Yesterday I announced that I will be handing on the role of Chief of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids in two years time, and it was very heartening to experience the response to that news amongst the gathering of about two hundred of us in Glastonbury Town Hall. And many thanks to John Beckett for his informative article on his Patheos blog here, offering the perspective of someone across the Pond, who was not there for the announcement in Glastonbury, but who read my blog post and watched the video. And thank you, dear readers, for all the kind messages I have received (and to Nicola for her photo of Stonehenge at the dawn ceremony yesterday).
This evening I thought I would rant. I’m allowing myself a bit of therapy. The English tend to be an uptight bunch. We’re not like the Italians. For centuries we have admired stiff upper lips: “Chin up! Keep you voice down. No crying now! Keep calm and carry on!” Well to hell with that! I’m going to tank myself up on more of this tea and I’m going to rant!
Today I’m going to rant about the obsession in spiritual and New-Age circles with the Power of Now. It’s become yet another rod to beat ourselves with. Have you ever caught yourself feeling guilty because you’re not experiencing the Now? Because you are ruminating on the past or plotting some cunning scheme for the future? Yes! That’s the price we pay for focussing too much on one idea at the expense of others. I’m sure Eckhart Tolle would agree with me, but when you rant you’ve got to exaggerate so in that spirit let me blame his fabulous book for this current obsession.
Why did I choose this topic? Because the other day, when I went to see my 95 year-old mother in her nursing home, she said ‘Well, I think I’m making progress.” And this really touched me, and I realised that we are all built to hope, to think we are progressing, even well into our old age.
So, I know about the Power of Now, and the dangers of Provisional Living. I know we waste a lot of time and energy looking back to the past and thinking about the future, but the point is this: it’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it. Sure it’s not helpful to live a life of regret for the past and worry for the future, but it is helpful, natural, beautiful, human, and to be encouraged, to live a life full of the joys of reminiscing and remembrance, and of hope for the future.
And, of course, that’s why we have developed a succession plan for the Order. We haven’t just focussed on the Now!
In the recording of this week’s ‘Tea with A Druid’ I followed my rant with a Sophrology exercise that has a Bardic aim: to celebrate and benefit from one touching, joyful moment in the past.