Before walking this path I was rarely present. There were a few reasons for that. One, I hated my present circumstances and hated who I was, so I would often think about tomorrow because that seemed less dim and dark because it hadn’t happened yet. Two, I wasn’t ready to take action to change the circumstances I was in, blaming others for my misfortune or believing I was a bad person who didn’t deserve better, so my head would live in the future with the hope that things would just magically get better on their own. They never did. When I set out to find a better way of life I was told to live in the present, to only look so far as what was in front of my hands, that, at first, frightened me, because it was hard to escape my situation when you could only look that far, but I realized that much of my anxiety came from fear of the unknown, fear of what might come next, and fear that I would also stay stuck right where I was. When I could focus on what was in front of my hands life became easier, because I only needed to focus on what was right in front of me each day, every day. My thoughts still wanted to jump ahead to tomorrow so I had to train it to stay with me right where I was, but the more I practiced it the more I found comfort in only focusing on each moment as it came, each task, each step I needed to take to get through the day. I realized why I had not been living that way as I started out on this new approach, there’s no hiding from the truth when all you have is the truth in each moment.
Jumping ahead was a way to escape, a way to fantasize and hope that things would get better. I would keep borrowing from tomorrow, and the tomorrows after those thinking somehow I could just wish things better, but as the years went on and the darkness got bigger and thicker, that hope was harder to find and I would reach farther and farther into the future while I was dying in the present. It was like a smokescreen, so I wouldn’t notice how bad things had gotten, and how bad they still could get, my thinking would propel me forward hoping a magical solution would present itself somewhere out there in the days that had not yet happened. They never did. The solution that appeared came to me in the present, in the form of a person, who in the present, could see how much I was suffering, and how sick I truly was, and in that present moment shared his story with me, which, in that moment, I did not fully absorb, but on a night when it really mattered, on a night when it mattered most, that story became as present as anything could be. I saw myself in that story and I was suddenly pulled back into the present, lost, scared, and wondering what to do next, but the thinking of what comes next, held me in the present.
When we find ourselves in those moments things get really simple. It becomes about survival, and when you’re fighting for your life there’s no time for complications. For me, I took the only action I could in that moment, I picked up the phone and asked for help, that action set off a chain of events that are still happening today, 13 years later, and today, 13 years later, I still focus on what’s in front of my hands, especially when life gets busy and can seem overwhelming.
It’s OK to plan for the future, to have goals and things you are working toward, but don’t cheat today by living in the future, you never know what you might have missed while you were looking ahead, and what you missed may have been the key to attaining everything you ever wanted in a future, and more, maybe even beyond your wildest dreams. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you have trouble staying present? Where does your mind typically go? Why do you think it doesn’t want to stay right where you are? What frightens you there? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you think living in the future offers you? What if you tried to live in the here and now? What if you only did what was in front of your hands? Do you see how simple your life would be? How much more grounded it would be? When you think about doing that how does it make you feel? Try it SLAYER, focus on what’s in front of your hands, don’t allow yourself to get ahead and go to places you have not yet been when there is work to do right here, trust that where you are is where you are meant to be, and that there is valuable information there that will help to get you to where you are supposed to go. Follow your hands and listen for the direction of where they should go next.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you