Sunday, March 27, 2011

Missing Out on Living


A quote that I came across on Facebook this week - The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered
"Man.... Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."
Quite a number of people commented on how profound this short paragraph is and for me, it came at a time when I have been finding myself unable to avoid life’s insistence that I take time to reassess…
When I thought about writing this post, I couldn’t figure out which of the very personal issues to use for it…as I’m not into putting my private self out in blog-land to that extent. Then I thought about recent outing that I think provides a good parallel:
The Perigee Moon – the biggest full moon in about 20 years was to provide us with a spectacular show as it rose over the horizon on Saturday 19th, at 6:19pm, just around sunset…so our Sunday group – or a part of it, went up for a viewing get-together, to Paul’s breathtaking lookout spot at the tip of Cap Estate, just above the stalled Raffles / Jack Nicklaus Golf Club project, or as I prefer to think of it, above my youth’s backyard.I asked about the safety of the Barrel Cacti if the golf course is built...I can't pretend I'm happy to see the open spaces of my youth go to private manicured greens...but I didn't dwell on that too long that evening... 
Looking South over the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course to be...mabye...
It had been a rare rainy day in an early dry season and there was hardly a snatch of blue sky to be seen. It would be unfair to say that any of us did not notice the crystal clear view of Martinique to the north, where you could almost see the houses, or the proud silhouette of Mt. Gimie to the south with a dramatic wisp of cloud curled under his peaks, nor the sunset drenching the West with warm hues and sparkles, that even the darkening East was not immune to as the crests of Atlantic waves breaking on the rocks and reefs off Cas en Bas shimmered with golden oranges.
I’d forgotten my camera…brought my bag, (not that I needed it) where the camera lives, but it wasn’t there today…It made me think; “It’s not the photos you’re here for, Fifi” as in a half-conscious flash I let the weekly passing thought-conflict of which is more important, capturing the beautiful sunsets at Pigeon Island Causeway every Sunday, or enjoying the ambiance with focus on friends play out momentarily in my mind.
I’ve learnt, even if I haven’t mastered, the art of accepting that things happen for a reason. So it wasn’t difficult to let go the photo-ops that evening. 
Enjoying the compa
Yes, I ended up with camera in-hand, Nadia knows I can’t resist those sunsets :-) I took photos, enjoyed it, but just as happily, handed it back to sit back in my beach chair, amidst the beauty and the reality of this lovers-lane lookout, to soak up the atmosphere, cool soft cloudy day breezes, enjoy the company of people whom I’ve come to know as friends, the unfettered joy of Jo-Jo, only 6 or 7, as she danced around, wrapped herself in her scarf 3 times her size, flitting from Auntie to ‘Auntie’, as we faced East, chatting, guessing where exactly the moon was behind all that cloud, and if it had in-fact made it above the horizon yet. Marveling at the shadow of the hill on the slightly moonlit Eastern sea as the sunset played her last ace as we sipped wine from our colourful plastic wine glasses.
We remarked that we'd seemingly forgotten to include some of our Sunday group, but while we all knew we'd have preferred they were there, we didn't dwell on it, what could be done about it now anyway?
We did see that perigee moon, which Faye has so googleishously educated us all about in our outing plans…he slipped bit by bit behind the one narrow tear in the clouds.
So, what’s it all about? Life is rarely what you expect it to be, but always what you make of it.
I have ‘wasted’ countless years when I add it up, chasing belonging, recovering from over-partying, countless days to day-dreaming up worst-case-scenario-what-ifs…to hankering afters, to indecisions and procrastination…I now waste still far too many days from my reduced health from youthful over-indulging, and I could waste countless more to regrets about hard times, bad decisions past, present and possibly future…but I am choosing, hmm, perhaps learning to choose more wisely.
For me the ‘living in the present’ thing doesn’t mean disconnectedly going with whatever flow catches you, it’s about being more much present than that -
I'm a great believer in bending the Universe to your will - life has shown that when you ask, wholeheartedly for something and open yourself up to it despite it seeming impossible, things happen. Some people do this by praying to God, Allah, Jesus, Mary, Mother Earth...for me, it's 'just' the Universe - my interpretation of God I guess...whatever it is, most of us forget or perhaps don't know how to really do that simultaneous determined focus of all your energy and complete opening up to all that might be possible...that allows you to really live in the present...and...
There is no doubt in my mind that the mistakes and hardships I went through in the past have allowed me to become who I am today…and yes, mostly, I quite like me now :-) So living in the present necessitates taking into account your past…but in perspective, putting it in ‘its place’.
And there are always decisions to be made about which path to take, which one to just see from a distance, always things you must choose to leave and things you must choose to carry.
The best days are undoubtedly for me, those where you achieve that balance of indulgence / responsibility, appreciation / ambition, peace and joy…looking back and being able to let go, forgive, forget, and looking forward with dreams and plans and openness to possibilities as yet unseen…and managing in amongst all that, to be living - consciously - in the present.
There's a constantly flowing, changing balance about life and I think sometimes - too often - our limited instincts lead us to try to achieve balance by interrupting, stopping that flow...balance by necessity must have opposing forces, and life must have change and growth, otherwise it wouldn't be living, would it?
Over to you guys I think now...it's an open ended thought today, as it probably always should be :-)
Sunset at the Perigee Moon, St. Lucia