Moving forward by relishing the present

A Note From Dr. Beverly Nelson, Director

The past is smoke
The future is wind
All we have is now

Dr. Beverly Nelson (Photo: Michael Amici)I heard this the other day and it stayed with me. Why is it that, while we may know this to be true, it is so difficult to put it in practice sometimes? I suppose that, in many cases, we hold on to our memories because they make us smile and ‘looking back’ means that we get a chance to live all those beautiful, happy moments once again. Those of us who have happy memories are so blessed, indeed: they can be a motivation to keep pursuing happiness, and they remind us that we have plenty of things to be grateful for.

Wouldn’t it be great if we found the same joy in relishing the present moment? Why is it that everything looks better, happier, nicer and simpler when we look back? A lot has been said and written about this eternal dichotomy of being human. We have a romantic relationship with our past, that’s why. “It all used to be better”, some people say. Remember when your parents and grandparents said that? “Not so long ago, things used to be more organized, food tasted better, cities were less polluted, people had better spelling and more manners, there was no over-population…”. Sounds familiar?

What if we just learned to view the past as “different”, rather than “better”?

Here is a list of the not-too-shabby things many of us have access to NOW, in the present.

  • Medications and treatments that cure diseases that, 50 or 100 years ago, would have been lethal.
  • Means of transportation that make it possible for us to be in China, the North Pole or Australia in a matter of hours or a couple of days. This kind of trips used to take months, or even years, in the past!
  • The social networks allow us to make our voice heard and get organized in a way that was never possible until now. 
  • Information is no longer a privilege: it has become a right and people demand access to it, everywhere. Internet has been extremely helpful in achieving this tremendous feat. 
  • Many social barriers have been torn down. Discrimination of every kind is seeing its last days and, should things continue this way, we will perhaps see it disappear. 
  • If you are reading this newsletter, it means that you have the blessing of sight; it also means that you have access to internet, a roof over your head and an interest in the world around you. Can any memory of the past, ‘beat’ the positive opportunities you have now?

Cherish the positive aspects of your past, and by all means: look back with a smile on your face and in your heart. Just remember that the past is not better than your present and that, while you cannot change the past, you can most certainly transform your present so that you and your loved ones have a better future.

As always, I would love to hear how you are living in the present and cherishing the NOW!

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