Living in the Past, Living in the Future, Living in the Present

     I know that I no longer need to create new posts, but it seemed like this is the perfect place to post my current thoughts. I’ll admit that many of these recent thoughts are my own personal reflections on life, and as such, I find that I tend to read different messages into various media forms that I am seeing, hearing, or reading. In this particular case, my thoughts are currently dwelling on trying to not live in the past or the future, but learning how to live in the moment. As I was reviewing material for my upcoming exam, I was re-reading Horizon. It is a pretty amazing story that, for me, centers around the theme of learning to think less and live in the moment. In the beginning of the story, Alisanne, is feeling emotions that reflect feelings associated with depression and anxiety, because she is living with thoughts about past events which torment her, or fear of the future in which past events keep repeating themselves. Her feelings revolve around frustration, hopelessness, feelings of being alone, trapped, life’s a mess…barely holding on. Towards the end of part one, Ali starts to live in the moment, and new feelings of hope come as she starts to gain control of her life.

As I am writing these words, “Let Me Go” by Avril Lavigne & Chad Kroeger is playing in the background. The words in the main chorus are:

“I’m breaking free from these memories
Gotta let it go, just let it go
I’ve said goodbye, set it all on fire
Gotta let it go, just let it go”

The song transitions near the end to the lyrics:

I’ve broken free from those memories
I’ve let it go, I’ve let it go
And two goodbyes led to this new life
Don’t let me go, don’t let me go”

The lyrics in this song is basically talking about Avril & Chad letting go of their past relationships (i.e. the past)…and moving towards their new life together (the present). I’m not usually an Avril fan or a Chad Kroeger fan, but this song is really good with lyrics that are actually meaningful.

The point of this post is not really to discuss either Horizon or this song, it is however, an opening for discussion on why it is so difficult to let go of the past and future, and live in the moment. Is it hard because we have no control over the present moment? Lao Tsu, (the father of Taoism) stated “If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future. If you’re at peace, you’re living in the present.” I think Wildman illustrated this concept extremely well in Horizon, where as readers we can visibly see Alisanne experiencing feelings of peace towards the end of part one. If the secret to hope and happiness lies in embracing the present moment and letting go of the past and the future, why is it so difficult to live life according to this concept?

*I’ve included a link to “Let Me Go” if anyone is interested. Happy listening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqajUg85Ax4

 

3 thoughts on “Living in the Past, Living in the Future, Living in the Present

  1. Thanks for the comments re HORIZON. I think I will have to pinch that Lao Tsu quote. HORIZON is a labour of love for me and is a full expression of myself. That people are ‘getting’ it is a joy. Also interesting is that you have put together thoughts about HORIZON alongside thoughts about musical lyrics. HORIZON was originally going to employ the use of song lyrics as a parallel narrative. there is reference to this in the introduction and visually at the beginning of the book. That may become more apparent in book three.
    AW

    • Thanks for the comment Andrew, it’s interesting that you originally intended to use song lyrics in the story. Music is a powerful media, different songs and lyrics can connect with us no matter what stage of life or state of mind we are in. The downside is that this connection is only temporary and lasts for a relatively short period of time. Personally I think the addition of musical lyrics would have limited or potentially detracted from the powerful message in Horizon. For me, Horizon is like a snapshot into the mind and psyche of a person living with depression and anxiety. All the complexities and obstacles that a person experiences in this state of mind, you have managed to clearly articulate though words and images. It is a difficult place to be in, and even more difficult to describe what it’s like. My favorite part of the story is that Alisanne is shown actively searching for a way out; she keeps getting back on her feet, even though she keeps getting knocked down. That is what life is like living with depression or anxiety. It is not giving up, lying down, and accepting life that way. There are no windows or doors; all paths seem to lead nowhere; people are close-by, yet so far away they can’t help; all the odds seem against you; there is no color; there is no music; but as long as there is hope, we keep getting up and trying. This is the message that your story tells me- there is hope, and freedom comes when we can learn to let go of the past and future, and learn to live in the moment. Amazing.

  2. Letting go of the past or future does not necessarily mean negating or suppressing them, like trying to be separate from them. You can;t get to the present without a past (duh), and the future is always waiting for you (duh again), it’s letting go of the power they have over you. My past is very important to getting me here, in both positive and negative experiences, so living in the present for me does not mean trying to pretend the past is not there (nor the future).

    BTW, I found my way here via https://twitter.com/brlamb/status/408285507727015936 so very cool you got the comment above!

    so very

Leave a Reply to Alan Levine (@cogdog) Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *