June 15, Nic Wallenda walked a tightrope suspended across the widest part of Niagara Falls. An historic moment. Each step he understood the concept of Now.The biggest trouble of our times is that we are never where we are,” said a writer friend a while back. For a moment I wondered what he meant. Then I regretted eating the entire container of *salted caramel gelato, simultaneously dreading the dirty house I must clean…soon. I understood his comment.
We are masters at regret—thinking about the past, the splurge, the nasty comment. Another writer friend recently landed on the Dr. Phil show with his wildly popular book titled “Secret Regrets.” Out of several blogs Kevin Hansen launched, Secret Regrets was the one that touched a collective nerve. We all think back to what we should not have done. Think back.
And, we are excellent at planning our futures. To the right of this keyboard is a pile of lists, (I just thumbed through and counted nine ratty pages) tasks I want to complete, books I want to read, blogs I want to visit or create in the future. Many of my listed items are outdated events now, unaccomplished goals. Perhaps I should make another list: stuff I did not accomplish. Most of my future plans can now go into my heaping pile of regrets.
But am I good at embracing The Now? Not so much, but I’m getting better. After a recent trip to the honking chaos of New York City, my husband and I enjoyed the pastoral drive from airport to front door. We parked the car at the end of our lane, got out and paused to breathe Iowa air. Suitcase in hand, I said to my husband, “Look at that butterfly, how he’s spread flat on the leaf!” He was as if mounted in a collection. We both dropped our bags, he digging for a camera, I powering up my cell phone. For 15 minutes, the butterfly waited while we enjoyed his stillness and snapped his portrait. Obviously the winged creature was dead. But no. As soon as we put the cameras away, he fluttered up and away.
When asked what he thought about as he walked across Niagara Falls, Nic Wallenda said, “a lot of praying, that’s for sure.”