life is but a dream.
I was no sooner home from my doctors appointment last week, just long enough to peel off my jacket and drop my prescription bag on the counter, and I was already in my office for a quick preservation of what I was feeling before it faded and folded back into cutting sandwiches for lunch, gathering dropped towels around the house for another round of laundry, and sifting through the Valupak envelope for coupons I’ll save but never use. From my desk, I pulled my day timer, full of notes and reminders I collect from my every days. FLU, March 3, 2017–I scribbled on a post-it note, attached it to the monthly page and placed it on my desk where it joins the rest of my everyday nonsense and latest airings of dirty laundry. soft white shells from my first trip to Bermuda, a faded photo with my boys from the sand dunes in Cape Cod, tiny pebbles from my yoga retreat in California, piles of coffee-colored snail shells from the lake where I had so many summer adventures, and other Earth treasures from memories that stood out over the years, needing to be commemorated in driftwood, smooth stones and dirt dug from sacred ground.
And then I clicked around on my iPod, where I collect the songs I listen to, the ones that always remind me of the tiny windows in my life and how grateful I felt last week to be standing under the cold blue sky while the snow fell, surrounded by memories and feeling so much love and peace and enjoyment for where I am right now. I collect songs just like I do shells and photos and tucked them in a playlist where I can listen to them again and again when I want to revisit this feeling. I collected “If I Needed You”–the song that made me cry when I first heard it. I tucked in an enchanting version of “Blue” by LeAnn Rhimes. “Here I Go Again,” by White Snake, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, and of course, John Denver, because–duh–Rocky Mountain High.
Once when I heard Deepak Chopra speak, he talked about learning to separate ourselves from our experiences by thinking of them as a dream that we had…we wake up to a new day, and yesterday and the things that happened to us were just a dream. I’m not very good at separating myself from anything, so if we’re going to go that route, let’s just say I’m the BFG and I’m trapping my glowing vacation dreams in jars so I can save them and relive them and blow them back to myself when I sleep. Because those glorious moments fuel me and remind me what I seek–togetherness, an acute understanding of my presence in the world, and an appreciation for mountain creeks and beach sunsets and also finding an amazing bistro with lots of charm and great food in a new town. Come on, Mr. Chopra, you know that’s important too. Memory hoarder for life, that's me. For the record, routine home days and stirring cream into my coffee at the same counter where I begin every morning also reminds me of what I seek–togetherness, an acute understanding of my presence in the world, and an appreciation for a spoon that clinks against my mug like a morning wind chime, good-smelling dish soap, a little granola left in the bottom of the bag and a still-sleepy puppy at my feet. Going away to inhale new air, coming home to breathe it out. priceless!
I know this feeling of small greatness well as I was committed to traveling and soaking up as much as the world had to offer in landscapes and people and experiences. I was good at adding to my memory jars and have tucked away adventures from Mexico to Europe. My life is different now, but my memory jars are full, even while my bucket list continues to grow. I value family and little moments. I remember them all, I’ll remember them all like it was yesterday but wonder, as Deepak says, if it was all but a dream.