Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

The secret to living fully
By Joan Chittister

Being where we are—immersed in it, aware of it, alert to it—may well be the secret to living well, to living fully. It is a lesson to be learned. In a culture based on motion it is no small trick to allow ourselves to be present to the present, to see what is in front of us. We only think we’re here. The problem is a perennial one, common to every time, every tradition.

In too many instances, we are more likely to be on our way to somewhere else than present to the present. We go through life watching our watches. We leave one party early in order to go to another one and by the end of the night we have enjoyed neither. We live with one foot in tomorrow at all times. We plan for tomorrow and prepare for tomorrow and fear tomorrow and wait for tomorrow with distracting fitfulness. Here is never good enough. What is, is not important to a people on the go. What is coming is always what really counts. What is yet to be had, yet to be seen, yet to be done, yet to be accomplished becomes the essence of life.

But life is every grain of sand in the hourglass. And it is running. And once run it is gone forever.

Too often, while we wait for life, it passes us by, leaves us up to our hearts in dissatisfaction and over our heads in wanting. We live overcome by losses and dissolved in spiritual ruin or wasted by a death of spirit, by a diminishment of enthusiasm, by the dissipation of hope. Yet all the while the present moment lies truly dormant within us.

The fundamental problem of life, obviously, is not a lack of opportunity. It is a lack of soul, what Confucians call “righteousness,” of what Buddhists call “awareness,” of what Jews call “tzedakah,” of what Christians call “contemplative consciousness.”

—from For Everything a Season by (Orbis)

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com

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