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Arielle's Word of the Day #15: NOW

Posted Jun 15 2012 12:00am
Four years ago on this blog, I shared two quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson that relate to the NOW. Living in the now is important. It is too easy to live in the past, to worry about things that have already occurred, to focus on what has BEEN instead of what is currently happening. Here are the quotes... and your mission, if you choose to accept it (and I hope you will), is to really take them to heart today.

The following quotes are especially important to keep in mind on rough days. They may help you to put things in perspective and breathe just a bit easier.
  "Be not the slave of your own past ... plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."
For one, the very words sound refreshing, invigorating, renewing. Repeat it once to yourself. Hold it close, like a soft piece of fabric. The first part is the most important—"be not the slave of your own past." How many of us are right now being the slaves of our own pasts? What will it take to break that cycle, to change that thinking, to move forward? It's simple yet difficult: dive into life. Live. Go for it. Persevere. Revel in what's around you. And then, as Emerson tells us, we'll be renewed—we will have "self-respect" and "new power." Who doesn't want that? Doesn't it sound beautiful? Miraculous even? Yet, it can be accomplished. And when we have that new outlook, we'll be able to figure out the past the best way we can, and we'll be able—and ready—to move on.

Now for the second quote:
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."

I like this one even more. One of my own sayings I keep on a post-it at my desk is: "Today is what you make it. And tomorrow is always a new day." This quote by Emerson seems (to me) to go hand in hand with that mentality. Instead of beating yourself up for mistakes you made or setbacks that may have happened, instead of berating yourself for being the way you are, and instead of worrying over what happened in the course of the day—"finish each day and be done with it." There is no better advice than that. As Emerson says, "You have done what you could." Things may have happened that you didn't like, but forgetting them as soon as you can is a much better choice than dwelling on them and thus allowing them to hinder your progress for the days to follow. Each new morning, focus not on the day that has passed, but begin the new day "serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." When the day begins, it is new and fresh and clean and blank. Don't mar such a glorious thing with bad feelings from the previous day; march on and make the day what you want it to be.
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