Shelley J Whitehead

Holding time

1 July, 2022

It’s the first day of July today – we’re suddenly at that tipping point when we’re halfway through the year. As I’ve basked in the comfortable month of June, I’ve been living joyfully within the present moment… and somehow the month has just slipped by. I’m suddenly sensing the shortening of the year and, all too soon, the shortening of the hours of daylight… and at the same time I’m conscious that we have long weeks of summer easiness ahead. Two observations and two opposing forces (looking forward and looking back), colliding in a sudden heightened awareness and soft reflection.

Like that moment in a meditation, when you’ve drawn a deep breath in and are holding it – an energised stillness.

I love the complexity of this mix of emotions. A space tinged with the gentle melancholy of looking over my shoulder and the fuzzy glow of happy gratitude for everything I am surrounded by. A prickling glimmer of excitement for adventures to come, sharpened by the cool breeze of anticipation. I hold the moment, I hold the space, I hold the energy.

More often than not we forget to be still. The days and months flutter by and we don’t take stock until a momentous event (a birth, a death, a marriage, a rupture) bookmarks a fragment of time or the year comes to a close. Unless we consciously draw breath, the ‘rest’ can slip into the stream of everyday-ness. With stillness, we can make choices about our direction. We can course correct. And we can remember to celebrate the little things, inserting new bookmarks and new meanings in our life.

Today, on this half-way day, I’m celebrating how alive I feel. I’ve come so far since the days when my grief pinned me to the floor in a chasm of self-doubt, anguish and regret. I hold the past as part of who I am, but the pain has transmuted into the depths and subtleties of my empathic wisdom. I’m proud of where I have come from and of what I have become. In this moment of stillness, I embrace the past and I look to the future. In this moment of stillness, I celebrate these complexities of life and I acknowledge the small triumphs. In this moment of stillness, I feel alive in soft acceptance and sharp focus. I hold it. And then I exhale.

Shelley J Whitehead
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