We are born. We eat sweet potatoes. Then we die.
~Easter Island proverb
What if we fully faced the fact we are going to die. That there is a physical end to this life we are living. And what if we embraced the profound uncertainty of not knowing when we will leave.
How would the sweet potato taste, knowing that?
Rub the sleep out of your eyes, stretch your tired limbs and wake up to your life.
Life invites us to wake up and taste the sweet potato, wholeheartedly and without any reservation. It is one thing to read about something, hear about it, be told what it is like or have some idea about it. It is an entirely different, night and day different thing to have direct and open contact with it.
It is a marvel to taste the sweet potato each and every time you take a bite and to know, as you die, that you have fully and completely tasted your life.
I am sitting on the deck on a mild but crisp fall day watching the monarch butterflies open and close their wings. I watch them and marvel at their beauty; at their very existence. Watching them in this very moment has the taste and feel of seeing them for the very first time, even though I have seen butterflies all my life.
This attunement comes from a vast stillness, unending openness, that permeates all life.
When we are fully alive we see the mist, the crow’s wing for the very first time each time we look. We look at our eyes, our loved one, our son with the freshness of a brand new day . . . we feel our grief and confusion without a preconception, without judgment. Each bite of the sweet potato is the very first taste. We know the innocence of a child – the wonder of seeing everything like the newcomer (to the very next moment) we are. That is what it is like when we are fully alive and whole, meeting the unknown naked as the day we were born and curious and wide-eyed as life reveals itself.
Is there a meaning to life? How hard I worked to grasp what that might be, traveling from one concept to another. And what a relief to sink into the ever flowing immediacy of life as it opens and moves, yielding its bounty (dark and light) whether we are aware of it or not.
In the sweet presence of now, we are invited along for the ride of intimate contact with whatever life has in store from moment to moment and day to day. In my bones, I understand what it means to be intimate with 10,000 things.
~Beth Miller, PhD was born in Brooklyn New York and now lives in San Francisco, California. Her first book, The Woman’s Book of Resilience, was born out of her questioning how people could came through powerfully difficult situations able to love. The book is an original process, designed to cultivate resilience when it has been lost or crushed.
Her newest book, Waking up on the Couch, is a chronicling of a spiritual awakening – the poignant discovery of unconditional love that is our essential nature. The chronicling is an invitation to the reader to discover for him or herself this profound reality.
Her web site is www.bethmillerphd.com. There is a contact page and teachings on the site.