A thrush this morning was definitely springing. When the birds shift into a new season, they make it very clear, a twinkle of musical notes tossed into the milk sky as if this is the day for change. The thrush knows not what weather will be sent his way, could be ghastly, could be mild and calm. Not knowing, however, does not hesitate him, not for one split of a second. he lives in the Now, inhabits it proudly, baring his freckled breast without fear of what may come tomorrow. He will be wondering where the girls are, motivated by a powerful instinct that is the envy of trudging humans who gaze at the milk sky and tut, forecasting a terrible something, one that awaits us just around one of those endless corners. We seem unable to live inside the moment.
However, there are many books written on the subject, many well worth the read. Although not many folk would say that their life is easy, living itself is very simple. We complicate. We fret about the past, fingering through it with trembling hands in deep search of all those things we did wrong and the ripples we created in our wrongness. Or, we grow anxious about the future, staring hard into the eyes of endless what-ifs, seeing disaster at every turn. Invariably it is we who cock it up, or that’s what we believe. Everyone else, after all, is sensible and co-ordinated and works from a spreadsheet, unlike us who can lose a whole car in a shopping mall, or who buys something quite unnecessary, and from China, meaning we would have to go for a personal loan in order to return it.
The trouble with living in the past and/or the future is that we never notice where we are right now. In 60 seconds time, this minute will lie in our past, irretrievably, and our memory of it, if we have one, will not be the truth. Memories are not to be believed, not in the shape we give them. It is how we feel that matters. Only that. So how do you feel right now? Are you noticing everything inside this moment, the smell and sound of it, the touch of it? What does it look like when you stop and really look? And, how does it make you feel? There are as many answers to those questions as there are people but only one of them matters. Yours.
Feeling ‘not enough’ is commonplace. We all feel it at times and some of us feel it all of the time. Enough for what? Enough for the moment or enough for the past to look like a Disney movie and the future as a rosy ripe peach. Well, I have news for you. That is exactly how they both look. I know this because I know the lies in Memory’s mouth and the fear-driven gaze into the future. They are both fools and tricksters. Don’t believe either of them. No matter what I did or didn’t do in my past is right where it should be, dead and buried. From experiences I learned to straighten up and fly better. I still knock into hurdles and people and mountains but I fly like I learned new techniques from my ‘mistakes’. As there is no perfect person alive today I reckon I’m doing pretty well. As to the future, well, what on earth is the point in me getting my knickers in a knot about something that isn’t even here yet? If I keep working on my improvement, keep standing inside each moment with all my senses alert, then whatever this future brings (it never arrives by the way. futures never do) I will be ready to take appropriate action whenever I need to.
For now, I work on bringing myself back into the Now every time the tricksters leap into my head, and they can do that a lot. Go away, I say. Don’t bother me. I’m deciding to stand here in the Now, listening to the thrush singing Spring. On collapso days I might wear myself out with all this deciding to stand thing as the hooligan tricksters are more determined than ever, but if I keep practising it becomes more natural to just Be. I might be hurtling at quite a lick on the outside, but on the inside, the only place we can ever make effective changes, I am inside each moment. Some of them slip by, unnoticed, of course they do. We are all busy at something. But I make a point of noticing and stopping to feel this moment whenever I remember. Actually, I don’t even need to stop, physically, because my head can relish the moment even if the rest of me is hurtling. And the feeling of being present is addictive. The more I practise, the more I bash away the tricksters, the stronger I feel. I can do this living life thing! Life isn’t living me. I am living Life.
The thrush gets it. We have to work harder, but we can get it too. Depends on the level of commitment. If life feels like a huge disappointment, try binning the past and the future. Both are fickle friends. One is a lie and the other grown from fear. If success feels like it has passed me by, then I am being controlled by the tricksters, because the truth is that every single one of us can find the success we long for. Try reading Meant For More by Mia Hewitt. I will leave you with a quote from her:-
‘Success is not a game won by those who do the most, but by those who focus on the least.’