Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hey, what time is it?

Crazy mind stuff lately. I'm reading this book right now called, "The Power of Now" by Somebody Smart. It talks about how much of people's regret, anxiety and other emotional pain is caused by our concept of time.

I know. I had to er,… light up just to get my head around it. I couldn't possibly provide an adequate explanation of the theory but I will say, this new perspective certainly has presented a new door of some interest.

Think about it. Step outside yourself and observe – what are the thoughts that run through your mind all day? Pretend it is a CNN headline ticker tape and stand back. How often do we think about what he said last night? Or have anxiety about what might happen with her tomorrow? 'What was that funny look from the boss today? Am I in trouble? I hope the dentist is nice to me tomorrow.'

That is why the truly beautiful moments are in the present – admiring a striking sunset, laughing at a store clerk's joke, enjoying a warm shower or savoring a juicy cheeseburger. This is when all else is forgotten and there is only the immediate present. There is peace because the internal chatter is momentarily quieted and literally shoved aside, albeit briefly.

That's why when the Now demands to be heard, such as in scary or life-threatening situations, details become so vivid and seemingly occur in slow-motion. When I tumbled down a flight of stairs last September and dislocated my elbow and ripped all the muscles and tendons off the bone, I ceased to worry about that morning's meeting or contemplate my lunch date the next day. I was too busy screeching bloody murder and experiencing the sensation of searing pain. Nothing else, just that.

It was scary as fucking hell, no one should have to hear such sounds come out of their own body. I'm talking primitive stuff here, folks. I was finally saved by a neighbor two flights up who said later: "I thought for sure it was my wife. I didn't think anyone could be as loud as her." (We called her The Sneezing Lady.)

Anyway, the book's author, I think his name is Eckhart Tolle, points out that this is precisely the sensation that drives adventurists and risk-takers. If you are scaling an ice wall with no ropes, jumping out of planes or surfing Maverick's, there's not a lot of time to fret about your neighbor's snide remark or that you dread attending an upcoming wedding, there is only Now. This requires extreme focus, which why these folks are such bad asses.

The question is, what to do with this newfound Present? It's truly the only moment you ever have. The past is gone and the future is only made up of bits of Nows. This is probably why when we imagine something in our minds (the face of a radio personality - the outcome of a relationship, the effect on the entire human race if we lose ten pounds – it rarely matches what we imagine it to be. One of the great philosophers of the day, My Dear Friend Lisa, said to me once when I asked her what marriage was like: "It is harder than I thought it would be and it's better than I thought it would be." The reality of the present always wipes out the future.

I've probably lost all readers at this point but what I'm trying to convey is that this new way of thinking has made me acutely aware of this very second. I feel myself at various points throughout the day, suddenly noticing that I am in a moment. In the center of that awareness point, I'm able to step outside myself take note of the present situation; it's like a fresh set of lenses or a front row seat behind home plate. The various colors on my royal blue desk become brighter and outside my window, the University of Denver's landmark golden spire glistens against the Rocky Mountain range that runs just behind it, its granite dusted white with snow. I could be on a conference call or writing an email but it is just long enough of a moment to recharge me. I'm telling you, my life suddenly looks like one big friggin' miracle.

I'm not sure where this is all headed but I do feel some relaxation in my anxiety about the future. I've already worked on letting go of the past. In fact when I got the license plate for my truck, Jack, the only letters were 'NPG' and I immediately decided they stood for No-Past Girl. I mean, what's the point in dragging shit around? I'm too lazy for that. It's like when I left all my cold weather gear in some hostel cupboard in Fiji after my arrival from New Zealand.

Admittedly, I'm rambling but I'm about due for it. Bottom line, I am pretty dang happy about my life these days. Not sure what it is but the more peaceful moments I take, the more I realize they are endless to be taken. It's really just up to me.


Howard said...

And you switched to Blogger NOW and got rid of Blogger PAST. Good for you.

I've tried my damnest to do this for the past several years so to varying degrees of success. In fact, you can really experience the now by just snorting Zicam Intense Sinus Relief. It's worked for me... :)

Flea's Thoughts said...

I think it pretty much rocks that you are doing the No Past Girl!!! I have done a lot of that the last few months, some things easier to leave behind than others but I have been a TON happier!!!

Relaxing is something that if you find a tried and true method for let me know. I tried meditating but couldn't turn my head off!!!

Happy New Year Girl!!! Let 2007 Rock!!!

hubs said...

does being aware of your awareness points nullify them because you are actually pulled out of the by realizing they are happening?

sort of like, as soon as you realize you are having deja vu the sensation starts sliding away.

Anonymous said...

also, ever had a really, really good mushroom trip?

hdw said...

I have this book in pile of 'next up' to read, and now I'm kicking myself for not bringing it on this trip. Although, it's been easy to be in the moment here. The trick is taking that and using it at home, in a busy house with a three year old. :)

ClizBiz said...

Howard: Yes, the pink is in honor of Nancy Pelosi kicking cracking through that 'marble ceiling.'

Flea: Thanks for cheer, doll!

Hubs: I think I know what you mean and I believe the answer is 'no' or at the very least, 'I'm not sure.'

Anonymous: YES! I remember saying outloud, "I am SO happy!"

HDW: Actually, the book also points out that having young children keeps you in the moment because that is where they live.

Shmeder said...

It would be great to always live in the present. I (and other people) would probably be a little more content with life.

I might need to look for this book when I'm done with school.

Kath said...

Excellent concept and one I've tried to employ over the last 5 years.

Btw...I'm MPG...we should park next to each other and take pix!