“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
– John Lennon (adapted from Allen Saunders)
I’d like to continue talking about mindfulness for one more post. Today, let’s visit … The Present. Everyone I know seems to be waiting for something, counting the years, the days, the minutes until…
…. a new job.
…. the end of a project.
…. the weekend.
Everything will be better then, right?
As elegantly stated by one of the wisest men of the 20th century, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), in his book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go:
“You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
Then …. what?
Start over? Find something else to wait for? Is living a life in limbo really living?
Wouldn’t it be immensely sad if happiness could only ever be found outside the realm of everyday life? I have often been guilty of this too, of course. However, I’m starting to understand how finding satisfaction in the present is a key component of good mental health.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”
– Meredith Willson (The Music Man)
If there is one thing that I am learning from reading about meditating and actually doing it (two very different things), it is how to let go of both the past and future. Mindfulness can help put you in touch with the present.
“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was within me, an invincible summer.”
– Albert Camus
Of course, there is nothing wrong with looking forward to something. There is nothing wrong with goals or having a purpose. Indeed, the pursuit of goals can be immensely enjoyable. But, the question remains:
How will you make The Present worth living?