Tomorrow is Now
Originally published May 5, 2015
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is a reason you are born in the year and place you were, with the characteristics — physical, mental and emotional — and every circumstance that you alone possess.
Our country and our world are in the midst of an identity crisis, which brings with it some tough growing pains. Things are shifting and reaching their breaking point on every level. Whatever the issue — racial injustice; a government and economy that works without legislating by greed or medieval definitions of morality; having the courage to speak up for what it means to be comfortable in your own skin regardless of the gender you appear to be vs. what you know you are; your rights to your sexual orientation; the Earth crying out for healing with earthquakes and extreme weather and the subsequent destruction and crises that force us to work together — the Universe is pushing us to our limits and asking us to stretch our ultimate acceptance of each other as part of the same human family.
Change brings with it the unknown, which makes most people kind of bonkers. Perhaps you or a loved one is going through a health crisis, experiencing a breakup or loss, recovering from a natural disaster, transitioning from male to female, or is in between jobs or graduating into the “real” world. Not knowing what’s next, or realizing that what once was can no longer be is unsettling, to say the least, when we don’t have the tools and perspective to cope.
One antidote to this anxiety is remembering that everyone has a gift to offer, and when you discover and use that gift in the present, it is much easier to trust what may come tomorrow.
If you want to heal others, you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse; you can be like the 23-year-old young man who so lovingly, respectfully and skillfully transports extremely vulnerable patients from their hospital beds to their procedures, making their day just a little less stressful and providing much comfort and ease to help alleviate the fear such a situation entails.
You can connect and find common ground with, or even protest for, the rights of someone who is seemingly different from you. You can send a text to see how your friend is doing. You can write a song or book, or paint a picture that brings even just a few moments of joy and uplift to someone in the midst of a challenging situation. And I once heard, and live by the motto that "the greatest gift you can give to the world is your own healed life."
Maybe you do have the big, profound idea that will literally change the way we live or save millions of lives, but maybe you just allow yourself to be who you are and pursue your highest calling, no matter what that is or what it looks like, or how different it may be from everyone around you, knowing that someone will benefit from your efforts should you have the courage to walk that path.
You matter. Everyone has a part to play in the healing of our planet, regardless of how big or small. We are all trying to survive and thrive the best we can. We must resist the tendency for technology to make us robots and feel disconnected to others; we can all do something every day that is of service to someone else or expresses gratitude for the service someone has offered us.
Life matters. What we do right now determines how we will live tomorrow. As the poet Mary Oliver says, “The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real.” We are here to heal the wounds of our world and to lend our voice, talent, passion, money and action to leave it a better place with our having existed. What kind of presence — not wishful thinking — are you giving to today, knowing that it will make a better tomorrow?
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