“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have” –Eckhart Tolle
Time, it seems, is a prison of our own creation. We are always waiting for something.
Waiting until we are in a new place. Waiting for an opportunity. Waiting for someone. Waiting for change.
Waiting for the next moment, when really, the only moment that ever exists is NOW.
Look around you. See, hear, and feel what is taking place in your surroundings.
Experience this moment.
As I write, my present moment consists of the hum of the refrigerator. The drizzle of melting snow. The subtle warmth of the sun as it pours through our tiny kitchen windows at this late morning hour. A messy dining room table.
I see, hear, and feel these things, resisting the urge to label them as “good” or “bad.” They simply are.
In this moment, there is no time. Just presence. Awareness. Appreciation.
The present moment is a gift. Yet we squander it in favor of a non-existent future, or a past that cannot be changed.
Even if the now is painful, it’s a flavor of life worth experiencing. I know that in spite of my insecurities about this period in my life (How am I going to earn money? Which path should I take? What is my ultimate purpose here?) I will look back on it in one, five, or ten years’ time and remember it fondly.
This was, after all, the year I took my mom on her first overseas trip. The year I finally started to believe in my talent as a photographer. The year I moved in with the love of my life. The year I got engaged.
So while many things are “imperfect” or not yet in place, this year has been an incredible one full of so many gifts. The scary or frustrating parts won’t be remembered, but they will serve to build character in the now.
How I choose to act in response to unstable times will be what matters in the end.
And so, I have no choice left but to appreciate the here and now. It is part of my path, and it’s teaching me plenty if I open my heart to it. It’s teaching me gratitude. It’s teaching me patience. It is teaching me mindfulness. It is showing me my own resilience.
Writing in a journal while seated at my messy dining room table, still wearing my oversized pajamas, will hardly seem glamorous. But why shouldn’t we be allowed to be unglamorous? Why can’t we find glamour in this, the most mundane of moments? It is the now. It is what is, and it is perfect.
“Look past your thoughts so you may drink the pure nectar of this moment.” -Rumi
Perhaps more importantly, though, I should at least recognize this moment for the privilege that it is. To sit here with a roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes on my back, and the freedom and security to pursue a creative career–what an astounding privilege that is!
If I am ever ungrateful for the blessed life that I am living, then I don’t deserve to experience it at all. And so we find ourselves back at gratitude.
Gratitude grounds us in the now. It allows us to appreciate what is rather than longing for what could be.
I am grateful for this journal to write in. I am grateful for this table where I enjoy breakfast and coffee with my fiancé. I am grateful for the mug from which to sip my coffee. I am grateful for love.
I am grateful for the near-empty bottle of hot sauce that sits in front of me, a luxury I’m not sure what I did to deserve. I’m grateful for the hum of the machine that keeps our food fresh and cold. I’m grateful for the food contained within.
I’m grateful for this moment to practice gratitude, and any gratitude it may inspire in others.
I’m grateful for this form of expression. I’m not sure where I’d be without writing–I can only imagine it’s a dark place.
I’m infinitely grateful for this chance to chase a dream. I’m grateful I haven’t given up yet.
“The moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.” -Eckhart Tolle
Even if the now feels like it sucks (which it oftentimes will) it is here to be experienced–even cherished. Every moment–whether happy, sad, frustrated, angry, or scared–is part of our path.
Living in the NOW is the only way to free ourselves from the constricts of time. The only way to truly live.
If we can sit quietly for a few minutes each day to reflect on this fact, we’ll always be grateful, and we’ll always be free.
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