Living in the now; love this moment

We spend an awful lot of time looking back to the past or forward to the future, it seems the only thing to do, but living anywhere other than in the present moment means we aren’t fully conscious of right now; we miss our precious life as it happens.

Have you noticed that time seems to stretch out when you’re on holiday, that you can fit so much more into your days, that you feel more alive? When we are doing similar things, day in, day out, our conscious mind knows the script so well that it takes some time out and hands over to our subconscious. You may have noticed that you can drive a familiar route in your car, you can get to your destination and remember nothing of the journey. If you were to drive a different car or route, your conscious mind would remain present; just like everything being new on when you’re on holiday. This seems to me, a way of transcending time. We can stretch our time and enjoy right now whenever we like by being mindful of whatever we’re doing; even the most mundane of tasks hold interest when we concentrate on them, using all of our senses. While we are thinking about the job in hand, we cannot be depressing ourselves by looking back or stressing about what our future holds.

The present moment is the only time we ever have yet we can go for days, hardly experiencing a thing in any depth; we skim life’s surface rather than having the whole wonderful and colourful, beautiful immersion.

The past

It feels to us that we have to come to terms with the past, to forgive it and ourselves before we can move on. We are often told to go back to an incident that hurt us. I can’t see that this can do anything other than hurt us again. Reliving it, keeping the hurtful story alive can only give us more and more pain.

It is important to forgive yourself, because you did the best with what you had at the time, and then move on. The person who hurt you was doing the best they could too. Hurt people hurt people. If you carry on allowing yourself to be affected by your past you will become yet another hurt person who hurts people…and the person who will be most hurt, is you. Forgiveness isn’t about the person who hurt you, it’s about you.

When we are in an insecure place, we act and speak out of fear and defensiveness. This is not how we behave when we feel happy in ourselves. I’m sure you can remember times when, if you are honest, you overreacted and were unpleasant to someone when they didn’t deserve it. It is uncomfortable admitting that but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Once we understand that we act out of character when we are not feeling peaceful, we can also see that this is true of all people. Somebody may have treated us badly but it was because they were in pain, it wasn’t the real them doing it. The one thing that is for sure, is that there is no point reliving, blaming or staying hurt by a knee jerk reaction from someone who was acting from fear and was not themselves.

I’m not saying that you should ever hang around for more poor treatment. In your peaceful place, you will know the right thing to do and whether you want to empathise with them or whether you want to vote with your feet and get the hell out.

When we have been hurt by something it seems that we need to process it, to come to terms with it but the only healthy thing is to let it go. Holding onto resentment only hurts us, you may like to read Resentment is your new best friend. The unpleasant feelings it causes us can only do further damage and at the very least take away our pleasure of the current moment. I understand that it may not feel fair or that you believe it should or shouldn’t have happened, but holding onto it just makes a worse time for us. It really is your choice, see Overthinking. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Looking back and feeling sad can be addictive but wouldn’t you just like to try the alternative?

Learn from the past, keep any beautiful memories but choose not to live there.

The future

It is sensible to plan for the future, to know that you will be secure, whether that is taking qualifications or building a portfolio. It’s also nice to look forward to events that are coming up but not at the loss of the now. Some people spend a great deal of their time worrying about the future, about all the things that could happen; things that, in all probability, will never materialise. They imagine whole fictitious scenarios and their bodies fill up with adrenalin, cortisol and goodness knows what else just as if the event had already happened. These chemicals do us actual harm; stress causes headaches, tummy upsets, sweats, rashes or whichever stress and anxiety symptoms you exhibit, let alone the long term health problems that the medical world are only just starting to acknowledge. Worries that go round and round in our heads and are never answered and can never be answered, are a total waste of our time; the good news is that, again, it is your choice whether you hold onto them or not. You might like to read New day, new life; isn’t it time you had a good day, every day?

If there are practical and positive measures you can take to allay problems, like changing your job or moving house, go for it but if there are not, let it go and free yourself of the burden of cyclic worrying.

Plan for the future, be happy about the fun you can have but don’t get so focused on it that you lose today because today is all you have and it deserves to be special.

Worrying is paralysing and stops you doing anything with efficiency. You’ll find that when you stop the unnecessary overthinking you will have so much more time on your hands. You will also sleep better without having to play the worrying game all night and be doing yourself a massive health favour.

Learn from yesterday, hope for tomorrow, live for today.

Next week I’m writing more about the choice you have of holding onto resentment or not. Until then, have an amazing week and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Love Catherine x

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