Monday, July 2, 2018

This moment is good

Things are going really well right now. That opening sentence is terrifying to write, but it’s true. Have you ever felt that way? Crap. I’m happy. What’s about to go wrong? If so, you might understand what the last few months have been like for me.

You see, after a long season of stagnation there’s suddenly been a changing of the tides in my life. Things that I’ve been waiting on forever are finally starting to happen. After years of people offering me all the same platitudes, years of assurances like, “I say a little prayer for you,” “Don’t stop believing,” and other wisdom from miscellaneous song titles, voila. A wave of good fortune finally arrived on my shore. Do you think I’ve allowed myself to relish in the fulfillment of some of these long awaited desires? Let’s just say not exactly. In fact, happy actually kind of freaks me out.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we want happy. We fight for happy all our lives. It’s just that things end up a lot like the line in Goyte’s, “Somebody that I used to know” song: “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness.” We figure if this is all there is and ever will be let me find a way to make do.  But not in a grounded, radical acceptance way. It’s more in a brokenhearted, resignation way. We form habits and patterns to cope with the reality that grieves us and we try to kill off the hope that we’ll ever see the fulfillment of our desires. After all, hope starts to hurt when it’s perpetually deferred. Then, by some sudden twist of fate, when we actually get what we want, it scares the hell out of us. Or maybe just me.

I was discussing all of this with my therapist (because transitional times call for tune-ups) and in her wisdom she prompted me to stay in the present. She attributes anxiety to what she calls time travel- either getting stuck in the past or imagining too far into the future. She urged me instead to see that this moment is good. In her estimate, most moments are. She says, “The next moment might not be, but this moment is good.”

So, I’ve taken that phrase and adopted it as my personal mantra. When I start to make up anxiety-provoking scenarios that haven’t even happened, I pause. This moment is good. When I look around at recent blessings in my life and feel nervous that they’ll be taken away, I give thanks. This moment is good. When I have an experience that feels so beautiful and perfect I immediately feel sad that it won’t last forever, I savor it. This moment is good.

Life is so unpredictable. It can be craptastic (as my friend Jen says) and it can suddenly turn around and be amazing. In between craptastic and amazing is just a bunch of ordinary moments: a great song that takes you back and warms your soul, a balmy summer night on the porch, sharing wine with a friend, or just floating in the pool with the sun on your face. Those are the moments to live for. The simple ones. The ones we might overlook if we don’t mindfully pay attention. We can’t change yesterday and we don’t know what tomorrow holds. But this moment is ours and this moment is good.