Marking the end of one year and the beginning of another is fun. It’s a birthday celebration. It’s a salute to past accomplishments and future hopes. But when you get right down to it, everything really is about now.
It matters how we view ourselves, now. It matters how we view other people and the world, right now. Now is the moment we’re presently experiencing. It’s the only moment that matters. One now is followed by another, and then another. Countless nows make a day, a month, and eventually all the years of our lives.
I’ve hear people ask what it means to “live in the moment,” and the simple answer is to pay attention to what’s going on right now. Feel it, see it as it is, and respond to it authentically. But, of course, authenticity is something we lost touch with way back at the start of our journey…back when we first realized that an honest and clear-sighted response to anything would be judged critically. To some, it would even seem childish, or naïve.
Back then is when we learned to measure our reactions. Back then is when we began to consciously give people the answers they expected. We did it to avoid those judgments. If we were feeling rebellious, we’d chose the opposite reaction. Either way, authenticity was lost in all the game-playing.
In childhood, we had to adapt to the ways of our tribe. It was the only way to survive. We still seem to adapt to every shift in the cultural mood, just to avoid society’s judgments. Only, these days we do it out of habit. But, you know…the journey back to authenticity isn’t as dangerous as it sounds.
Truth is attractive. Authenticity is irresistible. Who isn’t attracted to an honest and clear-sighted person, even if they’re judged to be a little strange? People might react uncomfortably to authentic behavior, but it usually inspires respect.
Reclaiming authenticity takes time and practice– the sort of practice it took to lose it, you could say. You spent your early years practicing the right responses. You learned the game of pleasing people, and soon became a master at it.
It may seem too risky to go back. It might seem like a lot of work, with a lot of unpredictable consequences. What will happen if you stop bending to expectation? How much will you lose? How will people see you? Who will you be?
Uncertainty isn’t an excuse to stop growing. You want to feel safe, yes, but there’s no safety in the old and familiar. There’s no refuge in lying, however it seemed to protect you in the past. The only safe haven is now.
There’s only this moment, and all the possibilities it offers. Now is real. The future doesn’t exist. In the moment you’re experiencing, make the choice to be authentic. Take a spontaneous action, and notice its impact. Say something honest, and feel its resonance.
Say no when you mean no. Say yes when you mean yes. Say nothing, if your opinion seems unwelcome. Silence is allowed. Listening is recommended. Truth may feel awkward at first. It will take practice, but the time to begin is now.
Living in the moment means using all the personal power available to you. You are life. You carry the current of life. Your beliefs and opinions count for nothing compared to the truth of you. Listen to what you’re thinking now. Don’t believe it, but learn something from it. See your resistance. Shrug away your fears. Recognize your language of lies, and begin a new way of talking… this year, right now.
Happy birthday, from Barbara