Right Now O’Clock.

I bought a watch in the airport on my way to New York. The battery in my old watch stopped ticking not too long ago, but to be honest, it mostly served an ornamental purpose anyway. It’s not like I have a real job and am constantly under a time crunch. But after wearing one for a while, I realized how nice it was to flip my wrist and know the time, instead of wondering around the house to find my phone, which was usually dead, plugging it in, and waiting for the numbers to appear. (There are three clocks in our kitchen at home: The one on the stove. The one on the microwave. And an old clock that hangs on the wall. They tell three different times.) Anyway I found this store in the Atlanta airport where everything was ten dollars. This impressed me. It was the equivalent to The Dollar Store with a less than typical airport markup. So I found this basic orange watch and purchased it for $10, which in my opinion is the deal of the century. But now I’ve been doing all this reading and studying about the concept of time and how letting go of the past and future, even immediate pasts and futures, is an important step towards consciousness, presence. Of course the telling of time serves practical purposes. In my case, it helps me know that I am always ten minutes late for everything. Anyway, I was watching Oprah interview Deepak Chopra and he showed her his watch and you know what it had on the face of it? RIGHT NOW. I was like dude, that’s what I’m talking about! I thought about scribbling that on the face of my new watch with a sharpie. That would of course ruin it aesthetically, but hey, it was only 10 bucks. Bargains rock.

I have been practicing presence. Lucky for me, I am so conditioned in slipping out of the present moment that it has become seamless, so each day gives me plenty of practice. I catch myself becoming sad at feeling sick, disappointed in my productivity, jealous of others resilience, or irritated at not feeling understood. I say three words to get me back to the present: Here and Now. The best way to handle these scenarios is first, not to judge yourself for the feelings you have. Just recognizing when these feelings arise and acknowledging that they exist is the beginning of progress. (If I’m understanding what I’m reading correctly) The second step is to not react to these feelings. And that is the harder part. But as soon as you have created a gap, the tinniest of gaps, between your emotions and a typical reaction, be it yelling, throwing, saying something hurtful, manipulating etc., you’ve done it. You’ve conquered that moment. You’re far from done, because your life consists of a gazillion moments that you can accept with grace, or resist and pay the emotional or physical price; pain, in any number of forms. If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. Now the goal becomes to live in the gaps. As Gary Zukav so beautifully puts it: “Live your life like a feather on the breath of God.” Cool!

I have been thinking a lot about the new state of mind I am consciously trying to move toward. And I’ve been thinking about the illness and its role and whether my state of mind makes a difference. Truthfully, I am not incredibly better physically than I was this time last year. Certainly the first few months of 2011 were the worst. I remember before seeing the specialist in Miami, we had to take data a few weeks before going. One of the assignments was to stand for 10 minutes and then have my blood pressure taken. I remember finding this exceptionally difficult. For the last few minutes I had to lean against the couch because I felt too heavy, too weak to stay standing. We found later this was predominantly due to low blood volume among other things, but the point is, while I have made progress, every day is still somewhat of a battle. There are constant symptoms showing their faces, coming and going, almost as though they have a life of their own. As though they make up their minds to visit me, then leave. Like the last two weeks where I had a migraine every day for nine days. I was doing nothing different but my head seemed to… hate me. Anyway, I just try to deal with each day as it comes. But what has shifted more than anything is my personal assessment of where my life is. I’ve let go of a lot of anger and resentment. I had to go through the emotional work of it, grieve the loss of my old self. But in a strange way, I have come to see the illness as a gift; not a hindrance, not an enemy. It is what I needed in order to evolve. This has not resulted in me getting all better. There is a real possibility I could be sick the rest of my life. But that’s not the point. Although if that turns out to be the case, so be it. I’m learning it’s still entirely possible to live well, love well, and find peace–sick or not. It really isn’t up to me to judge these circumstances. It’s only up to me to persevere with what I have and what I am with grace and wisdom. The part of me that wants to call my set of circumstances unfair, unwise, unlucky, or stupid, is only pushing me further out into the ocean of despair. (Haha, ocean of despair. Yessss) I’ve never met a happy or successful person who was working against themselves, against the pulse of life. Everyone I’ve met who is joyous and successful has taken what they’ve been given, and put it to use, not tried to cast it away.

So that is how April 2012 is different from April 2011. In simpler metaphors, I’m like a crappy car. I have this somewhat dysfunctional body, but that is not so serious of an issue in terms of achieving my purpose. The soul is not heavily effected by external circumstances like these; the personality is. And making that distinction is important. Our bodies are just a vehicle. So, my body is like a car that can only go 10 miles at a time and frequently overheats and needs constant oil changes and runs out of gas quickly. But even 10 miles at a time, a car can still get to where it’s going.

We can’t all be Ferraris!

Health and Happiness, 10 Miles at a Time.

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18 thoughts on “Right Now O’Clock.

  1. I read The Power of Now a couple of weeks ago, and it changed me! Probably not surprising to you. I thought of you as I was reading it, so I was excited to see your post about it and hear the difference in your voice. I love you for sharing your life with us.

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  2. Thanks again for your words all. I am reading Seat of the Soul now and it is great. I don’t think either of the Tolle books needs to come first. The message is the same in both..I would say The Power of Now is a faster and more precise read. A New Earth is more comprehensive and should be read slowly with a lot of note-taking. You could analyze one page worth of words for a week! I’ll read A New Earth again after Seat of the Soul and begin writing about it. Join me!

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  3. I was struck by Gary Zukov’s quote too! Has anyone read his book “Seat of the Soul”? I am new to the ego stuff, actually was introduced to it on the Oprah show. I bought “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” but had a tough time getting into them. Not sure which one is supposed to come first?. Keep us posted on your journey! Love your writing!

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  4. My favorite car I’ve ever had (of two!) was a hand-me-down ’87 Honda Civic. In its later years it was in absolutely horrible disrepair. Its name was Crapbox. I loved it like no other. It had more character and more “can do” than any Ferrari, even when the wipers broke off and I had to wind the window down and wipe the rain away with my left arm while shifting and steering with my right arm. The metaphor is perfect, Mary. Like that car, this body gets me where I need to go, not always in the ways I expect it to, but that’s OK. I made it through a year without being able to reverse in Crapbox and we did just fine…so when the days come around that it’s time to lay low, there are plenty of things to be accomplished and appreciated in those moments too.

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  5. Always enjoy reading what you have experience and more importantly what you have learned. Thanks for sharing your struggles and your joys.

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  6. Thanks for the beautiful Zukav quote. Somewhere in the New Testament, it says something like, “Fear not those who can destroy the body; rather, fear those who can destroy the soul (or spirit).” I find myself thinking more and more about that since my diagnosis with inclusion-body myositis in March of this year. As for time, the Broadway musical Rent puts it well: “No day but today.”

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  7. Great post. I’m trying to do the same thing (not quite successful yet). You might like the book “How to be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers” by Toni Bernhard. I read every new post of yours. It makes me smile/gives me perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. It’s funny(for lack of a better word) that you write about this when lately I’ve been going through a hard time accepting my limitations and at the same time feeling it is unfair that some people with illnesses like ours seem to find it acceptable to do absolutely nothing with their life while people like us still try to do our best to push forward and accomplish something.
    So thank you, I needed this encouragement,

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  9. You are such a great writer and always inspirational. I have very different circumstances but could definitely benefit from living in the gaps and from being happy with how far I’ve come even if its still far from where I need to be. You rock!

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