The home sweet home of Monroe and Sandy couldn’t have been a more perfect location for their portrait session. Everything about the place is uniquely them, and many of the stylistic gems you’ll find among their decor have a special story behind them. This couple was fun and laid back and the chemistry between them was perfection. Needless to say I am more than smitten with the results.
I recently heard from high council that the moment we are in deserves our best. This particular expression has struck a chord in me. It’s gotten my wheels turning. The word ” deserve” sort of gnaws at the back of my mind…what is it that this moment expects from me? What exactly IS my best? And what if my best isn’t good enough? What if that which I am able to give the moment leaves it with much to be desired? And when referring to the moment…is it the actual moment, like this very second, right now, that is so deserved? Or, is “the moment” intended to convey a particular situation, or point in time that in fact encompasses a vast quantity of moments?
I’ve pondered these questions over the past few weeks, and here’s what I’ve come up with. When it comes down to it, the moment, this moment, right now, is all we have. Nothing outside of this moment is real. To be concerned with anything other than the now, is to deny ourselves from living fully, wholeheartedly, and authentically. Our best, is to give right now all the love and attention we possess. Offering it instead to what doesn’t exist is simply energy (and moments) wasted. The best we can give our moments is our true authentic self, and that will always be enough. When we put our focus on what has already come to pass or what is yet to be we are doing a great injustice to the present moment and to ourselves.
We must not deny the significance of the past. The past is extremely important. It is where we find our lessons, and from which we grow. The thing to remember about the past is not to get stuck in it. We mustn’t hold on. Too often people get caught up, they become preoccupied with what is already said and done, their hearts and minds fill with regret, anger, or bitterness. If we live in the past our capacity for growth and change is deeply limited. The objective is to appreciate the past for its lessons, to attain forgiveness for ourselves and others, and then to let it go, to grow and to move forward. I will reiterate the noteworthiness of edification in regard to the past. The lessons we take from the past should act as a guide, revealing to us that which does or does not lead us down the path to happiness, and thus influencing our decisions. When we don’t pay attention to the lessons, we end up having to take the class over again. When you do what you have always done, you will yield what you have always received.
As a dreamer, I find I sometimes consciously have to bring myself back to the present moment. I’m extremely susceptible to getting lost in my mind. It’s easy to get caught up in the “what if’s” and the “one day’s”. It’s easy to imagine the greener grass on the other side, if we can just get through today tomorrow will be better. But in reality, there is no other side, there is no tomorrow. Tomorrow is an illusion. Perhaps if we can put all of that energy we have saved up for tomorrow into our present moment, our today’s will begin to be as good as the tomorrow’s we imagine. To say we shouldn’t live in the future is not to say that we shouldn’t have intentions, or aspirations, or dreams. On the contrary, I believe that our future is shaped by our intentions. I believe that our world is what we make it to be. I say dream big. But just as we should learn from the past and then let it go, we should strive to find the same separation in regard to the future. We should embrace our dreams, focus on our goals, and realize our intentions… the key is not to become attached to the outcome. When we attach ourselves to a particular outcome, this is when anxiety, worry and stress materialize. The same holds true when we become attached to people, or to the opinions of others. Attachment to an outcome=expectation=disappointment. When we are so worried about what’s going on outside of the present moment, before we know it our moments will have all passed, we having spent them entertaining ghosts and fantasies.
I find myself the happiest, feeling most alive, when I am free to fully experience the moment I am in. And at the same time I find myself most ill at ease when preoccupied by that which others may be experiencing, when worrying about the future, or when dwelling on moments which have already passed. I am filled with apprehension and insecurity when I am not able to fully experience the now because I’m overly concerned with expectations, outcomes, and other peoples reactions and interpretations. Living in the moment is what works for me. Because inevitably (and thankfully), everything changes.
This is your story and you are the author. Each new moment is a new beginning, a chance to make your right now everything you want it to be. Don’t miss out on your moments. They are all you have. And they deserve your best.
This post has been a long time coming! Ian and I worked together for some promo shots back in the spring, and I’ve been patiently waiting to share them. He’s finally gotten his website together and you can check out his music and musings over at http://noiseyrobot.com/
Several weeks ago I met up with my lovely cousin Beth for a morning trip to the farmers market. If you know me, you know I was absolutely smitten strolling through the rows of fresh and local produce! And being there with my cousin, whom I haven’t spent much time with since we were children, was an extra special treat.
As I’m sauntering along, immersed in my surroundings, Beth catches my attention and pulls me over to one of the booths with an enthusiastic “Jessica, you’ve GOT to try these grapes. They taste just like grandma Juanita’s.” She offers me one from the cluster she has just purchased, and I eagerly pop it into my mouth.
There are certain things in life that just take you places. You know what I’m talking about. Walking through a crowded room, a whiff of a strangers cologne makes your heart skip a beat…a song on the radio inspires you to call up your best friend…it could be a taste, an aroma, an object, a precise chill in the air… These things sweep you away from the current moment and flood your mind with memories so real it’s as if you are living them over again. These grapes did that for me. In an instant I was ten years old with little white blossoms in my hair, spinning wildly on the wooden swing hanging from the oak in my grandparents back yard. My eyes filled with tears as I met Beth’s knowing gaze. All I could do was smile and wipe my tears, no words needed to be spoken.
