There you go again. I just saw you. Slipping out the door and minutely turning the handle closed behind your back, never looking back. Away you slipped and left the shell of the meat sack behind again, checking out of your home, leaving it to the world empty and alone. You trust that the cleaners will come, but how good a job they do, you’ll never know. The space you’ve vacated will be filled endlessly with the noise of the life around it with no-one to shut out the noise and the distractions. It will endure bumps and scars and you will call it a necessary evil or Murphy’s Law and pretend that you won’t see the disrepair from afar.
You’ve left it again to sit on streets with an unalienable sense that there is some greater roadmap to which it should be accountable, but it won’t know how to find it. It will sit amongst the richest of places and the darkest of alleys but find no answer. It will tune out of the crazy, vibrant life happening in front of it, feeling overwhelmed, but open its doors to any visitor to try to fill the emptiness. It will fill itself with superficial trinkets and stuff, just to feel whole. It will open up and lock down, trying to work out some secret balance to it all. All the while, its eyes will scan the road, but it won’t know what for.
So where do you go? When you check out and try to escape all that is, where do you go? Do you find a peace in being insubstantial, leaving your corporeal you to govern your path as you try to float above the confusion and the pain? Do you head to tropical climes or mountainous slopes, an adventure or a retreat, or to another world altogether? Do you try to see everything or nothing, just cocoon yourself in a comforting, endless darkness, a blanket of black into which no light can creep?
And when you check back in, I can’t help but wonder if you’ve not made it harder on yourself. Surely, once you’re back, life seems heavier, muddier, denser. Surely, once you don the meat sack around you again, nestle into the muscles and the sinews; once you feel the effects of the tensions and the contortions, the consumptions and the ingestions, the fruits of an mindless life, your spirit feels so weighed down that it no longer knows how to soar within the world. Does it mean that the only way in which you can feel enamoured of your body is to over-flex, over-use the muscles of the mouth and hands, legs and feet to gain back a sense of power? Is that why gyms are packed, and why everyone talks over the others?
The truth is, we’re getting so good at checking out that we’re losing the skill of checking back in. We check out on the commute to work and in front of the tv at night. We check out in moments we hate and moments we love so much it hurts. We check out for seconds or hours, days or years. And the more we do it, the more we become alienated from the world. But we’re inseparable from it. The body is useless with mindful employment of its incredible innate power. And the spirit cannot contribute without some way of actioning its beautiful purpose and passions. Not even speaking of it is enough. We are bound in a relationship between mind and spirit, body and world. Life is a beautiful marriage of action and dreams, and for that to happen, you have to be present. Purpose and action need to sing in harmony. You have to imbue the physical with a higher purpose and express the best you in all you do.
This Christmas, as with every Christmas, we are surrounded with noise, deafening yet insubstantial, all encompassing yet trivial. We’re being taught to check out through screens and shopping, stories and substance. There are a million new shiny distractions that will help you slip away again. But imagine how powerful one day could be if we all just chose to be present, mindful and in harmony with our existence. Imagine what it would be to have everyone living a day, here and now, in the same space as you, looking for the same beautiful self-expression as you, looking for the best in them and the best in you. In our bodies and in the world that nurtures them, greeting each breath and sun ray with gratitude. Then surely it could truly be the most wonderful time of the year.