In hard times, such as those we live in now, there is a great deal of energy expended in attempting to unravel the how and why of the things that have gone wrong. This is a natural inclination, and seems conventionally wise. Learning from history is supposedly the only sure way of not repeating it.
But we do generally seem to demonstrate a distressingly regular tendency to review, learn from mistakes, then get right back to our blithe and careless lives. Seriously, how hard was it to know the first time that overextending loans to less solid borrowers would lead to bank insecurities and failure? How difficult was it to discern that dumping billions into a bottomless war would leave no money to pay other, important bills? How impossible was it to see that it was terrible idea for the auto industry to remain determined to building bigger and bigger vehicles at the same time that the price of fueling those monsters was skyrocketing at an alarming rate?
It should have been a no-brainer, right?
But we all do it. We want. We want more. We want better. We want it right now. And we want more than anything to believe that we are good and deserving of fine things and a good life. Which can only be defined by the more, the better–and right now. We want not to hear the bad news that we want too much. So, pay no attention to that nagging voice that keeps suggesting that everything is out of control. Ignore that immanent sense that everything is about to hit the rocks at the speed of light.
Better yet, do the opposite and find your way. Pay attention. Live in the moment. Notice it. Savor it. Take everything every moment has for you–even if it’s bad news. Then move forward. Denying only defers the pain; face facts, take action, fix what can be fixed. Grow in wisdom and spirit.
Times will still be rough from time to time, but you’ll be less surprised–and you might even avert disaster occasionally. Pay attention and be filled with wonder and make better choices.
None of this is spoken as if from on high. I need the lessons of mindful being as much or more than any. If I wake up and wonder, “How did I get here…?” then I haven’t kept my eye on the ball either–and I am doomed to repeat my mistakes. And, trust me, I’ve missed too much already and realize a bit late that I’ll never get a second chance on some of those moments.
In hard times like these, the only way out is by going back the way you came in. So, make a map, trail string, hell, drop breadcrumbs; anything that will help you remember how you got where you are. Then fix it all.
Pay attention, or pay the penalty–and who among us can afford that high price?