23 March 2016
Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it… This will miraculously transform your whole life. ~Eckhart Tolle
Amazed that only six weeks remain of this year-long blog, I’ve scanned back over the months of posts about a variety of topics that weave together, all of them strands within the sinuous, beautiful braid of creating satisfaction with my life. Each strand adds texture, color, strength or sparkle. Some strands are like tools in a tool box, with a specific time and place where they are useful, while others are handy everyday. Many of them are related, different threads combining in a single strand.
One theme that surfaces repeatedly is that of being present with the current moment and I’m visiting that again this week.
One of the benefits of bringing my attention to this moment is that then I open the possibility of putting my intention into it. In this simple act, I become a creator of my life. I choose to be with what is — attending. And I clarify what I value — setting an intention for how I want to interact with that moment. This act of attention and intention, consciousness and design, is owning and stepping into my life.
Focused on this over the week, I’ve had great wake-up calls about how often I give up authority over my life in small, but significant ways. I accumulated a host of grudges around things I wanted and hadn’t gotten. I was unhappy that my family wasn’t more openly interested in the thing I was excited about. I was taken aback when I shared a birthday celebration and instead of getting a big whoop, I put someone off. I had an overly busy day when I felt like life owned me. In short, I looked at things in a way that made me the victim of circumstance and other’s actions.
When I stopped and looked at all these small hurts I was cherishing, I could lay them down. Attending to these hurts, I could remind myself that I don’t desire to suffer needlessly. And then I could look for the places where I had the ability to act, where I could initiate what I’d expected from others, where I could shift my life toward what I desired.
Reality can be scary. Denial can seem safer. I can feel inadequate to meet a challenge square on and try to squirm around it. I can be afraid and look the other way. But ultimately it’s myself that I let down by refusing to face the moment. Because without meeting it, I lose the chance to connect and respond in a real way. It’s a bit like Anne Lamott says, ‘Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.’
In this huge world of copious stimulus and input, it’s easy to always be externally-oriented consumers of the culture, in search for validation and happiness. I believe that contained within each of us there is a very rich and rewarding inner life. Connecting to it, by attending and intending, allows us to better develop an understanding of who we are and live from that place that is uniquely us.
When I focus on my intentions, I find strength to face a tough situation. Regardless of the circumstances, my life becomes a creation over which I have a great deal of influence.
Connecting to the moment with attention and intention is powerful. It is a place to come to know myself and own the ability I have to shape my life.