The Energizer Bunny really frosts my hide. The reason is that I used to be able to keep going and going and going and never droop over like he does when his battery runs down. Lately I can only do one “going” before I feel the drain on my battery, and I find myself learning to pace myself. I am far from perfect, but I am learning quite a bit for trying.
The first is that when we rush our way through a list of tasks and our only objective measure of success is the number of check marks on the page, we really do miss out on life. I used to think back on times in my life and wonder why I couldn’t remember many details from those times. Now I recognize I don’t remember the details because I was moving far too quickly to notice the details! We can’t remember what we didn’t see! I am quite sure that some of the things I didn’t notice may not have been worth noticing, but today I do my best to notice everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly – because it all has something to teach me.
Some popular, new age-ish, spiritual teachers have picked up on the classic Eastern spiritual value of living in the present moment. They have different names for it so that it seems they are offering some new insight, but in truth many of these trendy teachings rather miss the point that being truly present for life isn’t a decision. We don’t just say, “I am going to be present from now on” and instantly change. There are methods and practices that we must engage in over time so that we become more and more present. As we do, we will notice more of what is happening – as well as more about ourselves. The truth is that some of the things we notice about ourselves will be less than pleasant.
We all have parts of ourselves that we have disowned and ignored. Moving into living in the present will force us to confront those parts of ourselves anew, and we may well be tempted to bury what we have unearthed. There are two problems with that strategy. The first is that once we dig something up we can try to bury it again, but we will always know what we hid the body. The second is that we really need to make peace with those parts of ourselves rather than disown them. Trying to disown them is part of what drives us to distraction and out of the present moment where life is really lived. If you doubt that, look at the number of preachers who have a history of strongly preaching against sex who become embroiled in a sex scandal! They have disowned part of themselves they cannot accept, and because it truly is part of them it lurks in the shadows waiting to be integrated. When it isn’t integrated, it makes itself known – often in the most embarrassing way!
We all have aspects of ourselves we are uncomfortable with. and we all are faced with the task of loving ourselves enough to acknowledge all of ourselves! If we believe we are living “in the now” without loving and radically accepting ourselves, we are just playing another game that tries to bury our warts. That doesn’t lead to wholeness, it leads to dis-integration – often in a very public way!