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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Live in the NOW

We got a lot of mileage out of the "live in the now" quote from Wayne's World way back when in college.  Probably not as much as the gun rack bit*, but a lot of mileage.  As ridiculous as it was in the movie, and increasingly ridiculous given how many times it was  repeated after seeing the movie (again...way too many times), it's an idea/a mantra/a theory/a belief that seems to keep showing up in my life.

There's been a lot in the news lately about mindfulness...about focusing on what is happening right now instead of concentrating on things other than what we are doing in this moment.  And the research shows, that we are happier and more content if we spend our time focused on NOW instead of letting our thoughts wander.  Even if what you are doing right now is watching soap suds spin down the drown.  It doesn't even seem to matter if the wandering mind goes to positive or negative experiences....the now wins out.  It's "Live in the NOW" backed by science!  I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I train for the marathon, and really just try to navigate life.

Last weekend I ended up doing a long run of about 10 miles on the treadmill.  I was dreading it, but we had some snow on Saturday and then freezing temperatures over night, so the roads were not in great shape and I was not psyched about the ice.  An hour and a half is a long time to spend on the treadmill, but I covered up the "dashboard" so I couldn't see how long I had been going, jumped on, and made a conscious choice to just run it out.  No bad attitude.  No dread.  No thinking about how many minutes I had been on there or how many I had left.  I just needed to hop on, push start and get it done, focusing on how I felt right then.  And it wasn't bad.  I'd venture to say it was pretty good.  I am realizing the same attitude affects a lot of my runs.  Before I leave I start thinking about how many miles I need to get in and how long it will take, but if I just take the first step and concentrate on RIGHT NOW, the response is usually that I feel okay and I enjoy it.

I am working on this in the day to day living, too.  I get in my own way of accomplishing things because I get too wrapped up in tomorrow or yesterday or 3 years ago, and then I don't get anywhere.  Not even started, much less close to finished.  I can get overwhelmed thinking about how today there are things that aren't as they are supposed to be or even close to what I expected life to be like.  I can spend a stupid amount of time pondering what I should be doing or would like to do or what would be fun or cool to be doing or how I want next month to be like or if I should just take a nap, all the while not thinking about right now.  More likely, just avoiding right now.  Despite all those expectations or beliefs or hopes of what "should" be, today is just today...not yesterday or tomorrow.  

There are so many things that have happened in life and many more that will happen that aren't changeable:  good, sad, joyful, defeating, angering, peaceful, shocking, boring.  Every day brings a host of new experiences and encounters from cancer invading our family to making bold moves to going for a run to cleaning the bathroom to connecting with a friend.  There's a way to not forget the past but to feel it and accept it as it is, nor to cease living with hopes or dreams for the future.  Just to accept where we are in this moment, on this day, what brought us here, whether good or bad.  I've got a long way to go to understand and to put this into practice, but I am trying to see clearly, to feel fully, to accept, and to use all of these things to live the life I'd like in the way that I'd like.  No what if this didn't happen or what if something else does...only just do.  Today.

Live in the NOW, Wayne.  And be good and strong while doing it.

*Wayne: A gun rack... a gun rack. Shyeah, Right! I don't even own A gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do... with a gun rack? 
Stacy: You don't like it? Fine. You know Wayne, if you're not careful, you're going to lose me. 
Wayne: I lost you two months ago. We broke up. Are you mental? Get the net!

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