This morning as I prayed my mind caught hold of a new mantra: "Right here, right now." I don't exactly long for the past; in fact, I'm glad to be done with much of it, but . . . am I really done? Am I still spending time and energy there? Am I still livingthere, or at least making frequent visits? Aren't there regrets that haunt me sometimes? Don't I often long for the presence of loved ones who are beyond reach now? Haven't I caught myself mourning what seem like lost opportunities, or just plain old loss? Yes, grieving is necessary and healthy, but when is it productive, and when does the time arrive for letting go and moving on?
There's the question of the future too; I get stuck at times worrying about what will be, what won't be, what ought to be, what can't be, blah blah blah. I think this is all about feeling out of control and trying desperately to get power over something frightening. Or maybe it's about quietly acting out that helplessness I feel, and in some warped way being true to a false sense of self. It's not possible, unless you're blessed(?) with a vision, to see the end from the beginning, so why do I keep trying?
This morning, it came to me that continually bringing myself back into the present could be as simple as saying, "Right here, right now!" I can bring my notice to what is around me at this precise moment. What can I touch? Who is nearby? What do I see? What is there to do? What are the elements here, now, at my command? What are my blessings? What are my obstacles? Who are my companions?
When sad feelings about the past emerge, I can use them to turn to my now. What can I be grateful for now that has grown from that tough experience? What is it offering me today? How am I better? How can I be better?
As for the future, when tremors of anticipation hit, I can also use those to bring me back into this moment, the only one I have power in. What do I want from my tomorrows? They haven't been written yet, so there truly are no limits to the possibilities, so there's no reason for anything but hope and belief. Keeping them as open in my mind as they are in reality allows me to work today, in this moment, in faith, to shape them to fit my dreams.
When I get where I'm going, I believe I will look back at my sorrowful moments and they will appear in their true form: beautiful stepping stones. The nature of the past and future can change, all because of what we choose now.
Seems to me also that dwelling in the past or stressing about the future is a way of procrastinating. Maybe sometimes it's easier to go backward or forward to places where you can't actually effect a single thing than it is to simply accept the power you have today, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Avoiding "right here, right now" seems strongly tied to a fear of failure.
Well, now seems very lovely to me when I stop and consider it. Whatever is happening, today is the active element of time. It's where the candle burns, and the point from which light falls on the past and the future.
I've always marvelled at the concept of being grateful in all things. I don't always get it, but today I almost do.