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A Blink of Time

In the mirror, the kaleidoscope of my DNA blurs in the reflection.  Ancestors flicker across the features of my face – my father’s nose, my mother’s expressions, Mamaw’s hair, Nanny’s smile, a granduncle’s solemn profile. Traces of kinfolk hide in the corners of my genes. I see them only in fleeting glimpses. Unlike some families, we do not seem to have a dominant gene. In fact, my brother and I looked so little alike growing up that he used to tell people, “yes, my father was the milkman and my sister’s was the postman.” My father chuckled discretely because my mother found ZERO humor in this. But the reality is my skin is fair, his olive. His eyes are clear blue while mine are hazel. Still, there winks a resemblance that speaks of blood ties, strong with love.


Some of my family I only know from the old photographs my parents so carefully labeled for me. Forgotten in the blink of time. Their stories known only to eternity, resounding in the memory of the heavens in recordings we do not quite yet know how to replay.


Occasionally, though, a voice sounds in the darkness through a letter or a saved newspaper clipping. Our family archives hint of scandal…a cousin, Mr. K, murdered apparently for visiting a Mrs. G.  “They appeared to be quite fond of each other,” said one witness in the understatement of bygone sensibilities. The records also reveal patterns of great love and strong family loyalty.


These ancestors live in unremembered eternity ~ as will I. That thought used to bring me discomfort, but now I simply smile at the illusion of everything beyond now. It is now that I am to live, enjoy, celebrate. It is the Now that is the Eternity.


I do not believe this one tiny span of time I call my life is all I get. In fact, it was a question about this fraction of eternity that began a new spiritual quest for me. (The exact question as I held up my pinky finger and with my thumb outlined tiniest tip of it: Is this tiny fragment of time all we get?)  No, came the answer to my Soul. Eternity is so big. Time is so small. What you understand is not all there is.


That quest was not so much about discrete answers to the question Is this all? It is rather a search to find the knowing that has always been veiled deep inside me. The journey has taken me to labyrinths and medicine wheels. To holy scriptures from many faiths – the Tao Te Ching (one of my favorites), the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament of Christianity, the Gathas of Zarathrustra, the Baghavad Gita. The search has me discovering Native American wisdom that we covered up just as we covered their land with our “progress.” The journey takes me to the power of Nature – her creatures, her plants, her rocks – and the insight of Mother Earth’s cycles.


As I once heard the author Caroline Myss remark at a seminar, we awake every morning to a completely new world. There were people alive when I went to sleep who have died; there are children who have been born while my eyes were closed. Altered by the incessant flow of Earth Time.


Time blinks and all is changed. It’s winter here now where the deep quiet of the dark night invites me to meditations on life’s passage and the kindliness of rest. Spring will burst in a few short months with refreshed life, new life. Then Summer will become busy growing everything. Autumn will follow with gatherings and harvests and we will reap what we have sown. The Sun dies nightly and is reborn by its own light in the morning. The beautiful Moon shifts its light as Earth shadows it month on month.


These ancient rhythms hum through my soul, reminding the deepest part of me that knows the cycles intimately. I, too, am here for a blink of Time, the merest twinkle of Time’s existence. And while I do not believe this life is the only one I will have, I do believe I am to use this one well. To consider each experience – whether difficult or easy – and ponder: “What’s the lesson?” listening for the answers my soul knows. All of this on the path to living with joy and abundance. Giving generously. Loving without judgment (not always succeeding here, but working on it). Praying along with the Buddha, “May all beings be happy.”


Whatever the season of your soul today, may you find the happiness of peace.

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