Living in the present

“Yesterday is history,

tomorrow is a mystery, today

is a gift of God, which is why

we call it the present.”

― Bil Keane

I’m currently seeing a Medical Herbalist & Tibetan practitioner to help with my EDS.

During my last visit she made an interesting comment about me obviously living more ‘in the present’. I thought I’d been living in the present for quite a while, way before my illness struck, however her comment had me thinking that maybe as with all things there are layers of ‘presentness’.

I am now even more aware of just how present I am from moment to moment. I have over half a dozen unfinished posts on this blog alone, mostly about my past. The problem is that in my current state I am aware of my perception of past events and how expressing past perceptions may not be in my best interest. Part of me feels a relief about getting these things off my chest, like having a last read of a letter or diary before throwing it away. Maybe some of the traumas I have lived through can resonate with others, give them a ray of hope if in a similar situation, or even advice on how not to approach such difficulties. I also feel that once I’ve written about it and shared my pains with the world, I am healed, problem shared and all that.
Awareness brings new responsibilities, if I write about a past event with all the hurt and pain I’d experienced at the time does it deepen the wound?
The other side of this ‘being present’ is appreciating everything that’s going on in my world right now and that simple things have as much value being written about as the major events of my past.
Writing about a simple day out then makes that particular day special and something with memories I shall want to treasure rather than ‘throw away’.
Spending much of each day laying still and in quietness encourages delving into past memories. During the first few years I very much felt, and had understanding, of elderly people sat in chairs in residential homes gazing out their windows. A full life can be too busy to appreciate at the time and so a period of contemplation is valuable and actually enjoyable. I was able to escape much pain and discomfort by drifting into past memories of achievements and adventures.Re living each special moment and languishing in the glory and variety of emotions such occasions created.
As my life is going on and I’ve come to accept that much of my disability could be staying for a long while, being present has a new importance. Looking too far into the future can be frustrating, as can memories of things I used to be able to do and enjoy. By being present every moment can be extended and deepened, its not just a sunny morning, there are smells of dew and lovely crisp air, new flowers coming into blossom, leaves uncurling, so many different birdsongs, Bees buzzing around, distant cars, a train stopping at the nearby station, a dog barking, someone coughing as they walk around the field. So much is happening all around every moment and it can all so easily be missed if we’re preoccupied with the past or the future.

It would be all too easy during periods of my body not being able to do anything, to be thinking of what I’ll do when I can get up and about. I realise now that that can be quite a waste of my time! Many people spend years practicing meditation and mindfulness, one of the biggest problems is finding time to squeeze quite and stillness into their lives. I have quiet and stillness thrust upon me, I only need to concentrate on the mindfulness. This time may not have seemed like a ‘gift’ and from the outside it certainly wouldn’t look like one either, yet if my perception of it is as a gift, a present to enjoy, then all the bad stuff drifts away. How lucky am I to be able to spend so much time watching clouds or listening to birdsong? What would you give to have some quite time today?

What I am learning is that this present moment is truly a gift, we will never get this moment back. Perhaps by noticing every aspect of this moment with every sense available to us we can appreciate each second as a gift, no matter how difficult or how frightening a moment may at first appear, it is a gift and it will soon enough pass.

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