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  • Writer's pictureEsther Brownwood

What? Now?





a: at the present time or moment Now is the time for action.

b: in the time immediately before the present thought of them just now

c: in the time immediately to follow : forthwith come in now


—used with the sense of present time weakened or lost to express command, request, or admonition now hear this

now you be sure to write


—used with the sense of present time weakened or lost to introduce an important point or indicate a transition (as of ideas) now, this may seem reasonable at first


: sometimes now and again


: under the present circumstances Since my plan has failed, we must now try his.


: at the time referred to now the trouble began


: by this time has been teaching now for twenty years

Dear Friend,

This time has been a frantic one. I don’t know what it is about fall that makes me and the people around me go a little bit crazy. It seems the energy of life going back into full swing is inescapable, even if not much changes for me on a personal level.

Needless to say, I’ve been feeling stressed out and have had a hard time being present.

I find it interesting how I can learn something, think I know it, even practice it, yet after a while that knowledge somehow disappears. I still know it, but I lose the understanding of it.

There is quite a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. The future is less clear than it has ever been, and I don’t know where the path leads. This can be very overwhelming, and recently I’ve found myself getting caught up in that anxiety.

What will I do? What steps should I take? Where should I go? Do I go it alone, or lean on my community for guidance?

These questions run rampant in my mind and they have been pretty hard to quiet. Though I’ve been here before, it seems like I’ve forgotten the resources I cultivated in the past.

Thankfully life has its way of reminding us.

I was riding my bike the other day, on the route I’ve been taking almost my whole life. My village has notoriously narrow sidewalks, so of course I was on the road, swerving from lane to lane. Needless to say, a car came up a quick corner… I narrowly escaped a nasty accident, and the rest is history. I went home as if nothing had changed, because it didn’t. I was safe, the driver was safe, and life goes on. However, that moment led me to a recognition (or re-recognition) of something I had learned in the past, yet seemed to have forgotten to practice.

I am worried about something that doesn’t exist. The future that fills me with fear is not real. The only thing that exists is this moment right now. All our plans, all our expectations, dreams and imagined realities are just that - imagined. Had that car hit me, I could have died. And if not, it could have impacted my life so that all the things I imagined in my future are completely unavailable anyway.

This leads me to the understanding that my worry is completely pointless, and even a bit ridiculous. Why do I spend my time worrying about something, because it “may” happen? Almost any situation can be a dangerous one, yet I don’t bring worry into them all. Why is the uncertainty of the future not awarded the same faith that my casual bike rides are?

I guess I place more pressure on the future because it feels like a finite thing. But as this anecdote shows… going on a bike ride could be finite. Doing the small, everyday tasks could have as much impact as the big, seemingly life-changing decisions do.

Another recognition I had was that life just happens. We (or at least I) often expect fireworks, bells that say *this is something special* before the special thing happens. But often, it is life. It feels like how every other day feels. As I almost rode to my death, it occurred to me that there was nothing extraordinary about that moment. I would die as I lived, with no inherent significance to my existence. The only significance being what I assign to it.

So this month, I hope you’ll join me in practicing presence. In recognizing that now is the only reality. In remembering that life adds up from the small moments, so worrying about the big ones is rarely worth it.

How are you right now? That’s all that matters.

I love you.

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