"Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed." from The Rose
There is nothing wrong with reminiscing about good times with a loved one when the loved one is no longer with us. Everybody does it. We remember how they looked, the time they said this or that, maybe a touch, and that's where it all gets dicey for being in the moment. Emotions flood into the heart (and scientists now say there are some brain type cells in other places in the body including the heart) and we lose touch with where we are or what we are doing. Come on, we have all done it.
Sometimes the kind of love we are bringing up is more the lustful type and other cells in the body are also activated. It all feels pretty good. It's riding on past experiences for current emotions. Does it hurt anybody? Probably not when it's done briefly or infrequently but what if it's not like that, what if it's all encompassing? Then there is no way to live in the moment with ourselves or anybody else.
Now this doesn't have to be about a romantic love. This could be about a place. We loved it so intensely, wanted to be there so much (I have a place like that from my childhood) and no new place can possibly be as beloved by us. What it can do then is not let us be in the moment where we are and it can block any new place from being ever as beloved. Worse, those 'memories' tend to get perfected over time to make no reality capable of matching them.
Love regarding our children is possibly one of the places that being in the moment matters most. First of all who would even have a baby if they thought ahead, anticipating all that can and does go wrong? Nobody in their right minds for sure. Then there is how we love a child, a child who is constantly becoming something new. We have them but only for that moment. They start out very tiny and totally in our care and protection. Little by little the world enters their lives and takes more and more of them. Finally the world takes them all-- and that's what happens when it all has gone perfectly.
There is only one healthy way to be a parent (yeah that sounds dictatorial and I mean it to) and that is to live in each moment as we are raising our children. Experience each thing fully and joyously (sometimes not so joyously) and not anticipate what is coming nor live in what already happened.
To raise children with fear of something bad happening to them would totally incapacitate us to doing anything. We would hold back on truly loving. We'd be missing all the precious moments as they came. And one thing about those moments-- they don't last. Growing means they are going. So love and raising your children is probably the biggest example of being 'in the moment' so you miss nothing, you savor it totally and you release it completely as someday you will do with them.
Releasing them or anything else from your moment does not mean you stop loving them. This is what makes love so complicated to write about as the love just stays there and never goes anywhere with all this changing of outer circumstances. It might deepen but it doesn't require someone else doing anything to hold it to you inside. It's there. But, if you hold onto that so tightly that you don't release it as you move along, as they move along, then where you are with them is never enough. You aren't really fully there.
This might be even more so when it's love of what we would call the romantic or sexual kind. Now love of the romantic kind is often mistaken for lust. There are some clear differences even though love of the romantic kind can lead to those other cells getting all excited. It really isn't the essence of love though. You might call it a fringe benefit. It is not, in my experience, the heart of love.
When we truly love, we are free to be in the moment because nothing else is needed from us. We don't have to dwell on the beloved, the past with them, it's all about what we feel now and what we are doing now. That kind of love doesn't demand anything; so it's in the moment with what is happening. It also is not limited to only loving one person at a time-- even romantically. Now life might force changes in relationship but love that is in the moment is not about relationship; so it expects nothing. It is the most free kind of love. It also is where living in the moment can be most fully lived.
There is no amen to this topic. I am always learning more about what being in the moment is, what love is. But I write what I know from where I am. Next year, I might know something more and write about it again. Hopefully next year I will be even better at living mindfully, living each moment fully.
Photo is Boulder River in Montana from a few years ago... a place I love as I do all of Montana (that I've seen so far anyway).