A couple of years ago Kate, who is a good friend of mine (also my mentor and all-around awesome person), invited my wife I to spend a week with a wonderful group of people in a hundred-year-old estate just outside of Cork, Ireland. There were twelve of us in the group and the only ones we previously knew were Kate and her husband.
Each person or couple had their own room but other the time we spent sleeping and some dedicated “free time”, we pretty much spent most of our time together, preparing and eating meals, going on walks around the many acre property and talking in the various rooms of the manor. Kate, always the teacher, scheduled a gathering every morning and afternoon in the main room where we would all spend a couple of hours together doing something she had prepared for us. Every day was a little different and we participated in a variety of activities, including readings, self-exploration thought-exercises and meditations. It was a wonderful way to get to know both ourselves and the others. This was a new type of experience for me and my wife and I have to admit, it took a couple of days to open up. We are not the type of people who routinely share our innermost, personal thoughts (especially with new acquaintances) but the environment was conducive to that and so we went with the flow and began to share openly, as did everyone else. It was a fabulous way to become fast-friends with our housemates on a level most never experience – let alone with people who were essentially strangers.
One of the exercises we did was to make a gift card to ourselves. We could write whatever we wanted and Kate provided some watercolors to decorate the card should we be feeling particularly creative. Once we made the card, we sealed it in an envelope, addressed it to ourselves and gave it to her. She promised to mail it to us at some point in the future.
I’m happy to say the trip turned out to be one of the most memorable weeks of my life and we returned home with our minds opened, inspired and refreshed. Over the coming weeks and months, I would often think back to our time in Ireland. I did however manage to forget about the card (as Kate knew we all would).
About three months later, the card showed up in my mailbox.
I didn’t write a lengthy passage to myself, or something typical of a travel postcard but rather I wrote out a handful of the most meaningful quotes from the week that others had said (we were all keeping notes throughout the discussions).
I now have the card sitting by my desk. There’s been a lot going on lately and so my brain told me to pick it up and reread it. And, so I did. The quotes are memorable indeed and they brought back all the memories of that week and provided me a new perspective on life as it is today.
You can see the inside of the card below and while you may or may not be able to read my handwriting (it’s horrible I know), my brain and I wanted to highlight a couple of the quotes that we think you too may ponder.
The first quote is quite simply, “The land of in between”.
And the second, is, “It’s just for now.”
Two different people said these in the midst of our discussions at completely different times while discussing very different topics. If you’ll grant me a few moments, I would like to share my thoughts with you.
To get right to it heart of the matter, these quotes relate to the present moment.
In the case of “It’s just for now.”, Brain and I think this is big...really big. Whether we’re going through something painful, or wonderful, we think it’s important to remember to take a step back and realize, “It’s just for now”. Nothing bad, or good, lasts forever. The future will be different than whatever is happening right now.
“The land of in between” also speaks to the present. We’re all ‘in between’. In between this and that, here and there, what was and what will be.
Following that line of thinking, in essence, both of these quotes have to do specifically with what “is”. And that relates to perhaps the most important takeaway from our retreat in Ireland.
You see, the present moment is, the only place where life truly exists.
What does that mean? To me and my brain, the present equates to opportunity. Opportunity to breathe. Opportunity to be grateful. Opportunity to love. Opportunity to be happy… and so much more.
Now, while this opportunity exists in the present, opportunity is also about the future and our ability to influence our trajectory and create our future (our Desired Future). And that speaks to another opportunity – the opportunity to choose.
If whatever it is that’s “just for now”, isn’t to our liking, remember, we all have the opportunity to ask ourselves, what can be done to change that? If something is wonderful, we have the opportunity to ask, what can be done to carry that forward and even expand on that?
In my mind, our ability to ‘choose’, and to ‘decide’ how to live (both in the present and the future), is one of our greatest assets – a superpower perhaps, that is best not squandered.
So next time something happens that sparks an emotion (positive or negative) or alters your course (toward or away from your goal), remember, “it’s just for now” and that we’re all living in “the land of in between”.
Be well and choose wisely.
My goal is quite simply to help as many people as possible learn how to embrace change… and set course for their Desired Future. Did this post help you do that? I’d love to know. Please comment or reach out directly at rudypoe.com
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Thanks for reading! Onward!