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Thread: Living in the moment? (Or is this just another rant?)

  1. #1
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    Living in the moment? (Or is this just another rant?)

    We've all heard the old adage about not being able to change yesterday and not being promised tomorrow so we should live for today. As I was shampooing carpets tonight (seems to be my life's work any more), I was half listening to something on tv about the Grand Canyon and the rafting trips down the Colorado River. One of the guides was saying that the river makes you live for the moment -- you can't think about upstream or downstream because you have to be concentrating on right now. That's been bouncing around in my head ever since I heard it earlier.

    I'm curious how others feel about that. What makes you happy in the moment?

    I may be in a particularly depressive mood tonight (how unusual she said sarcastically), but it strikes me that if all there is is "the moment" and nothing to look forward to, then heaven help me. And that sounds entirely too like that horrible Peggy Lee song that I hate so much! I know I should be thankful to have a great job, a roof over my head, food on the table, anti-depressants, etc, etc, but if "the moment" is all work and servitude, which part of it are you supposed to embrace?

  2. #2
    "Living in the moment' was what I pretty much did (and still do) after Matt's accident. I certainly didn't want to dwell on the past (the accident, Matt's loss, my loss, etc.), and because his condition changed so rapidly at first, there was no way I could look to the future for any hope.

    So what does 'in the moment' mean? To me, it means acceptance of where I am on this little planet in this vast universe. Sometimes 'in the moment' sucks; but the moment passes, and is gone. When it's gone, I try to let it BE gone, and move on to the next moment - which may be seeing the first flower peeking through the snow, or the animals doing something particularly endearing, or an unexpected hug from Matt - whatever.

    Interesting - just for S's & G's, I did a search for 'living in the moment'; lots of typical google stuff, but I did find this website that's got some pretty insightful thoughts -give it a look, and tell me what you think!

    I hope the new year brings everyone here peace, and hope, and a little bit of joy in their hearts.

    _____________
    Tough times don't last - tough people do.

  3. #3
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    I have no clue . . .

    Thought I knew and thought it was my philosophy but now I'm not so sure anymore. We have been on an emotional rollercoaster for about a month around our house and I think some of us have crashed and burned since Christmas came and went. Normally I look forward to New Years Day because it affords us a psychological fresh start to life . . . not this year. For some reason all I can think about is what we don't do anymore. It feels like I've run out of energy trying to "make the best" of a terrible situation. We live in a part of the country where we did alot of outdoor stuff (ice fishing, snow mobiling etc.) And at this time of year everyone is off busy doing those things with their families. Our kids are getting older so they do alot of those things on their own now but I know its a part of our life "I" miss more than I can say. We are four years post and every year the memories of our old life get farther and farther away in my mind. I guess thats a good thing???? It just seems to be making me extra sad this year. Sorry for the rant, thanks for allowing me to get it off my chest.

    Mostly I do live in the moment . . . and I know this too shall pass . . . I used to tell myself those of us who have been touched by SCI know a secret that most do not . . . and that is the real and true appreciation for the simplest acts of everyday living that everyone else takes for granted . . . lately that knowledge just frustrates me . . .

    Thanks for listening!

  4. #4
    A matter of perspective.

    Living in the moment, to use the river raft guide analogy, means to me focusing on the task at hand because of its importance in the moment(maybe life, death)but not necessarily having to suck the marrow out of each experience or waking moment which, to me, can be exhausting. Exhiliration can be found in many ways, things.

    Instead of living for the moment I find more solace in preparing for tomorrow and the future which includes many of the things I did and can still enjoy. It's more exciting making plans 2,3,6 mos. in advance and working up to them therefore always having things to look forward to. Whether they be work, travel, concerts, shows, parties, intimate dinners, conversations, letters, movies, projects, books, sports, etc. I always try and have things lined up to look forward to achieving, accomplishing, experiencing or enjoying. I refuse to let sci slow me down. Does it mean more preparation in "enjoying the moment" when the 'moment' arrives?, yes. But does it change the experience? No, I don't think so. It's modified but not altered negatively.

    So instead of living for the moment I like to prepare for the moments to come so that I, in my current capacity, can and will still enjoy them to their fullest. Just like last night's Neil Diamond New Year's Eve concert..."Sweet Caroline (whoa, whoa, whoa)..."

    Also, I know I've said this before but why can't paras and quads still go snowmobiling? icefishing? etc. Believe me it can be done. Many things much more difficult have been accomplished. It's not easy but what worthwhile is?

    And finally, prior to my injury I used to lead groups down the Grand Canyon on 3-5day hiking trips. Through contacts, believe it or not my friend's and I are prepping for rafting trip down the Colorado next fall for my buddy's 50th birthday. Can it be done? You bet your bippy it can.

    Fortitudine Vincimus
    (Through endurance we conquer)

  5. #5
    For me, living in the moment isn't so much what I'm doing, it's what I'm aware of. Being a caregiver can mean losing yourself; there were some days, especially early on, when I was so damn busy I forgot to breathe! I make a conscious effort to "feed my soul"...be aware of and appreciate things while they happen during my chaotic life. I love the smell of coffee in the morning; watching a storm, be it rain, snow, lightning, wind; seeing that first flower, the deer looking for their breakfast...I had a pair of bluebirds on the picnic table this morning; music, of course..all kinds of music. I love the feel of my plaid fleece throw when it first comes out of the dryer. It only takes a minute to stop and acknowledge the fact that, say, the lilac bush is starting to bloom, that I love the smell of lilacs, and that this simple thing truly makes me happy...it feeds my soul. And the list is endless! It takes practice, and different things work for different people, of course...but it has helped me to feel that I'm "living", not just existing. Feeling that little burst of pure happiness keeps me going, keeps me sane and grounded.

