Here’s one of my dirty little secrets – I’ve always found it hard to live in the present.
You can imagine the challenge this presents during a global pandemic.
Certainly there are advantages to not dwelling in reality these days. But it’s more complicated than that. When you’re usually thinking about what will happen or what could happen you’re never fully experiencing what is happening.
Yeah, well that’s the idea. You pretend it’s healthy to eat a pint of ice cream and/or a bag of cookies a day because to not do so will cause you to scream ‘WEAR A F-CKIN’ MASK’ at every person on your street who isn’t doing so and thus avoid your arrest by police or Homeland Security (Note: HAHAHA, they’re really Black Ops Forces!), whichever comes first.
Okay, point taken.
However hear me out. There’s a lot happening right now, TOO MUCH. But the good news is WE actually get to decide what to focus on.
It recently occurred to me there is a power in this, especially in these extreme days of social distancing/isolation/quarantine/near suicide. See, even in that instance I get to decide what to call it.
I mean, I could’ve chosen the phrase, my personal alone time to do what I want without anyone interfering or telling me what to do.
Yeah, I could’ve chosen that and tomorrow I just might. But not today. Tomorrow, it’ll all look rosier and tomorrow I can CHOOSE to have a happier day!
See, the glass is either half full or half empty. We figure out for ourselves how to look at it.
Am I being snide about these choices, making fun of this new age-y approach or quite sincere and/or spiritual? Well, it’s up to you to decide how to take in this message and what YOU will TAKE AWAY from it.
See what I mean??? Once again?
This actually all occurred to me after I received a wonderful, thoughtful and ultimately quite mindful gift from a dear friend and colleague via Amazon.
No, it wasn’t cookies or ice cream. Though that’s probably a good thing because how do you effectively scrub those down with Clorox wipes?
Rather, it was this:
EVERYDAY PEACE CARDS – 108 Mindfulness Meditations by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
TNH is a peace activist, poet and global spiritual leader who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Dr. Martin Luther King and his teachings have been around for decades. Here, you can look him up.
But these, his 108 everyday peace cards, all printed on sturdy, shiny paper stock, do quite well summing up his philosophies. In fact, his instructions are to pick a card each day, think about it, and then display it for yourself in his enclosed small, white paper standee on your desk and/or nightstand so you can refer to it anytime you want on that given day.
Remember, you have the option. You can decide to re-gift it or even trash it. I mean, how relevant is this hippy dippy stuff in neo-fascist fascist 2020 America, anyway?
Yes, you might feel that way one day. And on another, maybe the very next, one of those cards might strike you being as incredibly profound and relevant as each one of Carole King’s 12 songs on Tapestry was (Note: And continues to be) to me the first day I heard it in 1971.
(Note: For those under 30, simply substitute for Tapestry Taylor Swift’s just dropped folk collection, Folklore, and you’ll get what I mean).
Again, you decide on whether I’m being serious or snide about this. Consider what you want to focus on and how it will best serve your life in this given moment YOU’RE living through.
That is the real beauty of these cards and, to me, that was the true meaning of this present.
So far it’s told me things like:
— Every twenty-four hour day is a tremendous gift to us. So we all should learn to live in a way that makes joy and happiness possible.
— If there are negative things around you, you can always find something that is healthy, refreshing, and healing, and with your mindfulness you can recognize its presence in your life….If you are facing a sunset, a marvelous spectacle, give yourself a chance to be in touch with it. Give yourself five minutes…
— Real silence is the cessation of talking – of both the mouth and of the mind…This is not the kind of silence that oppresses us. It is a very elegant kind of silence…It is the silence that heals and nourishes us.
— I believe that in America there are many people who are awakened to the fact that violence cannot remove violence. Those people must come together and voice their concern strongly, and offer their collective wisdom to the nation.
A joke or a map or a little of both? Or still, none of the above?
So many possibilities. Daily. And decisions.