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What is it about the future that we are convinced will be better than now, than this very moment? Why are we always reaching beyond our grasp; do we imagine the future is more hopeful, holds more promise or more possibility? Do we realize that all of those future moments that we once wished upon, have already come and gone and have been our present, and become our past; today is last week’s future. Is it what you dreamed?

On Monday morning, the news shows are already predicting the upcoming weekend weather. By Wednesday, friends are sharing their plans, wishing the remaining three days away until Saturday arrives; living for what is yet to come. In our most difficult times we can be heard saying “as soon as this is over” or “I just have to get through this” or we can hear ourselves lamenting, “I need a break, need to get away, need a vacation”. For many, their happy place is in the distance; a cool calm forest, a warm beach, a sun filled destination. It’s a place where they can relax, a future with no deadlines, no worries, a sense of calm, a place of peace, a sigh of relief. It’s as though there is a place in that future moment where they can create some space, catch their breath, find a moment for themselves, where they can think beyond their present thoughts, put it all together, where there will be more quiet, more calm, less to concern themselves with.

The problem with this thinking is that we are never able to find refuge in the present, that future moment becomes the next present moment, and once again we are looking forward, into a future moment. What we need to understand is that it’s not a place to get to; it’s a place to be. We can find that quiet place, anytime we want to, it’s within us, and it’s always available. We have to trust that when we need it most, it will appear. We can call it up and take a moment, separate ourselves from what’ is going on outside of us, and go within. What if we learned to stop what we are doing, for the moment, to simply close our eyes ,unplug, turn off, shut down, if only for a moment. What if we could turn inward, find that destination inside ourselves; we could travel there, anytime we need a safe and still place to be, to hide, to stay. What if we carved out own sun filled destination, a place of peace in the present rather than in a dream of the future. What if instead of waiting for a Saturday stroll, we pulled the car over on the way home today, walked the beach or the trail this afternoon, or simply sat by the edge of the park right now. What if we didn’t wait to get through it, but found a way to be in it, to surrender to it, to live it and to add some calm right now, in this moment, where we are. What if we didn’t wish it away but wished instead for courage, strength and grace in the moment, took a breath or a few and then moved forward. What if we understood that all we truly have is this very moment, and that we can determine how that moment is spent, and that living for a future moment last week or yesterday, brought us here to this one, right now, this is that future, right now, where we are standing, the one we were thinking about, dreaming of, wishing for, not so long ago.

The problem with waiting to get through something or over something or for things to slow down, change, get better or get different is that it may be a very long time before any of that happens. And even with change, the next thing that’s just around the corner may be harder, sadder, even more difficult. So, we find ourselves in ‘waiting and wishing’ mode. And in the meantime, we are no longer in the moment, nor are we able to summon what we need in that moment; asylum, shelter, grace.

If we could just breathe a little longer, stand still in our own shadow, quietly, not thinking about the next thing, but being in this thing, if only for a short time, it might be enough. We might learn to summon it anytime; to get good at it, find a way to have it on tap, close by, within earshot and heartshot and we could call it up. We could start to string these ’being present’ moments together; allowing us to live today without wishing for another.  Then the weekend might not be what we need in order to escape what we have, but would in fact be,  just the present moment, once it arrived.  Perhaps then, we could embrace a future that no longer holds any power, and instead holds only promise.

Future - Feb 15th -USA_RT-3468Photo credit:  Andrew Chambers Photography (andrew.chambers@live.ca)