Living in the Moment


            Sleet tapping against the windows and covering the trees and snow, makes for a bad driving day. All week, I have been torn about maybe not being able to attend a funeral in another State, for a very good friend’s mother. I decided last night that I needed to be there. Left the house at 530 in the morning, driving in sleeting rain for ½ hour when I decided it was silly to try to drive 3 hours in this weather. So I headed back home. Accepting that it just was not meant to be today, though disappointing for me, allowed me to come home and be in the moment. I let my feelings of disappointment go away. It is not healthy for me to dwell on this all day, though my good thoughts are with the family.

            It does not come easy to stay in the moment. I have suffered through anxiety my whole life. A recent turn of family events forced me to learn to stay in the moment. I am finding that I feel much healthier because of it. Some examples have been to not allow negative thoughts into my head such as worry, panic, fear, and anxiety. I am not in control of what others may do, but I am trying to be in control over my response.

            I cannot think, well this happened before so it could happen again. On the other hand, it is much easier to think, well this happened before and it may NOT happen again.     One of the biggest changes has occurred because a good friend gave me an Al-anon book entitled Courage to Change. Now I wondered if it could really apply to me because seemingly it is material for families of alcoholics to help them cope. My friend realized I was going through some undesirable feelings on my part, such as anger because of something I could not control, and especially because I was helpless regarding a situation. I replaced the work Alcoholic with Illness and I found the book can really help all people.

            I have made some big changes because of it, and staying in the present or living in the moment has been the biggest change. I continue to try to improve in these areas. Here are a few instances of staying in the present. When someone has a conversation with me, I try to look right at them and be a good listener, not offering advice, but listening. If something happens unexpectedly, I try not to get all upset, but just absorb it and let it go. I try not to obsess about it. In the big scheme of things, it is probably small potatoes. I try not to think of negative thoughts and this includes scanning the news sometimes, because I avoid horrific headlines. I do not think we are wired to emotionally handle 24/7 news. Because we are people with feeling and we care, then these thoughts stay in our heads when we read about a dreadful event. Another change I have made is to slow down. I stay in the moment by slowing down. I am often times in a rush with all I do, that I miss what is actually going on around me. I took the time the other morning to walk around the lake and snap photos. I was pleased with my photos because I was not in a rush.

            I think we waste so much energy worrying about things that may not happen. If we worry, it gets in the way of the moment. It spoils the present. How many times have you done something, and some sort of stress, just ruined your moment, your plans? Slowing down is a good thing. My sons have taught me so much and living in the moment is something they taught me just by being who they were. I spent so much time worrying about one son’s future, that I feel I missed part of the here and now with him.

            When I worked for the school department, I remember being on the playground in the mornings before class. Some kids came to school already wearing their stress. I would go up to them and check in with them, and just listen to them. Sometimes it made a difference in how the rest of their day went. I try to be that person at my present job too. So many people have worries for which they are trying to cope. Sometimes all we can do for someone is listen and love. We can’t fix some things. That’s ok.

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