My entire life I’ve had a hard time living in the moment. Instead of actually enjoying what was right in front of me, I was always thinking ahead, worrying about what would happen next. Or, sometimes, even simultaneously, I was thinking about something in the past. But never, or rarely, was I in the moment. I think two times I can recall TRULY being right there in the moment with beauty smacking me in the face was when I had my two children. Those are the two most beautiful moments of my life and the kind of thing that demand you be right there in that. Even though my first was an emergency C-section, being right there, having that baby placed in my arms, everything else just fell away. I was THERE in awe, holding this precious life I’d just brought into the world. While that is an extreme example of being in the moment, I wish I could live everything in my life that way. I’m certainly trying to make an effort to do that.
There are many reasons so many of us have a hard time living in the moment. For me, I think it stems back to my childhood and that dark cloud I had living over my head, the one I’ve mentioned before. I always knew my mom was sick and I worried silently, A LOT. I developed anxiety at a very young age. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s nobody’s fault. It was just the way I, being a very feeling creature, interpreted the situation, and I often stored that fear up in my heart instead of expressing it. Now, as an adult, I am trying to break that habit. The one of constantly worrying about the future or thinking about the past, which I cannot change, instead of concentrating on the beautiful possibilities right in front of me. Right. Here. Today. It’s surely not an easy thought process to break. I continue to work on it every single day and some days I do better than others.
One thing I’m trying to use is mindfulness, which I know is a term that has become a bit cliché and is tossed around a lot. Being mindful of my thoughts has helped me immensely already. When I start to worry or want to change something in the past, I start to recite the serenity prayer and remember that some things are beyond my control and I need to let them go. Constant worry about a mistake you made or someone you’ve lost do nothing for you. Thinking about people that have maybe hurt you or wronged you is giving energy to the wrong things. Take the lesson, learn from it, express gratitude for that person and their gift, and move on. Let it make you stronger. I know that’s so much easier said than done and it takes a lot of practice. I get it because that’s what I’m doing now. Practicing. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten with mindfulness so far. I can tell you it’s making me look hard at the present. The right here, right now. It has already helped me immensely on focusing on what I can control. What I can control is me and my perception of the things that are going on in my life. When those thoughts come into my head, I do my best to catch them and change it up. Like I said, I’m still learning, but do see the incredible value in switching up your thought process.
Some use mindfulness in every area of their lives. I tried to use it the other day while washing the dishes, instead of being pissed at the fact that my dishwasher is still broken. Be in the moment, feel the warm water running over your hands, take in the fresh scent of the soap, see the beauty in the bubbles it makes. Okay, so that didn’t work very well. I wasn’t able to entirely switch that one up and, when I was done, while I felt accomplished at getting the dishes done, I was still irritated that my dishwasher has yet to be replaced. Like I said, I’m still practicing. I’ll get there. Just maybe not with the dishwashing.