Without going into great length about my grandmother ( I could easily write a book) let me just say that she holds a very dear place in my heart. When I was seventeen she died of cancer, and that year proved to be the most difficult of my life to date. I was young in every sense of the word. I didn’t understand death, all I knew was that it wasn’t fair. I cursed God for allowing something so terrible to consume the most wonderful woman I’d known. I didn’t even attend her funeral. I wasn’t capable of handling my emotions. So afraid of letting go, of feeling the emptiness, I would rather close my eyes and pretend that the world was not changing around me. Thinking that somehow, if I ignored the situation, it would simply fade away.
Many of my favorite things evoke memories of my grandma and of my childhood. The chiming of a grandfather clock, pink peonies, and the scent of lipstick to name a few. When I happen across one of these beautiful reminders in my daily life, I smile, knowing now that my grandmother is very much alive in my heart, and will always be a part of who I am. I have a long list of these little reminders in the back of my mind, but the grapes came to me as a wonderful surprise.
I reveled in those grapes all afternoon
I recall how I used to pluck them straight from the vine and into my mouth, always using my tongue to separate the bitter skin, promptly spitting it out, leaving only the sweet flesh behind. As I found myself all these years later, immersed in the memories elicited by my cluster of Concords, It came to my attention that I hadn’t been discarding the skin as I had as a child. I was actually savoring the entire grape, embracing the bitterness as much as the sweet.
It was one of those “aha!” moments for me.
Without having traveled through the darkness we cannot fully appreciate basking in the light…
Without deeply experiencing emotion on both ends of the scale, everything we know can only be mediocre.
I readily admit that some things in life just plain suck. Even if we are able appreciate the darkness for what it is, that doesn’t make it any less daunting. I am also not in any way suggesting that feelings of sadness are insignificant or should be made light of. On the contrary, I am encouraging you to take it all in. Soak it up. Feel it in your bones, in the very core of your being. Remember, laugh and cry, and allow your experiences, the bitter and the sweet, to propel you forward. On the bitter side of sweet is where the seed of growth germinates… provided it is given a sustainable environment. When the bitter is embraced with love and acceptance, such an environment is created, which allows the spirit to expand and flourish.
There is special place here in Pensacola, it’s not a secret or hidden place, but whenever I find myself there it never fails that no one else is around. It’s that place I like to go just to be, to collect my thoughts, to find insight and inspiration. I had a similar such place as a child…the tree in my front yard. When I wanted to get away I would climb it, notebook in tow, and I would perch up there among the branches, dreaming and writing until darkness fell.
There is also a tree in this new special place I’ve frequented over the past several years, and though I have climbed it on many occasion, nowadays I tend to prefer to sit beside the tree, closer to its roots. Perhaps the reasoning for this lies in a need to feel grounded. You see, my spirit is like a bird, it loves to be in the branches. It has this innate desire to feel everything. It wants to live where the breeze blows and the sun shines and the rain falls, to take it all in, to experience every fleeting moment. There are times I forget to attend to the bird that is my soul. A caged bird, neglected and denied its desire to be bathed in sunlight, or to sing its unique and joyful song, ultimately will die, in some form or another, unless it is set free at least temporarily. These are the times in my life when I seem to be drawn to my special place, when my mind becomes overwhelmed I can release the bird, and while allowing it to soar and rejoice in its liberation, I can remain grounded, near the roots of the tree.
A few years back I found myself beneath these branches. My world was in turmoil, uncertain of anything, I was questioning the validity of my own feelings, and utterly unsure of what my next move should be. My heart and my head were fighting a world war, and so I found myself in my special place, pleading with the universe for guidance and answers. There I sat, under my tree at the edge of the water, just staring at the blank notebook in my hands. I sat there for over an hour and no words came.
When, as the last rays of sunlight were dancing across the water and the sky began to glow, my gaze fell upon a small vessel in the distance. It was a wooden boat, captained by an unidentifiable shadow with a pair of oars. I looked on, enamored by the fluid motion, the ease at which the boat seemed to glide effortlessly through the water. I watched the vessel as it began to fade from sight, and in the dusk, I could just barely make out her name.
A boat named patience. And there it was.
I didn’t really relate to the word as implying tolerance, restraint, or stoicism. My interpretation of patience, with consideration to where I was at that point in time, had a lot to do with faith. Letting go of internal expectation and trusting that things would work themselves out. I didn’t necessarily see this as a synonym to waiting either, a person may patiently wait, but will be always be inevitably moving forward. I saw it more as a reminder to slow myself down. I was in such a rush to get to the end of the story that I was willing to skip through all of the good stuff so I could immediately know all the answers. For me, the idea of patience is to move forward with an open heart and mind, trusting that I am traveling down the path on which I need to be.
Suddenly everything went from being extremely complex to extremely simple. And now, at times like these, when I’m at a sort of crossroads in my life, I am reminded to take a breath. To embrace the story, savor the moments, to take things as they come, and to quit being so damn impatient.