Right now at this moment, across time and space, if I look into my heart to ask, “what or who am I missing?” … a resounding answer abounds.

The land. I’m missing the land, a place lost in time, all for the better but still a loss to be mourned nevertheless. And with that land, I miss the people, the places, the feeling of being a part of the world (before cellphones and the Internet). The feeling of being surrounded by community, immersed in the natural cycles of the earth.

Let me back up.

Or move forward rather, to the present, the now, the eternal fleeting space where memories are created and then vanish.

Small glimpses of the divine, predetermined journeys for the good of humanity.

This is something that I could never miss because it’s always surrounding us with effortless, buoyant love, cradling us during the most tumultuous of times.

I can never be certain, but this I know for sure: each of us is surrounded by love.

And so I’d like to share a meditation that I do most mornings before my feet hit the ground, before the indeterminate distractions of the day: here is the story of the Salt Doll.

Photo by Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash

The story of the Salt Doll is an expression of the pantheistic philosophy that underlines both Hinduism and Buddhism. I find peace in this meditation, especially on chaotic mornings where concentration and patience are at a premium.

Photo by Anna Pritchard on Unsplash

I am aware with startling acuity of how grateful I am during this pandemic. Because just a few years ago, I lived in a major city and, after a few decades, it was starting to wear me down. My health was failing, so a move was in order.

It took longer than anticipated, but my husband and I finally moved back to our place of origin, the country.

We worked jobs that we didn’t like to save up for our ephemeral move to the country, where living would be simpler, the air would be clearer, and most importantly, we would have more space to rescue animals and reorient our souls to the eternal wellspring of hope and contentment.

And now, here we are. My husband and I, our preschooler, and our many animal rescues, in a new place, with new neighbors, new school systems, and new friends.

Photo by Paula Palmieri on Unsplash

This is a weird world in which we are living, and I am finding that I frequently need to adjust my perception to recall that, yes, I am grateful.

But still, I find myself missing those that are no longer of this earth.

I’m glad that my father doesn't have to suffer the uncertainty that so much of the world is experiencing today.

I’m glad that my grandmother is in an eternally abiding place of peace and comfort.

I’m thankful that my grandfather’s lung cancer wasn’t prolonged, and that he doesn't have to worry about a different invisible illness stealing his last breath.

But still, I miss them all.

I miss so much of the world.

I miss the land that I grew up tending.

I miss my family members both of origin and created that live thousands of miles away.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Everyone’s experiences with this isolation are quite varied, yet also similar, in that everyone is dealing with the uncertainty, the fear, and the question of how to rebuild so that the world is a kinder, cleaner, and more compassionate place.

Maybe the seas will regenerate, the lands will become fertile again, and all traces of bitterness will evaporate into space.

All I know is that despite this social distancing, the pine trees continue to grow, stretching their branches toward galaxies near and far. The stars continue to sparkle and blaze, and the sun continues to pour its powerful rays upon us. We are one with everything.

And for this, we remain eternally grateful.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

With great love and gratitude,

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Writer and editor with a background in animal behavior, journalism, philosophy, psychology & spirituality.