Heaven on earth. Paradise. Shangri la. I love these words, phrases. They invoke a thought of a perfect place. They mean the same thing to us all but we all have a different idea of it. Shangri la to me is tropical, peaceful, primal, unpopulated. I walk through a secret cave to get to shangri la and when I reach the opening I am overlooking lush, green vegetation, exotic birds screech a welcome call. The sound of rushing water on rocks is interrupted by the warm sun on my cheek. I don't ever need to wear clothes because there aren't any bugs and the temperature is always optimal. It's an island with the most beautiful white sandy beaches. My needs are met by everything on the Island.
Or wait! No, it's a swanky beach house in Santa Barbara that smells like patchouli and sage. I wake up to the sounds of the ocean. I meditate on the beach and listen to the gulls and breath the humid air. My house has all of the luxuries of our century. I can sit and browse my laptop or write a story. I can head down to the farmers market and pick some freshly picked, tree ripened oranges and listen to the clankity click of a one man band. I watch the joyous mood as families stroll by and enjoy being with each other.
No no, that's not it. Here it is. I'm Sitting at my dining room table that I worked for days to refinish, sanding and painting and staining. The thick aroma of roast beef slowly wafts through the air. I hear two of my adult children sneakily snickering at an inside joke and then punch each other in the shoulder. My little one runs through the room wearing unmatching clothes and a cowboy hat yelling "I'm the king! I'm the queen! Bow to me!". The sun shines in the large picture window past the plants that I've been nurturing since fall to put back out in the spring. The front door swings open and I hear the voice of a beloved friend as everyone welcomes him. I look across the table and catch the loving eyes of my husband and feel his adoring smile appear on my face.
"Heaven is here it is right now" keeps showing up in books, in quotes, everywhere. I don't get it. I pray "Dear God, please lead me to paradise. What steps do I need to take to get to it? Please just show me. Guide me to where and what I need to do" He says "There is no place to go, you just need to remember" I still don't get it. I go about my day wishing my washing machine was fixed. I vacuum the carpet wishing it didn't have stains. My husband works long hours and I think to myself "well, that must be nice not having to deal with all of this". I write a story about travelling the world, about riding the whims of my mind. I decide I'm going to become a drifter, or maybe I'll just travel for a month, or maybe I'll just get a hotel for the night. The kids come home from school, as we do the homework I dream of laying on a beach with somebody attending to MY thoughts, MY needs.
"Heaven has been here all along just waiting for you to remember it." I sure wish I could.
It's early morning and the most gentle huge hand brushes my hair from my grimacing face. My husband says "I have to go honey, I love you" and then this man leaves for his physically demanding job in the cold winter weather, with a smile on his face. I sit quietly sipping coffee that he made for me in my bed. Suddenly out of the darkness a tiny little voice says "mama, is it time to get up?" She lays her little head on my lap and one eye peaks out of that ratty hair. Three unacceptable outfits later and a short battle that I lose with a hair bow and she kisses me on the cheek and runs out the door to the bus yelling "love and light mom!" At about that time a man that I still think is a little boy emerges from his basement lair smelling of cologne. He hugs me and says "what do you have planned today mama?" I shrug not wanting to tell him laundry and dishes, he laughs because he already knows. He fires up his ride and he's off to school. Then it's quiet and I start to think again, when will I remember my shangri la?
It is here, it is now you just have to remember it.
Gratitude and being present. Your Shangri la is here, it is now. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do. Just see it here right now.
Love and Light