Much has been written about the wisdom of living life in the "now." I wouldn't know much about that; I'm too busy planning my day.
"and today is Thursday..."
Several years ago, I got some great advice. One Thanksgiving morning, I apparently was going on and on talking about all my plans and then all my worries about all my plans. My mother was barely able to slide in sideways a simple observation that pulled me up short. She said, "And today is Thursday." In an instant, laughing, I was back in the present day, in the present moment, tending to the present task: stirring the gravy in the pan on the kitchen stove. I loved that sudden reminder to get back into the here and now. And so, whenever I find myself getting too far flung in my thought world, I remind myself, "And today is Thursday,"... regardless of whatever day it is.
"...all you do is piss all over today."
Another several years ago, I was attending an open AA meeting in Vail, Colorado. In fact, it was the meeting where my mother introduced me to the former First Lady, Betty Ford. Betty was chairing the meeting that night. There was quite a mix of people at that gathering. I will never forget. The topic was about living one day at a time. An old, grizzled ranch hand with faded blue jeans and battered old boots spoke up and drawled, "You know, when you got one foot in yesterday, and the other foot in tomorrow, all you do is piss all over today." Ha-Ha! How's that for common horse sense! I remember Betty throwing her head back and howling with laughter along with the rest of us. Wisdom in any form crosses all demographics.
On Paper Towel Cardboard Tubes...
Try this exercise. The next time you run out of paper towels, save the cardboard tube. Toilet paper tubes work, too. Now, bring the tube up to eye level and look at your world through this narrowed perspective. Notice how you are forced to focus on one thing at a time. Go outside and walk around your yard. Be sure to look down occasionally so you don't trip over something right in front of you. Pan the whole area first, and then zoom in on the leaves, the blades of grass, and the insects. Look up at the sky and see the clouds, the sun, and the distant airplane. Follow that bird that just flew by. Now, while looking through your new self-awareness apparatus at some close up object, try to think and plan your activities for the next week. No, really. Just try. When your sensory focus is concentrated on one thing it is very difficult to make your mind wander into the past or the future. The next time you drift into depression ruminating over the past, or work yourself up into anxiety worrying about the future, just grab your tube (the toilet paper tube is a nice purse-size) and insist on some here and now focus. While you're there, do a gratitude list.
Which brings me to love...
So my question is, what is the purpose of living "in the here and now?" What if I actually master some decent ability to live my life in the more or less present moment? If I have that, what have I got? I have the awareness that right now,here in my living room, I am eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich and it is 2:10pm.? Is that it? That's the secret to happiness? That can't be it. I'll bet if I meditated for several years, I would see the connection and understand. Right now, I don't.
What is the use of living in the here and now if my inward gaze only reveals me? I think it's about love. That's the only thing I can think of that would make living in this moment mean anything. Having a loving attitude toward myself. Having a loving intention toward others. A willingness to love and be loved, which includes the "cousins" of love: gratitude, forgiveness, joy, kindness, and patience. In fact, this love piece is the real essence. Love that is here and now or there and then for that matter, love provides the answer to the why? of Life. To love. To be loved. Flowing love.
What's the Takeaway?
The next time you find yourself projecting into the future with your grand planning, orchestrated arrangements, scheduled to the minute hectic life, remember the immortal words of my mother, Mary Roush, on one Thanksgiving morning: "And today is Thursday." Then look through your cardboard tube and send love out to the universe and receive love in from the universe. And have yourself a peanut butter and banana sandwich.