Sunday, November 06, 2011

in which she wonders if now is all it's cracked up to be

it's very now to live in the now. to be present in your life. to be mindful - of surroundings, feelings, thoughts. in some sense, there's nowhere else we can live but in the now. but at the same time the now is elusive. because now is so fleeting. it's here right NOW and then it's gone, almost before you can enjoy it or savor it.

as much as i do things like my 365 photo project (for the second year running), which help me be more aware of my surroundings on a daily basis, i have my doubts about this trendy living in the now. i get a lot of pleasure both out of imagining the future and remembering the past. and sometimes, what's best, is to let your mind drift to one or the other, when where you are is not that engaging (think a boring, long meeting with a 54-slide powerpoint). it's really a question of imagination, isn't it?

where would stories and novels be if everyone only lived in the now? what would happen to imagination? for that matter, what IS happening to literature and imagination with all of us constantly being told we have to live in the now?

just from a standpoint of personal happiness, when i think of some of my happiest moments, they're often when i'm imagining the future...visualizing how the house will be, planning the next project, sketching out next year's garden...looking ahead gives me loads of energy. being grounded in my surroundings brings me satisfaction, but it doesn't necessarily motivate me or energize me.

i suppose it's rather against the current to be questioning this whole mindfulness/now movement. but there you have it. maybe part of why the world is where it's at is because everyone's living for today and not looking towards tomorrow. or working on imagining a better one. perhaps living in the now isn't really all it's cracked up to be...


Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

I agree with most everything you say in this post ... I just don't think it has to be either/or.

If you are mindful, you are aware that for now you have chosen to give free rein to your imagination, that you are going to establish some future goals to motivate you, that you are living in the now and moving into the future cognizant of the lessons from the past.

Once you have learned how to be mindful - then you can float off any where you want ... and know how to find your way back to the ground, the now, the current reality.

Love your provocative posts!

Unknown said...

I think a lot about the past and the future. I day dream as well. I also treasure my moments in the NOW. I feel so real when I'm aware of myself alive in the world.

Spilling Ink said...

I find that living in the Now helps but when it comes to being creative it's very much about the future. Planning a project and then watching it come into being is very important to me.

I lost my ability to day dream I don't know when but when I was still able to I was a much happier person.

Balance is where it's at in my mind.

will said...

It's all about context. We know what happened in the Past and we're always processing the Now and no one know the Future.

Another thought about the Past. We re-construct it to suit our needs (and wishes) and rarely is it seen in objective terms.

Regarding the future, that's Fool's Country, an unknown fate or sequence. Generally it's something rationalized in an optimistic, non-chaotic manner.

Perhaps the Future is the carrot which keeps us moving and gives us focus for possibilities.

Snap said...

To me mindful means being aware of the moment. Doing the dishes and feeling the water, the soap, the feel of the fork ... not just doing unknowingly. I believe we learn from the past and that, hopefully, we can deal with the future in a more secure way. Be aware. That is Mindful to me.