I went to my regular Landmark seminar after Christmas and New Year and the seminar leader welcomed us back. As part of talking about the beginning of 2014 and the year ahead he said something that struck me dumb:
Well, I hope you’ll all be here in 2015, but who knows?
I’ve heard statements about “the present moment is all we’ve got” a million times and I’d never heard it like this before. This time, I really heard it. I realised I’d been visualising a future when I’m an old lady and fearing I’ll be sad and lonely and poor. And I got that that’s not the thing to be concerned about. It’s now I need to be concerned about.
It’s like in the Landmark Forum. The Forum leader says the same thing in many different ways including various remarks along the lines of “There’s only one way we’re getting out of here and that’s in a box.”
Every time the Forum leader says it, everyone laughs. The laugh means Well, maybe for you that applies, but not for me …, or That’s funny, but I’ve got decades yet, or Sure, but I don’t have to do anything now.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about what I would be doing differently if this is my last few months of life, and what’s stopping me from doing it now.
The second part of the question is the subject for another post, but as to what I would be doing differently, there seems only one thing worth doing which, in any case, would make any other thing redundant: I’d stop holding myself off from the world, from others. I’d let the barrier between myself and others, between myself and the world, drop away. I’d stop shoring it up. I’d open and let the whole world in. I’d smile at every single person I saw, I’d say the things I haven’t yet said, I’d give everything I had, every second of time, every resource, to others. I’d live from the understanding that being with, being for others is all that matters.
Image: Study for holiday, 1969-70, by Jeffrey Smart