WHERE ARE YOU LIVING? PAST, PRESENT or FUTURE?
Does this seem like an odd question to you? Maybe it does or maybe it doesn’t. We are all living in one of these three places. In the book, “Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning, it occurred to me that most of us are meditating on the past or worried about our future. As the saying goes, if you drive your car only looking in the rear view mirror, you’ll run into something. There must be a balance to where we live, past, present or future.
With this in mind, how do we balance our lives to stay in the present moment while not ignoring the future and not forgetting the past? We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. That’s life. Practically speaking, wisdom tells us to plan ahead for our future. This can be quite a conundrum. Have you ever had a moment where you didn’t recall driving to the destination you arrive at? It can be disconcerting to realize our minds were elsewhere while in control of a 2,000-pound object. This happens often when we forget why we walked into a room for something, only to find our minds were on something else!
Many times we do not hear the music of what is happening in the present because our minds ricochet in between the past and the future. What does it mean to be present in the moment, fully aware of where we are and what we are doing? “Attending to the present moment under stress indicates an unshaken sense of self-possession.” (Quote from Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning). There truly is only NOW! We have one life to live and when we are present in the moment, we experience our lives. I love what Brennan Manning describes as NOWHERE or NOW HERE.
When we allow ourselves to be NOW HERE it can feel like NO WHERE. I’ve felt that feeling. It can feel like a loss of control, and in many ways it is letting go of trying to control our lives. “Being in the now removes us from endless and fruitless self-analysis. Moreover, in the absence of self-observation, guilt and shame mysteriously disappear.” (Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning) After years of counseling and being a coach, I am acutely aware of the need to heal the past. I’m not suggesting don’t “go there”. I’m saying, don’t live there, pitch a tent or build a house there. There is a saying that if we don’t know history, it will repeat itself.
I believe the key is to be aware of where you are and what you are doing as much as possible in life. Plan for your future as wisely as possible and at the same time, don’t let it dominate your thoughts and creep over into worry and anxiety. Another quote I like is “the geography of Nowhere encompasses Every/where.” Live in the moment, reflect on the past and look towards the future.
Living in the moment tips: see the beauty around you; take time to enjoy your friends and family; listen to the birds, the ocean, the silence; appreciate the WOW in your life. I hope this helps you find your way to NOWHERE!