“May you live in interesting times.” ~ Chinese curse
“The power of creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by so quickly you hardly catch it going.” ~ Tennessee Williams
Sometimes I feel like I live in a constant storm. I’ve been thinking a great deal lately of how that stresses me out and I don’t like that feeling. It’s been a goal of mine for several years to stop living in the future and just appreciate the present moment. But those lessons I learned early on about making goals for each day and plans for years to come are extremely difficult to break. I mean, I still wake up every morning with a list in my head of things I want to accomplish that day so I can feel good about myself. I do this even though I know, intellectually, that my worth has nothing to do with my accomplishments.
Yesterday I watched the movie The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. It’s this great story about a seventy year old widower, played by De Niro, who feels like being retired is just not fulfilling. Since he’s alone, and he’s not interested in any of the women of his acquaintance, he decides to apply for an intern position at a new internet company. He’s not well versed on how internet commerce works, but he was an executive at DEX and knows how business works and the principles are pretty much the same. He is paired up with Anne Hathaway, the owner of the company, against her wishes. But she does it to please her investors.
The company has been such a huge success that they met their five year goals in eighteen months. Which means, Jules, Hathaway’s character, is extremely busy. She’s still in the mode of doing everything herself. At first she ignores Ben, De Niro, but he makes himself useful and soon all the young employees love him, so Jules reluctantly begins giving him more and more work and, true to Hollywood form, they become friends. Ben helps Jules over some really tough decisions about her business and her personal life.
What I took away from watching the movie was that Jules and I are a lot alike. Okay, I’m not a high powered executive with a husband and a young child, but I do pay attention to the little details of my work. And often I’m thinking about the next task I need to do while supposedly paying attention to the one I’m currently working on. I think that’s kind of a common human practice. But it’s not good. Multi-tasking doesn’t work.
This morning as I was thinking about what I was going to write for this post, I felt harried. A lot has been going on in Arizona and the country over the last few days. On top of that today is the primary elections and I’ve been stressed about all of that. But I’ve had this strong feeling that I want to be less stressed, and then I remembered Jules in the movie. She learns that she is the only one who can decided what is important in her life and her business. And that helped me remember that I’m in control of my thoughts and actions. If I turn my attention to the present moment, I can avoid feeling beleaguered by events going on around me.
After all, we only have the present moment. We can’t manipulate the past or the future. But we can influence the future by the choices we make today. So, today I’m heading for the eye of the storm and staying there in the present moment where it is for the most part calm. If I get caught up in the storm, I’ll remember to take a breath and make the appropriate decisions one at a time that will help me get back to that calm place that is always inside me. I’ll probably have to remind myself of this many times before it becomes habit but it’s worth the work.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.