Saturday, October 9, 2010

Make Today, Today

Have you ever thought about today?  Now you might think I’m crazy and say to yourself, “Of course I think about today.”  I think about everyday.

But that’s not what I mean.   What I’m getting at is whether or you not you’ve ever limited yourself to just thinking about today. Whether you’ve ever truly lived in the moment; experienced the tremendous power this mindset affords.  Try it. Just one day of Today can be quite liberating. 

See, the problem is that most of go through life with too much baggage. We’re like the guy trying to get on a airplane with a bag over each shoulder; pulling another suitcase and clutching his laptop with his free hand.  Wouldn’t it be nice to stride effortlessly through the airport with just a small bag, get on the plain easily, sit back and relax?  You can.  By not bringing yesterday’s baggage into today. 

Now what do I mean by that?  Take a typical day.  It’s filled with endless possibilities but most of us wake up stressing.  Perhaps we’re thinking about all of the injustices perpetrated on us in the past by our co-workers, like the job promotion we should have had. Maybe you had to get a new job or got laid off and you’re sitting around thinking of what used to be or thinking about how thin you used to be. How young you used to be. How simple life was before you got married, bought a house and had kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to trivialize all of this or to say that you can’t learn from the past.  Instead, what I’m saying is that this is in the past so for once let’s try and leave it there.  If you pull it into the present it can often ruin today.  The reality is it’s over. You can’t change it or go back. Why waist your energy on it?  Ask anyone who’s gone to AA, there motto is take it one day at a time.

All you have is now, today.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Pause for a second and really think about that.  Do you have yesterday? Sure you have memories, pictures, videos blah blah blah but do you really have yesterday. NOPE! It’s gone people.  Aside from the IRS not too many people care about what you did or didn’t do in the past.

And the same is for the future.  Do you have it either?  Think about that.  You can look forward to the future, you can plan for the future or even sit around waiting for it.  No matter, do you have it.  NOPE again.  No one can say what their future holds or how long it will last.  So why burn up today stressing about it?  It may not even play out like you thought it would.  Today is what you have.  If you live fully today you’ll feel immensely satisfied. You can do great things and be better ready for whatever future you experience. 

Now I want to take a brief diversion here and discuss a few traps. When I talk about this with people they often misunderstand this concept. 

First is the trap of misunderstanding what living for today means.  I’m not advocating that you have no plan for the future, that you blow all of you’re money, drink, smoke and throw caution to the wind.  That’s not at all what I’m getting at.  Living each moment fully is about being free, fulfilled and the best we can be.  Think about it, even if you did go out today and spend all of your money, drink all you want, eat until you drop. Will you feel fulfilled?  Will you be at peace. No, that’s a trap.  Instead of experiencing life to the fullest you’re trying to make yourself happy by overloading your senses, won’t work.  Ever sit down with a carton of ice cream or a bag of chips.  At first it tastes wonderful, so you keep going.  Do the chips taste better as you go? No.  But you keep eating, keep trying.  Soon you’ve eaten way to many and now you feel bloated and have an upset stomach.  Sensory overload is not the answer here.  It’s the freedom of living moment to moment. Knowing that that is all that you have, that’s all you really have to deal with.  Dance and laugh now knowing the opportunity will eventually pass. 

Another common trap is WHY?  You can beat yourself to a pulp with this one.  Why did xyz happen to me? Why didn’t xyz happen to so and so? What did I do to deserve this?  I’m a good person why do bad things happen to me?  A good example to illustrate this is cancer.  I repeatedly see this happen with cancer patients or their families. Cancer is devastating and no on is trying to belittle that fact.  It is what it is.  It’s an attack on your mortality, a most unfortunate card from the deck of fate.  But what good will come of adding to it the condrum of taking a ride on the WHY Merry-go Round? Stand up and fight, yes.  Don’t waist you’re energy asking why unless it can lead to a treatment or cure. 

 I want you to live like Lass.  Lass is my black lab.  She gets up in the morning and eats.  It’s time to eat, so she eats.  She doesn’t run around, eating and multitasking, worrying she’s late.  She may have been kicked in the face by the dog next door yesterday, do you think she cares?  Does she even think about it?  So today maybe she won’t go next door.  Do you think she’s worried about whether or not she’s going to get a better bowl for her food tomorrow, or a bigger dog bed to sleep on? Nope?  The one she has works just fine. Smells like mine, has my hair all over it and has a nice soft spot right there in the middle.  If we go out for a walk she runs around sniffing the ground as if she’s never smelled it before.  There might be something new to discover, right?  If it starts raining she doesn’t get all upset and complain. So, it’s raining?  She doesn’t care what time it is or whether or not it’s the weekend. She’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.  She enjoys riding in my rusty old plow truck more than in my good car.  Why?  It has a big fat vinyl seat and she can plop down right beside me. 

I wonder sometimes what she’s thinking, as she glances up at me as I fly out the door to go to work.  "Yep, there he goes again.  I hope he makes some more money so I can enjoy keep hanging out right here in this nice basement."

Now I ask you?  Who’s the smart one?

Live today, today.  Experience the tremendous freedom it affords.

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