After completing a challenging project on time I decided to spend the weekend in the Bahamas to recharge.
I was walking along a quiet beach, taking in the blue sky, white sand and turquoise water, when I looked back and noticed my footprints in the sand.
A footprint in wet sand is the universal image for 'life was here'. It reminded me of being 12 years old and on an expedition in the jungles of Endau Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia and finding a fresh tiger track along a small river. I knew wild tigers existed but it was at this moment that I became aware, at an emotional level, that tigers were actually _real_. I went back later to look at the tigerprints but an afternoon storm had washed them away. I remember asking myself how it could be possible that the presence of an animal as beautiful and Great as the tiger could be erased by a few raindrops.
But nothing is greater than time... Great leaders are slain [Bhutto], species become extinct, countries divide, companies collapse [Microsoft, just wait], mountains erode, islands sink. Time is the Great damper, equalizer. To me, this is not a depressing thought, rather a life affirming reminder that every goal of mine to have, own, keep, influence or control is futile. The more often I can remind myself of this, the more time I can spend doing real things, towards real and lasting happiness.
Back to the Bahamanian beach... there I was, eyes closed, feeling the wind, water and sand on my skin. Nothing could change the fact that I was there, nothing. And yet nothing could possibly keep me there tomorrow. Life and all its pieces are impermanent. You hold on to life, not by stopping time but by moving with it.
There is a rhythm in everything; I can feel it. Mostly, I find myself moving awkwardly out of phase, but there are rare moments when I am able to let the rhythm of life find me, to become it. Dancing with the rhythm of life is the most beautiful thing; something that cannot be taken, owned or preserved. Reach out to hold on to it and the music stops. So keep moving.
My resolution for 2008: Chase the rhythm.