You can tell the enormity of a life event by the way we choose to describe it. Sometimes a more succinct and seemingly innocuous description belies the impact it he experience has on us. Take for example the way we described the fratricidal war/conflict here in Northern Ireland as ‘The Troubles’. Much more than troubles they were.
We hear the present Covid-19 pandemic is being described in a variety of ways. We hear, ‘the situation’, ‘the thing’, ‘the pandemic’ ‘the crisis’ and many more besides. However, I’ve encountered another way of describing it. I’ve heard people simply refer to it as ‘this’. Indeed I’ve heard myself describing it thus as well.
‘This’. One word. Only four letters. ‘This’.
Describing ‘this’ as ‘this’ doesn’t waste too many words or letters on that which might distress us . Perhaps in reducing ‘this’ to ‘this’ we can quieten our worry at its impact and implications. Maybe it is a good way for us regain a sense of our own ability to feel in some sort of ability to effect our own destiny. Describing ‘this’ as ‘this’ allows us space.
What might we discover or rediscover in the space? Why don’t we take some time and sit with that. When I did just that today it reminded me of an experience I had many years ago.
I was on a beautiful walk on a spring day just like today through trees and grass. There was a light breeze and as I passed a big tree the sun shone in my eye and blinded me for a moment. I stopped and allowed myself to be consumed in the light of the sun. I felt rooted to the spot and totally present to the moment through my senses – the light in my eyes, the breeze on my face, the sound of the leaves rustling. It was a fleeting experience of living in the now as the trendy expression goes. And just as the saying goes so my experience went. It didn’t last very long but it has stayed with me for years as a great lesson of the power of allowing ourselves to be truly present.
Could we use the space we create now to be more present to ourselves and others in the present moment? They say that the present moment never ends. We are always ‘now’. And now recreates itself eternally.
At times like ‘this’ we can get caught up in worries about the future and regrets about the past. We can get wrapped up in predictions of doom or hanging on to memories in an unhealthy way. We can, of course, hold memories healthily as sustenance for the present moment. We can’t live there though. We can only live now.
Here’s a mantra I’ve found helpful a and share with others:
The past is over; I can let it go.
The future is in God’s hands; I can trust God.
The present is where I am called to be; I allow myself to be present.
You could try getting a seat or a lie down somewhere and quietly or silently repeating this mantra for a few minutes before simply becoming aware of what is going on around you- the sights and sounds- as signals that you are alive in this present moment.
Being truly present to the present isn’t always easy but it is always rewarding. It gives us perspective. It allows us to see beauty, even in the midst of hardship. I pray you have some space during ‘this’ to be in the present moment.