My last post I wrote was about missing out on experiences because I had been Stealing from my life. The idea came from an article by Michelle Marlahan called 3 Ways to Practice Non-Stealing on Your Mat. I recognized that I have been stealing from my life for many years. I have been missing out on what is right in front of me because I spent too much time thinking and worrying about what I have yet to do and what I just did. I have read many essays and books on being present, in the here and now, but only recently I started understanding it on a much deeper level.
So for me now, it is all about being present in my life. Leaving the past behind and letting the future unfold. I wish I could say that I have been able to integrate this deep into my core, but alas, I can’t. I have spent too much time beating myself up for what happened in the past and obsessively worrying about what is going to happen in the future. But like any habit, how we think about our past, present and future is one that can be changed. And I am committed to changing my thinking right now.
I know that there have been relationships I have missed out on because I have hurried past people at break-neck speed, rushing to accomplish some goal or make some meeting or complete some other task that is now long forgotten. I have spent so much time over the years planning, being efficient, and organized. But in all that planning, what really happened? Did I miss out on experiences and relationships only to be better organized? Sadly I fear the answer is yes.
Next week is Passover, the annual celebration of freedom and renewal. It is one of my favorite holidays as it holds such promise and optimism. I never liked the traditional Haggadah (the book that Jews read from telling the story of Exodus). It has too many “chosen people” this and too many “God did that” for my taste, but the story about how Jews were slaves in Egypt and then rebuilt themselves into freed people is a promising one. It holds all sorts of stories about how we have the ability to change our mentality in how we think about ourselves and the world around us.
Here is one of the parables we read in our Haggadah about missing out on experiences because we are often caught on details that don’t matter and block our ability to see what is often right in front of us: miracles, both large and small.
“Moses held up his walking stick and the sea divided. The people walked across. When they got to the other side, the waters came crashing down on Pharaoh and his army. This was a miracle but many Jews have struggles with this part of the story. According to the tests even some of the people who were there, at the parting of the Red Sea, did not recognize the miracle at the time.
One story goes: Reuven and Shimon were so preoccupied with the muddy condition of the path they were walking on, and so intent on complaining, that they never looked up to see that the muddy floor they were walking across was the result of the sea having been parted.
What we can learn from this is that the issue is not necessarily whether the miracle happened, but whether or not we would be able to recognize a miracle if it did happen. Perhaps we are constantly in the presence of miracle but like Reuven and Shimon, we are simply unable to see them.”
What miracles have you seen lately?
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