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December 11, 2014

Anywhere but Here: Living in a Constant State of Urgency.

freakin-to-do-list1

Why do I feel this sense of urgency?

I feel it all the time.

I feel it the morning when I first wake up. I feel it while I am doing my work. I feel it while I am driving, walking and riding my bike.

I feel it when I am on my yoga mat. I feel it in meditation. I feel it now as I write these words: write faster, finish writing sooner, move on to the next thing you have to do today. 

At the root of it, it is all the same. Be done. Get to the end. Get to the reward, the result, the finish line. Check it off the list.

Where does that sense of urgency come from?

It is a thought, yes. But, I feel it. I feel the lack of patience in my body. I feel the desire to be somewhere other than right here, right now. I feel the anxiety in my pulse. I feel the nervousness in my cold hands. I feel the future pulling at my presence. 

What will I do next? 

My mind begins to plan. I plan because I want to fill up the uncertainty of the future. It makes me uncomfortable not knowing what is going to happen next. I want control. I want the illusion of control. I want to feel like I have a grip on my life.

As my mind slips into the future, less of my energy is directed into whatever it is that I am doing in the present moment. I am not completely here. What does that mean for the present? What are the implications of not living fully in the now?

Again, even now my handwriting becomes just slightly sloppier than it was when I started because I am pushing to be finished with these words. I begin to wonder anxiously:

What if someone is trying to get a hold of me? I should check. I should check my phone. I should check my email. I should check my Facebook. I should text my friend back. I should go see what my Mom and Dad are doing in the other room. What time is it? It’s already (now)!? I should get going. I should shower, get dressed, make food, eat food, do my laundry, write, work… go somewhere, anywhere. 

Anywhere, but here.

Anything to not be here. Anything to not be doing this thing that I am doing right now. It’s too much. It is too hard. To just be. To be here now.

That is where my urgency comes from. It comes from my refusal to immerse myself in the present moment. It comes from my longing to be somewhere other than right here. It comes from my aversion to accept this moment for what it is and ultimately myself for exactly who I am. 

I want to be ahead of myself. I want to be better than I am. I want to be further along. I want to have already achieved the goals I have for my life—myself. I do not want to bother with the process.

I end up living my entire life like this—moving from one moment to the next—making my way down the infinite list of things to do, just trying to get to some end that doesn’t exist. I end up bored, passionless, and wondering, what can I do next? What is next?

I am racing towards death because I am too afraid to be fully alive

What is next? How about, what is now

If I redirected all the energy that I spend planning, worrying—trying to just get this moment, this task, over with so that I can move on with my life—and put it towards being present, enjoying the thing that I am doing, focusing on now, what would my experience be like?

What if right now the thing that mattered most to me was how each letter I wrote looked on the page? If each stroke of my pen was my work of art, a manifestation of my very being? What if the sound of my pen on the paper was a symphony—rolling bursts of aural consonance and harmony as my thoughts are born into existence in this physical realm?

What if I wrote with my whole body instead of just my hand? If each word moved up from the earth through my feet, passed through my belly, poured through my heart and exploded out my fingertips?

What would life be like then? What would be my experience? Without the urgency. Without the anxiety. Free from the fear of uncertainty. Free from fear itself. 

What if every moment were the most important moment of my life? If every breath was the most important breath I had ever taken? If every choice I made was one between life and death?

Well, it would be just that. It would be how things truly are. It would be now.

~

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Author: Ross O’Brien

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Life Business

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Ross O’Brien