It’s harder than you think to live in the Now when you’re waiting for a test result or doctor’s appointment. Of course, it makes perfect sense and we all want to do it but practicing this illusive art takes dedication, commitment, and patience.
Recently illuminated by Oprah’s discovery of Eckhart Tolle’s books, The Power of Now and A New Earth, these are ancient concepts. They stem from the notion that we spend most of our consciousness either worrying about what hasn’t happened or regretting what already did, thereby completely missing what’s happening now.
For those who live with cancer, it is the norm. Between getting in to see a specialist or waiting for the news of recurrence, we have innumerable opportunities to worry about the unknown. Unfortunately, none of it helps.
When my life became inundated with doctor visits, treatments, scans and tests, I learned that I can only control certain things on this journey; the rest is out of my hands. So if I intended to live the best life possible - considering the boundaries of my condition - I had better learn to manage how I responded to this predicament. If I did not, worrying about things out of my control would fill every waking hour.
Cancer has taken enough of my life away, I reasoned. Why would I give it more than I have to? It was then that I learned to live in the Now.
Simply said, if I know I cannot affect it at this moment, I don’t invest myself in it. Once I have taken every measure possible to manage my health - done what can be done - I release the attachment to a future problem and redirect my awareness to the experience that I am having at this very moment.
This practice allows me to be fully engaged in the joyful parts of my life, those moments we beg to have more of, like being with those I love or doing things that make me laugh.
And, as I practice being in the Now, I find that all those other concerns, those things that used to keep me awake at night or ruin a perfect afternoon, just fade away . . .