Thoughts On Being In The Moment

This morning, I came across a quote which resonated with me, and sparked some thoughts that I wish to share. The quote is below.

“There is only the moment. The now. Only what you are experiencing at this second is real.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

The seeming simplicity of this quote is deceptive. So often, I have had the tendency to take something which is happening in the present and allow my mind to let it take on epic proportions. We all do it, and typically it involves the things which are unpleasant or stressful. When something is going awry, do you find your thoughts diving into the past, or projecting the issue into the future, feeling like the situation is going to become a permanent fixture? I certainly have, and have been learning to work on it.

It’s definitely a process, and a very conscious choice. The actual practice of mindfulness is relatively new to me. I’ve often heard people talking about living in the moment, and just thought that it was one of those nice things to say, but hard or impossible to do. I’m finding that it isn’t all that difficult (most of the time, anyway). It takes a lot of inner reminders, but over time it is becomes easier.

For myself, as someone who has dealt with a great deal of trauma over the course of my life, remembering that what is happening right at this moment is what is real has been an amazing tool to help me keep things in balance. No matter whether a thing is positive or negative, reminding ourselves that in the next moment things shift is beyond helpful. Life is constant change, and while sometimes this is hard, the alternative is to live in a state of stagnation. I should say trying to live in a state of stagnation, because no matter how concentrated the effort may be, we cannot stem the tide of change.

The sentiment I’m writing about doesn’t mean that we squash our feelings. It’s just as unhealthy to try to pretend that it doesn’t exist as it is to let our thoughts project too far into the future. Building too many expectations for the future can be at the very least disappointing at times, and at the worst can color our thoughts so much that we lose opportunities for happiness because we’re convinced that things will stay the same. We can set goals for ourselves without becoming overly attached to the precise details. There are often many paths to a goal, and unexpected ways that our dreams manifest themselves.

By remembering that the present is all that is, it becomes so much easier to savor our moments of joy as they happen. Not only that, it becomes easier to acknowledge that we may be sad, angry, heartbroken, or any other emotion that pops up, and be able to let it just be without falling into the rabbit hole of remembering all of the “bad stuff” that happened in the past, or convincing ourselves that life is always going to follow the same patterns.

Trust me, I know that this is not the easiest practice to adopt. As a relative newbie to it myself, I have seen how ingrained it is to step out of what is happening in our present moments to dwell in the past and obsess over the future. This whole year for me is dedicated to a continuation of my mindfulness practice. So far, it has been the most helpful method inner work I’ve tried to date. If you find yourself in a place of reliving traumas or being caught up in the type of thought patterns which I wrote about above, I encourage you to look into all of this a bit, and if you feel you need help with it, please reach out and find it. I openly admit that I have.

 

 

Word of the Year ~ Mindfulness

In choosing my word for the year, I went back and forth a bit between the words love and mindfulness. For a few months, it was looking like the word love was going to be the word, because it is definitely something which I wish to foster more over the next 12 months. Last year could have easily been summed up into one word, and that word would have been – harsh.

2018 was filled with harsh lessons, health issues, and a good bit of general lack of direction for good measure. For the latter half of the year, I had found myself feeling quite lost. There were parts of myself which seemed to have all but disappeared, and I was on a mission to not only regain them, but to expand and improve them. So, when the time of year came to start choosing a word for this year I asked myself what word would encompass what I would need to foster the work that I was doing with all of the above.

The word love kept coming up, because one of the things which had seemed to change in me over the last year was my own feeling of love for the world at large…it had hardened a bit and there were a lot of feelings of mistrust for others and especially myself. Core parts of myself and my beliefs about things were rattled to their foundations. Then, I started to dig deeper and the word mindfulness just clicked into place as the word for 2019, because it encompasses not only a higher capacity for love, but many other things which will bring me closer to being the person I’ve always been at my deepest levels.

Definition of mindfulness 

1 : the quality or state of being mindful

2 : the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis also : such a state of awareness

I’ve been working with mindfulness for the past several months, and let me tell you, allowing myself to be more present with my state of being has been nothing short of amazing. The biggest thing I’ve noticed with this practice so far is that I’m becoming a lot less reactive. By being in the moment, acknowledging what is without judgement, or worse…overanalyzing things by diving into the past or trying to look to far ahead (which has always been hard for me), my life has begun to change in ways I’ve always wished for.

In just the last few months, I’ve seen a huge shift in my feelings about myself and the world. I am able to be much more of an observer of what is, and this has allowed me to be more appreciative and patient. The interesting thing about this is that at the same time, I am much more able to step back when needed, because my feelings of responsibility for and attachment to outcomes has done a complete turn around. This has been the most refreshing thing I’ve ever experienced, and that is not an exaggeration.

