With the skin.
Or senstation might be more accurate. Though this may just be me, I tend to find that my memory (the past) and imagination (the future) is more of a conceptual thing, with the past in particular being more visual than anything else.
So sensation, tactility and the kinesthetic feeling of being in your body is intrinsically linked to the now?
It’s hard to explain, but now is the only time you’re really in your body, everything else is completely mediated and distorted. Distorted by hopes and dreams and the little white lies you tell yourself to keep on functioning. There’s a structure that we impose upon the past and the present. A story that we need to make these things make sense.
There’s no story in the present moment. Not if you’re in it. It’s too quick to make up lies and narratives. Too quick to make sense of it.
And the times you feel most in it are when you don’t try.
So feel with your senses but don’t try to make sense of it?
As I understand it, the existentialists put the whole thing down to making decisions. A fuller life through picking and choosing.
Empowerment is a disgusting and potentially meaningless word.
But then, that’s the power of creativity. Picking a route through life. Does this contradict my apparent anti-story position?
I don’t think so.
There’s got to be a balance between living in the moment and living a life that makes sense.
They should feed each other. One without the other is meaningless.
The NLP brigade talk about Hakalau, apparently named after a place in Hawaii. It’s the idea of broadening your field of vision (and sensation) to encompass the peripheral vision. Theoretically this increases your ability to engage with subconscious cues, putting you in a learning state. A receptive state where you get more information from the world around you.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for living life like this. Draw as much from the moment, with some element of passivity. Try and keep this almost trance like state as you make those decisions.
Or is that too disengaged?
Surely living in the moment is about engaging fully with what you are doing; what you are feeling.
Maybe there’s some trick to being in two places at once. Planning and living in the long term, and feeling and existing in the present.
On the other hand, fuck it.
Just be spontaneous.
Run down the street with your arms outstretched making airplane noises.
Grab a frisbee and throw it to a friend.
Make love properly. With the whole of your body and mind. Forget everything but that moment and that person and that sensation.
Do everything like that for a day.
It’ll probably wear you out. But it might also be addictive.
And you may find the worries and stresses and plans and lies and fear of repeating history just don’t matter so much any more.
Let’s get to it.
Illustration by Lucy.