Life can only be experienced and lived in the moment. The past is the foundation for right now and the future is built upon the life we are living right now. When we live life in the past or in the future we sacrifice the joy we should experience right now. How do we embrace the past, look to the future, and still experience the joy of living, leading, and loving today, right now?

In this episode of the Calibrate Life Podcast, David and Donna talk about the importance of living life right now, not in the past, and not in the future, but right now! Continue reading for the article and time-stamped episode notes and links.

Living Life Right Now!

[1:01]  Life can only be experienced and lived in the moment. The past is the foundation for right now and the future is built upon the life we are living right now. When we live life in the past or in the future we sacrifice the joy we should experience right now. How do we embrace the past, look to the future, and still experience the joy of living, leading, and loving today, right now?

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday, and all is well.

[shareable]Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday, and all is well. [/shareable]

We are on a journey navigating from the past to the future and sometimes it is very difficult to focus on living our lives right now.

  William Bennett, in The Book of Virtues, tells story [3:28] of a magical silver ball with a golden thread. When you pull the thread it fast-forwards your life. The lesson of the story is that the hard times that we want to fast forward are the most formative times that we look back on with great appreciation. The tough stuff and the joy of the journey are foundational for the joys upon which life is built.

If we had a thread to pull, some days we would be tempted to pull it.

[5:35]  We were warned that a second marriage, under our circumstance with a lot of people and grief processes involved, takes about 7 years for everyone to really find their place in it and acclimate to what life is and what it is going to be moving forward. There are times we would like to pull “the thread” and advance beyond those 7 years so the work of it could be over. Yeah, we know it doesn’t work that way and pulling “the thread” wouldn’t solve any of the challenges we might hope.

[7:15]  Pulling “the thread” sacrifices the joys of right now. Wouldn’t it be better to embrace the joys of right now than to see it as a burden to bear, as a difficulty to push through, as a pain to be endured.

Our focus today is living life… today!

The Foundation of the Past  [9:29]

We are both nostalgic. We value the past. We cherish the memories important to us. We both tend to assign memories to tangible objects, keepsakes, things that remind us of things we want to remember. The more nostalgic and sentimental you are, the more stuff you try to keep.

Nostalgia is a happy place that reminds us where we came from. The life behind us is the foundation for the life we are living and the one we are growing into. The life behind us has value, but only as a foundation for the life we live right now and the life we are building.

Think about it. The life behind us has value only as it brought us to where we are today. When we celebrate the life behind us to the degree that it diminishes the life we live today, then we need to grow. Grief is a process of growing beyond reflection of the past to the detriment of today.

We came across a word that affected the way we thought about the past. Hiraeth is an archaic Welsh word for which there is no English equivalent. It basically means, “homesick for something that no longer exists.” It was used to refer to a longing for a Wales that existed only in memory. [13:10]

Hiraeth is a longing for something or a nostalgia for something that will never be again. This concept is very descriptive of the feelings we experience in the grief process. A related Portuguese word, saudade, refers to a deep emotional state of nostalgia or melancholic longing for something absent and not likely to return.

I grew up in the little Appalachian town of Princeton, West Virginia. The town I remember of the mid 1960s was a lot like Mayberry, which is probably why I am an avid fan of The Andy Griffith Show. “Downtown” was one street with two traffic lights that ran from the rail yards to the courthouse. I remember the street lined with cars and the parking meters all in use. I remember the people walking up and down the sidewalks and in and out of the local businesses. When I go back to visit it feels sad, it feels like a ghost town to me. I see buildings that used to be thriving and vital businesses. I remember my friends and our shared experiences in those places. It seems that those who stayed don’t seem to notice as much as I do, but the place I remember does not exist. It simply does not exist, not the way it exists in my mind.

[15:40]  In life I have to realize that the past is a foundation, it is not something to be longed for. The past made us who we are. The past has laid a deep foundation that was intended to be lived upon and built upon.

We need freedom to live life now!

[shareable]We need freedom to live life now![/shareable]

[16:21]  The past isn’t something to be freed from, it is to be embraced, celebrated, and valued; however, when our hiraeth becomes a chain that holds us in bondage and keeps us from living today, then we need freedom from it.

In The Message, Galatians 5.1 reads, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” We have the freedom to live a free life. A life free from the bondage of the past, a life free from a nostalgia that strips the joy of the present out of our lives.

The Hope of the Future  [17:16]

Living in the past is some people’s challenge, for me living in the future is a greater challenge. If we aren’t careful we will see the purpose of today as solely making preparation for tomorrow. Preparation is important, but not to the detriment of being able to live, lead, and love today.