All of this has made it easier to transition back into a more creative state of being. This is something which I’m tremendously grateful for, because this was another one of the things that had taken a big hit over the past year or so, along with my sense of spirituality. Those two things are such an integral part of my core that it was literally painful to experience a prolonged period of time wondering if I’d find them again. Finding a mindfulness practice feels like it saved my life, perhaps literally.

Rather than staying stuck in the loop of trying to force myself to get back to “normal”, I learned to acknowledge and honor what was for a while. So, I spent a few months taking care of what absolutely needed to be done, checking in with how I was feeling, then sitting on my couch binge watching various shows on Netflix and Hulu. I learned to let go of my expectations of myself and others too. After a while, I had given myself permission to just be where I needed to be and enjoy the moment, instead of trying to rush myself through the process.

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has stuck with me through this huge transition phase. 2018 taught me just how amazing some of the people in my life are. Here’s to a wonderful, and smoother 2019!

Much love ‚̧

 

Settling Into Just Being

Okay, so my best friend wrote a post yesterday that so inspired my post today that the very title was something that she said in what she wrote. She and I both have had a pretty difficult time of it in the last year or so. To say that there has been a lot of learning going on would be an understatement. Please do head on over and read her post if you wish. Now, I’ll get on with it.

So, the past year and a half for me was a breaking point. This is something which needed to happen because I’ve literally spent most of my life living old patterns and it became impossible to keep doing so and stay sane, and I mean that almost literally. It truly was a breaking point in my life. These are patterns which were created long, long ago. In childhood in fact. The hell of it has been that they were set so early that the real me has not really had much time to come out and play. The real me had been almost completely buried.

Sure, there have been glimpses of me here and there, but for the most part I’ve slid back into those ways of being and interacting in the world which were drilled into me as a means to stay safe. While that was never okay, it was at one time necessary for survival. After that necessary time had passed though, I was simply reacting to things which evoked those old responses and instead of standing tall in my own being, I would either put another person first to my own detriment, or I would have a fear trigger and simply squash myself into what I thought would keep the waters smooth. Well let me tell you, this never works.

Maybe for a while things felt calmer, but in the long run it wasn’t sustainable. Sometimes when we feel like we’re playing it safe, we are only prolonging the inevitable, and putting ourselves through unnecessary stress and pain. There is a lot of history which I could go into, but I won’t. Not because I’m not okay talking about it, but because this post is about the present and moving forward.

I have forgiven the past. I have forgiven the people who have caused me harm. I have made great progress in forgiving myself for the role which I played in letting some of those situations play out. Granted, my heart was always in the right place, but there have been many times in which it was very misguided. I’m at a place in which I no longer feel the need or desire to think or talk about the past, unless it’s necessary for some reason. I’ve come to terms with what the past was, and have reached the point of breaking the patterns.

This isn’t to say that my work is done. In some respects I’m only getting truly started, but it feels so good. This is where the words settling into just being come into play. I’ve realized that I truly like who I am at my core, and I really like who I am becoming. A large part of doing this work has been simply allowing myself to settle into being. Learning to live in the present, not in the past and not in the future, is strangely liberating.

Sure, I’ve read about being in the present and it sounded good but I had never really tried to put it into practice before. I had some mistaken ideas about what it meant exactly. It doesn’t mean that the past is erased, it is more of a reminding myself that when parts of the past rear their ugly heads that I am not longer in that place, and that those feelings and memories have no power over me. It doesn’t mean that I can’t make plans for the future. It is simply a loosening of the expectations of how things will work and not trying to plan all of the minute details.

The deeper I go into this space, the less I find myself wishing for anything else. This very moment is a pretty good place to be. More and more, I actually remember to stop and ask myself if there’s anything that I can do about any given thing in this moment, and if there isn’t, it becomes easier to release it and just be. If though, there is something that I can do about something, I find myself being able to break it down even further into what I can do about it right now and to be okay with leaving the rest for when it’s appropriate.

While the deep trauma work which I’ve chosen to undertake isn’t for the faint of heart, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. To finally be saying goodbye to the triggers, fears, and anxiety is the most awesome feeling. Lots of things have fallen away, and some of those losses have been harder than others. I have to admit though, that every last one of them has needed to happen. I’m looking forward to what is to come, more so than ever. This feels a little bit odd to say because everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING in me has shifted, so my exact direction is not exactly clear. In the past, this would have scared the hell out of me. Now though it feels perfect, because I am starting with a clean slate and I’m not following someone else’s map…I’m drawing my own.