On June 5th, The New York Times ran a piece called “A Group Portrait of New York’s Oldest, Old,” Instantly, Jonas Mekas, the last person profiled in this piece on elder-hood, became my hero.
At 92, Mr. Mekas lives entirely in the present, taking each day as it comes..He says he doesn’t know what he’ll be dong when he gets up in the morning. He doesnt worry. He doesn’t believe in it. Yet, he’s no slouch. Indeed, he’s a producer and writer of films, who makes time each day to thoroughly enjoy his life.
He sees this as “Normal.” He claims that anything else is not. His doctor says he’ll live to be a hundred! I’m counting on it. For like Woody Allen in Annie Hall,”.I’m in “lerve”
As for “happiness,” Mekas believes it’s a sense of inner peace and balance where he isn’t anxious about what’s coming, but involved in what’s going on right here, right now. The title of his most recent film Out-Takes From the Life of A Happy Man. bears testament to the success of his philosophy.
For what could be more healing, more empowering, more youth-ifying than elder-hood as a proving ground for the salutory effect of being here now? In truth, Where Else Is There For Us To Be?
Here’s an image you can use to experience life without grasping. To live with no agenda. To be part of the wonder of Now..
The Bridge of Now**
Close your eyes, breathe out, and see yourself on a rope-bridge, made of separate pieces of wood tied together, stretching out ahead of you and behind you.
Know and live, that behind you lies the past.
Before you lies the future.
As you stand here, look toward the direction of past and see the pieces of wood falling away until there is nothing there.
Now look toward the direction of the future and see the same thing happening.
See yourself standing here, knowing there is no past. There is no future. There is only this moment.
Stand in this moment and give thanks. Then open your eyes.
* Imagery from Dr. Fritz Jean-Noel
*Credit to Dr. Melissa Abrams for tweaking me back into action