Power to the Present

I have to admit, I’ve been terrible at saying present lately. I spoke with a friend and she told me I’ve “left without leaving.” My mind has been so focused on what’s next, on problem-solving, on little worries and concerns about the future that I’ve been unable to enjoy what’s in front of me. And that sucks.

I was out of town this weekend for a wedding and I spent a good chunk of it worrying about waking up at 4 a.m. today, Sunday, to drive three hours to the airport. I worried whether I would get to sleep, whether I would make the flight, etc. Well, I fell asleep at 3 a.m. this morning, so that was fun, and returned my rental car, caught all my flights, etc. without a hitch. All that worry merely distracted me from fully enjoying the present moment.

Look at this little kid being in the moment.

Look at this little kid being in the moment.

Part of it is physiological — my adrenal glands are soooo taxed right now with all the stress I’m experiencing — but part of it is because I believe I gain a sense of power through worrying. Obviously I do, otherwise I wouldn’t worry so much! My unconscious refrain is, “If I think about something often enough then perhaps I’ll be able to change the outcome.” The thing is, I make great choices. I can trust myself. I do not set myself up for failure and most importantly, the question to ask myself is, “So what?”

So what if I miss my flight? So what if I don’t sleep through the night? Are these things really as awful as I make them out to be? Of course not! Being at the wedding this weekend showed me how much I’m robbing myself of joy. For the past few months I’ve been so high-strung and in survival mode that I’ve forgotten how to just be, how to stay in the present.

The point of this post is to highlight that behavior and get back into the mindset I had a few years ago. I wasn’t able to stay present all the time, but lately I’ve been unable to stay present even some of the time because there’s been so much for me to deal with. Even as I type that I realize it’s an excuse because there will always be something going on. Life is just one damn thing after another, according to Elbert Hubbard, and I tend to agree. It’s been very easy for me to get wrapped up in the “one thing after another,” but do I have to? Can’t I instead take action as it’s called for and then let it go? I sure can!

I don’t have any solutions here, but I think this like most everything else is a process. It starts with recognizing I don’t like what I’m currently doing and I want to change it. I think it also comes from challenging my anxious brain by saying, “So what?” because really, even when the worst happens, haven’t I shown remarkable resilience?

I dream of a world where we relax and let things go. A world where we’re present, in the moment, being here, now. A world where we take action as necessary and then let it go. A world where we remember we can trust ourselves and we can trust all is well and all shall be well. A world where we give power to the present.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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