Be in the moment. A mantra I’ve heard all my life that hangs above my head just beyond my reach.
My little dog Arthur knows how to be in the moment. We’re going on a short trip at the end of this week and will be boarding Arthur for a couple of nights at a local pet “resort.” Arthur hates to go there. He usually stops eating. He is very much a companion dog attached to his two regular companions. But by looking at Arthur today, curled up on his pillow beside my desk, you wouldn’t see one sign of worry about the upcoming disruption in his life. That’s because Arthur doesn’t know we’re going to ditch him at “resort” soon. He is not worried about the future. He is right here in the moment.
It’s easy for a dog to be in the moment.
I know that dwelling on the past can keep us “stuck,” in a place. But sometimes remembering the past brings me a warm, comfortable, and fulfilled feeling. My past contains a lot of happiness. I think it is good to be able to revisit my past at times.
I carry my past within me. My past experiences have been laid down inside my soul, one on top on the other, until the total becomes the character I am today. My past experiences inform how I see and understand the world, for good or bad. I want to be able to look into my past experiences, shine a light into whatever dark corners there may be, and come to some kind of understanding or resolution. I don’t want to run lightly through life soaking up sensations in the moment and never returning. I want to sink my roots deep.
I make no apologies for reviewing my past. Looking at my past, making some kind of sense of it, and then settling it on a shelf is what helps me move forward.
Unlike my dog Arthur, I was given the intellectual ability to think in abstract terms about the future. I do know that Arthur is going to get ditched in a few days. When I think about it from time to time, I feel a little bad in advance. This is unnecessary discomfort that I wouldn’t have to endure if I was truly only in the moment.
On the other hand, sometimes the last thing I want is to be in the particular moment I’m in. Sometimes I would rather be in any other moment. When I had to get a CTScan and was enclosed in the very small claustrophobic space, immobilized, with a loud clanking noise, I was doing everything in my intellectual power to get myself out of the moment and on a beach in the Bahamas.
On the darkest of my days, sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the thought of a future where the pain wouldn’t be so sharp, where I might laugh again.
I make no apologies for looking to the future.
It is good to be in the moment. I don’t deny it. And when I am in the presence of my little grandson who I adore, I make every effort to fully soak up all sensations and press them into the memory stores of my mind. Be in the moment.
We were given this great intellectual capability we have of not only experiencing our surroundings, but also of remembering the past and of anticipating a future. More than being in the moment, I think we should be living fully.