David Robert Jones, MS LPC

Being With What Comes Next (12)

Written By :

Category :


Posted On :

Share This :

Being With What Comes Next (12)

15 minute writing timer. Set…Go.

“Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.” Nkosi Johnson

How can we abide in restful presence in the present and also take the future into consideration, particularly when it requires some level of planning and preparation?

And, how can we reside in that peaceful, centered awareness in the present when we can see that the circumstances that we’re struggling with are not about to end any time soon?

What do we do when we are experiencing chronic pain and terminal illness?

These are hard questions. 

I have not been in a place to consider and be with my own terminal illness, but I have lived with the reality of the others, as have many of you.

Tonight, on my walk, I found myself asking some of these questions and wondering how I am answering them these days when I am not facing chronic illness anymore, at least not to the degree that I was only a short time ago.

What did I learn that I am carrying with me today, that guides me today?

How is it that I have learned to be with this moment as it is and also how to be with what comes next?

I’m not really sure how I’m going to put any of this in words because I really only know the difference by how I feel when thoughts about “what comes next” arise in my awareness. 

During my ice bath meditations, I experienced a great deal of relief one morning when, after stewing about having so many ice baths left to take for my project, it just hit me like the cold water I was in that “I can only take one ice bath at a time.”

It was a delightful, somatic, visceral, embodied experience of relief and clarity and wisdom. 

I can only take one ice bath at a time. I can plan to take ice baths every day for the next 30 years, but I can only take one ice bath at a time.

In that wonderful moment, the simplicity of life arose and I was bathing in cool, sublime delight.

Tonight, I found myself finding a number of things that are future-oriented, things I will likely be doing and need energy for and will need to plan for. 

But, I was having the same feeling that I was having the night I was stewing about all the ice baths that I had left to take. 

Closed. Restricted. Restless. Ruminating. Really, everywhere but right here and now.

I was being with what comes next in an unconscious and worried way.

I was trying to take tomorrow’s ice baths and all ice baths I could imagine at the same time.

I realized what I was doing when I quite literally came to my senses. I smelled the cool, wet grass along the sidewalk. I heard the rustling leaves that have still yet to fall from the giant sycamore trees. I spied a lone star shining in a dark hole in the clouds for just a moment. I felt the aliveness and vibrance of my breath filling my lungs and the delight of letting it go.

I can’t be with the future later.

But I can be with what comes next, now. I can be with the parts that are worried and fretting and trying to feel safe and trying to feel secure and looking for love.

That, I can always do. Now.

I can be with what comes next, now. 

And when I am, then I am.

And I can. 

Paraphrasing Nkosi Johnson,  “I can do all that I can, with all that I have, in the time that I have, in the place where I am.” 

Note: Nkosi Johnson was a South African child with HIV and AIDS who greatly influenced public perceptions of the AIDS pandemic and its effects before his death at the age of 12 on June 1, 2001.


Ready to take the next step?

I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via social media or at [email protected].