Sunday, 16 April 2023

I Seal the Now

I wake up, ask Alexa the time, and think: "I feel a sense of loss for having slept till 9.13am on a Sunday morning." There's a danger of this day running behind the now before it's even started.

I reach for my glass of water. It's cool and refreshing. I feel the cotton sheets and the weight of the bedcovers. I bat away a thought about the sales pitch which persuaded me to buy this alpaca duvet on the basis that it would work with my internal thermostat. That's in the past. The sales pitch, not the duvet. The duvet is comfortingly present, though in the night I got too hot. But that's in the past too. I let it go.

Another thought, this time about what I'll do today, and about not having anyone around to ask to re-seal the bath for me. I'm distracted from the present and, as I've been listening to Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, I understand that I must not attach myself to the thought that 9.13am is half the morning wasted, nor look for fulfilment in anyone else's silicone sealant skills, past or future.

So, I accept that re-sealing the gap between the bath and the tiles is a moderate act of independence that is part of my now. I swing my legs over the edge of the bed.

I drink tea and eat cereal. I climb into my attic where I keep my DIY kit. I assemble silicone, sealant gun, masking tape, and a Stanley knife (shut). I climb down. 

In the bathroom, I begin scraping away the old sealant with the knife. I stay focused on the now, so as not to cut my fingers. I do this by both imagining a future spent in A&E and a past spent listening to advice about pushing the knife blade away from my fingers. I'm pretty sure that this way of achieving focus on the now is not mindfulness. Remembering the person who advised me is annoying, and reveals I still have an ego attachment to that person, or at least an attachment to him redoing the seal for me. I remember too that I have a detachment issue - specifically the detachment of the tiniest bit of the tip of the middle finger of my left hand. It went missing, amid a lot of blood, when I was chopping an onion three years ago. 

I call to mind Eckhart Tolle's thoughts about the power of now. Now. I refocus, prepare the join between bath edge and tiles, cleaning away old sealant and establishing a boundary with masking tape. Boundaries are important to the now.  

I set up the sealant gun with the new tube of silicone, then squeeze. The silicone takes a while to emerge, so I squeeze again, hard, with both hands. A white worm of silicone emerges and I trail it along the bath/tile border, smoothing it with my finger. The silicone keeps coming, and I am utterly absorbed in the moment, without thought, just squeezing and smoothing, squeezing, smoothing to the end of the bath ... 

The now doesn't end, and neither, it turns out, does the sealant, which, unlike the masking tape, is not within my control. At the end of the bath, it keeps coming. The white worm grows from the end of the nozzle: now. And now again. And now. And yes, still coming. Now. A concentration of the present, focussed, and unattached. I can't do anything about it, but wipe the end of the nozzle, then watch as the now re-emerges time and again. Like my Sunday, it flows and curls, dangles and spirals. 

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