I love bubble bath! Recently, my favorite brand – my favorite for many years! – has disappeared from store shelves, and I’m testing new brands to discover bubbles I like as much. Sigh… another loss, another change…!
Remember blowing bubbles? What child doesn’t love to blow bubbles? What cat or dog doesn’t like to chase bubbles? What adult doesn’t somehow become a child again when given the opportunity to blow bubbles? Several years ago, I officiated at an outdoor wedding, and when the ceremony was over and guests sat to eat the wedding meal, we discovered at each plate a small plastic bottle of soap – the new marriage celebrated by hundreds of bubbles, exploding into the air!
Why “life as bubbles?”
Each moment, each precious moment of life is a bubble, if you will. Each moment explodes into the next, each day passes quickly, and each month and year are so quickly checked off the calendar.
“Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world, the troubles of the world, the troubles of the world,” the slaves in fields in America sang, to remind themselves that this life, this hard and brutal life they were given, would soon enough be over. To them, these words inspired hope, hope in the hot sun, hope in the blistering heat, hope in the pain.
Soon, the bubbles will burst, soon enough.
I lived most of my life exploding bubbles. How did I do that? I lived in this moment by thinking and worrying about the next. I turned over and over in my mind the coming day, the interview next week, the friends I didn’t have, the dream that would not be met. Or I turned over and over in my mind that last conversation – what I could have said – that last decision that could go wrong, the mistakes, real or imagined, I had made. Some of this worry was unconscious, to be sure, and sometimes these same unconscious worries come to visit again, even now.
I exploded the bubbles of this moment by living into the future or by living in the past. That’s a drama-filled life, to be sure, because the mind writes dramas with every stroke of thought. It does!
How could I have missed all of this? How could I have missed all the beauty that surrounds me? How could I have missed the crescent moon, shining in the black sky? How did I miss the light shining through autumn leaves? How did I miss the sweet, sweet city smell of morning? How did I miss the sound of the wind, floating to me? How did I miss the bubbles, floating into the air, all the colors of the rainbow reflected in their iridescence?
Now, I am grateful as often as I can be, for this shining moment. I am grateful for this one bubble floating over my head. I am grateful for the one smile, the simple laugh, the little bit of light that says day is coming soon.
How did I get here? I will say this: letting go of the drama, letting go of the wild voices of reason, letting go of the violence of the mind is not an easy job. It’s a life’s work, and it doesn’t end. This letting go is the hardest work, and many do not do the work.
I say to others often: “letting go is the secret to life.” Then, quickly, I add: “and how do we let go????”
For a moment today, stop bursting bubbles. Instead, take a breath. Sense the bottoms of your feet. See what is right in front of you. If you feel sad, feel sad. If you are happy, be happy. If you are in grief, cry.
Look at the precious bubbles, these moments, floating in front of your child-like eyes!