Anti- Zen I’m living in the Now so stop asking me what we are doing next!

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, Zen, anti-Zen

Photo by h. koppdelaney


In my job (I am a house parent for kids removed from their homes by Child Protective Services), things can change in an instant. I can have three empty beds, then get a knock on the door and be full again. I can have calm kids who I would happily take anywhere,something sets one of them off, and I’m watching a two-hour fit. I can be hugged and cussed out by the same child in a matter of minutes.

So I have been forced to live in the NOW. Not the serene place of being in the moment and focusing on what is happening and what you feel without thinking of the future. No its more of a ‘I am trying to get through this moment in time, so I won’t tell you what is coming because everything could change’ moment.

Example:We are eating breakfast.

Kids: Alica, what are we doing today?

Me, grabbing the syrup from a toddler who screams in rage: I have no idea. I’m just trying to get through breakfast.

I never make promises, and I almost never tell the kids what is coming up. I might have visits scheduled on my calendar, but I don’t tell the kids until minutes before they happen because people get sick, cars break down, parents fail drug tests and everything changes.

I usually have a plan in my head, but planning out a day and setting up all my ducks in neat little rows, that was beaten out of me.

Alica Mckenna Johnson, ducks in a row, Zen, anti-Zen

Photo by Tim Green

I’m not sure I would call it flexibility, because I don’t really have anything solid to move around. I try to keep my days, plans, and expectations, minute by minute and free form as possible so I can be and do what is needed.
So what about you, do you live in the Now? Did you achieve it through deep spiritual focus and personal growth or did trying to plan in the middle of chaos finally wear you down enough to give up and let go?

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6 responses »

  1. What an important job you have, Alica. Thanks for doing what you do!

    I’ve worked on being more mindful since my early twenties. It’s so important, I feel, and difficult to manage in our current go-go-go times. It’s also tough for me personality-wise, as activity calms me. I love what you said about not making promises. I think many of us over-commit and end up disappointing ourselves and others.

    Hope your week’s off to a brilliant start!

  2. Lol – the chaos finally wore me down. I used to be a highly organized person, but after children and a family business, I’ve fallen far. Oops. Ehem. Hi, I’m Eileen and found you after reading Kristen Lamb’s book. I’m a geek mom, too, and really enjoy reading your POV here.

    You have a really difficult job and the kids are lucky to have someone who obviously cares. I’ve heard too many sad stories of folks in the system who don’t.

    • Hi Eileen! Thank you for finding me, us geek moms have to stick together. My moment to moment organization is toast, but my todo list is where I keep my stuff in order to make sure the important things get done, maybe, hopefully, someday LOL!

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