Live in the now, what does this mean? It means we must overcome a terrible human habit, at least as much as we can. The habit? Living in the future. You know, things will be better when I get that new job, I’ll be happy as soon as the kids are in school, my life will start when I retire in ten years, we’ll be on easy street as soon as we pay off the mortgage, then we’ll be happy,…. The list goes on forever, and we all do it.
The key here is to be aware, and catch ourselves as we do it, and stop. Yes, I will be happy when I get that new car, but I can also be happy right now. This is the self conversation we need to have at these times. That brings us back to the now, this moment, for this moment is truly all we have.
I recently had a reminder of this. As we were driving home one recent evening, a moose ran from the trees and straight at our truck. I screamed a warning, but my partner was already in motion. She hit the gas, yanked the wheel to send the truck away from the moose and towards a deep ditch. She then yanked the wheel back the other way, taking us around the beast. The poor creature was also trying to avoid us. He bounced off the truck in three places, but was able to flee back into the forest unscathed. He didn’t even dent the truck.
Had that moose been even one step faster, he would have been in the truck with us, and we all would have been dead at the bottom of the ditch. It can happen just that fast. I had been daydreaming of how great it would be when we started our short holiday the next day, but that day might not have come without the lightning fast reflexes of my lady love. I should have been enjoying her company right then in the moment.
Here’s an example of how it’s done. At my feet lies a Labrador Retriever. He has one eye and is missing a few teeth. He was a Christmas puppy, nipped the crawling baby, and ended up on a short rope outside for the next several months, completely ignored by the family. Eventually he was taken out to the barrens( barren lands), shot in the head with buckshot, and left for dead. He survived.
Nearly two weeks later, we met him at the local pound, awaiting death, down to twenty four hours. His face was swollen double with broken teeth fragments imbedded, and his ruined eye oozing down his face. The animal was in pain, but wagged his tail as if to say, “Don’t worry folks, it could be worse. Ya wanna play fetch?” We took him to the vet, got him patched up, and brought him home. That was over eight years ago.
Now, here he lies, fast asleep, occasionally thumping his tail on the floor. He doesn’t waste time on being angry about the past, nor does he plot revenge for the future. He is not at all troubled by the possibility of how his injuries might come back to haunt him in his old age, what might happen if someone loses a job, etc. He is well fed, has had a big walk, a game of tug-o-war, his pack (three more such dogs) are around him, he is warm, dry, has shelter. Life is good and he is happy, right now.
Whenever I start to bemoan the past, or project myself into an unknown future, I look at this guy and try to absorb the lesson. This moment is all we have, so, let’s play, eat, enjoy, and count our blessings, for they are many.