I am going to have to learn how to go on vacation without taking a vacation from myself; from my routine and the time I set aside each morning for reading and connecting with God. After being gone more in the last month than I was home, I am realizing that I get soul-sick pretty quick when I mentally and spiritually check out from my entire reality. Lesson learned…
So here I am, back in my usual spot on the couch to reconnect with myself and with you.
Let me tell you a little bit about some people I met on my travels. It wasn’t competency mindless and indulgent, I suppose. 😉
At the airport, during my layover, I hopped on a zoom call with 3 amazing women who are using their past pain to do what I do: help others get through what they went through. One of them is a women named Sylvia who speaks and writes about how our trauma and drama effects our bodies. One great phrase she reiterates regularly is “our issues are in our tissues” and she has a book coming out called “Stressed to Kill”. (www.mindbodyworks.ca)
I spent a couple different mornings chatting with a new friend named Dan. He is a fellow cancer-kicker. Only he kicked it by avoiding surgery and chemo and switching to an entirely plant-based eating plan (Read Dr. McGregor’s book “How Not to Die” to see how he did it!) . By following it, his 57+ malignant tumors completely shrunk and disappeared. He is currently cancer free and living a busy, successful and healthy life!
I also got to meet one of my new friends, Rick, in person. We have know of each other through a family connection, but haven’t ever sat down and had a real conversation face to actual face. Zoom just doesn’t suffice indefinitely. We have been chatting regularly over the past few months because we are both authors of books designed to help others get through rough times. In about a years time, Rick lost his wife, his mother and his brother. He learned more than he ever wanted to know about the gritty details of what it takes to prepare for and follow up after someone you love dies. He has written an important book called, “When It’s Time”, that everyone, at any age, should read to make sure they are prepared.
Does anybody see a pattern here? I don’t believe it’s an accident that there is a common theme to all these conversations. What I keep hearing in my head is the title to a book I read in college by Francis Schafer: How Should We Then Live?
How should I live if I don’t want to die from diseases or from stress and emotional duress?
Such a great question. There are probably a plethora of answers depending on who you talk to. But since I like to share in my current state of mind, I only want to talk about one answer that has come to light as I have been reflecting on this question; one solution that might help me/you “then live”.
This thought came to me as I was talking with a friend yesterday. I heard myself say out-loud, “maybe this is there.”
This is there.
What I meant was that instead of focusing on where we want to be or go and beating ourselves up for not being there yet, maybe we should be fully present where we are, in the “this.” “This” is the only place/circumstance/body/mind we have to choose from.
We can obsess about the past and worry about the future, but we can only do that in our head. Our body is only capable of being in the exact moment in which we exist.
And that is enough.
We can “strive to arrive” all we want, but we can only be present in the present. If we can learn to live fully in the “this” and keep our head with our hands, we might have a chance of being content. Free. Dare I say, happy.
I have been struggling with this recently. My head has definitely been not with my hands. For example, last night I was trying to create a master blend of spices in the blender. I ran out of basil so I ran to the store and bought a new bottle and added a tablespoon to the blend. I proceeded to mix it, all the while thinking how strong of a basil smell the blend had. I couldn’t imagine how it could taste good on anything. That’s when I realized I had put the entire bottle of basil in the blender instead of the seasoning mix and was now left with powdered basil, good for pretty much nothing.
This is just one of many examples of not being fully present. Luckily it was pretty harmless. But there are so many other ways I am not fully present in my life.
I am too often “listening but not listening” to those I love. Distracted with my own fears, regrets, endeavors.
Even when my body is doing something “fun,” my mind is often elsewhere, trying to “figure it out,” whatever that “it” may be.
I know I have said it a dozen different ways in various blogs, so when will I finally accept and live out what I know to be true: that this is there.
This is all we have and the only there we are guaranteed is the this we are presently in.
Now, repeat after me: This is there. This is there. This is there.