I find god in moments of my own silence.
I find god looking out at the view from where I sit right now, watching the wind rustle through the limbs and leaves of the tree outside my building, then as I feel it move into my room and pass over my skin.
I find god in Mitra’s eyes when they look at me in complete trust, or in the warmth of her body when it presses against me at night, her breath in rhythm with mine and her tiny heart thumping into my hand.
I find god in my childhood backyard when I hug tight the rough bark of my favorite White Oaks or swing in my hammock and watch the sun shift behind clouds.
Today, I found god in the sensation of running my hands through my hair as it dried, my eyes shut to the bathroom light, my ears absorbed in the sound of hot air streaming.
These string of One Day Challenge days have shifted my sensory perception, yes. But it’s been an easy shift.
I’m almost at the end of this Year. My muscle for removing habit and observing the change left in its wake has been well exercised and is now strong. And so the moment of finding god today was deliciously organic. I could have been on my phone, scrolling Twitter, as has been my habit in the past while moving through the droll that is body grooming. I wasn’t. I could have been reading the book I’d brought with me. But despite being my beloved Anne of Ingleside, I kept dropping a sentence, distracted. I was feeling things. I was present.
“I am washing the Lord’s temple.”
Lost in my senses, I thought back to a recording of Swami Satchidananda speaking about one thing or another around meditation; how even the most mundane motions become acts of devotion when we recognize the spark of divinity inside of us. For years, I’d pop that idea into my mind when trying to be present in such moments: be here, now. The phrase – be here, now – is one of my favorites. It helps me breathe, and focus, and ground, and center.
But finding myself here, now, without telling myself to be here, now?
Later in the day, I speak words aloud and ponder their sounds.
I couldn’t help them and wouldn’t deny my aged neighbor a friendly ‘hello’ as I exited with Mitra for a walk because of my self-imposed rules. I wouldn’t ignore the tiny brown face and giant smile squealing at her wagging tail as he toddled down the street with his parents and grandfather, who lives a few floors above and beamed with pride at his tiny progeny. A few words only, but good ones. Rich ones. Purposeful ones.
They made me think of all the wasted sounds I make throughout the day. Hours of narrating to my dog what we’re doing or are going to do. Times in my freelance-work-from-home-solitude I speak to myself not out of loneliness or madness, but merely to fill the space. Out of habit.
Today, I listened. I spoke to Mitra with my hands, using the gestures her tiny-but-brilliant brain had learned along with words. I discovered my wizened gaze could silence her bark as much as my low growl. I took notice of my deep sighs, and so did she; cues of potential movement from one place to another. Of ending an action to start something new.
I often point out that “words matter, so choose yours wisely.” But this happens usually online when thoughtless expression has too casually leaned towards cruelty and ignorance.
Today, I enjoyed the few words that came out of my mouth. The hellos to a neighbor. The invitation to that little happy face to pet my dog. The compliment to my neighbor who was so proud to present his grandson.
Words matter, so choose yours wisely.