reality dawns

March 18th, 2020

Daylight followed by darkness followed by daylight.

Many years ago, more than I can entirely recall, I went to one of my first meditation retreats in the mountains. It was to be the longest retreat I’d ever sat, more than a week. I was riding the edge of newness and enthusiasm about this thing I was doing, making myself well and happy. I half-hoped something would happen to me while I was there, some kind of wonderful thing. I’d spent a long time waiting for something wonderful, maybe my whole life.

The conditions were tough. It was winter, cold and dark. Sometimes it snowed. Sometimes the wind blew all day and night. My meditation seat was near a window, and I could see out of it. All day long, from the dark of early morning, to the bright of midday, to the shadows of the evening, in my still, silent spot by the window, I could see.

Somehow, seeing what was in front of me, hour after hour, day after day, I wasn’t afraid of the mountain or the deep winter or the sharp cold. I wasn’t confused about what to do. When the retreat was over, a friend asked about it. Did anything happen while I was there? Yes, something had happened.

Daylight followed by darkness followed by daylight.

These are hard times. I won’t compare this to any other time, or any other source of fear and uncertainty, or any other kind of pain, sickness, loss, or trauma. Comparing is pointless. I haven’t read the news today, so I don’t know how bad it is today. Bad is bad enough. Hard is hard enough.

Last Friday, as this new reality dawned, I heard from people. One was a stranger. She had read a book, and would I be willing to talk to her about it? Sure. We set a date in April.

April now seems like the dark side of the moon. It’s full of things once imagined that will never see the light.

A few minutes later, she contacted me again. Could we talk on Monday instead?

Her name is Kristen Manieri. She asked very good questions, and recorded our conversation for her podcast, 60 Mindful Minutes. I hope you listen, because if I had an hour to spend with you today, this might be how our conversation would go. It helped me to connect, share, listen, laugh and breathe. I hope it helps you.

You can listen wherever you listen to podcasts, if you do, like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or iHeart Radio. Listen right here, in the middle of eternity, as unknowable as it is, on this great earth and under the vast dancing light of the everchanging sky.

Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash


  1. I had a message from a young person I know who was panicking because all her work (and income) had vanished overnight. The advantage of being old(er) is that you know that this to will pass. I am excited to see whether things in the world will change in the light of this.
    To all who have lost their work or who have beloved ones who are ill and who are stressed and worried, I am sorry to hear it and I pray that things will become better for you.

    Comment by Simone — March 18, 2020 @ 8:36 am

  2. Ah, such wonderful words. Our chiropractic office is greatly slowing down, and we check in with each other and the professional recommendations daily to monitor our continuing. Thus far, we are here.

    This, too, shall pass, of course. Finding that balance between whistling in the dark and locking all the doors is quite a challenge. Words of calm mean the world to those around us (and within us!)

    I look forward to listening to your podcast. Thanks so much ~ Cathlyne Talevich

    Comment by Cathlyne — March 18, 2020 @ 11:15 am

  3. What a wonderful podcast. This is such an extraordinary time to be alive. The most valuable thing I heard from you was the reminder “not to add anything extra to the now”. I find the news to be like a drug: the more I watch, the more I need, the harder it is to stop. I am turning it off. I know what I need to do. A boot camp for mindfulness, indeed. Thank you. Onward toward acceptance and serenity. 

    Comment by Bonnie R Nygren — March 18, 2020 @ 4:04 pm

  4. Lemonade!

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — March 18, 2020 @ 4:10 pm

  5. Thank you!

    Comment by Debi Faulkner — March 19, 2020 @ 7:09 am

  6. A remedy, hearing your voice and words today. Thank you! Sheri

    Comment by Sheri — March 21, 2020 @ 4:12 am

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