26 August 2006

Right here, right now

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.


Jamie said...

seriously great insight! it reminds me of a half-joking mantra I had with my sisters: "live in the now!" but it's quite true, especially for the worry-wart I used to be.

compulsive writer said...

Beautiful post! I pretty much try to be in the here and now--but I usually attribute it to having a short attention span or being selfish. But the truth is I don't really like myself so much when I'm regretting the past or worrying about the future.

The nature of the past and future can change, all because of what we choose now.

I'm going to be pondering this over the next few days and see if I can't choose well now and make both the future and the past look a little brighter.

Thank you!

newspapergrl said...

I listen to a meditation that helps. It talks about your energy as a bank account. You get so much to spend per day (say, 100pts). Each time you spend on past hurts you are paying an old debt. She talks about legit ways to heal and move from the past (forgiveness, help with a therapist, not talking about it too much after it's healed, etc).
She says when you're tempted to give into someone's criticism or problems of the past think of the cost. If you spend all your money addressing new and old wounds you don't have enough to live on today. You go into debt. Then your creativity suffers, next your relationships, then you the energy from your cells (sickness).
I've tried to stop financing old debts or creating new ones. It's really helped.

Melody said...

Beautiful post! How generous of you to share these thoughts. I was especially touched by a few things:

"feeling out of control"; "I believe I will look back at my sorrowful moments and they will appear in their true form: beautiful stepping stones"; "Avoiding "right here, right now" seems strongly tied to a fear"; And the candle imagery is so clear and true.

I agree. "Right here, right now. There is no other place I'd rather be." I'm singing it in my head. Our greatest power is surely in the present moment.

It seems to me that some of us are naturally more sensitive to the "present" impact of past and future. I feel that observing one's own emotional response to both past and future with compassion can provide vital information that helps us form and transform our present lives.

My own experience, especially with grief about the past, is that when it has been fully acknowledged, it naturally slips away to its rightful place in remote memory. And if something continues to encroach on my mind or heart, it is simply asking for me to pay attention... like a child tugging on my apron who, after I have stopped whatever I was doing and she has told me everything she needs to, runs outside to play.

It's funny how unique each person is in the world, how we all want essentially the same thing: peace and happiness, and how we eventually find it. Thank you again for sharing this...wonderful food for thought.

On another, completely unrelated and personal note: "secret combinations" have a place in my world. Thanks for visiting my blog. You might like what I'm posting next. It's from a talk I gave in church today.

Geo said...

Wow. WOW. All of those comments are so very very what I need. Thanks for the free therapy, ladies!! Tell you what, it's worth blogging if only for the occasional moments like this when I get to soak up the wisdom of friends. Thank you. You're all so generous!


b. said...

This spunky, old, and wiser woman named Eleanor taught me a mantra once....."Ohhhh what the ____, go for it anyway!" I don't think it's a COVER ALL, but it seemed to work for me at the time!
Great Work, thanks for sharing!

Geo said...

b.: Concise wisdom, indeed! You know, of course, that "brevity is the soul of lingerie." (~Dorothy Parker)

b. said...

wait while I google brevity.....mmhhmmm...AND it's the soul of wit!