Monday, December 31, 2018

The present moment

"We balance the risks of the physical world ... with the risks of an insular life, lived underground, in fear. Too much safety creates its own dangers."
--Anne P. Beatty, "You Don't Have to Be Here," Creative Nonfiction Issue 68, Risk: Embracing Uncertainty

That quote struck me, since I'm one of those cautious people who try to plan for every eventuality. Risk-averse, to boot. But the older I get, the more I'm aware of just how much of life is beyond our control.

As we flip the calendar to the new year, we think about what we want the year ahead to be. I have many sources of uncertainty in many areas of my life right now, and rather than deal with all of 2019 I am going to continue focusing on the present moment. The now. 

"'The present moment is a teacher that will always be with you, a teacher that will never fail you.'"--Thich Nhat Hanh, quoted in "Learning to Trust the Present Moment" by Mitchell S. Ratner, The Mindfulness Bell, Issue 31

 On New Year's we think a lot about past and future. We count off the final seconds of a year, letting it go, watching it become the past right before our eyes. We look ahead to the unknown, the fresh start, the clean new calendar. I have lived through the turning of a year, a decade, a century, a millennium. But I keep settling in to the present moment.


  1. First I'd like to say: Happy New Year, Jennifer! I so enjoy reading your philosophical musings about writing and about life. No, we can't control what happens in life, as much as we'd like to. The only thing I know is that life is to be lived fully. There is NO dress-rehearsal. We go through this life gig once. We need to make the most of every moment. Do I? No. But I try. And that's all any of us can do.

    I enjoy reading your books and your thoughts here on your blog and the treasured insight you offer at Adventures in Writing, my blog. I wish you every success in 2019.