Toward the goal of dimming my unwarranted distresses to the glow of one–probably–orange bulb I’ve been thinking about “being in the moment.”
I understand that living in the past makes you sad, and living in the future, afraid. I appreciate the freedom of a zen flash of naked consciousness. I like the clarity of our senses.
But I’ve been practicing something lately, with maybe a different perspective on time and self? I am no teacher, no spiritual nothing, got nothing to sell. Here it is.
I’m imagining I live all the life I have lived, at once. I just pretend I’m every person I’ve ever been in my whole life, all the time.
On the one hand, this is an extraordinary opportunity for self-forgiveness and maybe healing. I don’t want to make grand claims. Most of my particular bad feelings that come from nowhere apparent–waves of dread, shame, guilt, anxiety–seem to be helped by bringing small Lisa up through the years. It’s hard to be hard on an 8-year old, if that makes sense. It’s easy to comfort a 3-year old when you’re 65.
You know, when I’m not scrolling Twitter or whatever.
On the other hand, I also bring those I have loved with me. I had a strong sense, when my mom died, that she lived in me, as well as in other people and creatures she loved. Having her along now means I show her the beautiful things and I can feel her joy. This isn’t to say I’m looking to get rid of grief. Grief, in my book, is pure and warranted.
I try to extend this practice, living my whole life and assuming those I truly loved are part of me, to those I loved at one time and not perfectly. I bring them with me in my heart, intending to make up for past wrongs, mine or theirs or simply of simple history.
Let’s be clear, I’m also fussy about tea and I can’t sleep when the air conditioning’s running. Which is to say, I’m as imperfect and annoying as anyone. My goal is to deserve my good fortune. Some of that requires acting on my values, something we talk about a lot, and some of it asks that I clear the way for what, appreciation? The giving of thanks?
It’s easier to be grateful when I’m not aching for no good reason.
Have a wonderful weekend.