A few months ago, I was working with a client named Lisa. Lisa hired me to help her figure out whether she wanted to leave her current job and find a new direction for her life. One day when we were on the telephone, she told me that she was going to Florida to see her mother who had been ill on and off the past few years. At the moment she was fine and Lisa thought it would be a good idea to spend some time with her mother. Lisa and I had not yet worked with the idea of Maybe and her story about her mother reminded me about a time when my mother was sick.
When my mother was diagnosed with cancer the thought that she might not recover was unbearable. I remember every bad scenario going through my mind. I was exhausted and depressed from all my stress and worry, but I needed to fly down to Florida for my mother’s operation. Where would I find my courage and fortitude? There were decisions that needed to me made and I needed a clear mind not filled with worry, but instead with wisdom and good judgment. I found what I needed with the idea of Maybe.
I realized that I did not know what the future would bring, but Maybe everything would work out or get better. What this thought did was bring me back home to the present moment. Yes, my mother might not recover, but Maybe she would recover and that was enough hope for me to find strength. With the idea of Maybe, my story of everything bad that could happen was neutralized with all the other possibilities. My mind had nowhere else to go but to the present. This way, when I was with my mother, I had no story. I just had hope and enough presence to experience life with her in the moment. I shared this story with Lisa right before we got off the phone and she left for her trip.
When Lisa landed in Florida she got an emergency call that her mother was in ICU. Her mother had pneumonia, her lungs were filling with water and she was very weak. Lisa’s mind started to race and she wanted to go into a ball in the corner and cry. Her mother needed her, but the fear and anxiety that her mother could be dying was overwhelming her. In that moment, she remembered our conversation a few days earlier about Maybe. She took a deep breath then and realized that she had no idea what the next moment would bring and Maybe her mother would not die in the ICU that evening and she became very present. Even though death was a possibility, the fact that other possibilities existed gave her strength in that moment to have hope and most of all presence. She found the presence to sit with her mother for three days by her side and really be with her without thoughts of the next day or next month. She thought “I have my mother now and Maybe I will have her tomorrow.”
Lisa’s mother did recover from her pneumonia. Lisa says it was the idea of Maybe that gave her the strength to persevere for those three days. Lisa also said that she had no idea how much more time she had with her mother, but Maybe would continue to allow her to calm her mind and enjoy every moment that they would share together.
Why waste another moment in our lives projecting what will be, when the present moment offers us time to feel life and be with the ones we love?