The ‘Holding Moment’
I’ve been thinking about moments of comfort. I think I’m fairly safe in saying that to live fully means that at some points in our lives we have to navigate dark times. And with the benefit of time we realise we can survive and learn, and that we can discover new ways of being in the world. As the Greek playwright Aeschylus wrote, ‘Wisdom comes alone through suffering.’ As conscious, self-reflecting beings, it can be no other way for us: we lose, we grieve, we take another step. But in the darkest moments it’s hard to recognise this process. And even if we recognise it, it can feel impossible to trust it!
My own experience has taught me that in those dark times, if I can tune to something outside myself, often something in nature that is perpetuating its own existence moment by moment, I can hold on to the world…and the world can hold me.
In the following reflection I describe how sometimes it’s in these small, holding moments I can take my biggest step.
It’s been like this for years now. As I lie awake in the blue-grey space between asleep and awake, 4am Frog sends his soulful call into the world. More purr than croak, his low, vibrating song carries through the open window, rests on my solar plexus, burrows through to my ribs, my lungs, the flesh of my heart. And I feel comforted by the existence of another being at this liminal hour. I’m alive. We’re alive.
It’s in these pre-dawn moments, suspended like a satellite at the edge of the known universe, I feel my childlessness most keenly, when the presence of my absent child lingers in each threshold of my home. In this moment, 4am Frog brings me back to a world that holds me fast – a world that has slipped its lines of time, of thinking, of memory. He tunes me to this one beautiful moment when the supernovae of desire and loss burn to nothing, leaving only the faintest echo of their existence.
Until next week, my friends, I leave you with this lovely poem, A Small Moment by Cornelius Eady that captures a truly evocative moment when a scent seems to make time stand still. Click here