I started shaving at five years old. I had a toy razor. My dad or brother would give me some shaving cream when they lathered up and we’d shave together and talk and laugh. They used the mirror, and I found my reflection in the doorknob, mimicking the care taken in puffing the upper or lower lip, feeling the terrain of my face. Then there would be a moment for taking a long existential gaze followed by a splash of English Leather or Canoe.
Now, shaving is a haven and like my spiritual practice or my storytelling, it is a process that requires stepping outside the construct of time and giving my full attention to the act. Slowly I brush myself into a face of shaving cream and slowly I take care to simply make contact between the blade and my face. No pressing. Just letting the heavy razor do the work. I repeat the process three times.
Meister Eckhart wrote that “Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time: and not only time but temporalities, not only temporal things but temporal affections, not only temporal affections but the very taint and smell of time.”
In the moments that I pick up the blade and go to work the action of now overtakes preoccupation with the past or future. The present shines through and is no longer a stepping stone to hope or a striving toward an ideal state, a means to an end. It is all now. And in that now there is the spark of "the one, the true and the good working in harmony" (Rohr paraphrasing 14th Century Franciscan John Duns Scotus' definition of beauty). It is a moment, a unified field, that connects me to my ancestors and my ancestors to James Agee when he wrote "The house had now descended; All over Alabama the lamps are out," and Agee to Hafiz when he first offered "Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the Whole Sky."