    Vicky, aka "Pollyanna"

  6. #6
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    I'd like to clear something up . . .

    Chris I'm very well aware that the outdoor things I mentioned can be done by paras and quads - I know some that do. But may I say with all due respect to my husband, "he" mostly sets the pace for what we/he will attempt or not attempt to do. He was 52 years old and a big burly 6'2 in. bushman/truckdriver/hunter type when he got hurt. I believe mentally for him it has been a tremendous challenge just to cope with making a living in front of a computer all day long nevermind learning to "roll with it" and carry on. What I was refering to was the ease and spontaniety of doing those things. Let's be be honest there's no comparison to then and now and the truth is I sometime resent the glib way some speak about doing those things as if its the most natural thing in the world.

    Sci Mom you and I share a very similar outlook as far as pausing to enjoy the simple things in life(you might not have gotten that from reading my previous post ) We too live in an area where wildlife abounds. I'm thinking maybe we've backtracked a bit in our house to a grieving stage! Probably normal ya think? Christmas brings to mind many old memories pre-injury . . . what can I say!

    By the way Lilacs are my favorite too and I'm already looking forward to the Spring when our little prairie town becomes thick with the scent of them!

  7. #7
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    Obieone, you're right about the loss of spontaneity. There is absolutely nothing that we can do on the spur of the moment without planning.

    I also think that the older the person is when their injury occurs, the less likely they are to want to or be able to pursue some of the more physical activities that they undertook pre-injury. My husband was 52 when he was injured. He already had arthritis, but it was controllable. He played golf, skiied, rode his bike, walked for exercise, etc. Now with the transfers and pushing the w/c, it is a lot more painful. His shoulders hurt all the time. I know he isn't ever going to be as physically active as he once was. I think if he had been injured in his 30's, heaven forbid, he would have resumed more physical pursuits. I could be wrong, but in his case I don't think I am.

    It's a beautiful night here on the coast. There's a strong wind and the sea air smells great. The temp is dropping, but the sky is crystal clear. The stars look close enough to reach up and touch. Orion is right overhead and incredibly bright. I feel better about being alive tonight. Maybe this is one of those "moments".

  8. #8
    Martha ~ That's it!! You had one of those moments...smelling the sea air, hearing and feeling the wind, seeing the stars so close (always humbling and awe-inspiring, isn't it?). It doesn't take much time to breathe deeply and experience the joy of the night. And then, of course, real life comes back, and you have a husband to care for, carpets to shampoo, and dogs to watch over...but that one moment! Just think, after about 20 or so moments, you will one day march back into the house and rip the carpets up, per Jackie's suggestion! Won't that be fun?? And just think of the look on your husband's face when you do!!

    Obieone ~ I'm glad you can relate to my "simple things" philosophy. I have friends who just roll their eyes..but then again, they're not in my shoes, are they? As for grieving, you bring up an interesting point. I used to get so frustrated with people because they thought I should be at a certain place in the grieving process for my daughter. Even my ex-husband couldn't understand why I would sometimes get weepy or sad. His famous remark: "She's been this way for four years now,(or three years, or two years..you get the idea) what's the matter with you?"

    Well, I'll tell you. My beautiful 18-year-old daughter, a mere ten weeks from graduating high school and going on to college, was broken and twisted in a heartbeat...never to be the same. Of course I grieved! I still do. I may never stop. It doesn't rule my life, and I don't let it show (because of people's expectations, only one or two people ever see me still grieve for Bri)but it's there. I remember, when Bri had her accident, I was in the middle of getting my master's degree. I took an incomplete that semester, and when the next semester rolled around, Bri insisted I continue. So here I was, in grad school, full-time job, and a caregiver. I used my commute time to school to cry. Yep...I would drive the ninety minutes to class, crying all the way, knowing I could have another good cry on the way home. No one to see me, or "worry" about me, except maybe the other commuters! So...I believe that the grieving process is VERY individual. Don't let anyone tell you where you "should" be in that process...just go with it. Whew! What a long-winded way to say, "Yeah, Obieone, I do think it's kinda normal."

    Vicky

  9. #9
    Ease and spontanaeity are indeed different. Completely gone? What about going to your favorite restaurant on the spur of the moment.

    Resenting a glib response is certainly one's choice. Personally, I resent constant resentment which seems to abound on a couple of these threads.

    Just a matter of opinion and like I said, perspective. We all have challenges regardless of our situations but we are in control of how we approach them.

    Fortitudine Vincimus
    (Through endurance we conquer)

  10. #10
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    Chris, Just my opinion, but I think you're totally out of line in your comment about resenting resentment which seems to abound on some of these threads. I don't know if you're specifically speaking of threads in the Caregiver's Forum or not. But if you are, we've been over this territory before. This is the place where we get to come to share experiences, vent, rant, or whatever. It's comments like yours that keep many caregiver's from ever utilizing this valuable space for fear of being attacked or having their feelings trivialized. More than once I've sworn I would never post again, but decided I need this space and I'm not going to be run off. As for everyone being in control of their challenges -- well that doesn't quite ring true either. For the most part it is our injured family members that are in control of our challenges or actually ARE our challenges. We can suggest, we can try to help, we can prod and plead, but ultimately they control the majority of the situation. And they aren't all as physically strong as you unfortunately.

    So, please give us a break in our little corner of the world. It's all we have for some of us.

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