“Living in the present unburdens you. Don’t worry too much. You can envision and acknowledge your life’s complexity but do so in the present, so you do not lose the vitality of life. Look around. See the people, the scene, sense the warmth of your body, feel the mood and your pulsing heart. If you were in danger of losing your life, what wouldn’t you give for a moment like this? Take a breath. Treasure it. Smile.”
Jack Kornfield, No Time Like the Present
That is probably the best piece of guidance I have heard, and the most difficult thing for humans to do.
How much do we live in the past or wish things were different or better than they are now? The happiest people I have known are not those with a lot of money, prestige or achievement, but those who are palpably content with right now. Does this mean they are happy all the time? Hell, no. They feel and grieve and care and cry like the rest of us but there is an underlying sense that it is all ok, that this moment is meant to be, because it is.
It may be a hard request of yourself to relax with what is, but what is our choice? To resist, fight or otherwise be at war with reality, or accept and move through what is here and what life has laid at our feet.
Grieving the past is not the same as living there. When we grieve what was, whether is was a previous time or a person who has left, it is an important time. We are present with what is here now.. perhaps sadness, loss, helplessness, yearning. This shows up in the present moment. When we can allow the waves of emotion to wash through us we allow transition to flow. What we resist persists, or shows up in another form.. in anger, chronic pain, depression or anxiety. I have seen many people grieve years later and a truckload of anxiety disappears. Can we allow the emotions to be held, not fixed, and allowed to dissolve on their own like fog clearing and making way for a treasure box of golden memories to take it’s place comfortably in your life’s landscape. Ready to be opened at any time. This is a process. Then we can let go and welcome the new. If you have grieved, you have loved. You have made life more than passing moments, but moments and people that were meaningful and important. There is nothing more important than that in my books.
Yearning for a better future is not the same as living there. Can you lean into the future with eager anticipation and excitement? What a gift to feel that today! Can you live that fully here and now today as the future unfolds, regardless of the outcome, which is rarely what we anticipated? Your happiness does not lie in the future. It lies in the now. Don’t wait for better times, as Jack Kornfield says, if your life or someone else’s was at stake, how you would wish for today! See what is good here right now and anticipate that good will continue to flow so you will appreciate it as it shows up in your imaginary future.
The choice is ours. Look around. What is already here for you? Can you believe what you see?
My passion is in finding small shifts that make all the difference. I hope this has been a shift for you.
Lots of love,