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Joyfully Using IT

Updated on December 16, 2012

The Precious Now

Ribbons of time


    From infinity’s spool,

       And loop and heap

   In convolutions

  On the floor of space,

Beyond recall.

And though we sleep

  And weep -

    And dream of life,

   We fail to use it up,

  This fleeting ribbon

Of reality,

  This NOW,

    This All.

___© Nellieanna Hay

The Nature Of Now

Precious NOW moments cannot be stored and carried forward like cell-phone minutes if one is fortunate to have a contract which allows that. The moments pass into oblivion, at least as far as this life goes.

On the other hand, their contract does provide a continuous stream of what seem to be consecutive moments – for as long as the contract is set to last. That’s the tricky part: - we never really know how long that will be or when we'll suddenly realize they've run out. But we do know the one we have at the moment and that it’s our choice how to spend it.

There’s hardly a noticeable break from one moment to the next. They seem to be such an unbroken continuum, that sometimes we become blasé about using them as they are – moment to moment. when they are so real that they pass by with little notice and awareness.

Somehow we come to expect some more distant moments to be more significant and worthwhile, since we’ve become oblivious to and therefore unimpressed with the reality of present time. We can easily acquire and cling to an illusion of eventually arriving at something we consider 'the future', which may begin to seem more real and desirable than the present moment which is not being fully realized and consciously lived. It may seem humdrum in fact.

It's a bit difficult to understand why it doesn't occur to us that THIS is IT and the only time and place we can be actively living as fully as possible.

The truth is that enriched conscious moments fully lived NOW are what give life value and fill it to overflowing!

The difficult fact to internalize is: - the future is non-existent!! Non-existent!!

Use it or lose it!

Each moment we live is always the eternal present, the precious, authentic now. That’s breathtaking!


But. . . .

"But", you may be thinking, "if present moments, even being as brief as they are and rushing by as fast as they do, are the reality and essence of life, and if they’re not mere stepping stones to a future you say is non-existent but is what I’m working toward in hopes of a better, more real 'someday', then how on earth can I claim and enjoy this fleeting present moment for its own sake without risking loss of my future'? Surely the future will last longer and I’ll be better able to capture all the good things I’m working toward now. So surely I need to be tirelessly working and planning for all that now!! Isn’t that the more practical?"

But you see, it's not a matter of either/or choice! It's simple truth. This really is IT. That’s practical.

As I let go of anxiety about tomorrow and embrace and cherish the present now, I'm more fully able to fulfill my life's contract as I go along its path! There are no “loose ends” dangling. That’s practical.

Whatever it is we are doing can be fulfilling and can be in progress and it IS the best it can BE as it exists. That’s practical.

Being fully alive NOW costs nothing but gains everything which LIFE IS. That’s practical.

Living fully in this point in time is to be fully alive. It is what nourishes the heart, spirit, mind and body.

My husband used to tell of a poor old fellow he met fishing off a levee in the South, who said, "Ah appreciates everything ah’s got."

There is a real lesson there. Poor or rich, young or old, married or single, in sickness or in health - being happy with what one's "got"right now is to BE happy. Happy is a characteristic of being alive.  It's not some prize in the future.  There are no other times or conditions in which to BE happy except now. Whether the present brings better or worse, it is the only time one can claim for happiness to exist. And things do not determine it.

A Little True Story

When I was in my early teens and my family subscribed to many magazines, among them Time and Life, we’d all try to get them out of the mailbox first. Either Mother or Dad would try to lay first claim to the newly arrived issues. Each of them had their own place to cache their quarry. Both were their drawers in the old sideboard. Dad’s was neat as a pin, while Mother’s was what looked like a disorganized mess. But each knew the contents of his or her own private drawer and woe to anyone who ransacked it!

Everyone also had our favorite sections of the weekly periodicals to open first. Everyone enjoyed the cartoons randomly scattered throughout the magazines. Saturday Evening Post and Collier's had the best cartoons. though I'm sure the news magazines had good political cartoons if one were into that sort of thing.

Mother always went for the People and Art sections of the weekly periodicals first.  Dad always went for the Business and News sections first. He was more partial to Time, she to Life. Each of those magazines addressed news, businss, art and people; however each did so slighgtly differently.

When I would finally got my turn, I just wanted to read everything cover to cover!

One week Life featured an article in the art section which showed a picture which looked like a photograph of a scene from real life. Upon reading about it, though, I learned that it was a painting!  Of course I was amazed and curious how anyone could paint a scene that totally realistically!

