In one of my favorite blogs
, Kelle Hampton recently wrote, “there are two kind of moments in life…Filler and Fueling.”
She goes on to explain that the filler moments are things like “scrubbing the toilet, crying on a shoulder, a bad night of sleep” while the fueling moments are things like “gathering with friends to sip wine, watch a sunset, kiss each others’ babies.”
Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate those filler moments, when all I want to do is FUEL, FUEL, FUEL. Sleep in and cuddle with AJH rather than head to work, blog and make headbands rather than do housework, eat out and shop when I should be home cooking and saving money.
Once again it’s a little bit of the “ill with want”
syndrome. I just want more, more, more of the BEST moments, and I have a hard time getting through the mundane or (literally) poopy ones. Sometimes I think it makes no sense to go through life doing things I just don’t want to do (clean, exercise, work, you
know….). If I think in the philosophy of Patti Digh
, what would I want to be doing with my days if there were only 37 left? Scrubbing things? Nah. Playing with Annalee and having family cuddle time in the big bed? YES!
At the same time, I know those “filler” moments are necessary in life. As Kelle says, “The filler has its place. It is the reality of life. We work, pay bills, clean house and wipe runny noses. We lose our patience, say things we don’t mean and feel inadequate for what we don’t accomplish.Sometimes we cry, say sorry, regret things or wish we could escape *this* moment.”
But, right when you’re about to feel down and out…she reminds us with, “Oh, but the Fueling. I live for the fueling. And when it doesn’t come soon enough on its own, I bring it.”
So, inspired by Kelle, on Thursday afternoon when I was fed up with my filler moments, I picked up AJH from the sitter, quickly came home and went straight for the gym clothes and tennis shoes before I had time to take respite on the couch with the latest Us Weekly and episode of Real Housewives. I strapped AJH in the stroller and off we went.
It was my first time walking with her, or doing any exercising whatsoever, in months. I had been making plenty of excuses like it being too hot, or being too tired, or too busy making headbands. It felt so good to get out in the fresh air, notice the leaves changing, and listen to AJH coo to the Ipod.
Except I soon noticed that the whole time I was supposed to be “fueling,” I was thinking.
Not thinking in a good, contemplative way; more like in an anxious, spastic way.
Instead of enjoying the beautiful fall day I couldn’t help but think about what we were going to eat for dinner, what AJH was going to wear tomorrow, what I needed to buy on my next shopping trip, how much money was in my checking account, you name it.
Because I’ve been reading Life is a Verb
, by Patti Digh
, and her words about living intentionally were fresh in my mind, I quickly stopped myself from all this “thinking” and tried to just be present in the moment.
It didn’t last long. Even as I was supposed to be “fueling” it was quickly turned into a “filler” moment as I spaced out on my current “to-do list” and responsibilities.
It took actual WORK to keep my mind from drifting. I tried jogging for the first time in seven months, and as I picked up my pace it became easier to let go of the static. Even if I had to repeat “refuel, refuel, refuel” to stay in the moment, that’s what I did.
Suddenly I was noticing things. Pretty things. And ugly things. And EVERYTHING.To stay focused I said, “look at those orange mums” or “that patch of grass is exceptionally green” or even, “there is an empty gum wrapper” (in my mind, of course). I did whatever I had to do to stay present in the moment.
And it worked!
So whether I’m filling or fueling, my goal is to “be here now” and once again “live in the moment and make it beautiful.”
(Can you tell this is a reoccurring theme in my life? Just how many blogs can I possibly post on this topic before it starts to sink in? As Patti would say, maybe 37.)
I’ll end with a few lines from the song by Mason Jennings that inspired the name of this post.
“be here now
no other place to be
all the doubts that linger
just set them free
and let good things happen
let the future come
into each moment
like a rising sun…
it’s all new today
all we have to say is
be here now”
photo taken by my one of my students, Faith Lucas