Did you hear it go? The briefest of moments has past – now mingled in with yesterday. It slipped beyond possibility and hope and lies within memories and undone business. I never hear it leave yet I know when it is missed. Like the sunset, when I briefly turn away…gone.
So once again I will reach ahead and plan to grab some moments before me, pull them closer and not waste them by looking away. In order to “catch the moment” I must embrace it with hope, desire and a willingness to see it through, even if it is not to my original intent or liking. I remind myself that moments are like clay, they can be softened and molded and created. The artistry is in the inspiration. The inspiration is in the knowledge. The knowledge is in the soul. The masterpiece is made when I let my soul create and not my ego. It is then that I can step back and enjoy the moment and call it mine.
It is hard and takes ongoing practice to live in the present. Negativity and pessimism tend to weigh down and drag out my thoughts. I have come to liken them to unwelcome visitors, I try to move them along without much ado. There are those days that they repeatedly knock at my door.
So as I sit here and tap away…so do the moments before me. Yet these writing moments tend to float and drift rather than briskly rush into the past. They linger with just a hint of possibility. They give me reassurance that tomorrow is just a moment away…filled with unending opportunities to open my present to myself. Now I ask you, do you have a moment to spare?
It becomes part of our being, hugging us like skin. Not something that you can slip off at night and toss on the floor with the clothing of the day. No, attitude is much deeper and harder to change. Attitude begins to grow within us as babies when we are introduced to the world around us. We learn to love, we learn to hate, we learn to discern as bad and good. Yet somewhere along the journey of life, some of us may find ourselves consumed with the negative…like straining to see in the dark of the night…only making out the bad things around us.
Many times a parent declares, “I don’t like your attitude” or “you need to change your attitude” without understanding how difficult this process of change can be… We are asking one to quickly morph into another… or face our consequences. Yet we as parents have helped define their attitudes. Combine that with the world we currently live in…wow it is a ticking time bomb. Take a moment and consider that children are living in a very complex world today. You and I may have walked a mile to school (I confess I did not) but we never dealt with the intensity and gravity of cyber bullying. We may have had to eat what was on our plate or go hungry ( I hated roast beef) yet we never felt the aggression and severe emotional pressure many kids of today experience. Today for fun, our children occupy their time with a never-ending visual stimulation of violence through our media and high def gaming videos. They kill with a deft handling the game a skill once acquired by playing jacks or marbles. They watch live social media capturing death, destruction, mayhem and violence. Some kids have had siblings, friends, parents die on the streets. Today doomsday preppers are glamorized on tv as they are proudly hording guns and ammunition…life and death, killing and survival concepts discussed as matter of fact like cooking shows and recipes. It has become a harsh world. Attitudes become armor to protect from that which is so difficult to deal with in life. And we are partially responsible as parents. As adults we become blind to the attitudes we carry as we strive to make the dollar, pay the bills and seek our own escape from the craziness. But we all travel with deep feelings and beliefs that keep us separated from each other. And we teach our children to do the same. Attitudes, they are so hard to change…
So what happens to tomorrow if there is not a positive shift in attitude? What happens if the adults do not begin to see that their bigotry, intolerance and closed minds are imprinted upon their children? I do not want to go there. Attitude…while deeply ingrained does carry ability to change. We see an epiphany realized by the family who adamantly declares strong anti-gay attitudes…until a loved one comes out. We see the ability to empathize during a natural catastrophe…as strangers extend a hand or even risk their life for another. Why is it only then that we are willing to see beyond the dark…why is it only then that we feel we are all a part of a larger whole? Those beautiful moments when a connection of respect for life of another is made with no thought of what is to be gained in return- action without attitude.
I often wonder why we wait until desperate times to rise above our attitudes. Why do we join the cause only after we feel personally affected by the war. Cancer, poverty, unemployment, inequality, gun violence, bullying, racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction…on and on they march in front of us. Our attitudes block us from the fight unless life has chosen to throw us through the ropes. Only then do many of us awaken and see that the fight is worthy. We take up our sword and add cause to our existence. But I ask, why wait?
Why did I secretly and silently yearn to be one of those “older teenage girls” when I was but a young shy ten-year old? They were so much cooler than me. They walked with confidence and had many friends and knew what to expect of the world around them- or so I thought.
Why did I impatiently desire to be one of those “older college girls” when I was but a young and insecure high school student? They were so much cooler than me. They lived a carefree life, made their own rules and walked their own paths. They had the world by the tail and life was filled with possibilities and freedom- or so I thought.
Why did I eagerly desire to be one of those “married girls” who sported a diamond ring and a doting husband. Anticipating a family and a house to call my own as I endlessly grazed through magazines at long wedding dresses and dog-eared my favorites. My name repeatedly written adding his last name in a fancy longhand script complete with extra loops and swirls. Surely a fulfilled, dreamy life- or so I thought.
