The de-light of perpetuated resurrection
The de-light of perpetuated resurrection
This morning I had the opportunity to do what I have done for the last ten weeks – to dedicate a window of time to writing and share this space via an online platform with others who are similarly inclined. We don’t talk, everyone just gets on with it and after an hour I close the meeting.
This morning I was the only one on the call and instead of writing straightaway, I took the first ten minutes to keep tidying up my desktop which displays shortcuts to all sorts of jobs big and small that are awaiting their turn. It seemed important to provide this foundation as I was launching into a new round of editing work and was going to start on the next book. A book by a friend who has published two books already and who has not relied on any writers’ meetings – he has just applied himself, i.e. heeded the call and simply done it, whenever he could and when his day job permitted.
After a few minutes and having finished what I had to do, there was the opportunity to start writing – and a precarious seeming conundrum arose between the distant shadow of a thought that I wouldn’t know what to write, that there’d be nothing there to write and the knowing that when aligned, there is always something to be a scribe for; and then there was also the inviting flirtation with having a day off from writing. The tension was felt and undeniable.
The moment the latter possibility dropped in, I felt an elation of sorts and the next ruminations were about starting afresh the next day, made more attractive in the knowing that it was a Monday, the start of the week – a ‘better’ week, a more dedicated to service week, a cleaner and healthier week; a week of steadfastness and unerring commitment, free of any lethargy, unnecessary excursions to the fridge or pantry, free of my self-inflicted struggle with exercise and walking.
And I realised, dropped in from a much clearer vantage point, that I would be only too happy to forsake today’s writing opportunity so that, arising from the ashes of the perceived shortcomings of the past and present, the following day would be a more spectacular, more rewarding, more stellar, more of a contrast kind of event and it was as though I was already basking in the false glory of that ascendency out of the morass that is lethargy and the notion that I’d rather be doing something else right now.
When I reflected further, it occurred to me that this represented a piecemeal approach to life rather than a moment-to-moment way of living if not entry point into an ever-expanding vastness that does not feed off the friction and frisson of peaks and troughs; that does not bank on the stimulation of good versus bad or the aberrant and misconstrued notion of right and wrong.
Who needs good, bad, right or wrong when the aligned to inner compass always shows the way – in this case, write today, whatever there is to write, and forego the elation and stimulation, however minor, of the lack of commitment and consistency today in favour of the anticipated trajectory of a phoenix-like rise out of the ashes and assured redemption the following day.
And it made me wonder if this is what happens to us when we have ‘one last drink’, ‘one last cigarette’, ‘one last third helping’, ‘the last ever piece of chocolate’, ‘the last day without exercising for at least 15 minutes’ and on and on the list goes.
And why do we covet these imaginary future highs? ‘Tomorrow is another day’ we might flippantly say, tomorrow is going to be better and we will be stronger; tomorrow will be glorious and we will finally assume our rightful place in the halls of willpower, discipline and assured success. Tomorrow we will not be tempted and, should we be tempted, we will surely know how to ward off the temptation and arise from the crumbly foundations of our habits, behaviours and possibly slovenly ways. Bygone comfort will be traded in for an anticipated and assured stellar rise out of the mundaneness of our careless everyday tedium of endless repetitions of the same behaviours we apparently so determinedly want to kick to the curb.
But what if tomorrow is an invention and does not in truth exist?
Have you ever lived tomorrow? Have you ever stayed on the couch tomorrow or were those moments in truth always today, whichever day it might have been? And furthermore, should tomorrow exist, where will be the foundation for this different course of action and way of behaviour if it is not established in the moment the impulse arises, which can only ever be in the present?
‘One for the road’ cannot meet with its demise tomorrow, it can only be renounced now, in the presence of the present moment to then provide the foundation for the next present moment and so on and so on.
And an interesting experiment to conduct, while staying on the couch and digging in deeper rather than going for that walk for example, is to firmly remind oneself that languishing now means that we will languish on that couch tomorrow. Same same, no different. This will immediately bring honesty to the situation: given that tomorrow is the present, how committed are we really to the course of action we like to think we will instigate tomorrow?
This can be a very sobering moment.
We might realise that we have been feeding off an imaginary picture of how we will be and behave tomorrow in favour of what we are at present fed up with but have, in truth, no intention to change. Try it and you may find that there is a resistance there, a figure that firmly crosses its arms and says, ‘I dare you!’
And once we get past this hurdle and stop being hard on ourselves for a perceived failure that is not of our making, knowing that in truth we were just not ready to drop whatever we said we wanted to give up, we can set course and start from a much sounder foundation.
If we allow it, it will put tomorrow to rest and our presence with being present will get stronger; we will be more honest with ourselves and what is really going on and we will be able to cut our addiction to the perpetuated de-light of imaginary resurrections from behaviours and habits that we know do not serve us.
After all, that anticipated and coveted change cannot magically happen tomorrow from the momentum of the many same todays.