“There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who can do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can give all our attention to the opportunity before us.”
– Mark Van Doren (1894-1972) American poet, author, professor
Can you imagine resisting the changing seasons? On Sunday morning I was sitting out in the yard where a huge hickory tree lives. Leaves were slowly breaking off and drifting to the ground. I thought to myself “It’s only the end of August – too early for fall!” as dismay built inside me. Then, the futility of trying to resist change struck me like a first prize state fair pumpkin thrown by Tom Seaver.
Life is nothing but change. We know this intuitively …we will all leave our families someday (or they will leave us), that children will grow into adults and leave the nest, that investment markets will fluctuate, and the seasons will turn, one to another.
Why can’t we just “be with it” and accept that the only guarantee in life is that conditions will change? This is very difficult in practice. I’ve tried to resist everything from getting older, to family deaths, to a rainy weekend, to using computers.
For the moment, I’ll sit in the yard with “my pack” on this beautiful Sunday, and enjoy that, for now, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and my heart’s still beating. It’s no use worrying about how rainy June was, or how hot July was, or when fall will arrive. Surely, fall will come, rain and snow will eventually fall, and the storms of life will brew, but for now, it’s a warm summer day.
Some tips for living in the present:
– Ask yourself “Who am I when I don’t want anything?”
– Do what you are passionate about
– Listen to Music. My Mother used to listen to Cat Stevens when she was down – remember the song “Moon Shadow” ?
– Take your pet for a walk
– Spend some time in nature
Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded
by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
– Wu Men