Being “In the Now”.
Experiencing the Sacred Everyday and acknowledging the Sacred Space.
Recognizing that the Incarnation is going on right at this moment, inside of me, through my hands and feet, through my mind and my emotions.
God in us. God with us. God in me.
But sometimes I live so very far away from Now. A friend read to me from Byron Katie, who, in dealing with her mental health issues, had realized that all she needed to be was, “woman, sitting on the couch.” Or, “woman, lying in bed.” Or, “woman, with a cup of tea.”
Instead of racing this way and that, ruminating over a long-past pain or a possible future failure, Katie realized that the only thing she had power over was right now. The only place she needed to be in was the present. Her particular mental health issues found resolution when she stopped living everywhere but in the moment.
For a thinker who tends to have a runaway brain, this was a wonderful discovery for me. After some years of living through a very difficult situation, I developed the ability (ha) to have anxiety attacks. Though they are infrequent, every once in a while I’ll get a surprise visit from one. Something about 3am at night seems to be the most popular time for one to hit…
Adrenalin begins to pour through me, my chest tightens, breathing comes in short gasps and I suddenly want to start thinking about everything in the world that might possibly go wrong. Everything.
When this first started happening to me, I had no idea what was going on. I just went with the thoughts, akin to taking a wild roller coaster ride with a maniacal attendant who laughingly refused to stop the train.
When I realized it was just a brain that now had a hair-trigger anxiety button, everything changed. The weight of the world need not lie on my shoulders unless I choose to let it. I learned to recognize the signs of an attack and let them be what they were (“Oh, look. Adrenalin. Wow, it’s really rushing through me.”), instead of believing them to be true markers of a real crisis. I learned little tricks–like popping in iPod ear buds and listening to a podcast, giving my brain something to focus on (which put me instantly to sleep).
In learning how to become aware of and deal with the anxiety attacks, I began to be more apt to notice the anxiety present in everyday life. And I began to notice the fear inherent in a worldview that pitted “us” against “them.” My religious worldview had a lot of fear in it. My outlook on life had a lot of fear in it.
My quivering hand in God’s hand, we set out to make some changes.
I cannot fully be an incarnational being when I am off in a land of fantasy. Living in the past and living in the future is just that–a land of fantasy. It’s not real. It’s not happening. It’s not right here, right now.
Perhaps this was part of the point, when Christ reminded His followers to give, “no thought for the morrow.” I may want to control how things turn out…but the truth is, there really are very few things I can control. Pretty much nothing, actually…with the exception of my own self at this very moment.
I am smack dab in the center of the Incarnational Now. In fact, I always am.
Living in the past or living in the future robs me of this. Perhaps that is one of the best gifts I can give our world, this New Year. Being here.
Maybe that is one of the things that made Jesus stand out from all the rest. I can’t help but think it was, given the penchant for the prostitutes, tax-collectors and the poor unwanted ones to seek Him out and want to be around Him.
Maybe He gave people the gift of actually being there.
woman, lying in bed
(reflections during an anxiety attack)
My super power gone rogue,
flames licking hungrily at the
space beyond my skin,
It’s 3am and my stomach
is drawn up into a fist.
I cannot be just “woman lying in bed”
because I am not here.
fire roars in my ears.
I am twenty-three, pushing out
a baby that I cannot
perfectly mother. I am
fifty-three and she is broken
because I could not give her
the perfect life. My skin is
melting from the heat. No
wonder I can’t be present here.
I am in yesterday, and yesterday
I let them down. I am in tomorrow
and tomorrow they will be hurt.
woman, lying in fetal position.
siezed up like a stone.
woman, lying in bed, a crackling
log on the hearth, energy
going out a million miles an hour,
a million different ways.
woman, lying in bed. But yet steady
breathing covers her like a blanket,
and babies are in nearby rooms, safe
sleeping, warm, fed, loved
woman, lying in bed, burning
her own private hell.
preacher, use your lake of fire story
on someone else.
I can do just fine on my own,
my special super power gone rogue
torching up the night.
– M. Davis
image credit: my10online.com