Living in ‘the now’…or updating your status?

www.helenwhitephotography.co.ukThe subject of this post has almost  made it to the pages of this blog before…but clearly wasn’t quite ready until suddenly, this morning, it became an irresistible topic that I wanted to share. Why? Because, at a time when many of us seem to be endeavouring to experience life in a more conscious and expansive way rather than continuing to fall for  the same-old unconscious pitfalls of learned behaviour that have ‘got’ us in the past, this seems like a HUGE experiential pitfall to flag up to all you bloggers, tweeters and Facebookers out there. And from experience, don’t I know it!

To put this into context, I’ve felt the most almighty urge to pull back from things this week, to stop all the clocks, dump all the obligations – just STOP.  Its a feeling that started to kick in around the time of Monday’s full moon and just kept going and – for once – I’ve let it run its course.  The result is that I haven’t painted a stroke, I’ve been completely off with the fairies, have even napped in the daytime – and it all feels ‘OK’, as though its something I just need to do while – deep down – something was recalibrating in my soul by shaking off all those shackles of ‘must do, should do, blah blah blah” that try so hard to keep us held so rigid in mental corsets of our own making.

The net result is that its been an odd – yet profoundly good – week.  At some level, its felt really momentous. With very little physical evidence to demonstrate the fact, it actually feels like I’ve achieved a great deal!

In that spirit, I took a leisurely amble through Nature this morning with my dog – my walks having slowed to a much gentler pace this week too – and for a while was just strolling along the river marvelling at some of the subtler things that Nature had to present to me, such as the light breeze tickling my cheeks, the way even muddy ditch water can be beautiful in a certain light and the fact that so many varieties of small bird can be seen darting  between hedgerows at this time of the year… This pleasant experiential stroll is very much how many of my walks start out – and so far, so good.

www.helenwhitephotography.co.uk

Yet it wasn’t long before a typical scenario began to unfurl… The sun, this morning, was a milky-white disk of opaque light behind a thin layer of cloud and its reflection in the inky flow of the River Blackwater was a beguiling twin that seemed to follow me like a walking companion, ducking behind trees and scrub only to reappear again as this fuzzy-edged yet strangely intense white orb in the water.  This in itself was almost too much for me – my hand was already itching to pull my camera out of my coat pocket – when I rounded a bend and encountered first one pure white swan, then his mate, gliding on these same dark waters with mirrored postures as they preened.  The whole ensemble – inky water, disk of white light, two purest white swans carrying out their leisurely ablutions no more than six feet away from where I was standing  – was just begging to be photographed and I could feel the longing rise up in me with the same degree of intensity that typically carries off almost every beautiful moment of my life.  Not only that, I was already leaping ahead of myself with ready formed sentences that would find their way on to Twitter, Facebook or – no, better still – my blog and suddenly my mind was far-far ahead of this moment and I was already at home with my hoard of ‘experience’…on my laptop…uploading pictures and tapping away at a keyboard…I was already living out some moment in the future………. In short, I was no longer HERE!

And this is when I did something different.  I pulled my hand out of the pocket, away from temptations way. I ‘shut down’ all thoughts; anything that resembled a caption to my moment or a profound thought ‘shared’ was shown the door of my mind and told to come back later. I let myself come back to the present moment, where the sound of swan-beak nibbling and tugging at feathers was faint but suddenly the most distinct thing in my experience plane and where the sound of water droplets from beak were distinct tinkles amidst the rhythmic sound of the river’s current weaving its way through eddies where overhanging trees touched the water. I became conscious of the music made by the breeze as well as its touch on my face…Of its ebb and flow… Of birds overhead, in the undergrowth…of teaming life and rhythm, flow and vibration all around me.  Suddenly I was conscious of having been set free from something, of being ‘allowed’ to experience all of this marvellous NOWness without the compulsive – imprisoning – sense of obligation to record it, take stock, capture, crystallise, preserve, wrap-up, convey and carry it back like some sort of high-priority UPS delivery to a waiting world – and really, who is out there waiting? – WHO? – And why are they so important that we are prepared to rush through all of our ‘now’ moments so readily on their behalf? At some level (still not put into words – that came much later…) I realised I’d been living life like some sort of neurotic journalist on a perpetual deadline for most of my life.  Not only that but I became aware, though its absence, of the sheer weight of what I had just put down, as though it had been some sort of burdensome soul-contract that had tricked me into thinking that mine was a lifetime of handing over all of my precious ‘now’ moments to an entirely fictitious ‘other’. What I found in its place was an experience of sublimely uncomplicated peace and JOY.

The essence of all this is something that has hit me before – I suspect it hits us all at fleeting moments – but to remember it and act on it consistently enough to reclaim your ‘now’ is something that takes quite some doing in a world so stiffly geared at projecting our thoughts away from the present moment into all of those anticipated moments ahead of us, wrapped up as they are in a thick layer of all of our many and myriad fears for the future, our sheer desperation to project the ‘right’ identity to others, to be noticed and applauded for having (akin with the rest of the socially-interconnected world) ‘done’ something worthwhile and meaningful today.

