Much of a writer’s life is spent in places so far from “here” and the “present” that sometimes seems hard to find the way back.
Before we finish our very first book, we focus on writing the novel.
Before we have a publishing path, we focus (or should) on which one meets our needs.
Before we find an agent, we focus on finding an agent.
Before we have a publisher, we focus on finding the right one.
Before we publish (regardless of path) we focus on sales, and dollars, and whether the book will become a bestseller.
Let’s be honest…we focus on that before we publish every time.
Before we hit the bestseller lists, we focus on getting on them.
And yet (for those who haven’t caught on) that carousel never stops. The horses may change, but the ride remains the same.
All you truly have is this moment. Now. Today. The one you’re in.
Stop reading this for a moment. Close your eyes. Take a breath. (The post, and I, will be here when you’ve finished.) Now open your eyes and look around. What’s there? Look again…what do you see?
I see a scrub jay perched on a feeder far too small for his gangly legs–and managing to eat from it anyway.
I see that I need to refill the hummingbird feeder, and that the squirrels have almost finished the black oil sunflower seeds I scattered two days ago.
I see three seahorses struggling to “share” a single bowl of breakfast–mainly by stealing food when they think the others aren’t looking.
I also see a list of client projects, an unfinished outline, a pile of papers that really needs filing, and all of the other things that still need doing, or needed doing yesterday and didn’t quite get finished. It would be easy to let those things consume me, frustrate me, and push me back into that not-now moments so many of us spend all of our lives pursuing.
Whether you write or work some other job, and whether you have more jobs than one, and whether or not a family, pets, and other things clamor for your days…we often hear it said that nobody wishes, on his death bed, that he’d spent more hours stressing about his job. Nobody says, when the end draws nigh, “I really wish I’d paid the electric bills on time,” or “I’m sorry about that pile of dirty laundry.” Not when speaking from the heart, anyway.
So many of us–myself included–put off this moment in favor of the “things we should attend to” and trade happiness today for a future joy that never comes–or, if it does, we’re too busy chasing down the next windmill to truly stop and enjoy it.
Change it. Change it today.
Take the time to spend in this moment. Find the joy this day can hold. Handle the work, and the other things, but do them in a mindful manner, without sacrificing the opportunities to see and appreciate the world around you.
A text message just popped up on my screen from a friend, asking whether I had a minute to talk by telephone–a friend who rarely communicates with me at this hour of the day. I suppose, in some sense, we could take that as a test of my fortitude.
I’m going to pass it. I’m going to help him, because that’s what this moment is offering me.
What is it offering you?