“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” Unknown
I’ve been thinking about this quote and its implications in my own life. Most of my thoughts lie in the past or the future, but in rare moments, the present. I am a planner by habit and personality. As absurd as it sounds, I make to-do lists to plan when I am going to write my next t0-do list. It’s a feeble attempt to control my inner restlessness, but it is also not trusting what comes next. It’s a generalized anxiety and fear of unscripted moments.
In a given day, I can count the number of times when my mind gravitates toward what will come next. When I play Memory with my daughter, my mind is not focused on the game, but putting up the pieces at the end of the game. Making dinner involves steps to get a meal on the table, but as soon as the last person has taken a bite, I am already running toward the dishes. As I start each day, I am worried about how I finish it. What’s the hurry? I am not quite sure. But, over and over again, there is this pattern of sabotoging what is. Even when I read a book, there is a temptation to know what occurs at the end. It’s an apt metaphor for my life. I am never still enough to devour the pages that are in front of me. I play mental hopscotch, throwing my thoughts around like a pebble, skipping ahead to the next something, without dedicating attention to what is.
What is. This is something I am desperately trying to integrate as a mantra in my life. What is. Today this is what is. The smell of two new books, I Knew You’d Be Lovely, by Althea Black and We The Animals, by Justin Torres. The taste of my favorite drink from Starbucks, chai tea latte. Conversations with my Mom and my sister. Phone calls from two good friends. A kiss from my husband. A semi-nice run on the treadmill. Writing the words in this space and in my journal. The comfort of eating a bowl of cereal and milk.
Deepening a relationship in and around the present. What is.
“What is” is the beauty and love all around you waiting to be discovered. I was much like you are now. What helped me was taking to heart the words to let go of things I can not control (the past) and letting life unfold vefore me without the need and stress of trying to control anyone or anything other than my own actions and reactions. Slow down, one step at a time and you’ll find “the now”.
How I could relate to this so much… “What is”, “the present”,” the now” – the solitude I’m also seeking. A friend once told me, appreciate the simple things you have in front of you, you’d be happier…easier said than done. But seems like you’re off to a great start! Share more of this experience, Rudri.. 🙂
I struggle with this concept so much myself. Thank you for the reminder to live in the moment, friend.
Rudri, enjoy your moments of today….today won’t come again…live it, believe it!
I have so much trouble with this myself. It’s hard to remember how fleeting these moments are with everything else that needs done until they’re already passed.
I think it’s only natural that we would have difficulty coming to grips with not planning for every contingency, and even if we do, realizing that we can’t control what happens next. And, we reach a point, where we have little idea what happens next.
As parents (mothers especially, in this time and this still newish century), we are all about those details of next steps/days/hours, so how could we not get into the groove of approaching everything that way?
And then – still as mothers – we are required to let go of a great deal, albeit in steps (days, hours), so our children may grow as they should. We may not be learning to savor what is but we are learning that we cannot know what will come.
And maybe that’s alright after all. Because that truly is what is.
Why do you think this is so hard for us? I am constantly striving to stay in the now…but it is difficult.
This is my daily struggle, to be present, to slow down, to observe and to appreciate. I’m getting better with practice, but also by teaching myself what matters and what doesn’t. Still, I get carried away. I’ll sit reading a book and always be tempted to check e-mail or to get up and walk around, get a drink. The only thing I know is I need to keep trying.
I think the present can’t be extricated from its connection to the past or the future though I find I’m able to be in the now much more easily when my heart is engaged.