Reading on, I found the explanation was that the artist had taken a photo, sized the photo exactly the size of his canvas and gridded both the photo and the canvas into very small squares of exactly the same sizes.  Each sqare of the photo contained only a tiny area of the “big picture”. Then he simply proceded to duplicate with paint every detail of each little photographic square onto the corresponding square on his canvas exactly like the real photo's, meticulously duplicating exactly the colors, sizes of everything there. Thinking back - it was before TV or any kind of digitalization, but in principle it was similar.

I remember distinctly thinking how horrible it would be if reality became so indistinguishable from fake that one couldn’t tell the difference!  With a more religious perspective then, I thought pehaps that would be what hell really was, to be unable to tell the difference.

That it lelft such a distinct impresson on me that I've recalled it from time to time over the years makes it seem possibly an influence upon my sense of and appreciation for what IS compared to a horror of not knowing for sure the difference between the authentic and a replica.

Good News.

Apparently some cultures have developed successful ways to let go of clinging to the future and to live in the present. We all can.

What we actively enjoy doing & participating in NOW can progress, blossom and flourish as it flows and as we begin to fathom and embrace the NATURE of life - what, when and where it IS.. Understanding the nature of things gives us their essence.

We can live as productively or as creativity as we prefer while attending to the responsibilities that exist and enjoying the pleasures that are real and available.

It's an enormous freedom to fully live! It's healthy for mind, spirit and body.


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Good for you! Regrets are so useless. We learn what we can from experience, and one thing to be learned is to keep living without regrets. Thanks for your marvelous comments!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      There is much to ponder in this lovely Hub. I no longer waste my Now in regrets of yesterday. I have repented for my sins and rejoice at my great choices. I do live for my When, because I believe every choice I make creates my future. Everyone of us is where we are today based on choices. So I live much more safely and righteously than previously. I also enjoy my life so much more and realize the blessings I have.

      I could go on and on, however I will simply thank you for another lovely Hub.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      toknowinfo - I love that saying. You're so in sync! Yes today is a gift! It is where LIFE is going on!

      And, yes, ,in many ways those were simpler times. At least the distractions were much fewer. It's well to also recall that there were wars going on then, too, and surely many natural disasters of every kind, since weather and Earth's internal condition hasn't changed much. There were ample instances of man's inhumanity to man. But the big difference was that news traveled much more slowly.

      There were no TV, cell phones, computers, iPads, etc. etc. to keep every disaster or triviality uppermost in our minds. Perhaps that was good, perhaps not.

      We had daily local newspapers (or if one were really into them, Wall Street Journal and other special interest papers); weekly news magazines such as Tim and Life; and radio, usually only AM. We also got a film version of world news among the "short subjects" which preceded the main feature at the movie theaters, which were the only places to see movies, except if people were really well-off, home movies on actual film. No VHS or DVD then. Music was on radio and records of one kind or another. No tape decks or CDs.

      So otherwise - we were simply unaware of much outside our own bailiwick. It allowed us to focus on our own loved ones and our immediate lives being lived. Perhaps it helped keep the hideousness we hear about constantly at bay. For sure, the world of drugs was totally invisible and existed only on the dark deep fringes of the society, both at the very top and the very bottom. Most of us were totally unaware of its existence. We probably knew someone (most likely within the family, since these things were kept very private!) who had a problem with alcohol or someone who had a baby "out of wedlock" (which resulted in the girl being shamed and "ruined" for the rest of her life and her baby being called nasty names). So those situations were certainly considered unfortunate and any examples we knew about served as dire warnings. And on and on about the basic differences.

      My point is that, yes, in whatever our circumstances and however the world regards any human activity, we always must be aware and alert to our present moments and how we are investing them. No other conditions exonerate us from taking hold of our own lives and steering them into the best possible paths we can, each of us, individually. We really have no other moments in which to live but the present one. If we choose to fill it with memories of the past or dreams of the future, we can, and it also has value. We just must remain fully aware that those are not real and that we may choose to use our present in contemplating them, but that is what is happening in our NOW - not THEN or WHEN. We can't be using now on those thoughts and also perceiving and using the opportunities before us NOW. And in a moment, that NOW will already be THEN and not yet WHEN. Now is always all we really have, though how we use it will produce consequences yet to come. We can't escape them or retrieve the moments which began them. All we can do is deal with the now as well as possible and enjoy it for all we're worth!

      Lovely comment toknowinfo. Thank you so much. I love to occasionally revisit some of my much earlier hubs, such as this one, which was in my second month of being in HP. It's like taking a walk back into the past! :-) That helps see how far one has come! It's a most valuable use of MY now! Hugs.

    • toknowinfo profile image


      7 years ago

      Such a good hub! I loved to hear about getting Time and Life Magazines. It seemed a simpler time brought moments to appreciate and memories. Your entire hub brings up many good points about focusing on the now. We need to live in the moment. This saying fits: "Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present."

