The present…

Today, I read a line written by Deepak Chopra. “In order to release the blockages and frustration that occur when our attention attaches to the past or future, we must learn to recognize the presence of our true self in each present moment.”

I think I’m pretty good at living in the present. Of recognizing the presence of my true self. Or at least I have come a long way. When I catch myself fixating on something, either past or future, I stop and recalibrate. I center myself. I am at peace.

But put me around loved ones who have known me my whole life, and my placid exterior is suddenly littered with buttons. Buttons and triggers. And each one can be pushed and pulled with a single word or look. And when that happens, I can’t seem to find my presence or the present for love or money. Decades old insecurities dust themselves off and take center stage. What the hell?

I know that I am not alone in this. You know how the saying goes that we love our neighbour, but the guy next door, well, not so much? Same thing. It’s relatively easy to live in harmony with the world abstractly. Up close and personal, much harder. And add love and decades of history to the mix, and good intentions can fly out the window, breaking the sound barrier on their way.

Why is it that we lose our ability to remain present when we are with those from our past? Why is this so hard? And what are we going to do about it?

Well, for me, I’m going to start by cutting myself and them some slack. Everyone has buttons and triggers. It’s part of being human. We cannot live an engaged life and remain unscathed. But we can take the time to give this phenomenon some thought. We can locate and acknowledge these buttons and triggers and work on diminishing our response to them. Like a broken doorbell that’s not attached to a chime. Picture those button pushers pressing and pressing and nothing happening. I like this idea.

And the next thing I’m going to try to do while I’m remembering who I am, is I’m going to remember who they are. I’m going to remember that they, too, have buttons and triggers that I can unintentionally press and pull. They, too, are doing the best they can. We love each other. Sometimes, it’s just not obvious. But sometimes, wow, our bond of blood or time is palpable. It is precious.

I recently spent a weekend with some of my loved ones. Yes, some of my buttons came to the party too. Some of my triggers were pulled unintentionally. I occasionally struggled to find the presence of my true self. Struggled to stay in the present. But for the most part, I succeeded. I felt our bond. I was thankful for our history. I realized how much I love them. How lovable they all are. They are a gift, a present that has been given to me. I am a lucky woman.

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