Living For Today
by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley
RJR: ‘Living in the moment’ was a term that many were using before the pandemic. Be present – we told ourselves. We only have today. Don’t live in the past, or the future. Be in the Now. But this past year has changed that a little, hasn’t it? For everyone at the moment, being in the now is a very difficult and painful place to be, especially because of the time of year. We are creatures that look at this time of year in terms of whom we have spent it with in the past, and feel even more this year how much we are missing them. And we also use this time to plan ahead, and think about what we want to change in our lives. There is so much to learn from these times, I would like to reflect on all of this with you, Nigel, if you are willing?
NS: The endless now that we are in is indeed difficult and painful. Personally, I certainly don’t want to go over the past (although at the moment it seems to intrude relentlessly into present dreams) and I am loath to indulge in fantasies of the future that may well come to nothing. However, I find in music and in books and in paintings (much of which I would never have discovered if it were not for this ongoing “now” situation) voices from the universal (rather than personal) past that resonate and inspire – and in a peculiar way act as signposts to a future that cannot be known but yet is heading our way! So, in a way, I think this “now” enables us to travel in time – not to escape but to appreciate the depths and dimensions there are in this current darkness. Isn’t this a rare opportunity for us?
RJR: It is a rare opportunity to expand our consciousness. I think differently to you on the past and our dreams. I feel our dreams are a way of bringing issues up to be healed. So I am appreciating time to reflect on memories that are coming up for both night and day, which I am now seeing through the lens of now. I am allowing the flow, and experiencing what healing comes from being with that. I also appreciate what you are saying about traveling back in time through literature and music. Both processes bring our times into a different perspective. As for the future… a young patient said to me last week, I have nothing to look forward to for next year. I said to him, it actually depends how you look at it. I continued by saying, you have nothing that you know of to look forward to, but you also have many things that you know nothing about at the moment, which are certainly worth looking forward to. In that instant, he got it. And that is why we can draw energy in from the future…
NS: I wonder if we use “planning ahead” as a means of escaping looking at what is happening in the now. So “no future” kind of blocks off that exit. We are learning that we cannot sensibly plan ahead anymore but, as you pointed out to your patient, stuff is coming… some “good”, some “bad”. So don’t we need to use this time now to be as strong as we can… because the future is likely to require that of us?
RJR: I think the old model of thinking meant that, but these times are here to teach us something different. Without looking ahead, we take no responsibility while we live in the present. As a species, we were ignoring the facts of what our future would be if we continued behaving as we were – and if we were to make plans to carry on regardless of what we were being told about climate change, then we would be carrying on living in ignorance. I believe our planet is going through another mass extinction, and therefore requires the metamorphosis that our species is experiencing now. I don’t think it is about being strong – I feel it is about waking up. Waking up in the present, and looking at the bigger picture of what is going on today, and its implications on all our futures – and all life on this planet. The way we were living was unsustainable, so going back to ‘normal life’ in the future is not the deal here. What do you think?
NS: There seems no doubt that a mass extinction looms… David Attenborough, for one, has been warning of this for some time. “Normal” life has brought humanity to this point… so a return to that way of living does not appear sensible in any way. The big lesson to be learned is that we have to evolve. But how can that lesson be hammered home?
RJR: What I have been doing this week is planting seeds in the mind’s of those I am speaking to… and seeing how they land. I have shared with them some information that was passed on to me, and I am going to write it here too. In 1970 there were two-thirds more wild animals on the planet than there are now. 27 years ago, there were 75 per cent more insects in Germany, than there are now. Scientists are predicting that there will be no fish in our oceans by 2048. Opening our eyes to these facts will get us to first base. I don’t know what the next base is, but my intention is to be open to seeing it on the horizon.
NS: Everyone can change their life – for the good of all life. And in making such a change, the individual also makes their own individual life better and more enjoyable – isn’t that the case?
RJR: For all of us to be thinking of the good of all life in the present and future would be a great lesson learned during these times, for sure! And if we don’t consider the good of all life, even for the very near future, human beings will be facing ever-growing catastrophes until we do. We are not separate from our planet. We rely on the homeostasis of our planet to keep us alive. So let’s use this time to learn, to wake up, and to really see. Happy New Year, everyone 🙂
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