Let me just start out with a disclaimer; I am not trying to convince anyone or trying to sell the idea that living in the NOW means that you should sell everything you have, cash in the nest egg and just cut loose. I'm not even suggesting to forget your past, not at all; your past is your history and it is invaluable in understanding your current you, what makes you who you are, good or bad.
Here is a good example of why you should remember your past: some religious theologians might argue that we don't need the old testament anymore because we have the new testament and it negates the old one. I say, "Hog Wash", how are we suppose to put the new into the right context if we don't understand where it came from. To understand the current you have to know the past, for several reasons. One of which is so that you don't repeat (I use that terms loosely, refer to my earlier blog for the context of repeating history) your past, particularly the bad past. A second good reason, is to help you to understand the value of what you have now or who you are now, and also how far you've come as an individual. Another good reason to reference your past is that it can help you to understand or realize if you've taken all avenues available to you to resolve issues of life, not to mention it can keep you from spinning your wheels (going nowhere fast in life). I'm sure their are many more reasons that I've not mentioned but one last reason I think has to be brought up is that you should always remember family members that have passed away. Just for the sheer respect and love of the memory of your friends and family that have past away and to honor the memory of the good things they shared while on this earth.
So your probably thinking, this stuff isn't helping me to live in the NOW; if anything, it's confusing me. If you'll be patient I'll get their. I just don't want people looking ahead in life and never looking back. Like in the woods, if you don't make note of where you've been you end up walking in circles and never moving forward (you become lost).
The first rule to remember is your past is a learning tool, a compass for direction and acontextgauge. The past is not meant to be relived or recreated. Reminiscing is fine and even encouraged but be wary of the toothpaste factor.
What is the toothpaste factor, you ask? Have you ever forgotten that you've just brushed your teeth and you've come to breakfast and taken a big swig of orange juice. Arrrgghh! It's the most bitter thing you've ever drank. Well, the fact of the matter is the orange juice is just as sweet as it can be, but because of the past (brushing our teeth) it only seems bitter. You know this, and so you don't stop drinking orange juice forever, you don't hate oranges or the color orange and you don't go around telling everyone how bad orange juice is. You understand the reason for the reaction and because of this you don't let it dictate, or make you make ridiculous or bad decisions. Thinking of things in the past as the best ever or the worst ever is a huge mistake. I'm pretty sure that we all tend to exaggerate our memories in one way or the other, that's why we say things like "The best cup of coffee I ever had was..." or "The worst day of my life was....", you get the point. That's the toothpaste factor.
I would like to share a quote by Louis L'Amore "It's not the end of the trail, it's the trail that is the thing". The goal of your life should not be getting to the end, specifically since only God knows when that will be, living your life to the fullest should be the goal. Another quote by this insightful author is "For you and me, today is all we have; tomorrow is a mirage that may never become reality." All to often we, as in the average Joe, get caught up in the idea of the someday-s and when I-s. The people who fall into this trap are always preparing for a moment but never really count on it happening. They say things like "Someday I'm gonna throw my wife a big party and...." or they say things like "When I get this promotion then I will start spending more time with my family", they've allow the idea of life to move to the future and become second priority to actually doing it (living life, that is). This is like running a race with a finish line that may or may not be there and if it is there it can be moved further away just as you're about to reach it.
Second rule of the NOW is don't count on tomorrow (the future). Plan for it, hope for it, but don't count on it, it is - at best - unpredictable, and most likely it will disappoint. It rarely ends up being what you imagined it would be. Living life to it's fullest in all aspects (responsible, loving, happy, etc...) will lead to a promising future no matter how long or short that time may be. When the race is over it's over, sometime a marathon is much better than a sprint at least you had time to appreciate the run.
Third rule of the NOW is passion! Do it with passion. A passionate approach to life means being intense about experiencing what life has to offer you. When you are hugging someone, really hug them. When you believe in something support it with fervor. When you're shopping, really shop, and so on and so. Just try and remember that whatever you are doing deserves your complete attention. Every minute that goes by is a minute less you have here on earth, so try and really experience everything life throws at you good or bad. According to the way 6 year old daughter expresses herself, you can have the best day ever and worse day ever on the same day and she should know because I stopped keeping count of how many she has had. Awesome isn't it, she is living it baby. Life.
Listen, I can keep spouting out rules till I'm blue in the face and make this really complicated; instead, I've decided to give you the inside scoop. The quick and easy way to truly live in theNOW with all the ins and outs on how to do it right and all the perks that come with it. Some of you will scuff and ignore the free insight and continue on your fruitless path, but a few of you are going to check it out and you will see for yourself the change in your perspective.
Here it is, just turn the whole matter over to God, surrender your life to God's will and watch how your life will change. I was your typical, call on God as you need him Christian, going about my life however I saw fit, (my attitude was that it's a dog eat dog world out there and I was a pitbull at times). I was anything but a Christian and I refused to submit my life for fear it would change me (like I was such a good guy). Honestly, I didn't want to be held accountable for my actions, that meant I would have to start being responsible wouldn't it and what if I took a look at myself in the mirror and I didn't like what I saw? Well, it did change me, and I love who I'm becoming (A man of character, with ethics, understanding, etc...). You can call me a bible thump if you wish, I'll take that as a compliment, but I rather you call me a Christ follower. I don't think anyone can truly say they have a problem with the way he tells us to live. He was the one who gave us two simple rules to live by, Love your God with all your heart and soul and put no other gods (this encompass more than entities) before him and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. In other words, don't do anything bad to Him or anyone else, pretty simple. The endless quest to fill the void in your heart and the feeling of under achievement will be lifted away. Small moments in your life become very important and you will began to see how blessed you truly are. Things that seem insurmountable become negotiable. People become much more important than things and the love you have for others begins to grow and grow. God glasses help you see the world in a totally different perspective.
Here is another quote by Louis L'Amour, "To disbelieve is easy; to scuff simple; to have faith is harder. He was more right than he probably knew. To turn the other cheek and/or to praying for your enemy, well, that is very hard. Not acting out when you feel cheated, not worrying about what life hits you with, giving when you have little to give, it all seems impossible. Is it hard to walk the line sometimes? Yes, it certainly is at times. Is it worth it? By all means absolutely, the joy and love that God has given me is overflowing, so much so that it is reaching my children, my wife, my family and friends, it is unmeasurable. It is so awesome having Jesus Christ in my life that I want to yell from a mountain top "Come to God, join us, please, come see for yourself how great life can be"! Why wouldn't I want the people I care about the most, to experience what I'm feeling? I want my whole family and all my family to come on board and experience it as well. The thing is, we have been given free will in this world and so you have to volunteer to have it. You have to make a conscience decision to choose what you want, your way (How's that working out for you?) or God's way (You don't even know what your missing). God isn't going to impose his will on anyone, although many people feel threatened by Him that is for sure.
These drawings are from "MULAN", I was exploring different environments for a travel/montage sequence.
When Sable was just a baby she would growl at things or people she didn't like. This drawing of her is from a real situation. She was in the closet with me one morning as I was picking out a shirt and a spider came out of no where, she started growling at it like a puppy and backing up, when I turned around this is what I saw.