I always believe life throws us challenges in order to learn something important for ourselves and that we can choose to ignore these messages or reflect upon them in order to find their implication. Past experience has shown me quite clearly that the latter is the best way of dealing with trials and tribulations and transforming them into something more meaningful and positive.
In the first half of this year, I learnt of the deaths of two old friends, and just recently heard of two more people I know who have passed on. Mostly these people were around my own age and one of them was only in his 40’s. Life can be so fleeting…….
Losing so many friends and acquaintances in the space of just a few months has been sad and sobering and has certainly nudged me into contemplating the impermanence of life. It brings a stark awareness to how many of us (myself included) can fall into the trap of living as if we had all the time in the world. It makes me wonder why we allow ourselves to get caught up so easily in cultural pressures or become so embroiled in worry that we weave ourselves into webs of resentment, discontent, and division. None of us know what the future will hold or how long we have. Ultimately, life is too short for such pre-occupations. ….
When I reflect upon receiving so much sad news of late, it seems to me that the Universe is presenting me with at least two clear messages as far as I can yet see. One is: BE HERE NOW and the other is TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I’m grateful for nudges towards this awareness. It’s been a wake-up call as regards my own mortality and the need to look after my health. And let’s face it – most of us can do with being reminded of this!
If we don’t train ourselves to live more in the present we miss so much because we’re always somewhere else most of the time! What’s the point of being so concerned about the past or worried about the future that we can’t enjoy what’s actually happening right now? Yes, we have difficulties to face, and yes things are not always easy, but there’s plenty going on in the midst of that which is still good. I’m talking about the love and warmth of good friendships, the delights of nature, and the feel of the wind in your hair and the sun on your back to mention but a few things.
Learning to live in the present means we avoid building negative scenarios about what the future will bring because we’re too busy being in the moment. Think what a difference that could make to our stress levels!! It also means being able to accept all eventualities – both good and bad. But make no mistake – this acceptance doesn’t mean you have to become a doormat and get trampled by any difficulties that arise. No! It means ACCEPTING that this is
how it is at this moment in the knowledge that nothing stays the same for ever and that things will change in their own time. Remember – nothing grows without changing! Just take look at Nature if you don’t believe me. Oh! And while you’re at it, remind yourself that you’re a part of Nature!!
If you can get into the habit of viewing all events and circumstances as having a deeper significance than first appears, you can begin to start opening up to understanding their meaning. You can then work with these insights so that you can grow and become stronger from these experiences instead of getting bowed down and overwhelmed by them.
Being here now promotes an open mind which in turn engenders detachment. Deepak Chopra says detachment “requires accepting uncertainty which (then) propels us into the field of infinite possibilities.” This is an important point as it’s something that is easily overlooked when we’re in the thick of things. Faced with challenges, we often waste time and energy in trying to control events which are beyond our influence. If we can open up to uncertainty and relinquish the need to control, we’ll start seeing more possibilities and new opportunities. The big secret here is to go with the flow of things despite uncertainty about the outcome and TRUST that it will all unfold in a way which is to the good of all concerned. Again to quote Deepak: “Attachment (to outcomes) is based on fear and insecurity. …” Attachment to desired outcomes brings about the possibility of disappointment which can then spiral into a consciousness of lack. (Lack consciousness is when we focus mainly upon the things which aren’t right in our lives or when we constantly dwell upon the things we don’t have rather than the things we do have!)
I’ve digressed a bit– but it’s all connected! OK…so practicing present moment awareness and getting good at it takes time, but it’s so worthwhile and every step you take will bring you towards more peace and a greater balance on an inner level. There are ways you can help yourself to get better at it. For example, meditation is an excellent way to practice being in the moment, especially when utilising the technique of following your breath. (If you don’t know how to do this, you’ll find easy, simple guiding instructions on my healing and meditation techniques CD based on exercises given in my book “Finding the River”). Another way is to simply practice self-awareness and notice when you’ve allowed your mind to take over and drag you out of the present into dreams, fantasies or negative random thought processes. Every time you become aware of yourself getting distracted from the present (and don’t be daunted by the number of times you might have to do this!), just pull your mind back, and you will be training yourself to be more here and now.
And what of the need to take care of ourselves? How often are we looking for someone else to do that? Believe me, if you’re looking for the metaphorical Knight in Shining Armour or Earth Mother, take the short cut and start looking after yourself instead!! If you don’t, it’s like expecting to be loved when you don’t love yourself. Check out if you’re eating healthily and getting enough exercise and make a commitment to change your ways if you need to do so. Make sure if you have a busy life that you balance it up with plenty of rest and healing periods (nudge nudge = Reiki!!!) – especially those who are past 50!! Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t judge yourself too harshly. Deal with any limiting beliefs (e.g. I can’t do that/I’m not lucky/people like me don’t get those kinds of opportunities) and emotional problems with EFT or some other similar technique.
Resolve not to squander the present because ultimately, that’s all you’ve got!! From moment to moment – be here now! Trust that any event in your life – no matter how taxing – can actually lead you to feel stronger and more centred. Look after your body and listen to its needs. Practice being in the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Make the most of your life, and in so doing, help yourself to make it a whole lot simpler, enjoyable and easier.