Being stuck in the past or fixating on a future that hasn't arrived yet, can have devastating consequences in our lives. Have you ever had that feeling that life is passing you by? That you are missing something that you can't put a finger on?
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are” Calvin and Hobbes
Knowing where you are going is important and remembering where you came from is important. In order to enjoy where we are, we need to focus on the now. So how do you focus on the now and still keep the future and the past where they belong?
The Lines of Time
Did you know that there are different ways that people represent time in their minds? Let’s imagine for a moment that you can imagine that time is on a line and that you can see it.
If you could do that, where would your future be? Would it be in front of you, directly? And would your past be behind you? You’ve heard people speak of putting their past behind them, haven’t you? They actually mean that literally.
If you can “see” your past and your now and your future all in front of you on a line that stretches from your left to your right (with your future being on the right), then you sort time the same way that I do. It could be on an angle, there could be as many different variations as there are people…
Now, you probably have never thought of it this way before and it can be a convenient way to think of time…it can put time in its’ place…
There is an advantage to thinking of time as having a concrete place in your mind, even if it really doesn’t. Think of it as one more tool in your tool box, that you can use to your advantage and make it work for you.
The past can have power over you, if you let it…if you sort time with the past out in the front and to the side on that line that stretches like that…it might be staring you in the face…
In that case, visualizing that aspect of your time line as being dimmer can make it less significant. If you put the past behind you, yes, you remember less of it and that can be a problem for people who tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over again….
Planning for your future is important and fixating on it is not…your SMART goals, when you make them and put them into your future, no matter where you store it, need to be released…let me explain…
When you get that picture of the future that you want, and you feel the feelings and hear the sounds that you hear when you have it and when you KNOW that you have it…then it is time to let it go, let go of the neediness or wanting…
Keep the feeling of having and knowing…and when you have that feeling of knowing that you had achieved that goal…it can happen…without the pressure and prying at it…
Be like the farmer who plants the seeds and does not go out into the field to dig up the seeds to see how they are doing…he lets them germinate and grow in their own time, knowing, knowing that there will be a harvest.
When you take the time to plan your future, map out your goals and create visual reminders like mind maps, you have a constant picture in front of you that reminds you of where you are going. If you look at those pictures that you have created and you feel the knowing, it will work. If you time travel in your mind and tell yourself that you don’t know how it will happen…well, then…
Focusing on Now
When you have released the past and yes, released the future, where does that leave you? It leaves you with NOW and the experience of now.
In the now, you can experience gratitude. If your life is at a difficult point, gratitude can be hard to practice. You can start small, very small if you need to. If you can only be grateful for the breath that you take as you sit there in that moment, that is a wonderful start.
Gratitude is a powerful focus tool. Take the time now to think of 5 things that you are grateful for…I know that you can do it…small things, big things, happy things, it’s all there, isn’t it?
"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?" Sherie Venner
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