Hannah Anderson dropped off a dozen little cheerful cupcakes. xoxo
10.45a.m. Our friends lighten the load.
I’m sure everyone has their own issues. Their own stresses, their own health problems, emotional problems, money problems, work problems, family problems, or something and yet, here they all are. Helping us. Trying to do anything they can to make our load lighter.
2.22 p.m. The concept of living in the moment is vexing me.
I’m trying to figure out how I can make this work. How I need to be to live in the moment. Do I need to change who I am?
Does it mean I have to sit quietly and listen hard to the world all the time? Experience nothing in order to experience everything?
All my life (except for the six months after my big brother, Mitch, was killed in a car crash eight years ago, and my whole life froze while I watched the trees grow in the backyard because that’s all I dared to do for fear of the world hurting me again, except for then…) I have been riding a wild, free horse.
A stallion of joy, enthusiasm, ambition, commitment to family, work, play, health and life. Do I need to learn how to ride the wild horse around in a pen? In a stable yard? It feels like that is what is being asked of me. I need to stop being my wild, joyful self. I need to be solemn, silent and serious. Stop thinking about the future. Stop planning big.
Surely I’m missing the point. Surely I’m not expected to sit, crossed-legged with my eyes closed in the mud in the middle of a stable yard, while my wild horse bucks and kicks at the fence, trying to break free to gallop wildly through the hills and the wood?
I love the scars on my cheeks from branches slapping and cutting into my face as I race bareback through the forest. I love my hair full of dust and dirt from hours of riding in the wild. The grime on my hands that smears onto my face when I wipe away the sweat. Does that all go?
It can’t be.
That denies my truth, my purpose, my god. I am connected to ‘god’ (nature, universe — whatever you want to call it ) when I am there, in the wild, being wild. To restrain that can’t be the answer.
So what is it?
Perhaps … I am meant to find a way to sit, content, on my wild horse. In other words; Rein in my mind, but not my life. Continue my adventurous life, but instead of always thinking about the imaginary castle I am riding to think about the ride.
But, my logic asks, ‘How do I guide my horse?’ How do I choose a path when I am only living in the moment? How do I see, in my head, the fork in the road and lean, ever so slightly, to the left just before we get there so my beast knows which way to go?
How do I marry the now and the imaginary future? How can I achieve a goal if I don’t visualize it first? Do I let go of all my goals? Maybe I can give up the goals I have… but what of the goals I have for our children? I’m not only talking about goals for their future education and care but also simple goals. Goals like getting them to school each day clean, clothed, rested, fed, calmed and loved, all the while training them to do those things for themselves. That takes monumental force and focus every single time I do it. If I don’t have part of my head in the future, how can I achieve that?
Every now and then I think, ‘Hey, yeah, it’s easy for those monks who sit in their robes on their cool monastery floors without children to feed and a husband to care for 24/7.’ But I know it’s an excuse, to get me off the hook from being in the moment.
We have evolved to live in the future. It’s absolutely exhausting living in the now. Noticing everything. Appreciating everything. And if you live in the world I do, full of family, community, friends, work … everything constantly makes you think about the future. Planning for the future is a very big part of what makes a good parent, right?
A child’s road doesn’t just appear. It is built by a parent. The child chooses how to travel down it (or not). They might skip, dance and sing, go loudly down their road with friends, go quietly down their road alone or redesign their road; it’s their choice, but a parent has to first make a road for them. So how do I build a road into their future without going there, in my mind, to plan and build it for them?
There is no denying that I constantly have to think about the future: plan meals, plan baths, plan doctors appointments, plan washing, plan cleaning … all for a better future. But what do you do if you are told your future stops in six months? How do I plan for the future when I can’t see one?
I have to do both. I have to plan for the future and I have to be present. My challenge will be knowing when to do which one of these.
My plan now is to clean the kitchen and put away the pile of clothes that is sitting on the stairs. I will do it while thinking about being ‘in’. In this body. In this moment.