This book is about living in the now and being present to who and what is right here, right in front of you. Many of us struggle with being present. It is very easy to get sucked into ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.
Being present requires something of us.
It requires us to be willing to have a direct relationship with our emotions; to feel EVERYTHING that wants to be felt. This takes vulnerability and power, commitment and practice. Something magical happens when we practice this, especially in community, when we allow ourselves both to be the witness and bear witness.
Being in the now is where the aliveness is.
It’s how we know we’re living while we’re alive.
Yes, that’s a thing.
I have many favorite stories from this book. One is in the chapter on The Pain-Body and is called The Duck with a Human Mind. I used this story when working with my son’s wrestling team for a program I was asked to help create for them – to give them a new edge, a chance to transcend themselves and set themselves up to win another state championship. The coaches wanted them to shake off what came before in order to be fully present and self-confident.
We called the 10-week program, The Spiritual & Emotional Elements of Performance Enhancement. This segment had about 30 wrestlers, coaches, and a smattering of curious parents and teachers marching around the wrestling room, literally quacking and flapping their wings, a way to “shake things off” and “be in the now.” I still hear from some of those kids and many of us, like a dog arising from slumber or asserting itself on a walk, still shake things off by flapping our wings.
You’ll have to get the book to read the whole story and imagine yourself in this practice. I highly recommend it. Discover for yourself how flapping your wings is an advanced self-leadership skill, a true power move. It costs nothing and is kind of fun to do. I challenge you not to laugh while you’re doing it, especially if you’re doing it with others!
Another segment in this same chapter is called Carrying the Past. It’s a well known story about two Zen monks on their way to a nearby village. They come upon a woman trying to cross a muddy road and one of the monks picks her up to carry her across. The monks walked in silence for many hours after that, but once they reached their destination, the other monk exclaimed, “Why did you carry that girl across the road? You know we are not supposed to do things like that.” The first monk responded, “I put the girl down hours ago. Are you still carrying her?”
There is much wisdom of this nature in this book. As Oprah says about Tolle’s work, it’s worth returning to regularly, keeping it on your nightstand, and letting it infuse you with its guidance.
Perhaps as you do, you, too, will discover the freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.”
(Find this book in the Recommended Reading section of my website, under Guiding Principle #5: Create A Purposeful Life)