Monday, May 12, 2014

What's in your bowl?

Bacon, chicken, & avocado salad (
If you're a recovering stress junkie, like me,  you're constantly playing crazy mental video games,  shooting down tasks before they reach you and it's game over. But how can you ever enjoy the present now, if you're always worried about the next now?

Imagine the present moment like a bowl of food. Future bowls are stretching off far into the distance. We can fill our "now" bowl with sweet things, fun, pleasure, socialization, rest, or we can fill it with hard things--studying, work, planning, and exercise. I tend to focus on worrying about future bowls, filling the now with work, so much so that I can't enjoy life. I don't want to focus too much on the present, because then I may not get as many future bowls.

But neither should I just fill it with stuff that is only "good for me"-- stuff that is only for the future. Why? Three reasons: 1) That future may never come. 2) How many missed "nows" until they outweigh the future "nows" I'm saving up for. 3) How will I ever learn to enjoy the "nows" of the future if I can't enjoy the "nows" of now.

No. What I want to do is fill my "now" bowl with a mixture of things I can enjoy now and things that are preparing me for the future. Maybe some kale, but also some bacon. Maybe some coconut milk, but also some honey. Maybe some carrots, but also some dark chocolate. Maybe one day I'll come up with an equation for what percentage of each moment should be spent enjoying and what percentage working on the next bowl. For now, I'll keep it simple: Next time I'm tempted to sacrifice now for tomorrow, stop and savor at least a bite of the present--every present moment, even in the midst of preparations for future bowls. Make sure every moment has a balance of hard and soft, rough and smooth, pushing myself and having compassion on myself, responsibility and relationships, protecting people and enjoying people, exhaustion and ecstasy, improvement and immersion, struggle and sweetness, justification and joy, roughage, risk, richness, rapture, relaxation and release.

Now, what's in my bowl? What's in yours? What's in ours?