ON BLOOMING TODAY
by Sandra Bark
I use Outlook to access my Gmail, and over the past few days, it’s been a source of great frustration. Having realized that my laptop is being slowed down by the weight of information saved on the hard drive, I’ve been trying to make some space by deleting old files, including emails I don’t need anymore, emails from advertisers and strangers and people that have done me wrong.
But the past won’t let me go.
I hit delete, I clear the chaff, and moments later, Gmail just reloads the outdated messages. Delete, reappear. Delete, reappear.
My brain is also like this. I tell it that a situation is over, that it’s done and gone, and yet I keep hashing it over in my mind. Those stupid synapses, so addicted to yesterday’s pains, so oblivious to today’s possibilities!
How am I supposed to live in the now when the past is hanging on so tightly?
When it comes to the technology, it’s likely that my settings are wrong. Or there’s a bug, and I need to call my Mac guy and have him erase the information I no longer need. But when it comes to my head and heart, I can’t just hit “clear all.” I can’t just call in an expert, eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind style, so that I might feel more buoyant, less weighed down by situations that no longer exist. I can’t just change the settings.
Or can I?
In class a while back, Stephanie asked a very good question. She said, “Where are you? Are you in the pose we’re doing? Or are you still five poses back, wondering what you did wrong?”
Right when she said it, I happened to not have my mind focused on Utthita Trikonasana, where I actually was, but on the Parivrtta Parsvakonasana I had fallen out of eight minutes prior.
Her question sharpened my understanding of the ways we can trap ourselves. Revolved Side Angle was then. Triangle was now. Yet I was in neither place, my mind stuck in a past pose while my body scrambled to form a different shape. I was in a limbo of memory, breathing in the stale air of regret instead of reveling in the present, in a fresh opportunity to get it right.
That insight has stayed with me. Things that happened when I was ten and fifteen and twenty are over and done with. I can relive them endlessly in my mind, trying to parse them until they make sense, but I’ll never really live there again. Meanwhile, the moments I could be experiencing right here, right now, are passing me by.
So what will I do now? Will I regret the regret? Will I spend my today wishing I had been more fully engaged in yesterday? Or will I change the settings, clear the space, make room for a clean set of connections that I can fully experience today?
When it comes to Gmail, when it comes to Microsoft, I can’t claim responsibility for the programming. But when it comes to my head and heart, I can. I can hit delete on old messaging and set my intention towards a newer, rosier outlook, one that recognizes the immediacy of the immediate and the presence of the present.
I can remember to gather the rosebuds while I may instead of slowing myself down remembering the thorns that pricked me, instead of wasting the sunlit hours dreaming of the bouquets I should have, would have, could have stopped to smell.