As I listen to the birds sing on this gray morning, I am brought back to the present and freed from the anxiety I often feel when I am faced with a day of office work. Very much the stereotypical lone artist in her studio, as much as I love people, there is a part of me that could hide myself away forever and spend my days alone, painting and writing, walking the beaches and wandering through the woods. But alas! I must do the office work in order to run a business (bummer!) and then of course there are those I still care for (do I Really want it any other way?)
So duty calls, and needless to say the rewards of community, supporting those around us, sharing our love and celebrating life with others, is well worth the risk of the inevitable disappointments that will come our way.
Such is life, no? A never-ending series of ups and downs. Yet when I look back at my life I realize how perfectly it has all played out. The hardships have brought me to where I am now. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “All that I have seen teaches me to trust The Creator for all that I have not seen.” This is one of the many quotes taped to the inside of my closet door.
It’s a life long journey…this road to inner peace, so I do all I can to help myself along…including a messy closet door, meditation, inspirational reading, taking care of my body, and the practice of seeing with the eyes of love.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him the most said, “Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”
It’s so odd the way we drift back to our old, self-destructive thought patterns. Bemoaning the past and worrying about the future will only lead to anxiety and depression when in reality, all we really ever have is the present moment.
Numerous times throughout the Bible we are instructed to give our worries to God, to have faith, to be grateful…is this not simple instruction to live in the present?“If God cares so wonderfully for the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you?” Matthew 6:30.
So, today, I will practice living in the moment again (for the one thousandth time) Not only This very moment (I hear a train coming and the birds singing) I will live free from worry, unbound by the past, I will live my life at this moment, as it is Now. I will consciously “Be Here Now.”
As Eckhart Tolle has said, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” This is the key to happiness. To put this moment under the larger umbrella of our life as it is Now is very much a part of this practice.
For more on the joy that is found in the present moment, I recommend two quick reads from the Huffington Post. Are You Ready to Open Up to Trust, Happiness and Joy? by Debbie Woodbury.
Also, 5 Ways to Start Living in the Present Moment by Jennifer Twardowski
Or to dive more deeply into the subject, Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” and the 1971 illustrated classic “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass.
One Sunday afternoon I wrote a poem that speaks of the blissful state I had found myself in that day. As is often the case, the poem seemed to fall into my head. Later I would share my book “Visions; Through Paintings and Poetry” along with several other poems with Grand Master Thich Tinh Tu who I was fortunate enough to meet at the Lien Tri Monastery in Mount Vernon, AL. The Grand Master was in town from his monastery in CA. His following is very large, he emanates peace and he writes poetry, so I was very flattered when he called me from California one night to tell me how much he liked it.
Should you be interested in reading a collection of my paintings and poetry, you can purchase my book “Visions II; Through Paintings and Poetry” through Amazon.com, or just click here:
Enjoy the moment and where you are in this stage of your life. Life is beautiful!