If I sound a little out of breath, it’s because I’ve been running a month-long photography marathon. I’ve been capturing and editing photos of my inventory of stones and crystals, all the beauties I’ll be selling in my new Etsy store, which will officially open in October.
I taught myself Adobe Lightroom and re-learned how to use my camera that’s been sitting in a box for years. I learned that trying to upload/backup more than 5,000 photos makes my internet connection rather slow and cranky. And I learned that if I don’t want blue-stained fingers to show up in the photos, I shouldn’t use my bare hands to distribute frozen blueberries to the dogs when making my lunchtime smoothies!
It’s been a lovely adventure spending more time with the stones. Many were telling me how they want me to describe them in the store. And they’re so particular about their photos. If there’s an angle they don’t want shown, I can try 50 times to capture it and every single photo will come out blurry. I’ve also pulled stones from the inventory that informed me they want to be part of a book project I’ll start working on soon. And I’ve had a couple say: “quit trying to sell me!” Obviously, those stones want to remain as part of my crystalline community.
My goal has been to finish all this photography by the time I leave for a trip to Minneapolis to visit my family. To do this, I needed to set writing projects aside for a bit.
Which set off my nattering inner critics. They threw all sorts of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” at me. It got funny at times. I stayed aware of these thoughts and used the tools I have for working with them. I did my best to stay in the flow, stay in my NOW bubble, and do what felt right in each unique moment, knowing that’s all I really needed to do.
In the middle of all this, I received a new level of clarity about the NOW bubble I’ve written of several times before. In meditation I felt and saw myself in the bubble. And then I saw everything outside that bubble as a complete fog. My team spoke up and said very clearly: Nothing exists outside the NOW bubble.
In that moment I felt the truth of this in an entirely new way. The peace and harmony and perfection of it. And it even makes sense to the time-understandings of my mind: the past is only memory, and the future is conjecture, expectation, and whatever else we try to pile onto it. The future seems like something solid and malleable, but that doesn’t mean it exists as anything separate from the NOW.
There is only NOW.
Doing all the photography actually helped me stay in the NOW bubble. I have my stepmother on my mind. She married my Dad about 5 years ago and brought him (and me) a great deal of joy. She’s also recently begun hospice care for cancer that she decided not to treat. So I’m going home to say goodbye. Twelve years ago around this time, my mother was dying, and I’m aware of some parallels and emotions swirling around that as well.
Thinking of all this from the perspective of the NOW bubble has been helpful. While focusing on all my crystals and photos, I was aware of my trip home, my family situation, the emotions. But I didn’t dwell on them. I tried not to project ahead about what this trip will be like – or not be like. As I’ve written before, trying to lean forward into the future only pulls me out of my bubble, out of my center, and out of alignment.
When I’m home I’ll be fully immersed in my NOW bubble in a different way than I have been these past weeks and months. I’ll be fully present with whatever emotions and experiences show up. I also know it’s this full presence that will be the biggest gift and help I can bring to my family in this delicate time.
Let me share another example of an aha moment regarding my NOW bubble. The beautiful sleepy dog pictured in this post is my girl Parker. We rescued her almost 8 years ago when she was (best guess) about a year old. She was a stray who had obviously been hit by people, had things thrown at her, and experienced other trauma. Over the years she’s overcome so much, but when weather gets thundery, a lot of her old anxiety comes back and she needs extra TLC.
One rainy night she was curled up on my bed, so I joined her. I cuddled her, gave her lots of petting and smooches. I kept telling her that she’s a great dog and that’s she’s totally safe now. Then I realized that in addition to what I was saying, my inner voices were also expressing regret that I haven’t done more for her over the years (amazing how inner critics insist we haven’t done enough) – or mapping out all I should do for her in the future. In essence, each of those thoughts was taking me out of the NOW and the love-filled moment I was experiencing with her.
I took a deep breath and brought myself fully into the moment, into my NOW bubble. My energy shifted, and I felt hers shift as well. Parker and I cuddled for quite a while longer, spending much of that time staring into each other’s eyes. It was magic, pure magic and joy. I could have stayed there with her all night.
I want to add something here. In a way, it could sound like staying in the NOW bubble is a way to separate you from life or put you on some gilded pedestal where you’re “safe” from life’s challenges.
The opposite is true.
The NOW bubble is the living, breathing moment and ALL it contains – all the joys, all the emotions and challenges, all the particulars of the world in that heartbeat of NOW.
In the NOW bubble, you’re also most aligned with your fullness, your gifts and higher wisdom, and all that you and, ultimately the world, needs. It’s the bubble that lets you move beyond the angers and judgements and expectations of others and shine with your inner clarity and higher knowing. It’s the bubble that helps you discern where you can be of greatest service and in what way. It’s the bubble that helps you BE and bring your best to the world.
In short, being in the NOW bubble is the way to be the most fully present in life, most present with whatever is right in front of you.
Today, my NOW bubble brings me this message to post and suitcases to pack.
Where does this moment find you? Feel your bubble. Experience it. Feel how it is the very breath of life.
Have a bubbly day you glorious bubbles of light,