Tuesday, April 12, 2011

living in the moment

A lesson that I’ve learned and relearned and still have to learn at least once a day is the importance of ‘living in the moment’. There really is no other time than the present: than the exact moment that I’m writing this and you’re doing something else (now already past), until you read it and I’m doing something else (in the future, but just now the present and right now... past).
The past is a pre-distorted and ever-fading memory; the future is always pure speculation - loosely based on past experiences - but only ever created (made ‘present’) as a direct ‘outcome’ of present conditions and, as such, unproven and unclear by its very nature (ie. complete lack of one).
Whereas the past is technically ‘responsible’ for the present, it has no direct impact whatsoever on the future. That is the job of the present, of the moment, and of the moments to immediately follow as they themselves become present.

There is no other time than the present - than the exact moment, than now. You can’t live in any reflected upon or fantasy past or in a speculative future. They don’t or won’t or didn’t or wouldn’t exist or have existed. They are lies. Shoulda woulda coulda is the one thing that will absolutely never happen. Your future will never match your expectation. It shouldn’t. You can’t know what you don’t know. Everyone would be a fireman.  

'What does all this new agey pablem have to do with cancer?' you ask.
It makes referencing the future with any confidence very deceptive (for anyone). 'You have six months to live,’ ‘this is your last chance,’ ‘you start on Monday,’ and ‘I’ll be there in an hour,’ sound pretty convincing, but are really hypothetical. None of those statements is ‘true’: it’s arbitrary guesswork and set not in stone, but in the deluded (and fickle) imagination of the speaker who thinks they ‘know’ what they’re talking about.

So, instead of 'living each day as if it were your last' - which I would find horribly frightening (what terrible advice if you think about it) - just try to make each day 'count'. Live in and experience 'the moment' fully. Don't regret or dwell on the past or worry about the future - the only time you'll be able to do anything about either will always be now - in the moment.
Ironically, I wrote the above a few months ago – good to see that it’s still valid ;-) I had 'planned' to write something about ‘fear’, which I’ve been happily obsessed with lately, but stumbled upon this old chestnut instead. Here’s a fairly recent picture of Manders living in the moment:

6 comments:

Bob said...

A mother's love for her child has no past, present or future. It exists in each moment. Love you - Mom

Bob said...

Have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Love you - Mom

Miki said...

Hey Mike.

Right time is always now.
Thanks for keeping me relatively sane these past coupla months.

julie roller said...

Hello Mike -
My good friend Jake sent me your blog as my sister just found out she has stage 4 lung cancer. Our family is rallying around her. I've read your blog and appreciate the specific references to your thoughts & feelings about cancer and living in the Now. I'm glad you're still with us, doing your art and writing your story. I'm not clear, however, on what steps you took beyond chemo/radiation. Did you do alternative therapies? Jake had mentioned a Green Smoothie and I thought that was from you blog. I didn't see mention of it. Also your travels enveloped by love from friends and family. My sister doesn't want to do chemo, she had a double mastactomy last spring, and is open to alternative healings although she is really tired now. Our family is rallying and looking into effective therapies plus talking about her inner healing journey as well. I'd appreciate any details or references to your blog by date (I read thru most of it quickly). I'm in Turkey traveliing for 6 weeks and we just heard about her cancer. Heavy stuff but it's time to be proactive and I'm doing what I can from afar. Thanks again. I hope you are thriving and living each now in the utmost. I suspect you are!
Blessings, Julie Roller (email is sagewalk@infomagic.net)

mike said...

Hi Julie,

I've posted what I believe helped me in my latest post, 'my recovery' - replete with links to other relevant posts and some external links in the mix.

Chemo and radiation, in my opinion, did not help at all and I'm very glad (and lucky) to have escaped relatively unscathed from that horrible and pointless torture (see post on chemotherapy following this one).

Does she actually have Stage 4 lung cancer or is it a further (holdover) metastasis from the breast cancer? Have they done a biopsy / histology?

The psychological aspect to healing is crucial and, in fact, prerequisite to physical healing. Meditation and relaxation techniques reduce stress and can give peace and perspective. I started yoga the other day and really enjoyed it.

Please stay in touch and feel free to have your sister contact me directly.

juliuscesarsalad said...

I think this is a powerful connection to make and an important one. Of course we all think that "living in the moment" is an inspirational truth, but when faced with cancer, that escaped me and I only looked at the scary future based on things I've heard about cancer. The truth is I don't know what the future holds for my mom with cancer or myself without it. Today is all we have and I'm making the most of it.
I'm sorry we didn't talk more when I was in Prague! I love your thoughts man.