Sometimes when the Givers of Dreams want to make sure I get it, they don’t create story lines or images; nothing radiant, troubling or obscure to be left to my interpretation. They give me a word, a phrase or a sentence. Straight up. Several weeks ago it was this: Let the Practice Carry You. I heard it, and I also saw it in capital letters, for emphasis. As I emerged into waking, an image arrived: ‘Practice’ was a boat on a river, something to carry me down stream. I needed only to get on board. If I wandered off onto shore, I needed only to retrieve the boat from the bank and get back on the river.
Hours later, I was getting in my car with a cup of coffee from the local convenient store. Turning the radio on, I heard another sentence, “Don’t Try to Be Great,” (also in capital letters, for emphasis, I was sure.) A man was talking about wisdom that graduation speakers bestow upon their college graduates. It all came in a moment. Don’t Try to Be Great and Let the Practice Carry You both gathered in a second that stretched out far and wide, one of those moments of infinite stillness where linear time becomes fiction.
Greatness, for me, did not in that moment translate as “famous,” but rather as culmination or completion: finishing writing the book, performing the gig, losing the 20 pounds, finishing the house repairs. It’s not that the project didn’t matter, whatever it was. It was that the moment of arrival was only a moment like all the other moments of – practice. Each moment, just like this one, capable of becoming long and wide and infinitely still. Practice didn’t need my excessive effort, my striving, my longing. It asked for my presence, in the passage played slowly in the search for the best fingering, in the scraping of paint from the windowsill, in the choice of fruit over caramel. The sentence, the slow playing, the plan, the daily rhythm and the walks that season it, each becoming a seed of infinite possibility. As, Marge, a student of mine, said this past week, “It’s all here if we are.”
Time is a funky thing. Eternity doesn’t just happen later, it happens now. It opens inside the second that lasts for hours, inside the moment where in being alive in our body we know we are more than our body, inside the stream of light here on the windowsill in this world that simultaneously opens to the wider light of another.
We are made for this life, for this string of moments full of the sound and light and rhythm. We don’t have to die to reach eternity. We don’t even have to wait to finish the book or the paint job. It’s right here inside the light and the breath, inside the taste of the peach in my mouth and the overtones of a phrase suddenly in tune. It’s right here inside the practice, carrying us down river.
Lawrie Hartt is a dreamer and tender of dreams. She works with those seeking healing and a soul-filled life, listening for what will assist the journey towards balance, beauty and sustainability. She has been a spiritual counselor, retreat and workshop leader for over 25 years. She co-teaches SoulWisdom with Patricia.