The path to peace lies in our ability to stay present. With our either/or thinking, we humans bristle at that suggestion. “What if the present involves a crappy situation?” we protest. In our complaint lies the answer. We can only control our thoughts, so we may need to change how we look at each situation that arises.

Two ideas I’ve found particularly helpful in this regard are that of impermanence and the eternal now. The former is stressed in ancient Buddhist writings; the latter appears in various New Age transmissions.

Impermanence is the notion that everything in this human life is temporary, transient. All is fleeting, illusory, dissolving like smoke into nothingness. The key to staying present, therefore, is to avoid forming attachments. Attachment is the source of all misery; once we understand that, everything changes: we can let go, breathe deeply and live happily within each moment.

The eternal now involves a compelling recognition that past and future are gathered in the present, and that the present exists moment by moment. Often, the mind wanders into nostalgia, looking back over a past that is gone. At other times, the mind becomes mired in expectation, squinting to see a future that is not yet here. Soon, we become dissatisfied, feeling either regret for what has been lost or longing for what we cannot yet have.

It is helpful to entertain the awareness that the past is gone and the future has yet to arrive. As Cedric Red Feather reminds me regarding the past, “You must be willing to let go.” Of the future, he says, “Wishing for things all the time only makes you miserable.” My college philosophy professor, Ellery B. Haskell, used to say with a wry grin, “If wishes were fishes we’d all have a swim.” Both are wise admonitions. It’s time we swam away from our watery schools and left our own footprints in the sand.

I began this past week in despair. I recall having written this electronic note on my cell phone: “I haven’t yet faced my demons, just changed their names and dressed them in nicer clothes.” Living in the moment sometimes means allowing ourselves to be momentarily scared and vulnerable. Spending time alone in a quiet place helped me focus on the point where past and future converge, and to wipe my mental slate clean. By working to emanate a more loving vibration, I brought myself more in alignment with the new energies encircling the Earth. In being honest with myself, I was able to see clearly and without judgment the drama I had helped create.

As our spirit grows, we are able to navigate difficulties more skillfully. We become present with our authentic selves. We can release all trappings acquired along the way, recognizing that they are, as Cedric calls them, “mere props.” Rituals, tools — even religions — seem to belong to older energies that no longer serve us. They are, at first, beautiful devices –sheltering, protecting and nurturing us as we start out on the spiritual road. Eventually, we learn to access Source directly, trusting this loving energy to guide and teach us all we need to know. By trusting what Cedric calls “our own intuitive heart,” we open ourselves to the grace of present moments filled with sparkling encounters and coincidences.

Just the other day, Cedric and I headed north on a drizzly Highway 35W in “Old Blue,” his Ford F-150 pickup. We spoke of some recent Kryon channelings by Lee Carroll (on YouTube), when suddenly, a synchronous sign appeared. Slightly ahead and to the right of us, we noticed a very small hand extended out the rear window on the driver’s side of the car. A small child in a yellow Mac was giving us the proverbial Queen’s wave, cutting tiny arcs in the air with her little hand. There was something compelling about the timing of this angelic little wave — like being high-fived by a cherub. Heaven itself was sending a little metaphoric message. The message was that the best time is here and now.

Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., is a ceremonial singer who has learned over 60 traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota and sings in nine different languages. Janet was a full-time defense litigator in California for nearly eight years. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. A regular columnist for The Edge, she has also appeared in Psychic Guidepost, FATE Magazine and Species Link. Her book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), dealt with her experiences as an empath, and her journey through Mandan spiritual culture. She is currently a full-time, tenured English faculty member at Normandale Community College, having taught Composition and Literature for a span of 20 years.

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