Life does not respect plans. Plans are a great coping mechanism for the vagaries of life, but they oblige life's cooperation not at all. Approximately three months ago, I learned this very personally. My husband came home with news that forever and essentially changed my understanding of my life -- where it was going, who the players were, how they operate, how I operate.
Perhaps we are headed for something much better. That remains to be seen. Perhaps we are headed right over a cliff to calamity. That also remains to be seen, but I'm the kind of person who generally tends to suspect the former rather than the latter, on principle. That's another great coping mechanism.
In either case, there is only right now to contend with. It doesn't seem that way. It very much seems like what matters, what requires response/reaction is (a) the already written past or (b) the unwritten future. Which is, as it turns out, another coping mechanism.
What I do not want to do is sit still, here, with the discomfort of not knowing where I am headed, who I am, who my husband is, what will happen to our children. There was this event that underscored how in flux all of these things actually are, but in truth, they have always been, will always be, in flux. Unwritten in the future, despite however they've already been written in the past.
The sensations that go with sitting still and feeling this in-flux-ness are uncomfortable. My chest feels squeezed tight, my heart pounds, I have a slight queasiness, my ears ring slightly, a lump forms in my throat. Hey, how about that future that might be? Even in ten minutes, or less, when I hit "publish"? How long until someone else reads this and what will they think? Or, hey, remember ten minutes ago, when my husband got really upset about something that I don't think deserved that response? Hey wasn't he crazy about that? What a jerk.......?
Nope, not helping. My chest is still tight, my heart pounding, etc. I am still uncomfortable. I am still in flux. The future is still unwritten. The only thing written -- and beyond revision -- is the past. This is all there is that is actually happening: this. Here. Now.
And despite all my coping mechanisms to escape this, here, now -- it is all there is that is happening. If I want to be present to my life, here's the thing.
This tightness, this discomfort, this lump in my throat -- do I believe they will last? No. If I sit here and pay attention, maybe I'll even notice the moment they change into something else. What will come next? Already, again, I am thinking about the future. All that is happening right now: my fingers hitting the keys, the way the lump is moving up my throat, and -- I suspect -- will soon burst out as tears. Yes. Here there are tears. My face warms, my chest heaves, I sob.
The lump in my throat passes. My chest is less squeezed. My heart still pounds. And I am here. Still here. And planning to stay. To the best of my ability.