gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

living in the moment.

i like to take things back. i mean, i like like taking things back.

sometimes i take back things i've bought, like tools, furniture, bedding. sometimes i take back things like shoes, pants, underwear. actually, you can't return underwear and that's a shame. i'm also mildly uncomfortable after paying for a meal in a fine restaurant. you can't return a meal and that's a shame. i'm aware that the big stores make it easy to return items in order to encourage buying and i do take full advantage of that. i'm not the sort to buy a dress, wear it to a party and then return it the next day. that'd be weird on many levels. but, i am the type to buy something, check it out in the comfort of my own home and then return it if it's not absolutely, exactly, precisely what i want, or even anyway.

sometimes i take back what i've said. sometimes you can't and that's a shame. i would have liked to take back something i said recently to my neighbor at the cottage. he invited me over for a beer. i don't drink, haven't had alcohol since before i became a monk, circa 1970. but i sipped a half a beer with the guy, ate some chips, chatted. the next day he asked how i felt from the beer and i told him it was great, slept like a baby, have decided to become an alcoholic. he didn't seem to find that amusing, which in itself is not unusual. only, then i happened to hear from another neighbor that he's a raging alcoholic.

i know i take returning things a bit far. it is perhaps my pathetic little way of protesting globalization. only, i also know it runs deeper than that. i have been concerned about the moves i make in life. the idea we hear so often, especially as 'new-agers,' is that we should let go of the past, not worry about the future, just live in the present moment. what does that even mean? i have a lovely friend, someone who was my wife for an hour or two, who calls from time to time to see how i am. we have a long-running joke about trying to live in the present moment. when i say that i'm fine, she'll say: "how about now?" when i say i'm still fine, she'll say: "how 'bout now?" that can go on a while.

there are so many things you can't take back and that's a shame. but, that's alright too. one lovely aspect of growing older, of having meditated, of having studied life, is how you become less concerned with the prospect of buyer's remorse. you become less confused by the notion of time. you do intuitively appreciate the moment. thich nath hanh has said: "walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet. drink your tea slowly and reverently, without rushing toward the future. life is available only in the present moment."

does it really matter if we fully understand what it means to 'be here now'? i don't. i just like the sound of it. i'm still gonna take back the bathing suit i bought at the 'tigre giant' yesterday, if they'll let me. it has the netting inside so they may not accept it. but, i'll hand it over slowly, reverently, and see how it goes.

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