Seems I almost always get this intense feeling of dread whenever I have a meeting the following morning with my boss? Why do I always have this feeling that I am responsible for the whole world and not simply my project. My project isn’t that simple.
I’m always sure that I am expected to be farther along than I am, part the seas, make it right. And of course, I have squandered my time. I’m sure I have made no progress to speak of. With the day of reckoning being tomorrow I fall into deep despair. Is this the Catholic guilt I always hear about.
Isn’t it strange how when you understand that the only real way of dealing with something demanding whether it be a spouse or a job, is not to get around it, but rather to come to terms with the way you relate to it? Once you understand this and remove any of the negative energy that you carry around where it is concerned you sort of become free from the negative hold that it has on you.
Then you regard it in a more favorable light. Think of the jobs you hated, and how after becoming free of them either through quitting, getting fired, whatever, you can now look back at them nostalgically. It is because the here and now has a curious hold on us. We (A Day On’ers) tend to have a difficult relationship with the here and now.
We tend to wish that the present circumstance would hurry up and get out of our way so that we could get to something real. We want to push the immediate aside so that we can get to something that we identify with more personally. I know I do.
Things that are unscheduled or that are asked of us are especially hard for us to bear. The driver in front of us who is moving more slowly than we would like. The meeting or get-together scheduled when we thought we would have some alone time.
Perhaps you, like almost everyone else, has taken on a whole lot for yourself. You’ve figured out ways to steal away an extra hour here and there and yet the work seems to multiply for you. You’re constantly on a quest to simplify to the extent that “simplify” has become another item on your ever-growing list.
The last thing you can afford to do is take an hour out of your busy day and do nothing. But, say your youngest daughter is scheduled to read a short prayer at her Catholic grade school mass. She’s excited and honored to have been asked, so of course you go.
My Catholic upbringing must have been especially effective because I turned my blackberry off when I went into the church. I actually considered, as I always do, whether or not I could bring my MacBook– but determined rightly that it would have been heresy to do so.
The experience of sitting through that mass, with that particular priest, was excruciating as being under the control of the most punishing personal trainer. But he was a personal trainer of faith. His slow moaning of the requisite prayers, the delivering of the hosts to each and every member of the congregation (even those who are too young to receive the host can now go up for a blessing). Hold that position (he seemed to be saying). Just a little longer. Cell phone off. Computer in the car. A boss who surely was dissatisfied with the progress I had been making on his project. What seemed like a hundred other projects left hanging. Out there. All of this as painful as the eternal wait to drop your legs down to the ground after an extraordinarily long series of crunches. That priest was making me pay.
Then I surrendered.
They were actually a series of surrenders. None lasting too long before the here-and-now began pressing itself against my gate. Then the priests slow voice and… another surrender.
I remembered that there could be no place more important than where I was at that particular moment. The phrase “Be Here Now” popped into my mind and then was gone with the worries that someone might be trying to get ahold of me. Maybe the site was down. How would I deal with setting up the next deal. Then, low and silent, beneath the priest’s monotonous voice, it was back again. Be Here Now.
Sometimes you just have to remember that this lesson is more important in keeping us sane than actually expecting ourselves to exist in a million places at once, have all the answers, solve all the problems. Because, with the gift of a little distance, we can see how small these demands really are.