Looking forward, looking back, but staying in the present


I’ve been delaying writing blogs this year, already. And that’s kind of silly, since I know I’m eventually going to do it … why procrastinate? Why do I put off doing that which I know I should do until the last minute, or, in this case, long after the last minute (I planned this blog for last week, and had others ready, too, for before – they didn’t even get posted!)

Maybe I should make that a resolution for 2018?

How many of us make New Year’s resolutions? I know I am a chief culprit – making resolutions and then cheerfully (or not so cheerfully) breaking them when they get inconvenient. Or difficult. Or just too much work.

Sigh.

The world tells us always look forward – to anticipate our needs and wants and plan ahead of time for them. To always be thinking what is coming and anticipate the next high (or low). Those resolutions – they’re almost always something that we need to do so that somehow, someway our future will be rosier.

But in continually looking forward, we miss two very important things.

The past. And the present.

In this past year (now I’m looking back) I have been thinking about the joys and challenges of mindfulness. I know that word sounds unbearably therapist-like and New Agey … but it’s a true, good and useful concept. What help is it if I’m always looking forward, and, even when I’m in the present I’ve planned for, I’m still not present? What good is constant looking forward if I can’t enjoy the time I’m in?

I’ve resolved this year to try hard to be present in the here and now of where I am. Many of you know that this is my 40th anniversary year, and my husband and I have an ambitious plan for celebrating it: a plan that includes a minimum of ten weeks – yes, I said TEN WEEKS – of travel. We have considered the past – my husband’s health issues – and resolved that we want the future to be one of no regrets. That still leaves the present – and I am determined to enjoy every moment of our adventures, to live in those moments as if there was no past, and no future. I am resolved to try my darndest to be mindful of what is happening in the now. Not the past. Not the future. NOW.

It’s a big challenge. Mindfulness requires, at least for me, a constant choice to be present, to concentrate on the sensations of now. Joy and peace are a choice I’m determined to make.

I know we are blessed, and many cannot do right now what we are hoping to do this year. My point in talking about our plans is not to brag or to say our future should be yours. Our past has informed what we choose … just as others should choose based on what has come to them. Our future is what God wills, and what we make of the blessings and challenges He allows. Our present is where I want to live from now on.

That’s a resolution I can live in the here and now with. I hope.

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