Past, Present and Future
I’m sitting here at my desk, listening to the distant rumble of thunder. While looking out the window at the darkening sky, I am jolted from my reverie by the sudden, intrusive grind of an electric saw.
There have been numerous times when I have had sudden flashbacks of the trauma of being evicted from my grandchildren’s lives. Like the unwelcome noise of the saw, these thoughts and feelings come unbidden and jolt me out of the present into the past.
It doesn’t do any good to revisit past events. I have already done enough of that. I’ve worked through a mountain of grief, anger and despair. I’ve learned many lessons. Going back into the ‘story’ and anything attached to the estrangement just brings me down. By abandoning the present moment, I fall into the deep hole that has taken me so long to climb out of.
A friend recently coined a phrase: “You can’t undo the past, but the past can undo you.” So true. The past will undo me if I continue to beat myself up by trying to make sense of it all.
Estrangement and alienation from our kids and grandkids is the 500 pound gorilla sitting not only in the room, but weighing down our hearts. It’s there, it probably isn’t going away any time soon, so we might as well get used to it. If we work on getting stronger by pumping some serious emotional and mental iron, we can ignore it and get on with our lives.
The quality of my thoughts and attitudes determine what kind of life I live.
Thinking about the future too much causes worry and anxiety. Aside from the inevitable details that need to be in place as we age, I see no upside to sanctioning fears or fantasies about the future. Que sera, sera.
Life is spectacular when I remember to be mindful of the moment. I am lighter, calmer, more compassionate. I’m able to listen, to be more present. I am more allowing of people, their strengths and frailties. Everything is sweeter, whether it’s sharing a belly laugh with a friend or feeling the breeze on my arms while walking on a summer evening. When I am in the now, taking life on its own terms, it becomes almost unbearably precious.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.