When is Doing (whatever), More?

When is whatever you are doing, more than the task at hand? Almost always. As humans, we have the ability to plan and anticipate. At what point does this ability to do one thing and think about something else, interrupt the gifts in life?

A shower is anticipatory of feeling and being cleaner than before, of preparation. While having the shower, we tend to be thinking about what’s coming next: what to wear, grooming, upcoming activities. But what about what’s happening at that moment, what about the fact that we are able to stand, that there is electricity to run the well pump, to start the furnace, to provide the usually warm or hot water falling onto one’s skin, helping to lather up, rinsing off… 

Mindfulness is one term used to describe an awareness of the moment. Mindfulness is a kind of meditation, and any (any!) activity can be turned into a meditation simply by being aware in the moment: walking, gardening, washing dishes, combing hair, smoothing on skin lotion, watching a pet, sitting on a bus…

There is much to be gained by being aware of life in the moment. This is not denial of the past or future; it is appreciation for what is Now. We can visit the past and future in our thoughts but until time travel is accessible to everyone, the only physical reality is Now. Whether Now is all there is, is a philosophical conundrum. The past is done; the future is not here yet. Now is what is happening in the moment, a moment within which we have a multitude of choices.

All of life is a gift, a gift that can be obliterated within seconds. Often, gifts in life are not appreciated because they are everyday routine-taken-for-granted events, like waking up, and getting out of bed. In the larger scheme of life, such events may seem trivial, until something interferes with them. Suddenly everyday activities cannot be performed or managed; suddenly these everyday activities are not so trivial after all. Some gifts need to be earned, others simply are there. Recognizing them is a gift in itself.

Hospice training created for me a single criterion I use whenever I have a question about any given decision: What if I died tomorrow?  Or today.  Is this something I want to do/see/experience, is this someone I want to spend time with, do I have parts of my life that need cleaning up, are there amends to be made? There is NO time like the present.

All of these gifts, from the Now through all of life, are Tigers. Find out why in Finding the Tiger, a Coming of Age, pages 60-62.


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