In my attempts to live in the “moment” this summer, I undertook a big project. I gathered some tools, a pair of leather gloves, and dressed in overalls and a pair of ratty tennis shoes. I put my phone, turned to my favorite Celtic and New Age music, in my back pocket. The overgrown privet hedges and vines on a part of the property were destined to become yard.
My son, who doesn’t share my taste in music, complained that my music was sad and I was working too hard. I agree that I was working too hard, but it had a purpose. The music he saw as sad was soothing and uplifting in my attempts to put away a tragic past and put away my fears of the future. If I could keep my mind on the physically tasking work and the Sounds of Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Eimear Quinn, Geoge Winston and a touch of Lynard Skynard, I could be in the “moment.” (Lynard Skynard???)
The “moment” doesn’t contain my sorrows, disappointments, worry about past mistakes, and low self-esteem. The “moment” isn’t afraid of my financial future, the uncertainties my health imposes, or concerns about caring for my aging Dad. The “moment” didn’t need medication or psychoanalysis. The “moment” is a period of respite.
Why is the “moment” so elusive? As an introvert, my life is between my ears. It is abundant life, but my conversations with others are with a hologram. That hologram is of my own making. The hologram of my son is exceptionally complex. It is a mixture of him from childhood to adulthood; It is a mixture of what I think and understand plus a curious part that I have seen that were not congruent with my beliefs. The most alarming thing about his hologram is that it isn’t him. The hologram is my thought, opinion, love, expectation, and experience of him. His response to my conversations come from my thoughts. I can say anything to him and hear many versions of my expected thoughts. The real person that is my son knows nothing of these conversations and is not at all the hologram. The”moment” is a place where my holograms don’t exist. You see, every person is a hologram. I often have lengthy conversations with holograms I never met. My mental experience when I am not at the “moment” is quite noisy and confusing. It is comforting to know that my discussions with political figures are one-sided.
I just made a fanciful description of the noise in my head and my desperate need to live in the “moment,” but that description is my reality. You may want to read that paragraph again because I ask you to think carefully about how much you share that experience in depression. Are there times when you think about saying something, but your belief of what will be replied keeps you from speaking? Why? Do you have an unfounded assumption of what that person may assume based on your opinion? Is it possible that the person will have thoughts and a reply you have not considered? You made that person a hologram. How much of your feelings about others are your opinion? How much noise goes on in your head?
Let’s challenge ourselves to identify what is our opinion of others and what is a reality. Find the “moment” to clear our minds of the noise that are associated with distorted thoughts (in this case, mind reading) and take steps to change our thinking into whole processes. (I think I hear Lynard Skynard!)