“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.
Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
― Eckhart Tolle, THE POWER OF NOW
Ha! It is so smug and almost slapstick to say to ‘be in the moment’, ‘live in the now’… and I always thought being in the moment was ‘merely‘ about cherishing what is when it is, to be present as per Tolle’s quote above, to let go of those anxieties for the future and hurts from the past.
In the past three months I have been travelling, and one of the many things I am learning as a self-named collector of moments is that it is so important to live IN the moment because sometimes moments accumulate so quickly that it is sheer impossible to process them all later! So be in the moment if you want to somehow ‘save it’. I say ‘save it’, because I have taken to writing about what is meaningful to me, in an attempt to hold it safe and in honour.
Overwhelmed by moments
Granted, this is a state I find myself in a lot and, granted, overwhelm often accompanies transformative journeys, but during the two two months I spent in India it was amplified – it was as if someone had turned the volume up and I couldn’t find earplugs! Amazing things kept happening, tiny gestures and crazy synchronicities that blew my mind in both subtle and fantastic ways, literally.
And everyone I met seemed to agree:
the spiritual and energetic resonance is so strong and so clear in India that you feel your emotions rather fiercely.
The ups and the downs hit from one moment to the next, constantly. I have gone from heartbroken tears to belly laughs to life-changing inspiration to deep down dark inner caves and back so often that I had to teach myself that there is no point in dwelling on or deciding from any of them as they are bound to be overruled very soon – and that I would miss out on what’s next if I don’t just flow with them all. The other thing is that anything but going with the flow became exhausting.
I kept being reminded of what a lady said to me within my very first hours in India ever, in 2014. Our flights were delayed, we shared a table at the only coffee shop in Mumbai’s domestic airport terminal, she was a student in Indian medicine and told me
‘The energy here is so clear that karma moves fast. You’ll feel the effects of whatever you put out there very quickly.’
Her words kept proving her right. To the point that I stopped being surprised when things like this happened: I set the intention one day to get cracking on facilitating leadership trainings – and was asked three days later by the director of an NGO whom I’d only just met to do just that: lead a team building workshop for her staff the very next day.
An attempt to process moments: stay.
It is an acclaimed leadership skill, that of ‘staying’ after acting. As is Savasana in yoga, the pose in which we are still, to catch our breath and let things settle.
So after six weeks on a yoga training, in ashrams and rickshawing around Bangalore, to put it in a tiny nutshell, I found myself ‘staying’ in Pondicherry for 10 days. I had not intentionally chosen Pondicherry, it just happened to be where I was when I felt saturated.
My intentions was simple: to do my yoga practice daily and to write, ‘save my moments’. Just that!
Moments will keep fleeting by
I failed at staying. Why? Because things kept happening, even in my ‘out’ time.
I was being given a Ganesha figurine by my airbnb host as a gift, my other airbnb host gave me a spontaneous pendulum reading and arranged for a meditation master to ‘sit with me’ to help me ‘stay’, the waiters at the restaurant I went to for my dinner every night surprised me with a desert on the house and a dear handwritten ‘thank you’ note at my last luncheon… in a nutshell, I kept being overwhelmed by more things to be grateful for, yet more events to ‘process’.
Retreating from the moment
I related it to that special energy of The India – and the time came to leave, ‘to geographically remove myself’, to catch my breath and write about it all from a safe distance. So I packed my big backpack and so many scribbles of notes and snippets of memories I intended to write down properly.
Not a chance, my next destinations took hold of me in different, just as beautiful ways…
Days and events go on, feelings keep feeling, learnings, appreciation, more questions… all ongoing ongoing ongoing!
So my new Eureka on living in the now is actually a practice of letting go.
Live in the now because you can’t ever really honour it later, and you’ll just end up schlepping the ‘to do list’ of saving the memory into your next NOWs…
Whatever moment you want to capture, whatever learning you want to process, whatever event you want to journal about, whatever it is you do to ‘keep experiences safe’… do it right now! N O W!
Not tomorrow, not afterwards and definitely not during emergency Savasana in Pondicherry, Reunion or Dubai… time keeps moving, things keep happening; take in what you can, let go of the rest.
Oh there will be memories and transformative clicks that will arise in hindsight… but the true honouring has to happen in the moment.
What an exercize of seizing and letting go at the same time.
Now. Now. Now!
‘Realize deeply that the present moment is all we’ll ever have’
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now