We were watching my mother gather the edges of her knitted bed cover together, gathering the loose ends and matching them along the selvage. It was massive and cumbersome, sliding off the tray of her wheelchair and lodging in the wheel rims. Her hands were manic and the actions repetitive but it was soothing for her, the task taking on whole horizon.
Frank quipped, “It’s important to sew the sky down at the horizon. It keeps the ocean from spilling out.”
There were times when being in the presence of frenetic activity would have me reaching for control. I would need some way to shut down the energy before it reached critical mass. Listening to a talk by Sharon Salzberg, I begin to understand that practice is about pivoting away from the external stimulus and turning into the inner experience. What does it feel like to be in the presence of frenzy and restlessness? It feels like the ocean is going to spill out. And I understand the fear that can drive this need to gather the edges of the sky and sew them together.
However, it’s futile. This frenzied activity only leads to exhaustion – perhaps even boredom and then loss of motivation (oh, my favourite twins, sloth and torpor). And besides, the point is not to staple down the horizon to avoid the drama of a flooded universe. That’s just another delusion.
So what’s left? What’s right.