For the last many months, I have been trying to focus my energies on being a curious observer instead of an emotional reactor. Such is not easy with a natural inclination toward activism and a daily deluge of calls to “do something.”
Do something, anything. Don’t let this terrible event happen. Tell this powerholder that you want to see a particular result.
Every day, we are invited to fill in the blanks with new calamities and new goals. If we partake, we may feel rewarded (a/k/a vindicated) for our participation. Then the next day, depending on which set of talking heads is providing the day-after assessment, the efforts were either wildly successful or woefully ineffective.
But don’t worry, because the call will come again. Do something, anything.
All this stress, anxiety, and impotence has left me tired.
I have been saving this quote for a moment just like this:
“The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.” ~ Sylvia Plath
A real carpe diem sort of notion set down by a skilled writer who left this world all too soon for those who loved her, but at a perfect-for-her time.
So after learning of yet another calamity, one which I advocated against, I decided to turn away from my burgeoning emotional reaction and instead employ my recently cultivated skills of curious observation.
I went outside and played in the snow with my children.
While I try to protect them from learning of the ongoing series of calamities, especially those which I seem unable to shield them from, they know. But if we’re outside sledding and eating snow from mittened hands, at least for that brief time we are living “richly in the present.”
Do I regret the past? Daily.
Do I fear the future? I do.
But to what end?
I have little to no control over anything that occurs on our planet, leaving me stressed, anxious, and impotent, which is curious considering I was never appointed to have such control. My reflection is not about abandoning those values that are thoughtful, progressive, or compassionate, rather my reflection is about knowing that my reluctance to don battle gear every morning is not a failure on my part.
Living richly in the present can allow me to believe, if only for an hour, that playing in the snow was the very best thing I could have done in that time frame. For surely, my concentration on those children–those very same ones who will inherit this world–meant more than leaving a message for some powerbroker about some issue in some office far away.
Go play, even if it’s for a fraction of your life.