Another Shirley MacLaineism

I sit and feast on the now.

This revelation took my breath away. With technology, the fast pace of life and the occasional rat race of a career, how often do any of us just sit…just feast…just live now, in the moment?

When I turned 18, I went through a stage of wanting it now! I wanted to move out of my parent’s home, yet I did not have the finances to live on my own. I wanted people to quit telling me what to do, yet I was still figuring it out for myself. I wanted to finish school, be a teacher, yet I still had classes to go. I wanted it so badly, I was making myself and others around me miserable!!! One night, my dad came into my room. He calmly spoke to me about life. Funny, how I don’t recall all of what he said, except for Take one day at a time. Yea right!!! For at 18, I couldn’t fathom doing that, especially when my plate was piling higher and higher with all the things I wanted to accomplish and do!!!

Fast forward a few years, to 40, when the infinitesimal light bulb over my head went off, brightening the path of realization in understanding exactly what my dad was saying. It was then, I began to practice his wise advice. And in doing so, I found meaningful priorities revealing themselves. As a result, I followed another career path, ending my days as a teacher, so I would no longer miss out on the important events in my children’s lives. I started spending more time with my parents. I learned to leave my job responsibilities at work at the end of the day, switching gears from career gal to mom. It was also during this time, I experienced a revelatory ‘dream’ which brought me so close to God’s love and peacefulness, I remember hearing myself thinking, ‘I don’t care if I am dead.’ It was after I woke, the next morning, that I become engrossed in living life not only to the fullest, but also day by day and moment by moment.

Today, many preach and teach about centering one’s self by meditating or praying or turning off electronic devices and being still. For me, feasting on the buffet of now is something I practice daily. Some days I am better at it than others, yet I keep striving not to reach to far in the future, to learn from my past and to be thankful for each and every moment I am alive.

For example, when I wake at 3 a.m., I roll over, thank God for giving me another 3 hours before my alarm goes off and go back to sleep. When I see rainbows, especially double ringed ones, I stop the car, in a safe spot, and take time to look towards heaven and enjoy the beauty of the wash of colors spreading across the sky. When it rains, I turn off the t.v., open my door wall and listen as the drops either plink, plink down or rampage in a thunderous roar! As I walk into work, the sun is coming up, so I take it slow, soaking in the masterpiece of reds, oranges, and pinks erupting on the horizon. When I travel, I try to get off major highways to ride the rural roads. It is there I witness God’s hand painting the canvas of vast fields with a multitude of colors and changes as each season comes alive. There is nothing so gorgeous to wake a person up than a jolt of sun rising over acres of farm land. And in the dead of night, when traffic is the lightest, on a country road, the moon is almost as bright as the sun and the stars can come and play without city lights deterring their twinkling sparks. I even drive through the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, turning off my radio, opening my windows, breathing in the fresh air, reveling in the quiet and admiring the many beautiful tombstones erected to keep alive memories of loved ones.

As I have aged, I realize how precious every second is to be alive, breathing and experiencing the world around me. I try to live my life as if each day is my last. Sometimes, when I ask others how they are, I get the following answer, I can’t complain and even if I did, it wouldn’t help anyway. And when they ask how I am, I respond, I am alive. I am breathing. Which means it is a good day! Some laugh. Some shake their heads and walk away. Others comment, I never thought of it that way!!!

So next time, life is rushing like a NASCAR race, take a moment, pull the emergency brake and stop to smell the roses, look at the sunset, watch the clouds drift by, hear the birds chirping, be present with family members and appreciate all that is around you. Matter of fact, I am extending an invitation, right now, right this minute, to join me, as you are, for a buffet comprised of bowls filled with splendid moments, platters overflowing with joy and peace, and glasses full of laughing juice. After all, there is only this second, only this minute, only this hour, only this day…the past is over, the future can’t be foretold, but the present is waiting to be opened. And I am extending my hand and my heart in hopes you will join me in celebrating life’s gifts of now.



2 thoughts on “Another Shirley MacLaineism

  1. “I sit and feast on the now.”

    My fingers lie still on my laptop keyboard; my ears hear the dishwasher doing its job and my eyes marvel at the subdued lights here in the kitchen. I’m living in the moment. Thank you for guiding me to this gift of now, Annie.

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