On Impermanence and Gratitude

The things we love the most are the things we cannot keep.

On a rainy Fall day, when it is difficult to get out of bed and engage with the world, it is much easier to have deep life realizations over coffee and shuffled playlists.

And so, in that state, it has occurred to me that all the most beautiful things in this world, the things that make a person feel that they might just be crushed by the sheer overwhelm of joy and love and exhilaration and terror, are those things that are utterly unable to be attained and preserved.

Your first kiss, the moment you realized you were living your calling, the innocence of your children, the ignorant perfection of your teenage body, quiet moments with the person who fills your heart — none of these things can be preserved in a jar. These moments will never again be replicated. In this impermanence is exactly where the beauty lies, and if you think about things too much like I do, the tragedy.

I studied with a yogi in India who said there are two types of suffering: the first is fulfilling your desire and the second is never fulfilling it. Both leave you in a state of longing for either the beauty that you have known and can never again repeat or longing for that which you will never experience. Regardless, we are fucked and that, I believe, is where that whole non-attachment piece and live in the present comes into play — a true practice. Still working on it.

The most defining components of my life are memorable moments of pure connection to fundamental truths about my relationship with the human experience — who I am, what love means, how I choose pain, how insignificant my troubles are compared to others’ suffering. These imprinting experiences are not long periods of life, or drawn out routines. They are butterfly moments that touched something core, something visceral that is undefinable and leaves you forever changed. They are pictures in your head that can be recalled at any moment and yet never feel quite the same.

Anything worth having is fleeting. If it were permanent, we would never know the value of it.