The Present

Last night I was enlightened by the deep and provocative philosophies of Kung Fu Panda. At one point Po is disheartened by his past and sees only an empty future. The wise Oogway explains that Po lives too much in the past and future. He repeats that cliche, "Today is a gift. That is why is it called the present." 
Lately I've been like Po -- very concerned about the goings-on of the past and especially the future. It's made me crazy/crazier. Prepare for the future. "Later, I'm going to... I hope to... I'm just getting ready for... " I'm so concerned about how I have lived and will live that I forget to live.
Souza said, " For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacles in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
I lead a really busy life. I have a lot that needs to get done, but I wonder if I am like Martha, who is so worried about getting things ready that she gets left out of the now. She misses the fall colors. The can't remember what she just ate. And she couldn't respond to a friend because she was thinking of something else while her friend was bearing her soul. That's tragic because maybe the now is the really important, even vital thing. 
Even as I was writing this in my head I was doing lots of things. I was watching a movie I'd wanted to watch for a long time, but I needed to get some things done, so I was on the computer during the movie. How much more enjoyable would the movie have been, had I given all my attention to it?
In this last conference President Monson said, "This is our one chance at mortal life -- here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the great lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all the you want to do. Instead, find you in the journey - now."
In DBT, yoga, and basically any philosophy based on eastern practices, mindfulness is crucial. The basic idea behind mindfulness is to be totally in the present. Taste your food. Enjoy your bed. Observe the sounds. Feel the pain, the joy, the hunger. Total awareness of right now.
That's my goal for the week. To be in the moment. Sure, I'll take time to reminisce and to get things in order for the future -- it would be irresponsible not to -- but I'm going to take time and enjoy my life today.  Join me?



It's been said that the best way to get rich is to take a dollar, fold it in half, and stick in back in one's pocket. I'm not quite that good, but in the recent weeks I've begun a financial retrenchment effort and discovered a small portion of benefits.
My brother helped me set up an Excel spread sheet to track loan repayments and my budget. I got a little notebook to use as a ledger (those from the banks are just too intense) then entered my expenses (condensed by category) into the spreadsheet. 
I'm trying to save a bit more and also build up some food storage. My brother, again, pointed out that -- if worse came to worse -- you could get a lot of meals out of Cream-of-Wheat and the boxes don't take up too much room. Also, it is something I enjoy anyway. 
Yesterday I went shopping and only bought the things on my list. I'd noticed, via my little ledger, that I normally purchase a lot of small, unnecessary items. But yesterday I felt very in-control when I only bought that which was needful and suppressed momentary satisfactions. 
I noticed more the free things of life. I went to the local public library and got a free copy (valued at $7.99) of To Kill a Mockingbird, in addition to the books I checked out. It's a public service called The Big Read. At the mall, we went to See's Candy, walked around a bit and eventually got a free sample. Then we walked out. Cost: $0. 
There are lot of ways to get free stuff.
I emailed a local theatre and got free tickets. 
The Silver Jewelry Club just wants people to try the stuff so they give it away (but you do have to pay shipping). Find it here.
Couponmom.com offers free coupons -- or coupons for the price of printing. 
I am a member of paperbackswap.com and get free books. I list books I don't want anymore and pay to ship them to someone who wants them. Then I get a credit for a book I want and someone else with pay to ship it to me. They also have a DVD swap. 
There are lots of ways get stuff for free or nearly free. My mom always told me to ask -- the worst that can happen is they say no. How have you retrenched?