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What a waste of my time to worry about the future or agonize over the past! What will help me make the best use of the present moment?
Entrée: Live In The
Moment? How Do You Do THAT? by Helaine
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I spent one of the last glorious days of summer lazing on the beach with a dear friend. We were basking in the final rays of the afternoon sun when the conversation turned to his single status. He shared with me that an old girlfriend, currently married was potentially about to be single again. Knowing he had a “thing” for this woman in the past, and a desire to be in a relationship now, I was all over the “potential” that they may yet end up together.
Sensing his overt lack of enthusiasm over my colorfully painted vision of his future, I asked him what was up; to which he replied, “I don’t live in the past or the future, I live in the moment”.
“Live in the moment? What the heck does that mean? How do you do THAT?” I retorted, with plenty of excitement in my voice. He told me he didn’t know how he did it, he just did.
As afternoon faded into evening his response stayed with me. I began wondering why I so automatically move out of the present and into the future. I put myself in his shoes and imagined how I might deal with the same situation. I discovered that I leave the present and go into the future to protect myself. If I run all the possible scenarios through my mind, good or bad, and “prepare” myself for what might be, I figure, fore warned is fore armed? Right? Well, maybe not.
Now, let this be said, I’m not saying planning’s a bad thing, or dreaming for that matter. But it doesn’t escape my notice that a lot of the future “projecting” I do isn’t peaceful. My teacher and friend Byron Katie is famous for saying “if you want fear on purpose, get a future, if you want shame, get a past.
How are you doing with staying in the present moment? Here are some tips I’ve learned that help me stay a bit longer in the present moment:
After our invigorating conversation, my friend and I walked to the waters edge to experience the ocean. We both gasped when the chill of the water hit our bare feet. We laughed and looked at each other and both expressed the joy of being able to share the moment.
It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!
About the author:
Helaine Iris is a certified Life Coach, writer and teacher that loves her life. She works with individuals, and self-employed professionals, who want to thrive in their business while crafting a life that's in absolute alignment with their highest ideals, deepest values and gracefully masters the complexities of modern living. Are you ready to take a step that could change your life? For a complimentary session visit her website http://www.pathofpurpose.com or call her 603-357-8546 or email her email@example.com
Main Course: "Can" the
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Question: How much time should be spent agonizing over a situation, an event, a problem or an armload of life's difficulties? Answer: Well, how much time do I have to expend on such things as worry and inaction? Not much, but I somehow manage to find the time. Better Answer: I could utilize the time spent worrying by doing something.
And what better time to start doing something about a problem than right now, this very moment. What can I do, what action can I take? When should I start? Oh my....
It all seems so overwhelming, when I think about it. But, I do think about it for a moment or two, and about what I can actually do about it, for several moments more...
No, no, I couldn't possibly do that! I'm sure I know my capabilities, so I won't even try... I'll just sit here and feel sorry for myself and my situation. The moment passes, and nothing is done to improve the situation.
In the next moment, I realize that I can try something. Maybe. So, I guess I can do it, but I'm not very good at this sort of thing. I'm doing it, but not very well, and I am afraid of making another mistake. Then, I do make a mistake, and I think that I can't do it, after all, and I go back to worrying.
Now, I am worrying about the problem, and the mistake I made trying to fix it, and about not doing anything about it.
Moments later, and I resolve to try again. See, I can do this, but I'm not any better at it this time than I was last time. I make another mistake. And I worry... and I resolve, once more, to try again. Once, maybe twice. Worrying isn't accomplishing anything. Crying a pool of tears and sitting beside it will never solve a problem.
In the next moment, I'm trying again, and I'm actually getting pretty good at what I'm doing. It's not nearly as tiring, not nearly as difficult. I guess I can do something about this problem after all. In fact, I'm actually getting better at this as each moment of doing something about my problem passes. I guess I really can do this after all! This beats the heck out of doing nothing about this problem!
