Since today is Sunday I am sitting in my easy chair drinking a pumpkin spiced coffee (it is autumn) while listening to jazz music as I read the comics. Can it get any better than this? As I look out my window and see the beauty of autumn with a light breeze knocking off some of the leaves, allowing them to float to the ground, I realize that in all of peaceful beauty I still feel some anxiety. Why? Doesn’t my Sunday’s journey thus far rival the images of Normal Rockwell? How can I feel anxious? I think it has something to do with the Pooch Cafe comic I just read.
In your life’s journey do you find yourself in a constant state of anxiousness? I’m not talking about all out stress or a debilitating anxiety, but that sense of waiting for the bad to happen. Is life too good? Maybe its an issue of what you feel you deserve. Do I deserve this good life? Or maybe its that yearning of when will my life turn around?
This reflection (and the comic above) is all about perspective and perception. Don’t get me wrong, I too live with these feelings. Part of my blog writing is for my benefit, too. As I reflect on this issue, and as I have counseled clients on this issue, I find that much of these feelings have to do either with our perception of the reality around us, or our perspective on life which we have learned through the years. For me, the reflection is whether or not my perception and perspective on life is reflective of the reality of my life. Are my inner thoughts and feelings true to my “current” experience? This is not the place for me to enter the philosophical debate of the origin of reality (although I do love that discussion and am tempted to go there now), but rather to guide and challenge us all to maintain our focus on the present moment.
The present moment is fleeting. By the time you read this sentence a moment has come and gone replaced by another moment and so on. Much of our stress and anxiety comes from our mentally not living in the present moment. Think of it; the next time you feel stressed reflect on what is causing that stress. My guess is that your thoughts are either on past or future moments rather than the present moment. For most of us most of the time, the present moment is not stressful. Rather, it is our regrets from the past or fears of the future which contribute to our stress. Why? Because we no longer have control of the past nor can we control the future. But we can exert some control on our present moment. Our sense of a lack of control contributes to our sense of stress. How well we maintain focus on the present moment will aid in our stress reduction.
So, what can we do? Each time you feel stressful or anxious, pause (turn into the rest stop), reflect on where your mind (thoughts) is and bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Each time they wander from the present, bring them back to the present. Over time, with enough training, your thoughts will begin to remain in the present. A caveat: I am not at all saying we should ignore the future nor forego planning for the future. That is a reflection for another blog.
Here is a quote which continues to help me along my life’s journey:
“I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking: ‘My name is I AM.’ He paused. I waited. He continued, `When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS. When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WILL BE. When you live in this moment it is not hard. My name is I AM.’”
— Helen Mallicoat
How do you maintain perspective along your life’s journey? Please comment here or join in on the discussion by liking this blog on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifesjourneyblog