So it turns out if you give yourself the challenge to be more present it makes it glaringly obvious what makes you not present, which is a tendency to look forward or backward.
Thinking about the past is nice when reminiscing about something lovely like holding your newborn against your chest or the great vacation you took last summer. It’s also really fun to think about all your dreams for the future. That trip to Europe you want to take or what it will be like when you buy your dream home.
However, the past can also bring up a lot of not so great feelings like sadness and anger and the future can turn dark and full of worry and anxiety. I believe those fearful feelings are calls to forgive and to trust.
You can’t just forgive the past or not worry about the future because you think it’s a good idea. I couldn’t bring myself to publish last week because looking at what you are not forgiving or trusting is a recipe to bring up a whole bunch of crap you’d really rather not deal with. I was knee deep in my stuff. I felt sad, small, and very young. Stuff I hadn’t thought about for years was making tears spring to my eyes. It was messy and I wasn’t sure how to let go. My mentor always said to forgive is to let go of that which has come before. I thought I had but clearly I had not. There was more letting go to do.
With all this running around in my head I went to a yoga class. Towards the end of class the teacher asked us to get into my least favorite pose – it’s called pigeon – if you know what I’m talking about you probably love it. Everyone else seems to. For me, it’s incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. I reluctantly got into the pose. Then as instructed, I started breathing into the tight spots in my body and felt the incremental release that breathing into tension brings. Slowly, my body was letting go.
And that’s when it hit me, in all my discomfort, I was letting go. You can’t really let go unless you go into the discomfort first. So although digging up the past was not my intention when I set out to do twelve consecutive weeks of watching my thoughts, and even though it’s terribly uncomfortable, I’m pretty sure there is no way around it. It’s the discomfort that allows for letting go. So that’s what I’ve been doing, going inward, seeing what’s there, and breathing into it. There is nothing to be done but notice. Which amazingly, brings me to the present moment, where all is not perfect, but it’s good.