Pressing toward a desired future to the detriment of living life right now is not freedom, it is bondage to the future. We sometimes work so hard to be free in the future that we put ourselves in bondage right now.

[19:03]  We must lead forward, we must have vision, we must dream dreams, we must lay the foundations today that determine how high we can build tomorrow, but remember, we have to live, lead and love the life we are living today, while building the life we are to live, lead, and love tomorrow, in the context of the life we have already lived.

Some things are about preparation for tomorrow, but everything can’t be about tomorrow. We need to experience the freedom of embracing what life is today, experiencing the blessings of today, embracing the joys of today and not constantly coloring them blue because we are not yet where we need to go.

Experiencing the Joy of Right Now  [23:14]

Don’t defer life to another time, another day. Live life right now. What does that mean? How do we do that?

We are still engaged in the process of divesting ourselves of things associated with the past. Putting things aside, getting rid of things, turning our focus to right now. We understand that everyone in our lives has their own track, their own processes, their own memories, and their own way of dealing with it. We have to give everyone else in our lives the freedom to navigate their journey in the way they need to, and we need to embrace the freedom to move our lives forward in the way we must.

We need to experience the joy of living right now.

How do we live a right now life?

[24:40]  See the past as a foundation. Remember, but dispense with the nostalgic feelings of wanting to return, wanting to live it again. It was a foundation. Do you want to tear your house down so that you can remember the joy you felt when you stood and looked at the foundation anticipating the house it would be?

[26:13]  See the future as a map for how to live right now. Your desired future is reflected in the way you are living right now, so rather than striving to create the future, create the future by living your life joyfully right now. We think we will wake up someday and have the life we want with everything in its place, everything in order, everything worked out. We will one day have the situation we want, the place we want, the ministry we want — today we do not, but we live in the hope that someday we will have the life we want. It does not work that way. (I am sorry to disappoint you.)

Live life today and it will prove to organically be the foundation for your life tomorrow.

I find myself sometimes focusing so much on the man I hope to be someday that I fail to appreciate the man I am today. We spend so much time focusing upon what the church, our ministry, our business, our life, our family will be someday that we risk the danger of not appreciating what it is today and the wonderful place we are on this journey called life.

[31:39]  Leadership is always leading on two plains. I am leading where I am right now, and I’m leading where I am going to be. We think of leadership in the context of a church, because that’s been much of our world and experience, we we frame it thusly; however, we do think it applicable to many facets of life and leadership. Lead two churches simultaneously, the one you are leading right now, today, and the one you see in the future. You cannot neglect one for the other. As it applies to life, you do have to live two lives in the context of a third. Live the life you have today, while considering the one you are moving into, in the context of the life behind you.

Let us purpose to not defer life to another time or another day.

[shareable]Let us purpose to not defer life to another time or another day.[/shareable]

Calibration Tools For Lifting Those You Love and Lead  [32:34]

Delight in the people and organization you lead today. Delight in the life you live today. How do you do that?

  • [33:02]  How do you cherish where you are right now? Think about it. Write it in your journal. What do you love about life today! What are the experiences you are having right now that bring you joy right now?
  • [34:10]  Are their things in your past that prompt hiraeth? How can you value the foundation and separate yourself from the “homesickness” for something that served a great purpose, but will never exist again? Do you need to get rid of some things? Do you need to change your surroundings? Do you need to let go of some relationships? Can you embrace that?
  • [37:07]  Do you find yourself trying to escape right now through digging into the future, distracting yourself with social media, video, or food? How must you center down to feel the feelings you are feeling and focus on the moment. We have to face our fears, work through our challenges, and find the joy of life in the moment we are in.
  • [38:45]  How do you balance and align the dreams and visions you have for the future with the joys you should be experiencing right now? Are you too forward focused? How can you enjoy in the right now the things foundational for the future? How can you intentionally find joy in the journey?

Finally… [39:22]

Have you ever been talking to someone at an event or in a public place and the entire time they are glancing over your shoulder to see if there is someone else they would rather be talking to? That’s what we tend to do with life. Rather than enjoying the conversation we are distracted, unfocused, and thinking about something else.

You’ve been to some great places, had some great experiences. You are going to a great place that will bring you a lot of joy. You live in a place right now that offers you the joy of living right now. Its not one or the other, its all three.

Commit yourself to freedom, commit yourself to living the life you are living right now!

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