Life’s chapters lived one at a time

Looking back, my life’s chapters show themselves clearly, even though they may have unfolded untidily.

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There may have been overlapping themes and messy incidents, but each stage had an unmistakable beginning and an end. Often, some catalyst caused the change from one stage to another.

In retrospect, themes appear. An overall plot-line becomes apparent.

Some phases dragged interminably, painfully. Others went by in a flash, while at the same time acting as plot twists powerful enough to change the trajectory of my life. Sometimes I made choices. Other times fate thrust challenges in front of me. They blocked my way and forced me to take another, scarier path.

Lives and story-books

Lives and story-books have similarities and great differences. Both need plots and action. They have themes and characters and scenes. Time and place ground them. Chapters or phases order them.

A big difference is that human lives are lived randomly, even haphazardly, as we deal with whatever turns up. Authors, on the other hand, take time to produce the ordered chapters of a book. The authors I know review and revise and tidy drafts, as well as each chapter, paragraph and sentence to create a meaningful whole.

Although rewarding and fun, with drama thrown in for spice, I can’t help thinking my life looks like a rough first draft. It needed a good edit to make sense of the highs and lows, the quiet life-changing moments and the hasty decisions. Indecisions, too, might have made more sense after re-writing

Living life’s chapters in the present

I can’t help wondering how much I missed because I failed to see each part of my life as a chapter to be savoured.

Sometimes, ‘One day at a time’ became my mantra, especially when challenges seemed overwhelming.

These days, in pursuit of serenity, I remind myself to take deep breaths to remain peaceful. (More in another blog, here.)

But to see this part of my life as a life’s chapter and to savour it? To let go of the past and immerse myself in what is happening, how I live and love now? To enter fully into every day, every moment, and enjoy it? I would do the things I want without worrying?

The future could unfold as it will without my efforts.

How exciting that sounds! How rich and abundant life would become if we cared less about the past and future, more about the now.

 As Victoria Moran says,

When you’re engrossed in a story, nothing exists except what is happening now.

Being engrossed in your current chapter doesn’t mean giving up on hopes, dreams, plans and ambitions. It certainly doesn’t mean falling into the nearest rocking-chair or bed.

Living this life’s chapter in a focussed way means giving attention to the pleasures, joys and tasks which form the point of whatever stage of our lives we are in. It means living fully, abundantly and peacefully.

13 thoughts on “Life’s chapters lived one at a time

  1. An apt parallel, Maureen, that resonates with me. I need to be reminded to live in the now. My mind often takes me elsewhere so readily! When I do live in the moment , I am at peace. That speaks volumes!

    • Yes, the parallel felt right when I thought about it. Living in the now is so hard to do, at least I find it so. And living in ‘this chapter’ may prove even more difficult, but I’m going to give it a try. It means not just being in the present, but actually enjoying the chapter, which is important for itself. And makes me feel curious about what I’m really supposed to be doing here and now. Certainly not what I had in mind, I must say! The blog just evolved as a sort of meditation and I might let that happen more often.

  2. Have you been peeking into my mind Maureen, as I fret and worry about how to feed 18 people and when I’ll wash all the sheets and whether everyone will get on etc etc etc, instead of just stopping and taking it all moment by moment?
    Thank you for a reminder to slow down, settle down and enjoy the present.
    Hope you’re well and enjoying your present moment, too! x

    • Lovely to hear from you again, Fiona. What interesting problems you’re having. Feeding 18? Washing 36 sheets? That reminds me of the days when I sometimes helped my sister, who had the B and B in Dowerin. We had those problems (she did, I simply did as I was told) during Dowerin Field Days. I think we need to do the next important thing, and the one after than when there’s a lot happening.

      My present has become gentle, peaceful, with enough going on to keep it spicy.

      • I’m so glad your present is peaceful, with just a taste of spice! Hope your Easter celebrations were happy, too.
        My feeding 18 people/washing sheets wasn’t anything so dramatic as a B&B – just cooking for a big family get-together and having people stay here.
        Will continue to do as you suggest – one thing, and then the next 🙂
        xx

  3. Poignant…. and beautiful.
    My now chapter seems very chaotic… but just a few short months ago I yearned for some spice. Be careful what you wish for!!
    Having said that – I woke Elizabeth up early this morning, and in the semi-dark i was shocked at how long her limbs had become. How did that happen? And Edward will be three on Sunday.
    Thank you for the reminder to try to find serenity. I will miss you this Easter weekend.

    • Thank you, Claire.
      I imagine your present chapter is busy, exciting and wonderful (as well as sometimes a bit worrying). That’s the way of life’s chapters. There are so many different parts to a story. You talk about Elizabeth and Edward and of course Alexandra is also in the mix. The chapter of babies, with all the wonderful and occasional sad things babies bring, may be over for you, and now you are into a chapter of adventure. You don’t have to be serene all the time! Just enjoy whatever comes your way and make the most of your journey.
      I will think about you at Mass on Easter Saturday – the most beautiful of all the liturgies of the Church. I hope the Linton family’s Easter is very special. Mxx

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