Working With the Reality We Have

By KM Huber

When we shift our attention to a memory or a future fantasy, we stray from the present, from what is real. Each moment is all we ever have, and it is more than enough if we stay with it, neither straying to what we have known nor to what we hope might be.

“The moment we stray from where we are…we [block] the sensation of being fully alive because being split in our attention prevents us from being authentic” (Mark Nepo).

It is the tension of trying to be in two places at once, resisting what is for what might be, trying “so hard to feel the stone and not the ripple” (Nepo). Uncertainty makes staying hard and straying easy.

When we stray to a past moment that gives us pain or joy or both–the label never matters–we revisit a reality that will never be again nor is it precisely as it once was for memory is its own current.

KMHunerImage; McCord Park; Tallahassee

Difficult and joyous moments surface because they are bubbles we either want to forget or want to remember. We might try to change the memory by daydreaming new scenarios or we may just want to relive the wonder of that past moment, maybe even embellishing it.

Regardless, we stray from the present, no longer authentically here or there but somewhere in between. Memory is the context of our lives, yet it is one thing to witness the bubbles of our past and another to engage them.

If we allow our past to stay as bubbles, floating up and through us, we let it go, observed but untouched and whole. We stay with the stone of the present and not the ripple of our past or future outcome.

We must attend the energy beneath our past, for it is the source of the bubbles. If we wish to remain a witness to it rather than a returning participant, we must practice “loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity…our four, limitless inner resources.” (Pema Chödrön).

We cannot help but remember, yet in remaining present, we create a past that passes through us and a future that fulfills us.

We begin with whatever inner resources we have, no matter how shallow our pool. A well can fill, a pool can become a lake but always, there is the first drop of being authentic, of being completely present in one moment and then, the next, and the….

The pool of our inner resources spills into every action we take. The depth of our inner resources is revealed to the world, moment by moment. These are still waters to which we return again and again, for here we are and not who we were or who we might be.

“That we stray from the moment is not surprising. The more crucial thing is that we return” (Nepo).


KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch@gmail.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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