Present Moment, Only Moment: What’s the Rush?

Credit: Millie Grenough

It’s the day before vacation. I’m hassled. So much stuff to prep and pack. As I sit on my back deck, writing my lists, words from many years ago flash into my mind:

Present moment. Only moment.

They’re from the Summer after a bicycle accident almost killed me. My friend Lynn knew that I needed re-tooling. She recommended a retreat at Omega Institute in rural New York. I knew little of the monk who was leading the retreat, and I didn’t know if I would be able to sit and meditate, but I trusted Lynn. I went.

Now, 26 years later, as I sit in the morning sun in my backyard, I remember those words from the monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. Thay, as he is called, is himself recovering moment-by-moment from an aneurysm and long coma. Carol, the beloved partner of my good friend Tom, died last week. The young wife of another friend is in her final days at Smilow Cancer Hospital. All this sadness weighs on me. How delicate and fleeting our lives…

I should be packing for my trip now. But my mind is whirling.

Thay’s words remind me. Get with it. This moment really is the only moment. Sip my morning iced tea. Be here now. Notice…

Ah, the sun hits my face.
Last night’s rain shimmers on all the greens.
The basil is showing new leaves.
A bluejay streaks across the yard.
The gentle breeze gives me goosebumps.
I am alive, breathing, healthy.
I am strong enough to go hiking.
How fortunate I am…

What will I do with this one wild and precious life of mine? – with the moments and days left to me?

Thanks, Thay. Thanks, Mary Oliver. Thanks, family, morning sun, universe, and all who give me life.

Now to finish prepping for Katahdin.