This gentle August morning could not be more exquisite. A light coat of fog embraces us with its ethereal, almost haunting quality. I am out with Pup on our early walk, and the world is still. Even the birds are unusually quiet; it is only the light patter of our steps that breaks the silence. I breathe in deeply, saturating myself with the perfection of the air, the absolute perfection of this day.
As our pace picks up, my thoughts turn to the yoga class I taught yesterday morning. I envision the stretch of hardwood floor, the golden light streaming through the broad skylights above, and the beautiful faces scattered about the room. My memory hones in on one particular man and the words he uttered during pre-class banter. We had touched upon the transient nature of life, and, as gentle music filled the air, he noted, “Ah, and we are all moving into nothingness.” I paused in the middle of the room, my brown eyes meeting his, and pronounced, “I’ll have to ponder that. Nothingness. I’m forever being warned of seeing my glass as more than half full—even when it seems near empty. I have a feeling I’m not so sure about nothingness.” His eyes, both wise and playful, smiled at me in return.
Moving toward my yoga mat, I mused in a half-whisper, “Oh, the concept of nothingness feels…so very, very empty.” Whether or not human existence moves eventually into nothingness is an age-old debate; here it was before me, in a gentle form, in the midst of a light-filled yoga studio. Nothing or everything. “Nothingness or everythingness.” Before another moment passed, I knew where I stood. “Everythingness. Life did not move into nothingness, it moved into everythingness.” Hands at heart center, my focus turned to the beginning of our yoga practice, and the glorious movement of our bodies and the union of our breath soon filled the room.
My thoughts are pulled back to the present as Pup strains at the leash to pull me backward. His pleading bronze-toned eyes stare up at me, then to the ground. He looks back up at me expectantly. My laughter breaks into the cool morning air; it seems that Pup is always looking at me expectantly. I see what he wants immediately. I’d forgotten to stop at the wild plum trees laden with tiny fruits. The first tree, and the ground beneath it, is adorned with plump crimson orbs. Just behind its branches waits another loaded tree, its limbs covered with golden, rose-tinged fruits. Smiling, I pick several from each tree; five for Pup and three for me. He wags his tail in delight as I feed him his share. I kiss his brow and stroke his coppery coat; Pup is a good, good soul.
As Pup and I move on, memories of last night fill my mind. I had spent the cool August evening with several precious friends. It was our first dinner party together since our mutual pal, Victoria, passed away in late June. We chattered and shared the most intimate stories and details as only trusted, treasured friends can do. Our laughter filled the air as we nibbled on an array of inviting appetizers. Thoughts and memories of Victoria flowed in and out of our conversation. Tears welled up now and again, yet it felt wonderful to talk of her presence with friends who knew her well. It was not sadness, but love, that filled the kitchen; it was love that filled the expanses of my dear friends’ lovely home. Hours later, we sat in the beautiful dining room; the table was laden with a bountiful summer feast. I was asked to say the blessing. With joy, I bowed my head and offered my gratitude. We had much to be thankful for–the abundant food, the precious time together, the friendship we shared, the opportunity to have joined in knowing Victoria, and the prospect of more love to be shared as the years moved forward. We had everything.
Throughout the evening, I was filled with the love of my friends. Underneath the laughter, the whispers, the chatter, and the stories, there was love. It was simple–pure and true–love. I saw love in the eyes and gestures of my dear friends. One, facing his own battle with cancer, joked and chatted warmly even as his tiredness filtered through. His wife, stunningly attractive and so very dear, laughed and giggled above her own burdens. Another, with the most penetrating of deep brown eyes, always beckons me with his quiet, soulful ways; he is solid, serene, and undeniably astute. And no gathering would be complete without the mischievous ways of my other handsome friend. Last night he tousled my long hair unmercifully, and I let him. That is what friends do; they find laughter and love in the oddest of places. They help us feel light; they help us know love. I could not help but know and feel that such moments are filled with the magic of love—wondrous love.
As the others talked, I moved to clear the plates. Understanding my inability to sit still for very long, my friends soon joined to keep me company. Dishes done, our precious hostess presented a mountainous homemade peach dessert. Plates topped full, we settled in the kitchen to enjoy its decadence. Even the dessert seemed infused with love; it tasted of bittersweet tears, wild joy, and rich hope. I could have stayed in those moments for hours, for the sheer delight of the company that offered such unfiltered love. Hands held, embraces flowed, lips touched cheeks, and laughter glittered. For the first time in months, I was filled with such deep laughter that my ribs ached.
Pup pulls me back to the morning walk, and I realize I’ve wandered a bit on my path. I gaze down at him in gratitude; he is such a dear friend, my copper-furred rapscallion. My thoughts wander, and I am back to thinking of nothingness and everythingness. I choose to side with everythingness. This life, whether short or long, is and is not everything, yet even that which seems to evaporate moves into something. When the moments pass and friends depart, I choose to believe that there is not a move into nothingness. That which we pour into the world, into soul, seems endless. If we choose to mete out anger or unkindness, it reverberates. When we pour out love, sweet love, it, too, reverberates in its own magical way. Quite possibly, I think, if we trusted more in everythingness, we wouldn’t need to cling and struggle so.
“Maybe,” I whisper to Pup, “if I consciously douse the world with my own love–with the thought that the love will continue on in its inimitable ‘everythingness’ way–maybe I will make a difference somehow, someway. Our glass is more than half full, Pup, isn’t it? It’s overflowing!” And, so, I consciously step into love as I continue on my path. Pup keeps pace at my side; my eyes meet his too-wise gaze; I think he might agree with me.