Living in the present sounds so much simpler than it is in actual practice. I don't know about you, but I have memories from the past, dreams from the future, and a list of responsibilities that are either past due, or due soon...How does one go about living in the present...truly living in the present?
Not without constant practice and prayer...at least that's what I've learned!
Whenever I find myself feeling anxious about endless possibilities of how everything in life that is good could come crashing down around my feet, I remind myself that for Today, this is what I can change; that for Today, the sun is shining; that for Today, my son is in a fabulous mood; that for Today, my husband is smiling; that for Today, I have been successful – as I define the word...
So, with all of that stuff I have no control over trying to swarm my head, I just remember that Today, the Present, is all I have to worry about. What can I do Today?
What led me to focus my energy – mind, heart, and spirit – on living for the day? Well, everything...
My husband and I have struggled financially throughout our entire marriage. At this point, the why is no longer a part of any equation…Instead of just looking to the Past to learn from and move on, we realized we were quite living the Past. Constantly fearing the Past repeating itself, or our Past mistakes making another appearance later in our lives when we least expect it, and all that is good will dissipate. Just the fear that we would keep making the same mistakes over and over again, regardless of how hard we tried to better ourselves and to do it differently this time, became debilitating. We were afraid to truly believe in any good thing that began to happen, because for whatever reason there was, it seemed to be short lived. Every opportunity that was intended to change our circumstances seemed to be a joke on us…kinda hard to keep the faith – but we did! Faith is an amazing force…actually, you can’t live in the present and leave everything else behind without going forward in faith – but that’s another article :)
So, I have covered Past, but what about Future?
We got lost in our dreams the way one gets lost in a spellbinding novel. We would talk about what kind of lifestyle we want to live: stay at home mom, homeschooling (someday, he’s too young yet), homesteading (need to buy a house, with land, first), own our own restoration shop on our property, and more. Then we would talk about all that getting to that dream life would entail. That future was so beautiful and perfect, we found ourselves sad at our current life. Believing what we have is not enough. Thoughts of When are we going to get there? became the most prevalent.
This is no way to live. Doubt, fear, sadness, all things negative...these things are not going to make us happy, or get us to the life we know is right for us. The changing point?
When we moved into this new rental, I fell in love with the house, as did my husband. We just seemed to fit; the house just fit. As much as we can’t make it our own, this house feels the most us than any other place we have ever lived – and we have lived in 9 different places in 9 years. I decided to embrace how this place made me feel. This place I felt comfortable in. When we moved our things in, they fit, too. And I don’t just mean size; I mean they fit in spirit, like we did. And that made me feel more like myself than I have ever known. The Future we want became more tangible.
One day my husband approached me a couple of weeks after we were settled. He disclosed that such a part of him was afraid of feeling too comfortable, to enjoy it too much. The reason? Everything else seemed to have been taken away from us just when we thought it was here to stay. After he shared this with me, I commiserated with him. I was feeling the same thing, but I don't want to let that define our experience here. As we talked, we decided not to let fear of losing win anymore...
I made a promise: To myself; To God. He wants us to live in the Present and leave all else to Him. Again, sounds incredibly simple, and it should be, but practice is hard. We are human with a likeness to God’s emotions…and those emotions can be very powerful. So, living in the Present for me is appreciating all God has blessed me with each and every day.
I remind myself of my loving husband, my incredible son, my dedicated family and friends, this beautiful home, the new day to accomplish new things, the sunshine, the birds chirping...and this blog – which was a very large push! But again, what am I waiting for? Am I waiting for my dream lifestyle to approach me before I throw myself into all things that speak to my heart and soul? Do I choose not to create, or share with others because I am waiting for something better to happen first? How does that make sense? Why not live the lifestyle I want as much as I can right now?
I am finding joy in all of these beautifully blessed constants in my life and am crushing the negative wannabes. Fear, worry, and panic are no longer welcome in my life. If I remember to live in the Present and make it all I possibly can, I believe I will find myself in my dream future before I realize it. And at least this way, I am actually living life to the fullest while I wait.