Right now, where are you as you’re reading this?
Are you on-line, looking for something to share with friends on your social media stream? Are you leaning over a kitchen counter, using the newspaper as a distraction while you hastily throw food into your belly while on a break between chores? Are you in the employee lounge at work scanning the newspaper that a co-worker abandoned on a table, and you came across this piece? Or maybe, sitting with a cup of coffee on the couch on a Sunday morning is part of your regular routine?
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, stop for a moment and absorb what’s happening around you (don’t worry I’ll be here when you return). Stand or sit up straight, adjust your posture so your shoulders are back, your head is held high, and your chest expands. Then, take a deep, deep, deep breath and then slowly let it out, releasing any tension you might or might not even realize you’re holding.
Cease all the hub-bub, self-flagellation, to-do lists, and mental noise for just a smidge of an instant and give to yourself the gift of simply “being.”
This moment, in this place, at this time, is your life. It is not lamenting dreams you didn’t accomplish or plans for the future. It is not an inventory of promises unfulfilled. It is not how much – or how little – money is in your account. It is a parade of ephemeral, fleeting moments passing into history, an everlasting mental train of thoughts and observations traveling from today to yesterday.
THIS moment — this NOW — is your life.
What prompted me to wax so philosophically (aside from the fact that I’m incredibly philosophical, insightful, introspective man, of course) started unexpectedly enough, when our washing machine exploded.
Don’t picture a Michael Bay movie; my wife and I leaping to safety in a slo-mo scene as flames burst forth from the Maytag behind us. It was a whimper more than a bang. The valve that’s supposed to stop the tub from overflowing called it quits and opted to not shut off when it was supposed to. Resultingly, upon returning from changing into pajamas, I discovered our kitchen, utility room, and my wife’s studio, were flooded.
Even though we squeegeed what we could from the carpet in her studio, and mopped the aging, yellowing, pealing linoleum that covers our kitchen, an un-holy smell now hits us smack square in the kisser when we enter our house. Obviously, the washing machine needs to be repaired. Yet, that’s not all that’s gone a kilter in our 70-year old domicile. We could host a horde of handymen for a month. (Of course, they’d probably like to be paid so there’s that.) At the risk of inviting you to a pity party, our eldest cat might be reaching his end. To help alleviate his pain and nausea, we have to inject him twice a week with subcutaneous fluids (stabbing myself the first time we tried) and we have to force pain killers down his throat twice a day. I’m in physical therapy for some dumb thing I did to my shoulder. Every bill we have seems to be growing more rapidly than the coronavirus is spreading. Which reminds me, have I mentioned how crabby I am about the state of my country and our planet?
If I was sovereign of the world, oh boy, would things would be different!
But, I’m not.
Last night, lamenting my life, while I glared through the front window at the cold, unforgiving, everlasting, black firmament, I realized I was too narrowly focused, forcing myself to take a mental inventory of what was indeed going well.
I love my wife and I love being married — after all these years. Who woulda thought? Check that one off in the “Blessings” column. My dog enjoys serving as my armrest as I meditate in a darkened room, at the end of a busy day. I appreciate the opportunity to write for you and making a difference in the city where I live. I look forward to coffee with friends, the sound of rain tap-tap-tapping outside my window while I sleep, and sharing with my spiritual community on Sunday mornings. Despite it all, there is so much for which I am grateful. It all boils down to I like my life so much, I don’t want it to end.
But, if I love this moment on the planet so much why would I let it pass so quickly out of my view without taking as many minutes as I am allowed to stop, grasp, and inhale deeply its essence? It makes no sense to not appreciate all that comes to me, no matter whether labeled “good” or “bad.”
Therefore, until that time when I have been moved to history, I will strive to embrace completely each and every valuable, precious, transient, passing moment.
It is what is and it is all that I’ve got.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and founder of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, where he can be contacted for coaching, consulting, and presentations. He is conducting a workshop on setting goals and getting past what holds you back in Eureka on February 29. You can find out more at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com/intentions