The power went out for hours, thunderstorm and lightning and trees blowing angrily. The dead tree in the yard stood resolute and almost still amid the madness. With nothing else to do, we sat on the porch as a family, and I meditated in the storm.
Shaya slid onto my lap, his stick legs and tiny feet out straight on mine extended, still in synergy as mother and child. For just one minute, I turned my focus away from the beauty of the present and the magnificent thundering all around us and glanced at Facebook.
There was mention of a client’s competitor getting some exposure for the exact same news that I was about to release in the week after this holiday and suddenly, I felt that roiling in my stomach. Oh no – what does this mean for our effort? And the competitive gut smiled its hello.
I’m not generally a competitive person in the work that I do. I believe there is more than enough to go around, that I bring certain qualities and skills to my work that others do not, meaning I am a perfect fit for the clients who choose me but not for everyone. I don’t seek to own the world – just to make it better in my small and meaningful way.
So on most days, I don’t care what others in my field are doing, only to wish them well on their paths. Only when I look at Facebook do I feel competitive or insecure, and thankfully, just for that moment.
Because it isn’t even real.
Being in the moment, the present, produces only love and joy and good. Looking outside and ahead and behind is the dangerous path to trod. I know that when I do good, I do well. With the right intention, all is success.
The rain and the wind and the trees combined to form one indistinguishable sound. A long blowing rush, like a river constantly flowing.
“When it’s raining, it looks almost like a pattern,” Ashi said.
Eliana said in a recent conversation about who was worse, the Nazis, Romans or Greeks, “the Nazis, because they had no love in their hearts.”
The rain smelled fresh, humid, alive, like Bali, like the forest, taking me back to that river. Crackle pop drum of thunder. The rain intensified until it was all we could hear-feel-see-smell and then when the storm had moved on, all was calm, quiet, soothing and falling silent and soft.
The crescendo and retreat of the storm was an energetic dance of elements. We stood on the sidewalk under a tree, and the kids wondered what would happen if lightning struck that exact spot. “Would it hurt?” Eliana asks.
We only came inside when the rain started to blow sideways and hail hit the window panes. The estimate was just two hours until power would be restored, but you really never know and besides, we were without control or say, powerless to what is bigger, stronger.
Today, we have so many false realities: social media are a necessary but misleading current of power through our lives pulling us, driving us, influencing us. But the thing of the Internet is that none of it is real, even for a minute. With all the popularity and the awards and the numbers – how many twits and tweets, follows and likes, how many friends do I really have?
None of it matters as much as we think it does. Many FB friends wouldn’t recognize one another on the street though we’ve all let each other in a door that leads to another door that never opens.
Last night, in the fading light, my daughter and my eldest son were reading books. My little boy talked with my husband. The house whispered. The rain continued lightly on. That’s what was real. All of that. Right then and right now. The single moment you’re living is all you really ever have.
The feeling of my daughter’s warm soft skin and her heart beating fast after a particularly loud bang of thunder. You can’t feel that on Facebook. And you certainly cannot smell the rain.