Counselor's Corner: The now of life in 2021


Fred Cavaiani

2020 was difficult. The pandemic has been painful. The tension in politics is at its highest in years. Twenty-four-hour news cycles such as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC can be overwhelming in saying the same thing in so many different ways. Each station has their own viewpoint and interpretation of events, sometimes accurate and sometimes inaccurate. We all have been traumatized by 2020. Our level of trust in politics is probably lower than ever. The biggest struggle today is to admit that our political perceptions are often not accurate.

We are all left with a helpless feeling, politically, socially and often personally. So, when a new year begins, we all want to grasp that mantra of “having a positive hope for the New Year.” The biggest difficulty in this is that we fantasize that someone else has the answer to peace and harmony in life.

Trump followers want to believe that he has the answer. Biden followers want to believe that he has the answer. Republicans want to believe that their party has the truth about life. Democrats want to believe that they have more truth about life than Republicans.

The answer to life resides in you and me in what we do in the present moment or the now of life. It is in this moment lived slowly and reflectively and embraced with total awareness where I will experience a sense of peace. When I become focused on this moment with no contamination by my perceptions, then I discover the meaning of life and discover God.

Openness and awareness and receptivity to this moment will give me wisdom. It will help me slow down. 2021 becomes positively hopeful and meaningful when I totally embrace this moment. I can make the world a better planet by embracing this moment. I do not have to live in 2020 anymore. I do not have to be living in how 2021 is going to turn out. This new year of 2021 becomes an opportunity to discover what life is all about. This is discovered in the present moment. A total observation and awareness of this moment without worrying about how this moment should be different is a very calming process. Whatever I see and whoever I see in this moment will bring me meaning and wisdom.

About 8,000 people die each day in the United States. Out of these almost 8,000 deaths a day, 931 of these deaths are from the coronavirus. This pandemic challenges each of us to look at life in a deeper manner. I have thought more about death and the purpose of life in these last 10 months than I ever have before. COVID-19 has become the great equalizer. We are all vulnerable and none of us will live on this planet forever. The average life span of a man in the United States is 76 years and the average life span of a woman in the United States is 81 years. Lifespans are short and quick.
Living in the present moment is slow and reflective and very meaningful. It is because when we stay in this moment we see and experience so much. When we do not reflectively live in this moment, life seems to be in a tense rush waiting for the next moment to be different or something new and better to happen. We can also stay in the past moment living in regrets and resentments.

As I watch television, I now focus on experiencing whatever I see even in the commercials. Each moment becomes a positive and soul enriching experience because I have given up how people should be or how things should be. I simply experience what is going on in whatever I see with no preconceived notion of how things must be. It is amazing how I discover peace and inner wisdom and tranquility in doing this. Most tension in life seems to result from wishing the moment was over instead of learning from this now of the present moment.

I may not be able to change the world of politics. I may not be able to change other people into how I think they should be. But I can create a loving atmosphere where I can become receptive to learning something and experiencing something positive in each moment of the day. This process causes me to be more receptive to life and begins to create a positive, peaceful change within me.
This then allows me to pour more love and peace into the world.

2021 will be a marvelous year because it only happens one moment at a time and I will become sensitive and receptive to this present moment. It will deepen my life. It will bring me into a deeper union with myself, with others and with God because I will experience and see goodness everywhere in this present moment. I only have strength and energy to positively experience this moment. Everything else will be a distraction from living in this present, glorious moment. Tension results from rushing to the next moment and focusing too much on what should be instead of embracing what is. It is not what is happening next. It is how I am experiencing and embracing now.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is


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