Today, for many, is a gift, that is why it’s called the Present

Today, I received good news surrounding serious health concerns from a family relation who has some renewed hope while hearing of a setback from a friend about her husband’s fight with cancer.

One comment was made that perhaps the couple with a setback started celebrating too soon after the dangerous and invasive operation which had just occured.  Yet, I have learned when you are fighting to live or you are in the battle to help someone survive the scary, the dangerous, and the constant adrenaline rushes to manage, it becomes important to celebrate minor and major victories, even if they are temporary.

Life throws us surprises and we learn that changes happen outside of any ability for someone to predict or control.  There is no shame in celebrating early and often when people are forced to live daily in the present.  In fact, whenever someone needs to celebrate and you are there, do it!  You never know when the opportunity might occur again, if ever.

Others may be able to live comfortably in the past or future, but those who must live in the now, due to circumstances and crisis, must live in the present.  Living in the present is a challenge and takes effort, energy, and hope.  It is demanding and requires frequent concentration and skills that are not required when one lives in the past or future.

Consider ways to manage the stress of daily change or momentous upheaval. At one point last year, I faced a challenging health treatment experiment lasting 11 months while participating in Carleton’s health crisis decline, just as client needs and other community commitments I had made also reached sometimes emergency level responsibility.  In the latter areas, I had specific skills needed and would not avoid the decisions due to my personal circumstance. I learned ways to keenly focus and that sometimes you could vibrantly live in each individual moment.  I continued personal traditions like date night and made this as sacred as any religious requirement.   Each minute of your day becomes a gift.

No one can maintain the extreme level of intensity of living each moment in crisis or emergency.  It takes a toll on your stamina and energy especially if lack of sleep becomes a component in crisis.  That is one reason many caregivers falter and become health compromised worse than the person whom they are serving.

Ultimately, for me, my solution to remember the importance of celebrating when possible while I live in the moment was to simply redefine one word.  I made “gift” the main definition of a very important word for those who live in the now.  Yet, it was easy to do.  The term “gift” is synonymous with the word “present”.

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