims, we weep for them, we may even say a prayer for them. At the same time, the tragedy is a wake up call for our tendency to procrastinate living fully.

The Boston explosion

On Monday, the 15th of April, the marathon runners in Boston were the victims of two bomb explosions, which took place in the proximity of the finish line.

Three people were killed and more than 100 injured, as New York Times reports.

The breaking news gave chills down on my spine. I avoided seeing images from the carnage. It was hard enough to read the report.

Pretend you were there in the midst of the smoke and panic

Imagine being one of the marathon runners. You happily participate in the annual event that is supposed to be a celebration of the Spring when you get caught in the middle of a blast.

Suddenly the only thing that matters is survival.

You may have been in a relationship where you felt you couldn’t get too involved. Or, you were waiting for the other one to commit.

You may have been eagerly waiting for the newly appointed manager, who as the rumours has it, has better people skills than the former.

You may have been trying to have a baby.

You may have been excited to get to pension so that you can finally do whatever you want with your time.

Then, the explosion comes from a garbage can and changes your life for ever. Ready or not, you need to cope with the consequences. Maybe you lost one leg.

Why are we waiting?

For those of us who only read or heard on the news about it, the Boston explosion should make us reflect upon what is going on in our lives at the moment. Hopefully, most of us will realise that our life is great just the way it is.

Yet, some of us may want to start working on the list of pending personal projects.

Do we want to … start writing a diary?

… renovate the kitchen?

… lose weight?

… travel to a remote destination?

… learn how to tango?

… study for an MBA?

… find the soulmate?

Then, what are we waiting for? What holds us back to take action?

Is it that we are afraid of the unknown? Of what the loved ones might say? Or of failure?

Are we waiting for the right time and place? What does that mean anyway?

It is true that when it comes to big life changing events, such as finding the soulmate, it is not quite up to us. There is the will of the Universe, which decides the right place and time when it happens.

But this does not mean that meanwhile we can just stare at the moon each night, sighing with longing.

We need to go out there and look for the right one, for example, at the gym or while walking the dog.

The Boston bombing is yet another tragic illustration that our life ends in the split of a second.

Most of us are not ready for that second, but when it does come, the least we can do is to have no regrets.

How about you? How many times in your life did you feel that you are not YET ready to make small or big changes? Did you take any actions eventually and what made you do that?

The value of personal belongings

I used to tell to friends that I am not attached to my house, that I can move in another house, in another country, in a heartbeat, so to speak. My home is the people that I love. This is why I did not understand my own grandmother who has been living alone for 16 years, refusing to move out of the house she had built and to move in with her son.

I used to say that I don’t need a big place where to live. A two rooms apartment is perfect, as long as we don’t have to get married with the bank and we can travel around the world. Our family has been gradually growing out of our two rooms apartment, which is very conveniently located downtown. Hence, we started looking for a four rooms flat, slightly farther away. After seeing the first one, I felt claustrophobic at the thought of spending, say, the next ten years in it. “Why not looking for a house?”, we concluded.

We had to extend the search even farther from downtown, since we resent the idea of being too involved with the bank. Now that we embarked on the mission to move house, the excitement of living into a house spices up the dull days of the Autumn. I imagine us playing with the baby in a big living room with fireplace, and my ego is tingling. What? Me, infatuated about living in a house?

When friends were enthralled about their newly acquired houses, I could not share their excitement. I would think, “Anyway we die one day. What will happen then? Will death give us the permission to take anything with us? Will we be able to negotiate at least for the favourite book or dress?” Now, with each visit of a potential new home, I look around to see any neighbours. Maybe we’ll befriend and I’ll live the life of a perfect housewife, sharing recipes with the other mothers in the neighbourhood.

I return to our cosy apartment and I sigh. I will miss this place, where we lived beautiful moments, like the day when we returned with our baby from the hospital. I will miss the enlivened view from the window, which is like a postcard view over the city, at any time of the day and night, all year around. This view has kept me company each night, many times at night, when I have woken up to feed our baby. In this small home, my ego loses ground.

I am reminded that the joy of the soul makes a small home feel huge. At the same time, the reality of moving house reminds me that life is a constant change till we die. The change of home environment is a time of joy. It is a time to open the new chapter in the family life. But most importantly, I think I understand better my grandmother. When living most of your life in only one house, the walls and floors still keep alive the past and the people who used to walk on those floors. At 83 years old, she still hopes that we will move in with her.

I also agree with what Sakyong Mipham writes in his book, “Turning the mind into an ally“: “Understanding the meaning of impermanence makes us less desperate people. It gives us dignity…We see that happiness comes from cultivating the virtues that lead to enlightenment. Ultimately, it comes from wisdom, from understanding the unchanging truth of change.”

As for the inability of sharing the excitement of friends, I pray to God to help me not to be judgemental. A little bit of comfort makes life easier. 🙂