So many of us judge the worthiness of our activities based on the nature of the activity itself rather than the intention/opportunity for growth behind it. We decide that we want to study jewelry making, folk guitar, pottery, balloon-twisting, baking, or anything else. Soon after, we ask “What’s the purpose of doing that?” “Aren’t I silly for wanting to spend my time with something so juvenile, useless, wasteful. Imagine doing something just because I want to! What’s that going to do for me?” When we talk to ourself like this, we put out our flame, our very life force. We are constantly categorizing our actions into worthwhile and not worthwhile categories. The determining feature of a worthwhile activity is usually if it will earn money or make us famous or lead to something or somewhere we deem as important. What we fail to acknowledge however, is that which an activity will offer us spiritually or the opportunity it will provide for us to grow. These elements should be the determining factors for whether an activity is worth our time. New activities force us to stretch, to live in the uncomfortableness of not knowing something (and still keep going), to push our edges, to focus, to learn, to be a beginner, to challenge our ego, to experience the small steps of starting from the beginning, and endless other wonderful skills. Is our growth of value? Is our spiritual nourishment of value? Is something that brings us enJOYment of value? Our organic drive to evolve, stretch, push ourselves, learn, re-awaken our curiosity, and all the rest of the best of us, these are what determine the worthiness of our activities. Our experience, our growth, our joy, in short, WE must always be what matters and not the contents of what we do.
In my last blog, I spoke about one of the reasons that we have such a hard time being present in the NOW. In short, we cannot enter the NOW and must remain outside it, watching it, managing it, in order to protect our identity: how we will be seen as a result of our performance in the NOW. There is another reason we cannot join the moment fully, cannot let go of the manager who is always making sure that the moment goes a particular way. Oddly, the idea that I hear so often from clients is that if they were to BE in the moment, then that would mean that they would actually BE in their lives. And when I ask what is wrong with that, they tell me that if they were to really BE living their lives then that would mean that they were also really going die someday. It is as if by staying a step outside our lives, we imagine that we somehow control death. In the full stream of the NOW, fully in sync with what is happening as it unfolding, we are in danger of death sneaking up and grabbing us, unexpectedly. If, on the other hand, we are watching ourselves in the NOW, living from the sidelines, we will see death coming, be able to protect ourselves from it happening to the person who is living “as” us. Narrating and controlling the NOW is an attempt to postpone our real life from happening, and thus ending! Unfortunately, as we keep ourselves outside the direct experience of life, time passes at exactly the same rate. Our body uses up its NOWs whether we choose to be present in them or not. Nature is not interested in our availability to the moments it awards us. Death is coming whether life is lived directly or from a seat on the bench. What is different for those that refuse to join the NOW is not a staved-off death, but rather a staved-off life. Death will arrive on schedule and unfold in the same manner as did their life: without them.