Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You're Here Now!

I recently finished reading Eat Pray Love and also saw the movie shortly thereafter.  Just for the record, I really enjoyed the book but thought the movie was quite unsatisfying.  (And it bugs me that the only version of the book now available has to have Julia Roberts on the cover!) The book seems to follow a true search for God, meaning, and healing, while the movie glosses too quickly over the deeper parts and by moving so quickly seems very shallow.  I have some issues with the healthiness of moving in rapid succession through divorce, new relationship, end of new relationship, beginning of still another new relationship that is now characterized as the perfect culmination of a one-year journey.  Condense all of this into a movie and it happens at breakneck speed.  In the book, the final relationship evolves over a very long friendship (still too soon, in my humble opinion).  And the movie basically leaves out the many parts that show that this is indeed a search for God (albeit sometimes a different version of God than I might posit).  I chose to ignore some of the flaws of the book and looked for the nougats!

Several things struck me in this book, but one has to do with being in the present (connected to my last post on not borrowing tomorrow's problems).  Here's the quote from the book:
The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought (her reference to the "monkey mind" where thoughts swing from limb to limb) is that you are never where you are.  You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in the moment.  It's something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who -- whenever she sees a beautiful place -- exclaims in near panic, "It's so beautiful here!  I want to come back here someday!"  and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here.  IF you're looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem.  There's a reason they call God a presence -- because God is right here, right now.  In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time.

I have begun to use this phrase in my head (and out loud with some near and dear to me):  "But You're Here NOW!"  What a great reminder to live in the present and appreciate our lives as we are living them, instead of "digging in the past" or "poking at the future."  You're already here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sufficient unto the day

There's a lot of talk about "living in the moment."  This is difficult to do.  Here's an example of what I mean.  We were on our way to an event with some friends.  I was driving and the light I ran turned bright red before I managed to get through the intersection.  Unfortunately, it was one of those intersections that has a camera and a warning sign.  My dear husband (who recently got caught by camera going too fast in a school zone, paid a large fine, and can thus be forgiven for being just a little testy when I ran the red light) began to obsess about the fact that I was going to get a ticket, we were going to have to pay a large fine, this was really awful, and was beginning to ruin the possibility of a fun evening. 

I said to him, "Don't let it RUIN the day and the fun we're about to have." 

His response was "But what if you get a TICKET?"  And I responded with what I think was brilliant clarity:  "Let it ruin THAT DAY instead!" 

I have been thinking a lot about that exchange and my statement and how truly Biblical it really was.  I was raised on the King James Version of the Bible and here is the text:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.  (KJV Matthew 6:34)  A newer version says:  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)

A line from Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sufficient Unto the Day, says:   Is not to-day enough?  Why do I peer into the darkness of the day to come?

Oh, and by the way, I haven't received that dreaded ticket in the mail -- yet!  I will let it ruin THAT day if it does indeed come!

(Photo by dagring, shared via Flickr)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

88-year-old mayor

Although I am no longer posting mainly about aging, I can't seem to stop that process in myself, so aging will be front and center in many of my posts.  I recently received this vido in an email from a friend and I thought it was worth sharing.  I haven't yet decided if this woman's life makes me feel better about aging or worse -- given that she seems to have more energy at 88 than I've had for a number of years!  This woman has been mayor of the 6th largest city in Canada for 31 years and her city is one of the few in the world with no debt and a 700 million dollar reserve.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall is in the Air

No matter how many years I live in the Pacific Northwest, I am still surprised when, sometime between the 15th and 20th of August, Fall makes an early announcement.  One day it is in the 90's and we are playing at the beach; the next day, I notice that the trees in the park next door have begun, all at once, to drop their leaves.  It's as if a bell or timer went off and a loudspeaker began announcing "Hurry, hurry, hurry, don't miss out on the beginning of Fall!"   One day we are still thinking we might need another tank top or pair of shorts; the next we are wondering how soon we will need to pull out those warmer socks to take away the chill.

Life is like that too.  You go through your days without thinking about the fact that you are getting older.  Time seems to stand still for a child.  A teenager yearns for adulthood.  Or a young parent wonders how he or she will ever get through the next day, the next year, of raising children -- thinking of all the years of expenses up ahead, diapers and baby food, then sending kids off to kindergarten, then middle and high school, finally college and weddings.

And then, all at once, you notice that time has begun to speed up.  Just like those last two weeks of August, your life is now speeding towards a final destination, yelling "Hurry, hurry, hurry, don't miss out on anything!"  You begin to think about the things you might really never cross off your list.  Maybe you'll try jogging to get into better shape.  But your knees tell you after a block that this really wasn't such a great idea.  All those books and lists of things you need to do before you die!  Thousands.  Places to visit.  Places to revisit.  Books to read. Service to render. Relationships to nurture.  Grandchildren to savor as they move through time.  Not wanting to miss a thing. 

So fall feels a little poignant to me.  A little too much like life.  Yet, I am a glass-half-full kind of person, and I will look for the clean, crisp days that autumn brings and hope that the winter is kind again this year.