Sam Holstein

A Short Reminder That Everything Is OK Right Now

A Short Reminder That Everything Is OK Right Now

I’m sitting in my parents’ backyard right now. Birds are chirping. The air conditioner is running a few yards away. Someone a few blocks away is having construction work done; power saws whir in the background. The sun’s rays shimmer through the next-door neighbor’s pine trees.

There aren’t words to describe how perfect the moment is.

That’s not to say everything in my life is perfect. There are plenty of things going wrong in my life, believe me. They woke me up at 4:30 this morning — I was crying before the sun even rose. But none of those situations are causing me pain right now. They will cause me pain in the future, for sure, when they work themselves out, be that sooner or later, but nothing is causing me any pain right now. This moment is truly wonderful.

And there are plenty of things I could want at this moment, too. My partner to get home from work. A snack, perhaps — freshly cut bell peppers, hummus, chilled lemon water. A few more hundred dollars in my bank account. But this moment is truly wonderful even without those things.

But how often do we stop to notice how wonderful moments are on their own? Our problems absorb all of our attention, our survival instincts create a need to pay attention right now to problems that worry us, and beautiful moments like this one are missed entirely.

The modern mindfulness movement has done an all-right job of drawing people’s attention to the present moment, but people knew doing so was important before any ancient near-eastern philosophers told us it was a smart thing to do. Some people managed to put a brand on this simple wisdom, but it existed long before anyone did.

Ask yourself if any of your problems are putting you in any kind of danger right now. Not “Could they cause danger if left unsolved?” (Can’t any problem?) or “Do I need to do anything about my problems” (Yes, sooner or later), but are you in danger from them right now?

The answer is “probably not.”

For right now, at least, you are a-ok.

Let yourself remember that once in a while.