Just a phrase with transformative intention on my part. A short way to say you can't escape the present, and you don't really want to. It's all there is.
No one's ever said that more succinctly than Ram Dass, with his vast-simple recipe, Be Here Now.
Seems soooo vast-simple, doesn't it?
I stumbled on Cantaloupe, Can Stay while I was working on another (likely, unnecessarily complex) post.
I was stuck on something ever on my plate: staying here, in the present, heck--just staying, period.
Staying in my own skin, staying in feeling without locking down, staying in a marriage and being seen and loved, taking in the good, staying in the good, and why-oh-why I feel this terrible need to flee it.
I was trying to name the way this swells up, the physical sensations in my body just before I get the urge to leave, emotionally or physically.
The wordsmith in me came up with "canteloupement" for you (really for myself, of course, since I am far more comfortable writing about feelings & trying to describe my way out of them, then letting them be just as they are) to describe this "fleeing the present good" phenomenon--which of course is just a kitchen play on the psychological term, elopement:
When a patient runs away from treatment in a residential setting, runs away from from safety and what is actually good for them, that's called elopement.
I had the great, short, and harrowing honor of teaching in a residential school for emotionally disturbed children.
Yeah, I know that waking up every day inside newly strong, safe walls sometimes equals learn-grow-leave--canteloupement.
Guess what? Every time I typed in "canteloupement," my autocorrect reached in and gave me "can't elopement" (Autocorrect's been pointing me toward a lot of lessons recently--wait until we get to the gap and happiness and Vitamin G in the next post or so!).
Well, I was short on time. I buried can't elope-ment somewhere in the unfinished post and returned to "real life"--my very immediate, non-writing life, which mostly entails feeding those entrusted to my care, washing out cups, plates and bowls with various degrees of things stuck on, side-stepping great tumbleweeds of dog hair on the kitchen floor, just cleaning up from the last thing on the counter before the next one appears, and opening and closing the fridge 200 times a day.
(Only some of this is Mettāphor, by the way).
Now this morning, I got up with every intention of meditating, then finishing the other post, which is tentatively titled "Spinach: Taking in the Good." Sounds sturdy and worth finishing! But as you know...hard for me. I was committed to it, though.
I spend a lot of time off to the next thing, planning and cleaning up after. And here I was doing it again. No one was up, the birds were singing, sun streaming into the kitchen through the greenhouse window I adore, there was a pot of tea…and I was "getting ready" to meditate, which, sigh, always involves the task of...clearing a space at the kitchen table first.
Yet here was this melon on the counter. Just sitting in a piece of light being a melon.
Though I was pulled by the spinach post, here was this undeniable melon on the counter. Beckoning me.
Really, was there anyplace else I needed to be, but there (right here)? Contemplating this lovely, lopsided, slightly dented, rugged little cantaloupe, the fibrous cross-hatching of its skin a thing of true beauty?
It's good to stand here, I thought. To stay and smile at a cantaloupe.
So that's the concept, friends; that's all it is: rather than a superlong, contemplative post for you today, I'm just offering a morsel, and the mantra is:
Cantaloupe, Can Stay.
This Mantra Morsel has a different kind of mouth-feel than a main course post for me, it's right here happening now and it's good:
"Instantly, with this recognition, I felt a new kind of calmness--one of a profundity never experienced before…that point--that essence--that place beyond."(Ram Dass, Be Here Now)
It's all about essence. The morsel and the be-ing.
I don't know if you've ever thought to make your own cantaloupe water, but it's about the most ridiculously easy and delicious thing on the planet--"Cut up melon and put into water; let sit."
(I know, I'm like 0m for 3 on this blog with recipes).
It's so simple, so delicious, so utterly refreshing that it feels almost like a trick it could be that good--but...it's not.
It's like you're drinking the way the melon smells; it's magic, really--using one sense to absorb another.
That's called essence, I believe.
Now, in terms of methods, if you let the melon water sit too long past an hour or so--it won't taste the same. The freshness of the taste goes someplace I can't explain.
And it gets slippery.
The essence is now is what I'm saying; you can't make it and keep it.
The way past this issue is as simple as the recipe: be with it. Keep drinking it, keep refilling it. Same fruit; new essence.
My recommendation is that you keep it in your fridge, too. That way, when you open and close the door 200 times today, it will gently remind you that it's right there in front of you.
That you can't elope but you can stay, and drink it in.
I am always wrestling with the fact that I need reminding about this. Perhaps it really is okay.
After all, reminding you to remember to just drink the cool aid of the present while it's there is part of now too.
The original title of Ram Dass's book is actually: Remember, Be Here Now.
Presently, on my little kitchen dock: Ray LaMontagne singing Be Here Now.
And the swell and the pure soft breath of his voice is right here, filling up the room and everything in it. This is the sound of the melon water that is the smell of the fresh now washing through my soul.
Don't let your soul get lonely child
It's only time, it will go by
Don't look for love in faces, places
It's in you, that's where you'll find kindness
Be here now, here now
Be here now, here now
PS: While I'm standing here at the fridge this last time, something happens.
As I endlessly hold my glass under the spigot for another glass of melon water, my husband sits in the other room, in his easy splayed way, actually reading Be Here Now--a book he just became aware of today. A book I gave him. A book which makes him feel wonderful because it is already just the way he is, with or without the words.
I hold my glass there, uncomfortable it seems to be taking so long to fill up.
Profoundly uncomfortable feelings that I am not good enough or smart enough to "just be" come. Fear that we are not the same, old feelings of separateness surface.
Why is it so hard for me to stay? For me to just be? Why do I need so much reminding to be here now?!
I shift my feet trying keep balanced, really trying keep my cup out and let it fill.
He sees me struggling, he comes in and kisses me: and in loving this juicy essence of the right now of our lives, he reminds me.