Breathe. Breathe. Oh yeah, I’ve got to send that email. Breathe. Breathe. Cannot forget to make the posters. Breathe. Breathe. I really need to vaccuum. Breathe. Breathe. I wonder if an alternating chapter structure will work. Breathe. Breathe.
This was me last night as I sat in bed with a book open in my hands. I was trying to wind down, and my mind just kept gearing me back up. I was thinking about all the things I needed to get done today or tomorrow or in my lifetime. My mind was in the future, and I was in the present – this set-up does not work.
Then, as I sat, a little Whisper from inside my chest said, “Andi, just be here now. Just be here.” I closed my eyes, took and deep breath, and looked at what my mind was really seeing – a beautiful purple thistle ( no doubt a remnant from my Scotland trip) with a tiny . . . spider crawling on it. I immediately pulled my mind out; I’m not the biggest spider fan.
I don’t want to look at the spider, I thought. The Voice said, “See it for what it is and how it’s beautiful.” So I tried. I stared at this spider in my mind’s eye. I saw it’s tiny golden legs and lightness of step. I watched it crawl down and out of sight. Then, I noticed me. I was calm and there, in that space, just there.
Sometimes the present is painful; okay, often the present is painful. My book is hard; my grief is deep; my soul is tired. It sometimes seems so much easier to go into tomorrow where I can dream of what will be. And yet, when I do that, I cannot act; I am motionless. Instead, if I take today and stare it down to see it’s beauty, then, well, then, I can move.
This future thinking plays out in my writing, too. Despite Laraine Herring‘s best advice and great wisdom in The Writing Warrior (if you’re a writer, you really should get this book), I constantly spend a lot of time thinking about what my book will look like. In fact, I dedicate so much of my energy to this that I don’t write much. I use the tired excuse of “I don’t know what it will look like” when I know full well that what it “will look like” doesn’t matter; what matters is what I write today, in this moment.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, in paraphrase, “Don’t worry about tomorrow for today has enough trouble of its own.” So true.
Today, I put myself in the now with the rain blowing past and the wind tilting the trees, with my breath coming slow and restful. I am only here, now. I am not in tomorrow. So today, now, I will write.
– by Harper Wray