The Good Old Days ...??
A hot and sunny hello from Boston, Massachusetts. When I arrived 10 days ago it was in the mid 40 degrees range and since then, the temperature has climbed nearly 50 degrees (Farenheit). New England is welcoming me back with its fickle weather and I am loving it.
This got me thinking about having spent the last 9 months "somewhere else" and primarily on the west coast and how I can slip into comparing other parts of the country to home. Sometimes I'll make note of something that I like better about another geographical area -- the mountains and views in S Oregon are spectacular. Other times, and perhaps more often, I'll wish it was more like New England. This can lead to reminiscing about growing up and living so much of my life in and around Boston and even having a touch of missing "the good old days". That's where this week's MQ came from!
"If you put your past on a pedestal, you tend to discount everything from then until now."
Having been a teacher and a follower of mindfulness for so many years, I fully understand the power of NOW. It's all that's real. There's now and now and now and ... you get the picture, right? The future is yet to arrive (and actually never will because when it does it will be now) and the past is something in our mind memory. Interestingly, we can get caught up in a mind game with those memories and create a story about how much better it was then. Let me take a moment to say that we can all have some really good reminiscences from years past and it's a wonderful thing to look at pictures and feel all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes, if something tough is going on, it's a good thing to look back and remember a heartwarming event or period in our lives. It helps us have hope and to trust that things will improve. But when we start to forget that there are always ups and downs or we create a fantasy around the perfection of years gone by, we are doing ourselves a disservice. I try to remind myself and I'm offering this to you -- there is a Universal Law of Change known as anicca in the Pali language. Gautama Buddha talked about this and encouraged an understanding of it as the key to contentment. Basically, it means that nothing is permanent. What arises will pass. Even our bodies' cells are changing on a daily basis. Nothing is continuous or permanent except what we keep going on in our minds and that is false. If we try to live in the past and we only want to talk about or glorify whatever was happening 10, 20, 30 or more years ago, we are missing out on the wonder of now and we are dismissing much of where we've been and what brought us here. The "good", the "bad", none of that should be ignored or disregarded. If we get stuck in the past, we will surely miss the potential magnificence of now. Even if something isn't fantastic at the moment, just like New England weather, give it a minute and it will change. Hold your delightful memories of the past, but not so tightly that you can't relax into the now an appreciate everything that brought you here. This is what I wish for you.
As I wrote this, I got one of my musical scores in the background -- it's really funny how this happens. The song I kept hearing was "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba. It's kind of a funny, silly song and I love it because it talks about having a challenging day, but bouncing back again.
Sparkles and Love,