Planting Now’s in the Gardens of Then

Curating a path to being in the emotional present.

While pondering a word prompt, patience, from another piece, the umpire-ical outlook on the natures of us that I tend to fall down took hold. As I examined my patience that metaphysical door opened up a bit. I must be patient, because I, like many others in this society and worldview am still, and constantly paying for the past while looking toward the future. The today’s that I have encompass either paying for the past in some manner, or applying it towards tomorrows. Staying in the present and understanding those traits is a simple assignment, it’s just not easy to stay on target, patience…

rock-stack-on-log-by-water                Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

A few months ago, the thought came to me, pray enough sleep that the dream may awaken. Where that is from I have no idea, possibly an overly sandy Science- Fiction film? That thought is making more sense as this blanket of cognizance spreads. Somewhere between the morass of the yesterdays and the minutiae that clutters up our future tripping imaginations; The today’s are not looked upon as the are, but what our expectations of them are. They are stuck between the yesterdays, and the tomorrows of billions of people, millions of forces, and a singular penchant for overlooking those things.

So while people go about their lives, they either are aware or unaware of the amount of pure programming, that social and civilization mandated programming of what “being” means… That it robs meaning altogether. While folks do so mostly blind to it, the expectations they have and create; whether it be a fantasy future, or a snapshot of their past, it is what they use to view, act upon, and manipulate their world towards those ends. Some have sophomoric ideas that we can get to the future on somebody else’s work, or we can go back and fix the past somehow, or just live it over again. We don’t even know what to do with the present, so we have been building futures on yesterdays by giving it our best guesses.

watch-with-leather-strap-near-leaves                                               Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

The expectation game is part nature and part nurture. Nature provides a systematic backdrop, eat, sleep, Sun up, Sun down. The general thinking is it will be the same stage when we awake as when we went to sleep, or went to work for a shift. So in its natural cycle, the present is a more difficult concept to grasp because it does not exist. It is always sandwiched between the heavyweights of thought and action, before and after, cause and effect, crime and punishment. That thinking arrangement was made more acute and directed as we went into civilization, climbed the ladders made of other humans, and staked our claims to whichever caste of class we see ourselves in now. The perpetually hunted and hunter all at once, the present was parlayed and marginalized into one thing, action or inaction. Inaction, has been relegated to something bad, while action receives all the positive accolades.

In all of the action though, the sleepy tidbits of life and expectations of yourself and  others are often overlooked or steamrolled over. The parameters of the fragile constructs that people use unfold, the end is not the same now than it was when started because the expectations, and rewards have been altered. In reaching for the present the proper course is often thought-inaction, as opposed to actions. Yet, that too has been relegated into a failing. In this hunter/hunted processing we have gotten all too used to, thought itself has been deemed an antagonist to systematic behaviors. Thought is an action though, it is a force, and it has immense power over us whether we like to think it does or not.

I can’t even start to count how many times that I have heard the phrase, It’s just feelings. It would seem to me that the building and development of this water bottle suit we live in depended upon those dismissed things people declare as just feelings. The profound ignorance that is used to address those feelings is stunning, the practicing of it is sickening. Turn off what you are feeling… So that you can “think” something else… “Act” like all the rest… and be comforted that you’re OK? I am not great at this stuff, but that makes no sense to me whatsoever. So planting those now’s is a more daunting task than it appears, it is not a tactile thing, yet still a physical effort at times, and the roots and stalks die off in the Sunlight. The expectations do begin to look for pre-installed inputs, look for the security-ness of those environmental atta-boys, it is what we are trained to do, at much the same time, it is not doing what and who we are much of the time.

crowd-participating-at-event.jpg                                             Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst

In that expectation game though, there really is no trick to it. The placement of those expectations has been permanently set to a high level. The affluency and standards of today’s world leaves little room for errors, and almost none for error prone humanity. So enjoying that now, planting and grasping, planting and grasping, is an exhaustive task. Without some serious training, while using the machinery available to you, those other people, those other gardeners, those histories, it is all on the overwhelming side from the get go. Finding the now’s alone is daunting, it is worth the practicing though, it is worth the work needed to capture your best moments so they set up other best moments. The pay it forward of life, the karma bus ride on as opposed to under. So it is pleasing to my ears and my sensibilities when I say that I lead a small life, that statement is not one of humbleness but of egoistic pride, I’m bragging…

hands-in-light.jpg                                             Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

When it occurred to me that I do not necessarily see the world the way others do, I started noticing the way the world was working. The way the people were doing things, the mannerisms that I either possessed or didn’t, and why not? When I think and ponder about things, all of my inputs are opened up. I don’t look for answers in the standard places one would think of looking for them. When confronted with a problem, a blockage, I am like an engineer so to speak. I want to know what’s on the other side first, so that I don’t do more damage working from my side. But also, to find a more efficient and copacetic solution to said issue/blockage. That may not sound very different, but I also apply that to most everything else I examine. I apply the mirror technique to a lot of the information I receive. It is part of the trust issues I grew up with, with people saying one thing to me, and myself intuitively knowing they were less than truthful. So with that mirror effect, that examination of what is looking at me? Instead of what am I looking at? brings me more into the present than the older model behaviors.

In another piece, I referenced unplugging of antique telephone wires at an operator’s switchboard as a description of what I am going through now. The clearing away of self imposed wasted energies, those half completed empty buildings of changed directions, blown apart expectations, and burned out hulks of those consumed by the fear fires that erupt when this practicing is not practiced. So as the unplugging continues, and that base code is found again, it is not a surprise that beliefs are involved. The beliefs that come are not those of spiritual wanting, but those of real experiences reinforced over and over again. It is no small relief that in the last few weeks I have seen evidence of myself in my thoughts, more evidence of the past work and understanding that I came to believe. The difficulties of recovery is not strewn with booze and drugs alone, but with the emotions and pieces of life that are often overlooked or thought less of. It is there, in the unnoticed parts of this experience that I find the nutrients for that soil, in my garden of being present.

When planting now’s in the garden’s of then, those parts of the past that guide your now’s can become a compost pile, a collection of burned out buildings, or just a big jumble of spaghetti that you are trying to chew. Those expectations and ideas that guide your now’s are also a place for future fires and sticky noodles. The need for water throughout all of this, to wash down the pasta and put out the fires, to make that compost grow something more, again, is found here, there, then, and now.  In a life well fed today, and picked fresh daily from a garden of then’s.

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