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M
ind Over Matter
 


Time Out: For Living Life Fully

© Barry Bittman MD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by Barry Bittman MD. View all columns in series
If you’re spending every precious moment working and sacrificing for your perfect future, perhaps you should stop and take a few moments to read this poem.

My wife, Karen, handed me this lesson a few years ago. It was something I needed to learn at the time. Actually I find myself re-reading it often.

   There is an Island fantasy
   A "Someday I'll," we'll never see
   When recession stops, inflation ceases
   Our mortgage is paid, our pay increases
   That someday I'll where problems end
   Where every piece of mail is from a friend
   Where the children are sweet and already grown
   Where we all retire at forty-one
   Playing backgammon in the island sun
   Most unhappy people look to tomorrow
   To erase this day's hardship and sorrow
   They put happiness on "lay away"
   And struggle through a blue today
   But happiness cannot be sought
   It can't be earned, it can't be bought
   Life's most important revelation
   Is that the journey means more than the destination
   Happiness is where you are right now
   Pushing a pencil or pushing a plow
   Going to school or standing in line
   Watching and waiting, or tasting the wine
   If you live in the past you become senile
   If you live in the future you’re on Someday I'll
   The fear of results is procrastination
   The joy of today is a celebration
   You can save, you can slave, trudging mile after mile
   But you'll never set foot on your Someday I'll
   When you've paid all your dues and put in your time
   Out of nowhere comes another Mt. Everest to climb
   From this day forward make it your vow
   Take Someday I'll and make it yours Now!
            Author Unknown

Most of us never consider the source of the multiple pressures and stresses we experience. I suppose it's easier to focus on society and the competition rather than on ourselves. Yet isn't it possible we're trading the potential joy of each moment for the vision of that elusive "Someday I'll" on the distant horizon?

How often do we find ourselves so caught up in the quest that we lose sight of today? Counting down the years to retirement, many people merely live and save for that special day when life can finally be enjoyed. Consumed with that enticing vision of "Someday I'll," they set their course on a journey that literally consumes them. By the time those elusive shores are within reach, the quest abruptly comes to a close, the dream fades and health declines.

For the goal-oriented, there will always be another quest. Yet does the end truly justify the means? Is your next goal worth the sacrifice of living, loving and enjoying the fullness of every precious moment?

Perhaps it's time we learned that rushing toward the end is the surest way to destroy the journey. As noted in this poem, putting happiness on "lay away" and struggling through another blue today predictably destroys the wondrous moments that enable us to enjoy our lives one step at a time.

Yet striving for the future isn't the only way to miss out on today. Living in the past, many people fail to enjoy the richness of the "present" as well. You know who they are - their conversations are often revealing, repetitive and depressing. Advancing beyond memories of the "the good old days" isn’t conceivable. Constantly let down by what the present has to offer, little effort is expended toward making the best of today. As a result, memories of yesterday block the richness of the journey and its steps toward tomorrow.

So if you're overwhelmed with either the future or the past, a time-out may be in order. Do not allow time to fly by ignoring the present and hastening the future. Do not cash in every valuable moment to save for a time that may never exist. Do not waste your life in anticipation of that elusive life-wrecking destination, "Someday I'll."

Create your journey one step at a time, and remember to spend every moment exploring with the wondrous eyes of a child. As the author noted, "happiness is where you are right now." It is yours simply for BEING in the moment. Travel your journey well - Mind Over Matter!

©2001 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

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About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary outpatient medical facility in Meadville, PA., Dr. Bittman has pioneered a new paradigm for treating the “whole person.” Based upon extensive......more
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