Being present with WHAT IS is definitely the first place to start, the main place to start. The place where we forget to be most of the time.

But it’s also good to go to what WANTS TO BE, what’s wanting to be born, what’s wanting to emerge. And called by this, being drawn to this, sometimes, maybe almost immediately, we’ll notice that we are held back. Maybe we are feeling afraid, or unsure of how to proceed.

And often that will lead us to WHAT WAS. To some way in which we can’t fully inhabit the WHAT IS because we are still in the WHAT WAS.

So despite what we may often hear repeated of “let go of the past,” it’s not a bad idea to take a visit to it, to go see what needs tending to that keeps us with one foot stuck over there. To go fully to it.

What happens if I make the WHAT WAS my WHAT IS for a moment? Take the me of the WHAT IS back, to be present with the me of the WHAT WAS.

I go back to return what belongs there that I’m still carrying, and bring forth what was left behind that needs rescuing. I tend to what wasn’t grieved, or celebrated properly in the moment. Or simply to what wasn’t witnessed or lived fully. I let it express, release, complete… let it do whatever it needs to do. And then I come back to WHAT IS.

Then it might be a purer IS from having leaned forward and dipped back.

In some sense all of time exists at once, right? Isn’t that (in my inelegant words) what theoretical physicists say? All of our existence is echoing internally, spinning into itself in the wheel of time.

What happens if we inhabit all of it, making this moment, whatever WHAT IS we are at in this moment, the AXIS? This means we don’t have to push past or future away. We can feel free to embody all of it, to surrender to the folding and unfolding.

I find I can make this into a meditative practice. I feel myself turn, move. I feel how I can’t help but be in the present moment, how I never leave it, truly.

And how it is always leaving.

I feel into that leaving. And this makes me notice the simultaneous rush of the coming. Always, both the coming and the leaving as the ground of my being. The present that doesn’t last a single moment, the present that is eternally lasting. I feel how I am in the flow of that river of arriving and departing. Always, the flow of that river.

I am the river, the river bed, the stone in the river.

"Fluent" by John O'Donahue, from Conamara Blues: Poems

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.
From Conamara Blues: Poems