No Time Like the Present?
"I am going to stay in the present!" I declare! And, in the time it takes me to write those words, the present is long gone. I find myself firmly grounded in the future. I am thinking about my daughter's report that is due on Tuesday, the clients I will talk to later this week and wearily wonder when our dog will learn that although our bathroom is inside the house, his bathroom is outside.
Or, I am in the past. Why did I buy that pair of pants I will never wear and what possessed me to commit to co-chair the annual school fundraiser? Gurus, well-meaning friends and self-evolved mothers alike tell us to "be here now" and "take one day at a time." They extol the virtues of the present as though it were as wonderful as a pair of new shoes, as relaxing as a Swedish massage and as satisfying as a hot fudge sundae.
Being in the present comes with so much endorsement, I tip toe into the realm of spending some time in the "present," just to see what all the fuss is about. The first thing I can tell you is that staying in the present is mighty hard. Unfortunately, in order to stay in the present, one must be aware of each moment. This takes a disciplined mind and my mind is anything but disciplined. In fact, it needs a time-out. And the irony is, a time out is exactly what I am trying to give it!
But each time I tell myself to enjoy the moment, my mind veers off like a sleepy driver on a lonely stretch of highway. It wants to think about my to-do list. It wants to worry. It wants to hope for a better moment to come. It wants to imagine how great life would be if I could clean out the closet or lose 5 pounds. But, determined and committed, I trudge on. At first I am able to bring myself to the present for fleeting moments a few times a day. As I practice this, I am able to remember more often and enjoy more fully, the feeling of a cozy bed, the joke that my daughter just told me and the great smell of coffee brewing.
I'm beginning to see a bit of value in this notion of the present. We don't need to climb to a mountain top or live in a cave, to benefit from life in the present. We can continue to be busy, efficient, multi-taskers. Being in the present does not affect what we do or what we get done. It affects who we are being.