Pony up

I was working through one of those loud and chaotic inner conversations with myself yesterday about how I want things to go. You know, in life. Do you have these? Well, this one got a bit heated, and me, myself, and I all had to take separate corners for a while there. In the end–when slapped with the infuriating reality that none of us actually know what’s best–we came together and admitted that we weren’t going to get anywhere helpful. We shook hands and ate some chocolate.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle


I don’t know what is best. I never know what’s best.
Well, not never, but probably a whole lot less than I think.
It’s a little paralyzing, actually, until you allow it to be liberating.

My words for this year are Here and Now, but last year’s I Don’t Know still ring so very true, and I’m glad when they sneak back in as a gentle reminder to shut up (see above).

This word thing is incredible, really. Empathy (from Year #1) never left me, just follows me around like a needy puppy, begging for attention whenever I look away. And I Don’t Know is like a needy crack puppy. Insatiable. Relentless. With teeth.

So far, I have to say, Here and Now doesn’t feel like it’s taken quite like the others. I have to remind myself that it’s there. It doesn’t present itself as neatly as the other two did. This probably has nothing to do with it’s own brilliance and everything to do with my needs. Those last ones clobbered me every day. I couldn’t ignore them. They were just there, panting and bouncing and slobbering all over the place.

I suppose that it’s time for me to have a little skin in the game. Ante up some effort. And so Here and Now is like the old dog that is content to sleep next to the wood stove. Just there, and thrilled to absorb any love you throw it’s way, but lacking the energy to demand anything from you. This, of course, is a God thing. Because He knows I’m lazy and need a carrot that’s just a bit farther out of reach this time. He knows I need an arthritic pup that needs very deliberate help out the door, just to do her business. Fine. I’ll follow. I’ll do the work. I’ll remind myself; I won’t even wait to be clobbered. Fine.

This year’s been a real good one for Here and Now, if you’re looking for a demanding experience with no mercy to be found. It’s like an Outward Bound kind of thing. Or what’s that thing where they air-drop you somewhere six clicks from the nearest radiowave with four matches and a candle, and then wait for you to traverse the Continental divide, navigate pirhana-infested waters with meat taped to your ankles, and master hang-gliding with a bedsheet, and then show up at the fancy dinner table to receive your gorgeous little plaque? No? Not ringing a bell? I’m pretty sure that was a reality show before there were reality shows. Anyway, some years are like that.

Outward Bound is for sissies.

And yet still, in the catacombs of life–when you can hear all the spiders’ little tap shoes, and all you can think about is the certainty that you’re about to be eaten by zombies or thrust over the nearest cliff’s edge, or when all you can do is dream wistfully about appetizing alternate timelines—that’s about the most important time to focus in on the Here and the Now.

Baby Steps, as Bob would say

Somehow Here and Now seems not only a bit more elusive, but a harder lesson than the priors as well. Maybe this is entirely circumstantial, but Empathy was a change of attitude, and didn’t always require concrete action; and I Don’t Know was more of a throwing up of hands, a bit escapist and thrilling to surrender to. Here and Now asks a lot. Here and Now is the tiniest bit sucky. I’m not nearly as fond of Here and Now.

But alas, it is The Word. It is The Words. They are The Words. They are a grammatical fiasco.

As previously stated, my priest, who generally drives me crazy, was the originator of the Annual Words in my life. A challenge was mounted. I resisted, but sometimes you can’t run fast enough. So here we are.

Fr. Chris, Holy Week, between many, many services… FrC: “Is that your phone?” Me: “Um, yeah.” FrC: “I left you a present,” with giggles heard as he disappeared into the altar. Me: Utter confusion until I checked my camera roll. With friends like these…

I am sure, however, that FrC is not the only person on the face of the earth who’s dove into this liberating and fantastic and frustrating practice. Dove? Dived? Drove? Dunked? Dipped? Pick your verb. I trust you.

So who else has? What have your words been? How have they molded you or pummeled you, or sat meekly by and allowed you to forget them?

I fully expect at least one priest to enter in a comment or two down there. Yes, I do.
Also–a-hem–I’m pretty informed on which of my fellow Holy Trinitarians read this blog. I’m just sayin.’

Besides those I’ve situated neatly on the hot seat, who else?

And as a completely unrelated aside, a few pics from last weekend’s trip to Duluth:

Ah, the beach. Sun, sand, driftwood, and ice shards. This is why we LOVE Lake Superior.
The fam, ridin’ the North Shore Scenic Railroad on a cheap-o Groupon. 

There. That’s better.

Livin’ the Here and Now, no matter how strong the pull towards Everywhere Else and Any Time But This One.


Now… time to pony up…

Waitin’ for The Words,

9 thoughts on “Pony up

Add yours

  1. Oh, the here and now! Not to get caught up in the past or to only think of the future. But if it’s not held in balance, one gets to believing that what things are like in the “here and now” are also those that will always be. Age and experience certainly help mitigate that, but I think the secular culture, without knowledge of Timeless or Eternal, really pushes this idea that people are stuck where they are no matter what they do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent point. Like always, balance in all things, yes? How hard it is to live for the present and still have a teachable eye on the past and a hopeful eye on the future. Sigh. Never a dull moment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. Tolle has such wisdom. You have found my mantra “Here and Now,” centers me. Great word choices, I love your Fr. Chris.

    Liked by 1 person

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