I have been reflecting on what it means to live and be alive. I know that sounds a little grand. Bear with me.
So often, we will live for the future, for promise. So often we live in the past, for sentiment and nostalgia. We even sometimes — rarely — live in the present.
What does it mean to live in the present? Does it mean reckless abandon — the satisfaction of whatever urge we feel at the moment? No. That is just nihilism. Useless and destructive for building a happy life.
Rather, I am coming to realize that living in the present, living for today, means keeping the past in mind and the future in your sights. Being in the present means living today with your heart open to the past and your mind focused on the future.
I’ve grown to appreciate that you have to make peace with the past, understand it, accept it or reject it, but make peace with it. Forgive yourself the moments you’ve buried deep in your psyche for the pain. Celebrate those simple moment of elation, love and sharing that you’ve dismissed as frivolous.
The pain is part of the present, but so are the moments of laughter, joy and helpless abandon. Those moments when you jumped off the top of a boathouse in the cool water of a lake. Those moments you rode your bike at dusk and felt the cool, humid air flowing by, caressing your cheeks and pulling your hair back.
All of those moments.
The moments you fought with a sibling or a cousin. The moments you laughed and danced at birthday party. The moments you felt free to say what you wanted be who wanted in safety, in love, in care.
You see, I’ve come to this thought that when we open ourselves to experience in that way, we open ourselves to the divine. And the divine inspires and motivates us forward.
Anyhow, a few thoughts on a hot summer’s afternoon.