I had to rush and reshuffle my Sunday today to get to yoga class at 12.15pm. I make a special effort to get there because I love the teacher’s wisdom.
Today, she said, “Maintenance is the most difficult thing to do.” True, it is easy to start a diet, a hobby, a new relationship ….. but to keep it going requires something so much more heavy than starting it.
Reason: excitement is the fuel that powers our early enthusiasm, be it for a new diet, hobby or relationship, but the true test of its long-term value comes when the drudgery sets in. Are we committed enough to “stay on the programme” (my partner’s annoying, favourite phrase) when there are easier and more exciting new options elsewhere? People often find it hard to meditate for only 9 minutes a day everyday. It is the everyday part that is the deal breaker, not the 9 minutes.
I think we have to learn to find love in the ordinary, because life is made up of million of these ordinary slices. And when we look back on the life we have lived, it is all about who that had been there for us during the ordinary times. True meaning is to be found here rather than in the transient highlights.
I knew someone who raved about exciting sex in the swimming pool (or was it changing room) in Bali with an ex, but where was the ex in his moments of need? If you value only the capital letters and exclamation marks in your Book of Life, you miss out the whole story.
Last week, after a particularly savage argument, we went for a very long run late at night. I was furious and in despair, running very hard and feeling my lungs burning, I thought my heart was going to pack in, but I just wanted to run away from him, as far and as fast as I could. But he kept pace with his long legs, steady pace, barely out of breath. I wondered how long I could keep going, maybe I should stop being so stubborn at 51.
And then Battersea Bridge came into sight and I slowed down. I remembered the dark days of November/December of 4 years ago when I was so ill that I could barely walk. Back then, I just wanted to give up and die. But he wouldn’t let me. We ran, slow tentative steps at first, with my heart strapped to his with his weird homemade contraption. “I won’t let you give up,” he had said fiercely. The Gods couldn’t defy him when he sets his heart on something. I had fought him then, as I fought him now, as I had fought him for years, but somewhere in the fights, there is me. And there is the him that is unchanging and constant. “I love you,” I said, “For always being one step behind me.”
We began walking across Battersea Bridge companionably, taking the long way home. Just an ordinary winter’s night in London, but a reminder that meaning is to be found in ordinary things that had always been there for you, not in the highlights. “Maybe we’ll do this still when we are 80, hey?” He said, no teasing this time.
This drawing is by a Korean artist, I wrote about the artist a while back here, but can’t remember his name. Yes, I think meaning is to be found here <3. In Dutch, we say gezellig.
Main photo: Dreamstime