As Dumbledore told Harry Potter when he stood before the Mirror of Erised, “It does not do to dwell in dreams and forget to live.”  BTW, I just “got” the name of the mirror.  Duh.

As I am working towards creating a new life, even if it’s only mental work right now, this question keeps coming up for me.  In my dreams, I think of talking to the Captain, to my Mother, and once awake, realizing I never will again.  The sadness is overwhelming, and I want to change the past.  But I wouldn’t even if I could.  Both of those dear people needed to move on, away from their broken bodies.  And I have moved on in a world where they are not. 

It’s easy, especially around the holidays, to let regrets and longings get the better of you.  In this year that has been so heavily focused on my divorce, there are some natural regrets around “destroying my family”.  What I really did was destroy the facade.  The perfect family unit wasn’t there.  It was really dysfunctional.  I wasn’t setting a good example for Kelsea about being true to oneself.  Maybe my unorthodox exit strategy wasn’t a good example either, but I’m trying to live my present and future so that she has a positive role model.  A positive role model of a woman who exited a marriage that was not and never would be nurturing, who does not hold bitterness or vengeance for the wrongs committed by her former husband, who does not beat herself up too much, who stands up for herself, and who works to make a healthy, happy new life – and new love.

I still miss my house, my illusion of security and being cared for, the warmth of the home I tried to create for us.  I don’t want it back, I don’t want Pat back, but I want those qualities back.  Just like I want the support of my parents back, their words of comfort.  That’s how I live in the past.  The question is, how can I take those longings and transform them into goals for my future?  How can I help myself find the proper places in my soul for those things to burrow and live and bloom into something new, safe, secure, solid, and pleasantly poignant?

During times of transition, living in the future is easier for me.  Again, Dumbledore’s advice comes to mind.  The future is based on dreams, and you cannot live in dreams.  But if you have no dreams, how do you control the forward motion of your life?  Especially when things in the present are not as you want them to be?  I have spent most of my life going with the flow, as opposed to directing the flow (the concept of conscious living that I wrote about here).  I’m a big believer in going with the flow, but that doesn’t mean not having intention.  Intention does not equal resistance.  Intention does not equal opposition to fate. 

Reality is, I cannot just pick up and leave tomorrow.  I have two jobs, a lease, a daughter, Mr. GF, two distant dogs, two distant cats and a soon-to-be-ex-husband.  Responsibilities.  As much as I want to decry my responsibilities, playing my given role in the universe means accepting them gracefully and making the most of them, not shirking them.  The game is how to fit the new dreams into the picture so that the responsibilities I want to keep are not ignored, but the goals of the dreams are achieved.

I am trying to bring my future into focus, to harness the power of the universe, to create my own reality and learn to know myself better and in a more forgiving manner.  My future is not the perfect house and expensive things.  My future is in peace, simplicity, creativity, passion, adventure and love.

And that takes us to living in the present.  Living in the present, while paving the road for the future, and taking some steps towards that future every single day.  Not lamenting the fact that I’m not in the future already.  Not regretting the past.   It’s a delicate balance between what’s meant to be, what is, and what I can shape.  Several platitudes come to mind – “God grant me to strength to change what I can, the courage to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – being the first, and “Today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present,” being the next.

So, when I slack off at work, or slump into depression, I am doing myself a disservice.  (I’m not being hard on myself, because I know that kind of thing will happen.  It already has.)  All of the work that I am doing, whether it’s at a job, in the house, or in my head, is helping me grow stronger and move closer to the new reality that I am shaping for myself.  The impact of each action, each project, each word, may be subtle, but if I stay tuned in to the future, while living fully in the present, I can see it.  It’s like spirits – you can often see them in your peripheral vision.  And when you do, you just have to believe in them.  They’re real.