My dear Central family. What a strange and challenging time we are in right now especially with, but certainly not exclusive to, dealing with the scary and every evolving Covid-19 virus. You may know that I am also a mental health counselor and along with seeing patients, I write a monthly blog for my practice. I won’t do this every time with you but this time, I thought I’d steal from myself and share one I wrote back in January. It speaks to staying in and dealing with the present (as much as we can!). Give it a read.
I was listening to an interview the other day with Father Gregory Boyle. Father Boyle is the founder of an organization called Home Boy Industries that is based in one of the most gang saturated communities in Los Angeles. The organization is a means by which gang members are able to escape the gang life and be involved in productive and income making work. The story is very inspiring.
During the interview, it was pointed out that Father Boyle had some years ago been diagnosed with leukemia which, if you read my blogs, you know is something that as of April of 2019, I can personally relate to. Toward the end of the interview, he spoke more specifically of some of his personal journey both in life and in his journey with cancer. He mentioned that he had borrowed from a Broadway musical title a kind of personal mantra. The musical is called Now Here This.
This title is, of course, a play on the phrase “now hear this” – a means of getting attention before some sort of announcement. It becomes Now. Here. This. and is transformed in Father Boyle’s mind into a powerful call to mindfulness. Be present Now. Be present Here. Be present with This that is right in front of you. The longer I live and the more I learn, I find this to be among the most important of lessons in life and my now nine month journey with cancer has done nothing but reinforce this thinking.
Many of you know exactly what I mean when I talk about a piece of bad news or a personal journey with an illness or any sort of challenging life situation. It is so easy to get way ahead and start imagining all the difficult, painful, sad, and dire possible events in your future. And if you are like me, that imagining can elevate to a sort of pre-experiencing of those difficult outcomes (which may or may not even occur). It is so easy to do and yet all it does is rob us of the opportunities to experience either the joy, sorrow, or lesson of the precious present – the only place that we really have the opportunity in which to live. The even better news is that the more we live and operate fully in the present, the greater the possibilities for a positive future. It’s a real win/win!
So I’m taking on Father Boyle’s mantra and I hope you will, too. Let’s make 2020 the year of Now. Here. This. Let’s do a better job of being fully present in our current time and place and with the opportunities that are presented there. We still have much to learn and now, here, and this are among our greatest teachers.
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This reminds me of a quote ascribed to Mark Twain: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”