My music today is Wagner’s Prelude to Lohengrin. Music that brings back good memories. Among other things , it takes me back to a holiday in Natal and the Friday morning that we drove through the green, forest lined road. There are many more good memories associated with this music.
“Most people exist in an emptiness between memory and anticipation.” Louis L’Amour – Kiowa Trail
This quote is very true. We often live in the past. We remember good things, crave “the good ol’ days.” We remember bad things and replay them like a bad movie on repeat. Sometimes, like Echardt Tolle writes in Power or Now, we allow the bad things to become our “Pain Body” and it makes or lives miserable. The problem with the past is, it’s over. I cannot relive yesterday.
I can fondly remember a Friday morning in 2012 in Natal, but I cannot go back to that day. In these times I see Victor Frankl cited a lot. A good thing, because he really can teach us a lot. Victor Frankl also said: “live every moment as if you have already done it and made a mess .” It’s not a verbatim quote – I ‘ve read Man’s Search for Meaning decades ago over a weekend in Hermanus.
Tomorrow, so is the wisdom, is not promised to anyone . Who can guarantee that he is going to be here tomorrow? And yet, it is the tomorrows that often mess up our future! The worries about tomorrow. All that “what-if’s” that keep us so busy . It keeps our minds occupied, it makes us anxious and we stop living – like a rabbit at night caught in the headlights of a fast moving car. I love to play with Excel’s “What-If” feature. It can keep me busy for a long time. But that is a game!
Now, in Lockdown, I think most of us have the same “what-if’s” about money, finances or income . What if the lockdown lasts longer? Where will the money come from? How will I pay for the things I need? Indeed – how will I pay for Checkers’s Sixty60 to deliver food without income? It’s real concerns for many people. Probably for most people.
It is not about the money – it is about important things like medical aid and life insurance – it is about the most basic things on Maslow’s hierarchy – physical security – food, clothes, shelter. It is about health and financial security. Maybe in the northern suburbs of Cape Town we will now understand something about the daily reality in Khayalitsha? Although I think the person in Khayalitsha is better off than the person in the Notrthern Suburbs of Cape Town. The man in Khayalitsha is better off because he never trusted in Discovery or Sanlam or Liberty for security. Money has never been his security. His security lies in his community. Perhaps we will learn something about this during COVID19.
At the beginning of the Virus, I posted on Facebook about Lietaer ‘s Future of Money and one of his solutions – Communitas. I see Communitas today – security in and through society. I see it in the people who said to the lady who cleans our rubbish bins that they will pay her, she must stay at home and stay safe. I see it in people who freely arranges webinars on the Internet to help everybody. I see it in people and companies giving away paid courses to help people to keep busy or learn new skills. A month free at Scribd. Access to virtual Museum Tours. Morning and evening gamedrives in the Kruger Park. Communitas.
What strikes me from L’Amour’s quote, is the “exist” – we just exist . We do not live. In 2012 I had an amazing holiday in Natal, with Lohengrin. Although we often talk about it, it is in the past. It’s over. I can’t live tomorrow. When I try to relive the past or fret about the future, I end up existing. I’m not living! What a waste. (Can we waste the lockdown, too, by keeping too busy to just be?)
I can only live in the now. Here, where I sit now and listen to Lohengrin, I have to acknowledge my own feelings of fear and uncertainty . Here, where I sit now, I have to realize I can’t do anything about a lot of things. I can’t just sit and wait for the worst to happen. The worst seldom happens, anyway. And the situation will also not be as bad our imagination makes it.
Let’s enjoy the time we have. When did I ever have the opportunity to sit at home and read Louis L’Amour in the middle of the day without feeling guilty? When could I ever keep myself busy with things that interest me without feeling guilty that I am not working?
As a bonus, another of my favourite music