Do you remember what it’s like looking through old photographs?
It’s a kind of warming sensation of remembrance that fills your chest – like indiscernible emotional residue of yesteryear is suddenly alight beneath your sternum. Good or bad, you feel something – sometimes indistinguishable, sometimes very, very deeply.
I had forgotten how potent remembering could be till I looked through photos of some of the more recent and happiest times of my life.
How is it so easy to forget the weight of our collected years – all that we’ve lived? And why is it amnesia can so often consume our connection to the goodness we’ve steeped in throughout our lifetime?
We all have a story, and I have mine. My life has been happy, my life has been depressing, my life has been stuck, my life has been exciting, my life has been like trying to grasp water with my cupped hands. It has been all of this, it has been none of this, and more than anything, it has been blessed with more luck and love than perhaps any one person deserves.
A family kept whole and always supportive, the comfort of childhood financial stability, the privilege afforded the lightness of my skin, a working body and functioning limbs, a family that values and helps support my education, friends who hold me up when I haven’t the strength to do it myself, the freedom to marry (or not) whomever I choose and to choose where I live… The more I reflect on these gifts, the more I see clearly that suffering has not been the major narrative of my tale – suffering has been a mirror, giving me a more accurate image of my existence by comparison.
I used to work as an RN, and many, many days I miss caring for others – giving back even an ounce of the goodness that the universe has seen fit to plunk down on my plate. I’ve seen a lot of people in varying stages of dying and living, I’ve been lucky enough to connect deeply with the tenuousness of all things. I always return to these experiences – to ruminating on how little time we have, how little (actually no) control we have, how unpromised all things actually are, how lucky we often do not realize we are.
When we die, our titles, our money, our achievements – we cannot take them with us nor can they hold our hand as we pass from here to there. An inkblot in a post-mortem text-book pales in comparison to laying in the sunshine, to smiling and hugging and living with people who matter to you. All of these blessings, all of this goodness… what is the point of the universe concentrating this temporary goodness in our lives if NOT to pass it along? To leave the world with a bit more light before ours runs out?
Caring, giving wholly of yourself and from your blessings (which absolutely must include yourself) – this is why we are here. To pool and multiply our light for the present and future and in so doing, expand the light within ourselves.
So Ladies (and Lady-lovers): give. Give a smile to a stranger, give your time to your community, give money to a cause you believe in, give love to those who mean the most to you and those who don’t “deserve” it, give acceptance and fucking metaphorical high-fives to yourself. And don’t forget to willingly receive when others give to you, since giving cannot exist without a willing recipient.
Your blessings of all sorts are an opportunity to make yourself and the world a little happier, a little more loving, and a little more connected. Seize them.
Keep riding and saving the world, Ladies!