As you read these words, I invite you to become fully present in the here and now. Because this is exactly what I am writing about—the freeing, redemptive power known when a person is fully present.
There are times for a person to delve into the stories they tell themselves about their life. There are times to try to make sense of that story, and perhaps to bring some healing to one’s own heart around it. And there are times to bring some healing to another person regarding their story.
What I found to be ultimately liberating and healing is that moment when I am done with my story, I lay it to one side, and I choose to show up fully in the here and now. Because, after a while, there is nothing good that is going to come out of the rehash of the story. Any story gets redundant if you tell it enough times. So the time comes to leave the story aside and be here now.
Sometimes athletes have this kind of experience. Perhaps they are involved in some kind of difficulty in their everyday life. Or perhaps there has been some kind of tragedy.
In 2003, Brett Favre was the quarterback for an American football team, the Green Bay Packers. On December 21st of that year, his father died unexpectedly. He had been particularly close to his father, who had encouraged and coached him as a football player. The press speculated as to how long it would be before he played football again.
The next night, Brett Favre played one of the most outstanding games a quarterback has ever played. His passes seemed to be locked in on his receivers. While the deep feelings were certainly not gone, his grief was turned to glory on the gridiron.
That is the power of showing up fully in the present moment. I watched the game on television at the time. It was one of those rare times at a sporting event when there was a spectacular kind of ecstasy. The fans of his opponent, the Oakland Raiders, cheered despite the fact that his excellent performance cost them the game.
Think of an actor on the stage of a theatre. Whatever is going on in the life of that actor, there comes that moment when the cue has been given and it is time to step out from behind the curtain and make an appearance on the stage. In that moment, whatever else has been going on in the actor’s life has to be set aside; any personal drama has to be left behind in favor of the drama of the play. And if there have been any objections to the play itself—to the role that is being played, or to the other actors and how they are performing their roles—all of that has to fall away in the mind of the actor so they can play their role to the fullest. That process allows the actor to show up fully in the here and now, letting go of everything else for those moments of performance.
So what are your opportunities to leave your story behind and to experience the freeing, redemptive power that you know when you show up fully in the here and now? What are your opportunities to be the actor on the stage of your life who plays his or her part to the hilt? Or to be Brett Favre, leaving your story behind to play the game of your life today, leaving it all on the field?
My experience is that when I really do that, the magic of life takes over. That’s how it seems to me in my own experience. My thoughts come alive, full of creative imagination and an uncommon understanding of the people and events around me. My feelings deepen. I am free from my own story, and I inherit magical creative power.
So I choose to be fully present in the here and now for this experience. I choose not to live an unconscious life. I choose not to be driven by my own demons, by my own shame, my own pain, by my own story or my own past. And I am redeemed: I’m saved from all those things because I consciously choose to live an aware life. When I show up in the present moment I’m saved from myself, I’m saved from my story. I’m saved by the reality of the Infinite and the Eternal, which is present with me, which is looking to come through me to infuse this present moment with its reality.
As I meet this world with the life that I am and the love that I have to give, I’m supported by this world in doing so. It’s not all nice—it hurts sometimes. And still, it’s a good life, and it’s a good world when I show up in it fully.
So that’s what I’m doing with you right now. I’m being as present with you as I know how to be. Because I know that only as I and we are fully present as who we are do we invoke the larger presence of our Being—the presence of God. By invoking the deepest presence of who we are, we are invoking God-presence, because ultimately there’s no other presence to invoke.
How is it for you? What is your experience of showing up fully in the here and now? If you like, write to share your experience. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and I would enjoy hearing from you. I’m also going to write about this on my blog at http://davidkarchere.com/blog/. So check it out, and if you are up for sharing your experience more publicly, post something there.
Meanwhile, this is what I wish for anyone. Rejoice in the liberating, redemptive power you know when you show up fully in the here and now!