A Different Hourglass

January 30th, 2015

I got pulled over today. Get an inspection; get your registration renewed. What a relief: it was just a warning.

A year ago this month, I got another warning. Get a biopsy; get that tumor taken out. What a relief: it was only stage two and a half. The “half” means it was halfway to being malignant, to needing radiation. It was pushing against, but not yet into, both the lungs and the heart.

How many times do we get such warnings? How often do we listen?

I have a disease called “priority avoidant work addiction.” The little things get done while the big ones pile up. They’re too scary to face.

In little ways, I’m getting better. I finally got those blood tests I kept putting off. I finally realized that I sidestep the big things because I shrink from the smallest one: simply being present. As I learned from life coach Raven Dana, “the only thing we are ever afraid of is to feel our feelings.”

Running from our feelings, from the present, is like running from your shadow. That’s bad enough, but the present is even more crucial than that. It’s become cliché to talk about it. But what if all that really matters is right now? What if both the future and the past are created, every moment, from the way we live today?

From what I’m told, quantum physics already works that way. Religion tells me the same thing. After all, God can do anything.

I could tell you how much money I raised for this or that cause or what else I’ve accomplished — or not. But what if what I really need to do is, as they say, be the change I want to see in the world? Isn’t that the greatest challenge? If how I am, not what I do, is what magically, “holographically” changes the world, when will I stop running from matters most, from myself?

A Hasidic tale tells of a rabbi who went to learn from another rabbi. He went not to hear him preach, teach, or advise him, but rather to “see how he ties his shoes.”

From now on, I sweat the smallest stuff — and watch the rest run smoothly, like clockwork.

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