By Monika Horber
Rhythmical Massage Practitioner & Reflexologist
I would like to share with you the following extract from one of the books on my bookshelf; it might be helpful, especially in times like these, not to get overwhelmed but to find some orientation, perhaps even some peace.
Taken from the book “Momo” by Michael Ende; a conversation between Momo, a little girl, and her old friend Beppo, the road sweeper:
“You see, Momo, it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve got a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster, and every time to look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop – and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it. You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else. That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be. And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. What’s more, you aren’t out of breath. That’s important too.”
The “road” we are finding ourselves on is indeed a very long one and so may find ourselves asking: When we will be back to some kind of normality? And what will the new “normality” look like?
Nobody knows, really. Will it be as before or completely different?
In the meantime, we might also have plenty of things to worry about: How do I pay the bills? How can I keep myself and others safe? How are my parents, the elderly and friends with mental health difficulties, coping? Will I lose my livelihood? How can I stay sane in all this?…
There is of course also a lot of advice out there and some of it is indeed very helpful. However, one might not be able to take up the many suggestions, and might feel low in spite of all the good ideas.
There might be unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – when thinking about the future. Perhaps even guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness and all forms of non-forgiveness when thinking about the past…
What’s left is the present, the present day, the present activity, the present moment. Or in other words: the next broom stroke on the long road. Perhaps this is an opportunity like never before to connect with the present and in doing so to find some inner peace. What is important right now?
Not tomorrow, not yesterday but today. I consciously speak to a friend on the phone, prepare a meal from scratch or make sourdough bread for the first time; perhaps I go for a walk and see things that I have never noticed before. I might observe that I am breathing more deeply, feel more relaxed. I might even discover some new quality in my everyday life, rediscover things, I usually have no time for.
Simple things like arranging flowers and appreciating their colours and scents; going for a bike ride and noticing and enjoying the wind against my face and having a meaningful conversation with a neighbour…I might discover a richness in my life, albeit always being there, often unnoticed or covered up by countless tasks, plans and worries. I might feel more alive, after all, life happens in the present and not in the past nor in the future. I might find more contentment, joy, even happiness. And gratitude for all the things I have – and for life!
Life that is so rich, full of wonder, mind-blowingly beautiful and ingenious!
What else if not living fully in the present will equip me and give me the strength to face whatever comes towards me from the future?