How often do you find yourself lost in thought, either rehearsing the future or rehashing the past? What would you say your overall mood is as a result?
So many of us, myself included, lose ourselves in the stuff back then – what happened, what was said, or what could of been done differently that we forget that our past is an advisor, not a determinant.
And so many of us get stuck in our imaginary stories about what could go wrong – “what if…” – that we think about and plan for our future’s worst case scenario.
Our imaginations can be our biggest ally… or our worst enemy!
By throwing the past ahead of us and plotting crappy outcomes, not only do we spin ourselves out and cause a tremendous amount of unnecessary anxiety, but we lose sight of what life REALLY IS right now.
I will guarantee you that life is pretty nice right now. Stop for a second and take a look around you right this second. Notice what’s REAL.
That thought hit me like a ton of bricks a few weeks ago and deepened my relationship with the now.
I’d been a bit more pensive and pessimistic than feels natural lately. Probably because my husband and I have bitten off a LOT – we’re in the midst of moving back to the bay area, career demands have only increased for both of us, and given it’s summer with our two precious babes ages 8 and 3.5 I feel some pressure to do everything and be everything to everyone.
I was pondering various outcomes for the next 6 months and none of them felt great. In fact, I was dreaming up the dreadful.
WTF?! I meditate every day, I read and study all things uplifting, I consciously tend to my mental state to live the best life possible. Yet, my mind just kept wanting to “go there.”
And it hit me: THERE is the problem, not HERE. “There” isn’t even real!
My mood and my ability to create and live most joyously have been dampened by my lack of discipline in living right now. I was letting unproductive ideas dictate the quality of my life.
“It’s not real unless it’s in front of you.”
So then for the rest of the month, it felt like every conversation I had with friends and clients were some enactment of this notion. I noticed that every bit of anxiety others and I were experiencing were NOT from what was real right now.
Are any of my five senses perceiving what I’m freaking out about at this moment? No? Then it’s not real.
Does it serve me to ignore what’s not in front of me? Am I being negligent and naive? Am I in denial by choosing not to prepare for unideal outcomes?
By diligently attending to what’s real now in this moment I’m not turning a blind eye to realities elsewhere in the world, I’m simply choosing not to channel my precious bandwidth in a direction that gets me NOWHERE. Spinning out by swirling in the hypothetical keeps me from tapping into my inner wisdom and creativity, which in turn keeps me from clarity and power. Focusing on what could go wrong only sets my trajectory in line with exactly that. I’m not preparing myself to avoid it, I’m preparing myself to run right into it.
Getting present moves me from fear, which is limited thinking land, to possibility, which is where innovative solutions and intrinsic joy can be discovered.
Now, if the hypothetical future I’m imagining excites and delights me then yes please, I’ll focus a little more on that! Because it feels good. Feeling good blows open my bandwidth for more presence, creativity, and engagement in the direction of my focus. That’s the imagined future I’m working to get in front of me. Anything other than that, I can drop it… and drop in.
How’ve you been feeling lately? Do your recollections or imaginary narratives deserve your attention? Is it time to tighten up that focus of yours and drop into what your five senses declare ONLY as real right now? What new thoughts and ideas emerge in service to the future you actually want? Take a chance and let me know what’s real for you! Thanks for contributing to one of the most real conversations we could ever have.
Lovingly in your now moment,
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in Sacramento and the Greater Bay Area, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.