Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Particular Geographies and Yearning

For the past 2 months, I've spent a lot of time driving long distances.  I realize that not everyone likes to drive the way that I do.  I should modify:  I like to drive the way I do when I'm driving alone.  Driving with others in the car is a whole different experience.

When I've made a long car trip, I sometimes feel like I've fallen out of time.  I used to think that I only felt that way after an airplane trip and that a long car trip would help me feel cemented in time.  That's not the case for me, at least not right now.

In the past, I've felt a longing to be in places other than where I am:  it's been a longing for a particular geography mixed with a longing for particular people.  At this time in my life, I feel fully present wherever I am, almost as if other places have ceased to exist.  When I'm in my seminary apartment, I rarely think about my little house in the mountains.  When I was in the mountains this week-end, my seminary life seemed like a dream I had.

Have I finally mastered the art of being fully present in the moment?  I'm so often thinking about parts of my past, usually with a mix of regret and sadness, mixed with yearning and nostalgia.  When I'm not thinking about the past, I'm plotting the future.

Sadly, I don't think I've mastered the art of being fully present.  I think I'm fully present because my living situations are so new.  I had only lived in the North Carolina house for a month before moving to seminary housing.  

The fact that seminary housing is temporary might also explain why I'm able to stay with the present moment more successfully now than in the past.  Or maybe it's because I'm so happy with my current situation.  When I'm mired in home repairs or job stress, my go to relief has been yearning for either the past or the present.  Right now, I'm happy with my classes and my seminary apartment--no need for my escapist coping strategies.

Can I learn techniques from this time?  Let me think about how to sustain this being present in the current moment, even when I'm less thrilled about my circumstances.  Let me think about how to train my brain to be more often in a state of Zen acceptance, less yearning for something else.

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