Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Remember Now”; "Mindfully Remembering That the Present Moment Is All We Have"

2002, “Remember Now”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq4qjI8VVzg

"Mindfully Remembering That the Present Moment Is All We Have"
by Debbie Woodbury

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. 
Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” 
- Eckhart Tolle

“Last December, a member of my husband’s networking group suffered a massive heart attack. John was at the group’s morning meeting and had just given a “spotlight” talk - wherein members talk about themselves so other members get to know them and their business. He finished his talk, left the room and crashed to the floor. Two members of the group rushed to his side to administer CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. EMTs took over, put him in the ambulance and rushed him to the hospital. A few hours later he died.

This is hard to write because the sudden death of a 59-year-old man with a wife, three children, family and friends is not about me. Because I didn’t know John that well, I don’t even have the right to grieve. My sympathy for his family isn’t about my loss and, when I make it personal by veering into empathy, I find myself backing away. Imagining myself as the wife, losing my husband, consoling my children is just too painful to bear.

What I am sitting with is the fact that, just a day before John died, my husband spoke with him on the phone. The subject was the group’s holiday party. When my husband asked John if he would be there, he replied, “Absolutely, my wife and I are looking forward to it.” 

Every day, I make plans, assumptions and predictions about the rest of my days. I “absolutely” believe them, too, despite the fact that I should know better by now. Sure, it’s pleasant to look forward to happy things (which may or may not happen,) but the flip side is the fear and dread that comes from worrying about the future. 

Having cancer made me an Olympic-level worrier. At some point after I had my mastectomy, I discovered Eckhart Tolle and realized I needed something I thought he could teach me. That something was peace of mind. It turns out that creating peace of mind is simple, but far from easy. In a nutshell, all you have to do is practice mindfulness by making “the NOW the primary focus of your life.” 

For the past four years, I’ve been trying to do that, but I struggle and I think John’s death has helped me understand why. Simply put, I forget. I forget that life is short. I forget that we don’t necessarily have many more decades together. I forget that children grow up and move out. I forget that people die. Why do I forget? Because it’s just too painful to remember. This is not our first inexplicable, sudden death. It’s not that I don’t know, it’s that I don’t want to know. 

When Tolle tells me I must “realize deeply that the present moment is all you have,” he’s telling me flatly to remember that my days (and those of my loved ones) are numbered. 

Someday, for each of us, there will be no tomorrow. At that moment, we will have proved, completely and without any doubt, that all we have is the present moment. The trick is getting to that realization well before we take our final breath.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

A personal comment: Long time readers know that I very rarely, if ever, share details about my personal life here, since this blog is not about me, it's for and about you, the readers. This article though resonated personally, very powerfully, and directly relates to content here. You may have noticed the recurring theme of mortality, not as something to be feared, but as the inevitable final chapter for all of us. These posts are for you, certainly, but also a reminder to myself to appreciate each day as best I can, because there are no guarantees of tomorrow. How do I know? At 6 PM on November 8, 2013 I suffered a massive heart attack, which resulted in emergency quadruple bypass surgery and 38 days in the hospital, 33 of them in a narcotized induced coma. They told me later if I hadn't been brought in at that immediate time that I would not have lived to see the sun come up the next morning. I was very, very lucky, and am quite aware of the fragility of life, and try very hard not to take it for granted. I like seeing the sun come up, and hope to do a lot more of it, too. But it's THIS morning's sun I'll appreciate, not tomorrows or next years, because they might not arrive, or more honestly, I might not. You might not, either. So cherish this day, this NOW, because the past is gone, and tomorrow's not guaranteed, for any of us. As the author above writes, "Someday, for each of us, there will be no tomorrow. At that moment, we will have proved, completely and without any doubt, that all we have is the present moment. The trick is getting to that realization well before we take our final breath.” - CP

Remember...
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee."

- John Donne

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