Why did I passionately yearn with desire to be a professional woman when I was still a new mother and wife. Those women in suits and pressed collars with a daily destination that was so different from mine. They were driven, successful and had a career attached to their identity. I too wanted to make my mark in the world in some way. I wanted my family to be proud of me and my children to see that they could reach for the stars and achieve. Success defined who I am- or so I thought.
Why do I now so desperately desire to live in the moment? No longer anxiously striving to see beyond the mist of tomorrow. Could it be that I have learned a lesson or two along the way? Why those teenage girls had no more confidence than me. They were looking ahead and wishing to be that dauntless college girl. Yet those college girls had learned that they do not make up all the rules and life is not so carefree when you are struggling with limited funds and long nights of studying. Ah and the married girls ….a tough new world when learning to share the good and bad with a partner. Babies crying in the night, bills to be paid and learning the rules of give and take. The professional women… in suits and high heels paid more that the price of their clothing. Obligations of work did not make the sleepless nights and responsibilities of parenthood any easier. I find my mark in the professional world is but a carved groove in my soul. A personal knowledge of life that I have earned and value more that the money paid by my salary…yet even a well-defined career has rough edges to wear down.
So now…my deepest desires are quite simple. To live today…smile today…play today…breathe today…love today and reflect on yesterday with awe and gratitude for the journey I have taken. I am still that little girl deep inside but I have confidence, I walk my own path, I love my marriage, and I marvel at my children…as they reach to fill their dreams and desires and anticipate tomorrow. I define who I am…no one else. It has been a whirlwind trip to reach this epiphany. Some days were real struggles and still are from time to time. While I still make plans for tomorrow and the days after, I now know that today is the real gift from the universe- it is the present and I strive to unwrap each day with patience, reverence and awe…and love.
It has been one of those days. The kind where I wonder if I got out of bed on the wrong side. The one where I seem to suck all the air out of the room with my stressful sighs- my meager attempts to relax and gain control over my emotions. Yes, it has been one of those days. I always feel a bit empty at the end of it all. My head a dry well of thoughts and unconnected to the present. I love living in the present. Stress steals me away and it is in these times that I really must work hard to find my way back home.
I won’t get into the details of my day. Hard to frame into a picture, the puzzle is very complicated and over 1,000 pieces. But I hold out hope that things will change. I admit I am stressed by my day and the heaviness and worries of my tomorrow. I understand that while I have the luxury of venting myself within these words, others are literally struggling to survive. I must humble myself to realize that my life is but one, my thoughts and concerns but mine. How they grow and prosper is up to me and how I tend them. I am already feeling a bit better. A bit more in the present. I know that tomorrow is another day, new challenges and new stresses that I must face. But they are not here yet, I hold them out before me with hope and determination that I will once again make it through and find my way back home.
Procrastination… sometimes I get bit by this nasty bug- the sting is undeniable. Once bitten, I talk myself out of doing something because tomorrow is just around the corner and frankly, I can do it then. The whole time that I reason with myself about delaying my task at hand, I know in the recesses of my mind what I am doing…procrastinating. I feel myself becoming weak with the symptoms. I tell myself tomorrow I will feel better. Yet tomorrow is always out of reach…conveniently a few steps beyond the present and never quite in my grasp.
I am a list maker and to come down with the postpone flu or delay delusions can make life complicated. My rationalization must be sophisticated. Anxiety can become a secondary symptom and then my mental state is flush with regret. So there is a lot of chatter between Me and Myself. A few “I told you so” and “shouldn’t have done it-s” are shouted. Our resolve is tested. We must join forces to fight this urge to dilly dally.
I think I will look over my latest list- the mental one in my head. I haven’t written this one down yet. Haven’t been able to bring myself to do so. It is rather long, detailed and cumbersome. Maybe tomorrow I will face it head on. Maybe tomorrow I will tackle the details…well maybe ….
I really dislike the procrastination bug. I wish there was a vaccine for it.
Memories are like rivers, sometimes rushing by us and sometimes still, reflective pools. They remind us of yesterday’s joy, moments we took for granted like the daily rising of the sun. Times that have filled our hearts with pure pleasure and made us giddy. Every day we have reminders of this carefree past- some flow through us with revelry as we listen to a remembered song. We smile, sing along and recall the jaunty times we’ve known. Maybe an old friend not seen in years. Maybe photos taken in the midst of sheer happiness. We need to relish these snaps and snippets of life past. They will carry us through tough times.
Yet there are also reminders of days not so carefree. Those reflective, deep pools of yesterday that still our souls, those too we must remember. Those memories of pain and difficult times we thought would last forever and a day. They are profound and very deep. Something or someone reminds us of our past pains-like loss of love and loved ones and loneliness. These recollections seep into our heart, stirring our tears and causing us fear of repeating the pain as we remember it. The times of melancholy and remorse remembered. As hard as those memories are to call forward, they must be respected and held in reverence as we learn from them. They show us that we can and do survive the tribulations of our past.
Memories provide a provocative window to yesterday. We glance through and witness good times once again. But memories also reveal the despair and anguish of our past. Both are significant as we look to the future. We need to embrace all memories as friends leading us to better tomorrows.