My conclusion is a simple reminder that there is nothing more ‘worthwhile’ or ‘meaningful’ than the present moment, the very NOW that you are currently in. I recommend not missing it while it is happening.

So, have I ‘blown it’ by writing about my experience after all?  I don’t think so because the difference is that I’ve put all this into words – into analysis – after the event, without my intention to do so invading the very experience I’ve described as it unfurled on my walk. Relevant to add that this isn’t the only example of me entering familiar territory yet ‘doing something very different’ with it this week as, just yesterday, I took an entirely new approach to a situation which, just a few months ago, I would have escalated and turned into wholesale drama of the ‘regret it later’ kind. Once again, the difference in outcome feels sublime and I’m brought laughingly to the old adage that the definition of insanity (attributed to Einstein) is continually “doing the same thing and expecting different results”!  Breaking out of ‘stuck-states’ is the only way that we can ever hope to move forwards – in a nutshell, this is how we evolve; by dealing with the same old circumstances in an entirely new way – and so I take these interrupted patterns in my own behaviour as extremely encouraging signs along the path of my own personal growth. So, perhaps I have moved much further than from one end of the sofa to the other this week after all…

To finish off, I want to direct you to small handful of outside resources that I feel are relevant to this topic:

  • Firstly, the master of living in ‘the now’, Ekhart Tolle, and the book that set me off on my journey several years ago and always worth a re-read “The Power of Now“.
  • Second – a timely post from one of the blogs I follow came up with these very words today; so profoundly in sync with what I’ve been feeling that I could hardly believe my eyes and had to share:   “Today you have entered a brand new phase dear ones, one where you will feel the breath of fresh air starting to tingle on your face. For you have once again exited a tunnel of travail, and now, you will feel as if you have left something rather cumbersome behind in that tunnel, and you are free to move in a much more lively fashion. For you have once again stripped yourself of some old raiments, things that have been stuck to you for such a long time, you had almost forgotten they were even there in the first place. So take some time to celebrate yourself today, as you are once again buoyant enough to rise even higher into this pristine air.” I heartily recommend this blog from Aisha North – “The Manuscript of Survival” as its brought me many moments of such synchronistic content.
  • Finally, with profound thanks for all that she has already given to me, I discovered Jill Renee Feeler just a few short days ago and perhaps no small part of the way I’ve been feeling these past days is attributable to all of the wonderful material that I’ve discovered on her website www.beaconforlightworkers.com.  One of the things that she said in one of her videos is quite possibly at the very core of my ability to start laying down this burdensome sense of obligation to deliver up all of my best experiences to others (at the expense of being fully present in those moments as they are unfolding) that I seem to have been carrying around with me for so long.  This will resonate with the growing number of us who feel it is almost our role or purpose in life to deliver positivity to others and so whose first reaction, when something good is unfolding, is to think “who can I share this with, who can I tell, how can I use it to make a difference”. In essence, Jill explains that, whilst the desire to share-out all our most positive experiences, our epiphanies or moments of profound realisation, is understandable it is not necessary to literally share out each and every one of these breakthroughs, at the personal level (unless we want to), because the very fact that we have now understood something new and profound, something expansive that will grow our consciousness means that this new understanding will be passed on into the ever-expanding shared consciousness of the whole of humanity at an energetic level via the ripple effect.  This is something I’ve understood intellectually – courtesy of cutting-edge scientists Bruce Lipton and Gregg Braden – for quite some time but, with Jill’s help, it feels like I’m finally ‘getting’ it at the practical level!

Last point – these photos of mine…they weren’t taken today (promise) but can be found in my archives at www.helenwhitephotography.co.uk.

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About Helen White

Helen White is a full-time professional artist (painting moments of everyday radiance in oil on canvas), a photographer, fabric designer and published writer with several blogs, on various topics, to her name. Light on Art is her art-related blog sharing recent artworks and inspiration.Living Your Whole Life is a health and lifestyle blog sharing all the many highlights of learning how to transform your health and wellbeing (spiralling out of ten years recovering from fibromyalgia). Spinning the Light is a very broad-based platform of self-discovery where she explores the everyday alchemy that is available to all beings just as soon as they open up to life's fullest potential.Helen White Photography is a portal for sharing her Fine Art photographs which are available as Limited Edition prints.
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5 Responses to Living in ‘the now’…or updating your status?

  1. v4vikey says:

    good one…………

  2. karinvandenbergh says:

    Wonderful post Helen. It seems to be the topic of this week’s blog- and other posts I’ve come across. Thank you for reflecting this back to me 😉 . Loved the part you shared about Jill Renee Feeler.
    Love, Karin

    • Helen White says:

      Thanks Karin, you’re right – this is a topic that seems to be converging in people’s thoughts at the moment…maybe its a timely nudge that we all need to get back to that elusive ‘now’ or, actually, remember that its not that elusive at all – its right here! I seem to have pulled back a bit from the compulsive use of social media this week…its great to connect but not at the expense of being present in terms of what’s happening right now.

  3. Pingback: Love Contemplation No. 32 Breaking the Patterns | Contemplating Love

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