There are millions of famous quotes and books written and lectures made about “living in the moment.” It’s been said that many of us miss the best part of our lives because we are too focused on the past or the future. I get that. I even agree with it.
Just lately, I’ve found some inner peace I’ve long searched for and with that the ability to feel and be in the present moment has become easier and more profound….
I’m a future thinker to the core. I rely on the future to be okay now. This is a direct result from the fact that I am a high stress, massively worrying kind of woman. I’d even go so far as so to say irrational worry at times (you know - like if you're 1 minute late - my mind believes you are dead in a ditch somewhere or you got eaten by a dragon).
The only way to calm my present worries and fears – is to focus on the future.
Take for instance my new found panic/anxiety attacks. If I allow myself to stay in the present about those…my mind goes to FreakOutVille. I don’t want to feel them. Don’t want to fear the next one. Am pissed a med that is supposed to help is causing them. I feel defeated, angry and disappointed about them now.
BUT – if I allow myself to think even a week out – I can honestly imagine myself back to calm. Free of anxiety attacks. Free of fear. Free of a chemical in my body I don’t want in it anymore.
I am in control….in the future.
And when I start to move into IrrationalFearWorld because Rambo is going on an all day bachelor party this Friday…well…the images and thoughts and things I could imagine as going wrong belong in a horror movie. There’s nothing to even base my fears on…but they are there – and if I let them – they’ll eat me alive and starve me of the present moment until Friday is over.
BUT – I if I allow myself to focus and maybe even pretend that it’s Saturday and he’s home…safe and in one piece – then I can breathe. I can hear myself saying, “Duh, you idiot. He’s a good man. Why were you so stupid worried? He’s fine. Everything is okay.” He came back to me. He still loves me. I am free of irrational fear…in the future.
It’s like that about all the heartaches in my life that I cannot fix now. Extended family issues I have no control over. Even crazy thoughts like “what if one of us loses our job?” or "what if a giant turnip lands on our house and demolishes it?"
I have my very own crystal ball. In the future, I see peace within the family. I see apologies accepted and forgiveness given.
Even when I follow stuff through like job loss or turnip house crashing – my crystal ball shows me picking myself up and surviving.
Everything I can throw at my heart to try to slice it into pieces in the present – can be seen in the future as thriving.
I know the logical thing to do would be to learn how not to fear, worry and stress in the present but the thing is….that is who I am. I won’t ever stop fearing certain things or worrying about little things or stressing over big things I can’t control.
So I break the cardinal rule and sometimes I completely wipe out the present and live in the future. The future me is exactly where she should be and everything is okay and she made it through.
Sometimes I see her – strong and thriving – and almost beckoning me toward her. She’s stronger, wiser, and more at peace than the me that is here right now. She’s who I look forward to being.
And she gives me comfort. And something to work towards.
Years ago, if you had asked me to look at myself in the future and tell you what I was doing or what I looked and felt like – I could not have done it….because years ago I never thought I’d live beyond my 20s. I never wanted to. I never looked to the future because I didn’t want one. I was too deep in the black hole of depression and future was the last thing I wanted.
And maybe even just a few years ago, if I had looked into the future at myself…I would have seen myself but it would have been a different picture than I see now. I probably would have seen myself faltering and on my knees. Weak. Needing help. Dying for everyone to love me. Possibly surrounded by people yet still alone. Desperate for inner peace. Frazzled beyond repair.
Take me to the future. Take away my job – I’ll live. Take away Rambo – I’ll survive. Let natural disasters strike - I’ll get back up. Let tragedy occur – I’ll keep standing.
The things I have and the people I have do not make me who I am…they are an extension of me, a blessing to me, a part of me. But I have finally figured out that I cannot fear having it all stripped away.
I can only close my eyes and envision how I will conquer that possible heartache if it should happen. I am prepared to survive, and grow and learn…and keep standing.
That’s how I see myself in the future. No matter what good or bad may happen….I have an image of how I will deal with it all. And I’m already proud of that girl.
My present moments are filled with aiming to become that girl I see. I’ve come a hell of a long way and some day I’ll be in her shoes.
What about you? Do you follow through your real and irrational fears? Do you envision how you’ll deal with anything that comes your way? Do you see yourself a certain way in the future?
Is it a better you than the now you? Or worse?
Are you a different you in the future? Or the same?
Or can you stay in this exact moment and go no further and not react until it is literally upon you?