I can't tell you how many times I have heard or read that you are supposed to live your life in the present, and that you should let go of the past and not focus on tomorrow. But I believe that wisdom has some faults and it has been my two daughters that have really brought this to my attention. They are helping me come to the conclusion that like most things there needs to be some sort of balance between the three aspects of time. Here I am with one daughter whose every waking moment is concentrated on the future and is ensnared with the frustrations of waiting for her real labor to start, of waiting to hold her baby in her arms, of waiting to know that everything will go all right, waiting, waiting and more waiting. So each day my energy has gone into reminding her of the joys of this moment and all that she has now. This job was further reinforced this morning. While reading this quote from Pearl S. Buck seemed to ring true, she said,"Everyday, life has a power of its own and it is important to pay attention to it.". Yet I am finding it challenging to convince a nine month pregnant lady who is very uncomfortable to appreciate the present. Oh, I do remember being in her exact shoes and I find it is so much easier for me to enjoy every moment of being here, getting to see her pregnant, touching her moving belly and everything about this amazing experience, then it is for her. But I am relishing the challenge of trying to keep her relaxed and grateful for now.
My younger daughter at the same time is going through the opposite experience in that she is trying to live a little less in the now. She has always had a remarkable grace and beauty in the way that she moves through life just living for now. I was beginning to believe that this was the correct way to approach life. She had an amazing childhood and did not dwell on the past and instead of being too concerned with tomorrow she was busy with just dealing with things as they came up. Recently she was made to be aware that this only works if you have absolutely nothing to lose. As she has gotten older she has built up a business, has acquired a business partner, and well, a reputation to maintain. Her life has become intertwined with others and she realized that she has a responsibility to protect them as well as herself.
The more I think about this it seems critical to have an awareness and a plan for the direction you want to take your life. It isn't just about having plans that give us hope and things to look forward to but also to have plans for other important aspects. What do you want to eat today so you will be healthy tomorrow, what about an exercise schedule, shopping, relationships, reputations and so many more. In some ways it was hard for me to see my daughter have to so radically change her approach to life but to be a part of this culture, this society, there comes a time to clip your own wings and become responsible for your own future. Seeing her transition into an adult has reminded me that it is important to strive for a balance. Take forward your past in a way that celebrates where you came from and how it has fashioned and shaped who you are today. Good and bad it is these past experiences that give us our wisdom and strength to become the unique and incredible individuals that we are today. Look to your future in a way that maintains or improves upon your strengths so you can be the person your heart desires you to be or to maintain the person that you have worked so hard to become. At the same time it is just as critical to appreciate today. For many this may be the most challenging. Our society teaches us from the day we are born to desire more, more things, more money, more stuff, more, and more. But taking the effort to develop gratitude for what you already have and an appreciation for the ones you love and an awareness of the joy of being alive in this place, this time, this moment, this now is incredible. This sense of gratitude can fill you with awe, love and inspiration. I find it amazing that this last year despite living with constant pain which has forced me to reduce my world in order to cope, has caused an incredible expansion of my awareness. It has forced me to see what is most important in life and have a greater appreciation of that life.
I don't know if it is truly possible to keep the past, present and future in a perfect balance. Perhaps there will always be a time when we need to be more focused on one or the other as we grow and mature and journey. But I do believe that we shouldn't linger in any one of them too long or be too focused on trying to keep them in perfect balance but rather continuously paying attention and striving for a sense of harmony whatever the configuration. Then, we may just find a sense of wholeness in the moment between the inhales and the exhales, between the past and the future, in this marvelous now.