You Are Here

30Nov12

It sounds like such an obvious statement: ‘You are here’.    Of course I am! Where else would I be?

But that’s the catch. Where do we spend our attention most of the time? Worrying about dinner, or the bills, or whether your mate is still angry with you for what you did/didn’t do, said, didn’t say, squish*/didn’t squish?. Most of our time (and this doesn’t just count on people with BP) is spent on planning for the future, or reassessing the past. I have no statistics to back this statement up but I feel that it is easy to assume. So if we are focused on the future and the past, we overlook the present much of the time, true?

I’m not making any of this up on my own. There are a lot of great thinkers who have also written on this and it is a common problem with everyone, everywhere, all the time.

You’ve heard the expressions: ‘Take time to stop and smell the roses’, ‘There’s nothing like the moment’, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’. These and many more are words of (often cliched) wisdom that seem quaint but are very important and oft overlooked.

We busy ourselves and distract ourselves from what is right in front of us.

You may be wondering when I’m going to start writing about BP or parenting, but this is important for everyone

*An obvious joke, no?

People with bipolar experience this past/future mindset in more extreme ways. We can obsess so greatly about the past that it disables us. We can’t shake free from the guilt that chases us, haunts us, until we are too exhausted to fight it anymore. We can get so obsessed about the bleak nature of an unknown future that is causes us to stop moving forward at all – a sort of ‘why bother?!’ point of view.

On the other hand, we can get super excited about the past, reliving the romanticized good old days, exciting times, and sometimes harrowing adventures. We can look to the future as a great land of opportunity and get so excited we can only see adventure and awesomeness coming down the pipe straight at our gleaming starstruck eyes!

In both of these cases, the person with BP was never, ever, in the present moment, which brings us back to the topic of this post. This quote by Coelho is remarkable for pointing out our shared nature to be always looking away for something better:

“In magic – and in life – there is only the present moment, the now. You can’t measure time the way you measure the distance between two points. ‘Time’ doesn’t pass. We human beings have enormous difficulty in focusing on the present; we’re always thinking about what we did, about how we could have done it better, about the consequences of our actions, and about why we didn’t act as we should have. Or else we think about the future, about what we’re going to do tomorrow, what precautions we should take, what dangers await us around the next corner, how to avoid what we don’t want and how to get what we have always dreamed of.”
― Paulo Coelho

Or here in a shorter quote by Buchwald, the real essence or truth of the matter is exposed: “Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is the only time we have. ”
― Art Buchwald

So! This is the moment. This is the only one we will ever have for certain. So what can we do with it? What should we do with it? That’s a huge discussion (leagues of volumes of writings on this) to be dabbled in all the time.

For people with BP, and I can speak for myself as a person with BPII, I can suggest this: when battling the maelstrom of mood, consider the moment. know that this is the only moment that you are guaranteed to have.

And here is your mission: Make this moment better.

Isn’t that simple?

The idea is that, despite any so-called limitations you may be facing in that moment, you can always choose one aspect to be made better. Sometimes it means speaking up, sometimes (oftentimes) it means speaking less. Sometimes it is enough just to enjoy one breath fully. Draw the air in, imagine it painted gold and filling your body down to your toes, and then let the air out slowly, seeing that the rejuvenating gold remains and you are alive.

I’d love to hear how this works for other people. I hope this blog is helpful. I know I’m loving writing so far 🙂

Remember:  “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”  Albert Camus

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2 Responses to “You Are Here”


  1. 1 Do you have a Second? « Bipolar 2 Dad
  2. 2 Building a Moment « Bipolar 2 Dad

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