Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Living in - or for - the moment

Ava, the terrific young woman who takes care of my hair (which is a real task - my hair is very fine and I have NO idea what color it really is), told me she is worried about someone she cares for.

She's afraid he's going to end up in serious trouble - or worse - because of the way he lives. He makes careless choices, takes senseless chances and doesn't seem to understand or care about the consequences of his behavior - for himself or others.

"He's just living in the moment," she said.

"Aha," I responded, understanding this subject all too well.

"Actually he's living *for* the moment, not *in* the moment.

Here's what I mean:

When we live in the moment, we're completely aware and conscious of what we're doing, taking it all in, understanding the effect our behavior has on ourselves and others - short and long-term - as well as the consequences of our behavior.

We generally make choices that we believe are in our best interest - and we make those choices awarely. Aware of what we know, our experience, perhaps with the input of others and with a thought to how these action will affect ourselves, others and our future.

When we live for the moment? We do whatever we believe will fill the emptiness, entertain us, reach the short-term goal, get the girl (or boy) by trying to please them instead of being ourselves, or help us escape whatever we don't want to deal with. The excitement is always short-lived, however, and the down side is often a hefty bill to pay.

The live for the moment person has little or no regard for the effect their actions have on themselves or others - short or long-term. Most people who live for the moment are pretty unhappy, desperate, self-centered, narcissistic and ultimately self-destructive.

So much for the psychology.

As writers, actors and directors, we need to ascertain the degree to which our characters live in either - or both - or neither. That is, are they lulled and dulled into basically existing -- without really living at all?

In reality - people who live *for* the moment believe they are "attacking" life, but all too often they are actually attacking themselves, unwittingly hurting or killing themselves and others.

Addicts are a perfect example of people who live for the moment. For the hit. For the high. Without any consideration of the consequences of their actions on themselves or those around them.

Champion athletes who cheat with steroids live for the moment.

Champion athletes who don't cheat live in the moment.

I believe it's cool to be a champion person who doesn't cheat or make careless choices because we know how fantastic it feels to live *in* the moment and how good it feels to be reponsible for our actions.

By the way - this is a basic tenet of Buddhism: any decision you make awarely is a good one, no matter the outcome. Buddhism is a lot about doing the right thing - or what you believe is right and healthy - then not being attached to the outcome (how everything turns out).


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