“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.