My wife and I just got back from a weekend workshop. It was our first in-person event since the Covid lockdown. There were five couples plus a husband-and-wife facilitator duo, or 12 people in all. We were at a small retreat location out in the country, some 12 miles north of Boulder, Colorado, our home. For the most part we wore cloth masks or face shields, had many outside sessions, and practiced social distancing as best we could. The workshop, focused on helping couples live more effectively together, was excellent and well worth the risk. All this by way of context.
One of the outdoor exercises, which took place in a sandy corral, required us to walk slowly forward while with eyes closed we envisioned an individual future we desired, one which both we and our significant others could get behind and work toward. Now if you’re old enough, you may remember the baseball player Satchel Paige’s, ahem, sage advice, “Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you!” Well, at 80 ½ I have a variant saying, “Don’t look forward. Something may be waiting for you!” Superstition or rank fear aside, future visioning of this kind goes against everything I’ve learned from both my spiritual practice, Subud, where our exercises help us discern and follow God’s will, and the Al-Anon version of the 12-Step Program. This lesson can be boiled down to two 12-Step mottoes: Let go and let God, and One day at a time.
I am probably totally un-American, even un-Western, in being unwilling to dream my way into a desirable future. Even the Polynesian character Bloody Mary in the musical South Pacific advises in her solo, “You got to have a dream. If you no have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” But as for me—even in my younger years—I have consciously tried to live one day at a time. As Twelve-Steppers say, “The past is history, the future’s a mystery. All we have left is the present, which, as the word say, is a gift.” At my age, each day can be my last, especially in this time of Covid. So, I just do the necessary each day. Tomorrow will whisper its secrets to me tomorrow. The Japanese proverb makes this point well: Ashita-wa ashita no kame-ga fuku. The winds of tomorrow will blow tomorrow, to which I say, “Amen!”