No matter how you cut it, there’s always more ways to slice and dice anything. You can take the tiniest sliver, and if you have the right tools, cut it up again and again. You can make shavings of slivers and get all microscopic about it.
What’s that got to do with anything? Umm, nothing. And everything.
It’s just that y’know, measurement is highly relative. So is progress.
Where do we really ever get to, other than right where we are at any given moment? We’re just where we’re at, period.
The wanting of other things, that’s where we get ourselves into trouble. Wanting to be somewhere or someone else, or another version of yourself – thinner, wiser, funnier, smarter and so on. We want to be healed. We can’t forget the past. We reminisce of happier times. Want to be on holidays again, go back to places we’ve been.
Anywhere but here.
Or, we think of where we want to get to – being in love with someone wonderful, being a parent, healthy and whole, nicer teeth, earning big money. Or, just more simply… we look towards a place where we’ll be really happy.
Trying to just live in the here and now is difficult. Western culture is set up to either think of the past or look to the future. There’s really not much here and now in our lives at all.
Sitting on a tram surrounded by strangers, most people are thinking about getting away from such close proximity (BTW, did you hear Melbourne is now Australia’s Swine Flu capital?). At work, we’re bored or annoyed or looking forward to lunch or going home or socialising after work.
We’re rarely living in the moment, but it can happen: riding a push bike consciously, getting a massive fright, meditation, having a really intense meeting, seeing an amazing live band or dance performance… these are just some examples.
When it happens, for seconds or minutes (if we’re lucky), we feel intensely alive.
Some people get hooked on that, and then get into adrenaline-based activities. Although, it then becomes less about being in the moment, and more about the ‘rush’ we feel afterwards. And looking forward to the next time.
During the worst of my PTSD, where it wasn’t so much ‘episodes’ – more just one long waking nightmare, day in, day out… I wished away much of my life.
Truly, I believed it was possible to wait out my trauma. I thought I’d get better over time, like healing a broken bone – sure it hurts for ages, but eventually it gets better.
And while I waited, I shut down the rest of my life. Just sat there, waiting. But never in the moment. I was too busy thinking about that unspecified time in the future when I’d be okay again.
Never worked out that way of course. Turns out the source of a lot of my pain was about avoiding. Didn’t want to be in the moment at the time (quite understandably) and didn’t want to know about it afterwards, either.
Thing is, to start to move forward and just to begin the healing process, that’s exactly what I had to do – get very present and very real with the pain, the terror and all of the rammifications.
Its the polar opposite of our standard modus operandi: dropping out of reality.
No wonder healing feels so scary and hard at times!
I wrote a draft of this a little while back, but Brooks’ recent post reminded me it was there, casually sitting in one of my writing files. So I looked it up and thought… yeah, time to come out…