I got pulled over today. “Get an inspection; get your registration renewed.” What a relief! It was just a warning.
A year ago this month, I got pulled out of bed. “Get a biopsy; get that tumor taken out.” What a relief! It was only at stage two and a half. The half means it was halfway to being malignant, to needing radiation. It was pushing against, but not yet into, both my lungs and heart.
How many times do we get warnings, little or big? I have a disease called priority avoidant work addiction. The little things get done while the big ones pile up. They’re too scary to face.
Where’s the inspiration here? In the breath. In little ways, I’m getting better. I finally got those blood tests I’d put off for four months. After 40 years, I’m finally realizing I sidestep the biggest things because I shrink from the smallest one: simply being present. Life is not just about being here—it’s about being now.
The gift of the present is greater, I think, than we realize. It’s become almost cliche. But what if all that matters is right now? What if the future and the past are created, every moment, from the way we live today? From what I’m told, quantum physics already works that way. Religion tells me the world is that way too.
As co-founder of The REAL Center, I could tell you how much money I raised for this cause or that one. But to believe the bumper sticker, what if I really do need to be the change I want to see in the world? Isn’t that the greatest challenge? If that’s what magically, holographically matters most, when will we stop running from that, from ourselves?
When planning meetings and other events, it’s great to present some really local talent, but that doesn’t mean our attendees will be present. How can we help people to truly meet?
We can practice what we preach. We can share what’s really going on for us, not just what we think attendees want to see or hear. I’ve made that my priority. From now on, I sweat the smallest stuff—and watch the rest run smoothly, like clockwork.
Alan Muskat is co-founder of The REAL Center and founder of No Taste Like Home, two nonprofits aimed at getting back to nature, especially human nature. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Photo credit: Thomas Marlow