Go Ahead and Laugh
How Elusive the
Moment Can Be
Yup, that’s exactly what I did. I laughed out loud right there on Doran Beach as others strolling or walking their dogs passed by.
Did I care what my fellow beachcombers thought of me? Not really! You may notice there’s an assumption that other folks were paying attention to what I was doing. They probably weren’t.
I suppose I should confess about what I found so danged humorous.
Imagine that you are taking a nice long walk, solo, on a sandy beach in February. Sun’s out; breeze is gentle. You’ve got comfortable walking shoes on. You have taken a much-needed break from a project you are working on. You’ve earned it. The stage is so perfectly set for a walking meditation. You can “just” be in the moment to absorb and relish all of the beauty and life in the natural world that surrounds you.
The stage may have been set but the silly drama unfolding in my head was a completely different play. Not once but at least three times, I caught myself on the hamster wheel of “what shall I have for lunch?” And I only had two options to choose from, for goodness’ sakes. I’d weigh the pros and cons of each option, which led to further considerations about what I’d have for dinner that night!
The first couple of times I caught myself in this menu-musing, I chastised myself.
Can you relate?
I tried to convince myself it didn’t really matter what I was going to eat for lunch in the big scheme of things. I tried to put a stop to the decision-making by telling myself that what’s-for-lunch could be settled in the moment when I got back from my walk.
In the moment. Ah. Yes, that elusive challenge of being right where you are, now. Why is this so difficult?
Is this a tough undertaking for you, too? I’m especially asking those readers who think of themselves as planner-types.
Any meditation teacher will tell you to just notice if your mind is working overtime while you attempt the practice of being present. Once you notice it, you can acknowledge it, not judge it. And then, return to the pursuit of less mental activity, if not blank mind. They call it meditation practice for a reason!
When I caught myself, again, in tunafish salad sandwich versus leftover hot and sour soup, that’s when I laughed at myself out loud. A much better response than the self-scolding I’d done before! When the critic got out of the way, the lunch decision was made. The remainder of my walk was pure joy. Why? Because I was actually present to enjoy it!
“I know that in the instant that I am actually feeling and sensing - not just “thinking” that I am present, here, now – I am filled with joy. But in the next moment I have lost that vivifying awareness, and am again just “thinking about it.”
~ James George (wrote “My Vision Quest” in his nineties)
Every day, every moment, we have a choice. Do we want to dwell in the past? Fret about something in the future? Or be as in-the-now as possible? As if making the “right” choice were as simple as the decision to re-heat a yummy bowl of hot and sour soup! May we all keep practicing.
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Prompts For Joy
Click here for a floral feast. For those in more wintery climates, a reminder of something to look forward to soon enough.
Click here to hear performers from around the world sing an important, moving song. I predict you’ll listen and watch more than once.
(Thank you, Patrice Catanio!)
Click here for all previous Prompts for Joy.
“Margo’s House, 2013” was recently published in Spirited Voices: A Writing Journey into the Deep Imagination. This is one of a series of stories that may meander toward a book-length memoir.
Why Assemble a Life? An Interview with Author and Artist, Martha Clark Scala
What motivated me to write Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself)? Check out this video to find out. Comments and feedback welcome!
Top: Splash of Daffodils, Palo Alto, CA. Photo by Martha Clark Scala.
Middle: Cover of online magazine, Spirited Voices: A Writing Journey into the Deep Imagination.
Below: A sample page from Chapter 19 in my memoir, Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself).
Praise for Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself) by Martha Clark Scala
"There is a healing you offered not only to yourself but also to one reader —me — and I’m sure many others . . . in watching the unfolding of your history. Watching you so intimately tell the in-depth story is brave and inspiring."
~ Anonymous Reader
Sample page from Chapter 19. This memoir is loaded with color photos (and some black and white) on just about every page. A visual feast.
To purchase the premium softcover or e-book versions of Assembling a Life, click here.
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