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Denise! I'm still quivering over the seeming "meeting of minds" with you in your writings. Thanks for your interest in mine!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      well said, NellieAnna. Always, this importance of NOW and the potential to see through the veil of who we take ourselves to be. Love the poem!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I did a double-take when I saw the notice of this comment. I just finished replying to your comment on the other "Joyfully Using. . ." hub & thought I was seeing things; - then wondered what happened to my reply and how your comment which I knew I'd already approved had changed so quickly and was needing approval again. Duh. I guess this is what people refer to as senior momenting, but I resist buying into! Maybe one gets no choice??? Ack!!

      Another of my little short poems which you may like if you liked the ants one:

      Can life forgive us

      If we die of thirst

      Upon her shoreline?

      I guess it's apparent that I became aware of the value of NOW at some stage of my life - more aware than I'd previously been. In times of the greatest challenges and - yes - deflations - one is usually faced with hard choices. One which is surely universal is how to deal with the crisis and go on. One can discover something in such a situation that seems more clear than in others - that the choice is always NOW, what I do and how I choose to respond and embrace what LIFE gives NOW, even in the midst of turmoil & deep distress.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      "It's an enormous freedom to fully live! It's healthy for mind, spirit and body." There are many words in your hubs that I would like to inscribe on my wall and this phrase is yet another. It accounts for why the years seem to spin out of control with speed as we age, rather than having a lifetime fit into a day as it did when we were children.

      Your poems are spot on. I've known people who have spent their entire lives waiting for the ants that never did show up. Sad. I also share your horror of the imitation becoming indistinguishable from the original and despised color television for years because of it but that's another hub :-)

      Oh, how I love these mornings with Nellieanna! Thanking you seems hardly enough.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, too, Maita. Your writings are always thought-provoking & inspiring too! I've long outgrown the current target of your more recent series - pregnancy - but each one has sound good advice for any woman regarding good health & beauty care and activities, along with your good attitudes and spirit weaving them together.

      So I feel very pleased and honored that you've taken time from your intensive writing project to read my hubs!! Hugs - N

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      The importance of NOW, I will say it NOW --I like your writings mam, as it always brings me to think of the present life and what matters to us, Thank you Mam, Maita

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you FP. Glad you enjoyed the observation and premise of the hub! Appreciate your stopping by!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Upon further investigation I have additional confirmation that I am an ignorant ass. I have double checked and you are correct, the word "sophism" is as you describe it. Consequently, my comment does not reflect my true opinion.

      Both of your sayings (as opposed to the poem) are spot on and you should patent them :-)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Sophism n. (in its original Greek meaning) - A comment of wisdom

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      So glad to see this is back, Nellieanna! 'Some have missed the picnic waiting for the ants'...what a wonderful observation! A lot of us tend to wait for some vague and often worrying eventuality in the future and completely miss out on the now. So much simpler to just enjoy and be in the moment. :)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      sophism n.

      1. A plausible but fallacious argument.

      2. Deceptive or fallacious argumentation

      No, m'dear. I don't honestly think so. But thanks for your honest opinion. It's always valuable whether or not it feels like a fit, plus explaining why you didn't say you liked it. I asked & appreciate the honest reply.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      The second one is more ike a quotable sophism than a poem, don't uou think? :-)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      OK - I've revised it. See what you think now, oh wise one!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      You liked just the one poem. ;)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks you so much for the kind comments on my hub. Glad you liked the poetry and the premise of it! Thank you, kind sir!!

      Yes, I am quite convinced. It's a premise I discovered many years ago: summed up, The Eternal Now. Mine is similar to that Zen view, in which the master, when asked what it's all about - points to a frog and says "SEE", meaning just experience what IS & you will understand it on your own.

      My error is in not allowing it to state itself. My explanation was only an attempt to do that, though, by over-stating, it actually undermines the premise.

      So - yes - I'm guilty of overstatement.and your comment about that is greatly appreciated.

      A favorite quote of mine is from Kenneth Galbraith (economist of the mid 20th century): "A strong position is not improved by overstatement."

      I have been speaking in upper case when totally unnecessary! lol

      I shall edit it right away.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK


      I like the poem in your introduction.


      I like the quotable saying you have coined.


      I fully agree with " The truth is that enriched conscious moments fully lived NOW are what give life value and fill it to overflowing! "


      " Living fully in this point in time is to be fully alive ".


      You are obviously exctremely intelligent


      You make your point VERY well and then repeat the same point using different words. As if you are trying to convince yourself. ARE you convinced? :-))


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