Mind the gap Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Thursday, 14 April 2022 09:56
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Shall we do the infamous tombstone exercise today, girlfriend? It goes like this: If your tombstone had to be written right now – what would it say?

Me, personally, I’ve always giggled at Dorothy Parker’s wish: “This one’s on me. Cheers!” Or how about George Bernard Shaw’s actual tombstone: “I knew if I waited around long enough something like this would happen.” Or William H Hahn Jr’s: “I told you I was sick.”

Sheri Salata, author of ‘The beautiful no: And other tales of trial, transcendence and transformation’, says that six years ago her answer would have been: “Here lies Sheri Salata. She had a great job for a long time.”

“And even in the briefest distance from that great job and that great career, I said, ‘whoa, this is not what I want’. I mean, talk about instantly recalibrating to a new north star.” She says that nowadays, it’s more like this: “Here lies Sheri Salata. She manifested the full-on joy ride.”

The thing is, says Sheri, you think you have endless time and you’ll get it together at some point. Then you’ll do what you need to do for yourself. But how much time do you think you have? Seriously, how much time do you think you have? “Here’s the truth, you get the day you wake up in, my friends,” says Sheri.

There’s a dance that’s required of us, which is to dream our lives like we’re going to live forever and live like this might be the last day we get. So, how do we manage the ‘now’ piece, Sheri asks?

Madisyn Taylor says that so many of us live for the future or dwell on the past that we’re never really present. But, being present lets us experience each moment in our lives in a way that cannot be fully lived through memory or fantasy. Really, it is physically impossible to live anywhere but the present moment.

“We cannot step out our front door and take a left turn to May of last year, any more than we can take a right turn to December 2025. Nevertheless, we can easily miss the future we are waiting for as it becomes the now we are too busy to pay attention to,” says Madisyn.

How do we feel more at home in the present moment? Madisyn says it is important to try to stay aware, open, and receptive. “Being in the present moment requires our full attention so that we are fully awake to experience it.”

Easy to say, but how do you actually do this? The best way I’ve heard of is the advice they give people who suffer from anxiety. It is called The Rule of 333. According to Panic and Anxiety Community Support, this rule is simply a grounding technique used to pull your thoughts away from internal chaos and repetition to the external present world and moment. You ground yourself by combining the senses of sight, sound, and touch as follows:

Sight: Look around you and pay close attention to three objects as if you’re seeing them for the first time. Choose whatever is around you, whether it’s an ant, an urn or your shoe. Describe three things about each object.

Sound: Next, listen out for three sounds and repeat the same process – the humming of your refrigerator, a dove calling, a dog barking. It doesn’t matter if the sounds are soft or loud, random or repetitive, soothing or irritating. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to the tempo and tone of the sound.

Touch: Still with your eyes open, choose three moveable body parts: Snap your fingers, tap your toes, bend your knees or do neck stretches to use your tactile sense.

Some consider this a trick to distract your brain. Others want to go even further on the path of awareness; trying to ‘see’ the emptiness that carries the objects you’re looking at; trying to ‘hear’ the silence that carries the sounds you’re listening to.

“Pay attention to the gap,” says Eckhart Tolle – “the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and the out-breath. When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of ‘something’ becomes – just awareness.”

As Rumi says, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words.” Listen, girlfriend. “What you are seeking is also seeking you.”

 
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