Wherever You Go, There You Are…

Early bird gets the worm cartoon illustration by Drew VicsNo, I’m not reviewing the book by Jon Kabat-Zinn. But “mindfulness” and relaxing, quiet moments of inner reflection — a sort of spiritual amplification and attenuation of chaotic elements in one’s life — can be beneficial.

I think the phrase was actually first spoken by Confucius, as “No matter where you go, there you are,” or something along those lines.

Have you ever found yourself “in the moment?” I mean, really attuned to something at any one time, for a moment locked into something that seems greater than yourself? “In the moment” has become a phrase generally associated with an attitude toward life, “live in the moment.”

Fun little phrases abound that suggest we cherish every moment. Cutesy little fruity phrases to make us feel happy, bubbly, and… I tire of some, like “Live fully, love deeply, laugh often.” I’ll try not to let my cynicism get in the way, but Christ, just living half the time is enough of a challenge, do we have to put little frilly footnotes on it too?

I do love deeply, I do laugh often and I try to live fully (whatever the hell that means). Are these not things that should come naturally to a human who stares down the barrel of immortality everyday? I don’t know about you, but my life, love, and laughter are precious precisely because they are temporary!

Remind yourself that you’re going to be dead some day, or that you won’t always have the opportunity to look into your significant other’s beautiful eyes, or that fleeting moments are lost to the past and we’re stuck with just memories until we can’t remember anymore, and you won’t need those little phrases to remind you of how to live. Conveniently ignore the obvious and you can blissfully roll in all of the warm and fuzzy triteness you want.

What the hell just happened there? I started light enough, then got a little hot-headed. Where was I…

Ah yes. The feeling that this life is special hits you like a ton of lead. You try to hold on to the feeling but it lasts a precious few moments. Gone. Maybe you were staring out over the Grand Canyon, or sitting in your back yard when a small bird suddenly alighted on a nearby branch, then looked over at you. Maybe your child spoke his or her first words, or climbed a tree, or… Or maybe you were standing beside your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, gazing out over a vast sea, a breathtaking vista, or swigging a cold beer.

Those moments hit you, but they don’t hit you for what they are, they hit you for what they won’t be: there forever.

But, then, there are those moments we could do without…