This post is a loving tribute to Joan Ruvinsky, who left us on March 21 in Montreal.
Just prior to Christmas, Joan wrote a newsletter note about the preciousness of the moment. I’m glad I kept it, because it couldn’t be more apt right now.
You never know if this is going to be the last time, the last holiday season, the last menstrual period, the last trip to the mountains, the last whatever. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if, for instance, it were just the last time you were ever to put gas in the car, except, looking back on it, as a charming ritual. Does its being the last time make it more significant? Will we pay more attention? We don’t even know if it’s the last time when it is happening. We can only know through memory, in retrospect.
Or we can pretend the future and say, “That was the last time I ever time I’ll ever go to that restaurant!” This is the past conditioning the future. The food was terrible. Never again. Period.
Oh, how we like to place ourselves in time! It makes us feel situated. Secure.
But in the moment, the actual moment, we just don’t know. Is it the first? Is it the last? Actually, it’s right now, first time, or last time – however we name it to stay comfortably situated in linear time, to play it safe. In fact, it is only and forever right now.
So every moment, the smell of this hot cider mulling on the stove, the clacking of the printer, the wind in the pines, this holiday season to celebrate, or not… it’s just right now, whether we are labelling it from anticipation or from memory. This moment is absolutely precious. This moment is out of time, beyond comparison. No sequence. No succession. Just now. Here is where the vista opens. Now is when we are home, home in This, as This, as pure perceiving.
May whatever you celebrate for the first or last unknown time be joyous.
Joan’s closing comments in a conversation with Grace Bubeck: Death only happens to the body, we are Love. 3:16
The entire conversation: The Radical Joy of Facing Death. 48:41
I treasure Joan’s last succinct email message to me…
Pas d’inscription. Juste de se présenter à 15h45
The magnificent photograph is by Michael Kenna.