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Life lessons from a leaky tent

Life lessons from a leaky tent

Abundance is the art of making the most of every moment.

I let my eyes drift around the dusty campsite and appreciate all that I see. I recognise and cherish each thing.

Children’s laughter echoes above the babble of the river that runs past our campsite. A camper’s kettle whistles. I look up from my book.

My husband and son lounge in their camp chairs, absorbed in reading. All around, mountains stand guard over this shady valley in the Cederberg. I am replete. This is abundance.

In a theatre a few days later, I watch my son smile at the standing ovation for the cast of the musical, Mamma Mia. This, too, is abundance — sharing beautiful experiences with loved ones.

Abundance also means having time to sit and be, to explore questions, to savour slow sips of tea, to rest between each project I work to put into the world.

When the threads of my life weave together in a tapestry; when a dream of someone I last saw 20 years ago leads to a rich and rewarding new strand of work; when my monthly commissioned blog topic lines up, yet again, with the thoughts I’d been mulling over: that’s abundance.

Abundance is working with others to create something more colourful and textured, and delighting in the unexpected magic that sparks when people come together.

There is so much available for each of us, for all of us. All it takes is for us to notice it.

Still, as a self-employed woman in her mid-50s, having woken up with a hot flush in the dark hours, I sometimes worry about the years I have left to generate income. And then, abundance and delight are not in the room.

Some days, when the dogs of anxiety nip at my ankles, I lose all sense of synchronicity or tapestry-weaving.

What do we do when we are beset by fears that there is not enough to go around? When everywhere we look, there is scarcity and lack?

I know then that it’s time to zoom in on the here and now. To redirect my attention to this moment, which is all I really have.

I close my eyes and focus on drawing in as much air as I need – there’s always enough – and, when I’ve had my fill, I can release it, because I have so much to give. Taking it in and letting it go.

I let my eyes drift around the dusty campsite and appreciate all that I see: the red cooler box our toddler son fell asleep on the first time we took him camping, the foldable kitchen cupboard that I assemble with glee at each new campsite. I recognise and cherish each thing.

I look over at our leaky tent with affection. Right here, right now, it’s more than enough for me.

Cathy Park Kelly

Cathy Park Kelly is the author of “Boiling A Frog Slowly, a Memoir of Love Gone Wrong”, published by Karavan Press.

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