Another moment passes, and I think, "Hey, this is even becoming a fun thing to do." No problem, now. It was just a learning curve, like anything else in life.
In this moment, I can, and I know I can.
The reason I can do something in this moment is because I am on that learning curve, learning to do things, learning to deal with difficulties effectively. I wasn't just born knowing how to do things, and this situation is no different. There is a process involved in coming to believe that I can do something, and I must be patient with that process in my life. I can accept that, too.
What can I do in this moment to make my situation better? I can take just a moment to determine one step I can take, one thing I can do, starting this very moment, to make things better, and then set out to do that thing. And if I make a mistake, or don't do it very well, I can continue on in the next moment to ascend that curve toward knowing what to do, and how to do it well.
"Can"-ing the moment, that is what I will do. No more fretting about what can't be done, what can't be helped, what can't be resolved. No more inaction that leaves things as they are, because "things as they are" doesn't give a rip whether I am happy or sad at the moment. But they are deathly fearful of someone who can do something about them, and if that individual seizes the moment and takes action, "things as they are" magically becomes something entirely different.
I can, and I will. No words in my vocabulary offer more power, nor hold greater rewards.
Michael Rawls, Friday's Inspiration © 2004
Second Helping: Catch Me
When I Fall by Vicki
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If we are all part of the universal consciousness, will it catch me when I fall? When friends wrote letters to my husband, who has incurable cancer, he wept. This is not something that he does very often, but I think he felt the net had been put in place and that he could fall. How often do we trust that this will be so? Does it take years of suffering before we admit our fragile state of existence in this temporary world - the relative world, as the Sufis call it - ?
“My strength is made perfect in weakness,” says the Christ-consciousness. Does our very weakness comprise the net in which we can fall. I remember my brother telling me, many years ago, to lean back and let God catch me. I was flying to Europe with my husband, my first and only time to do that, and I was very anxious. I tried to do what he said, but my own effort blocked the ease I so badly needed. The ego is a fortress of pain constructed of thought. That is the human predicament.
Zen teachings point us to the truth that all of life is suffering. I can attest to that. But conscious suffering can free us from mechanical suffering. When we remember that we are all one, the net of unity becomes strong enough to catch us. All we really want is to let go.
As my husband’s illness requires more and more of me, I get tireder and tireder. Does the physical body know how to rest if we have the sense to allow it plenty of time to do so? Do the emotions have the wisdom to quiet down and contemplate peace. No. Only awareness of something higher can dissolve the dissatisfaction. Only light can relax us while we are struggling in the dark.
As I walk the spiritual path carrying my daily burdens, I forget that I can release them and just sit down and rest. My mind blocks out this vital truth and before I know it, I am exhausted. That is why a good strong spiritual practice takes tending. It requires as much attention as a growing child. It must be fed far more than three times a day. Sometimes it will wake you up at night and ask you to soothe it. But why, I think. It is supposed to soothe me. But the opposites are not that easily figured out. I find that paying attention to my pain in the right way helps to disperse it. Go figure.
At the very end of the path is a light - that I have heard. I have also heard that it is at the very beginning and at all points in-between. I have also heard it rumored that we are the path, the light and each other. It’s a good thing that we can fall into that net when we choose to do so. Is it in the mind or in the spirit? As we ask ourselves this question, it is good to know that there is no answer, that we are the answer and that is why we cannot be told. We must be one with the question, that is all. That is the net that can hold us.
About the author:
Vicki Woodyard is a spiritual writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Since her husband Bob’s passing from multiple myeloma a few years ago, she has been an active participant in The Wellness Community there. Speaking and writing about her life experiences with cancer and the lessons that she is learning is healing, says Vicki. "I hope that people will visit our website and read for a while. They will see that the gift in cancer is growth. Grace surrounds us, enfolds us, even in our darkest hours. Receiving the unwanted gift is an act of courage that is always rewarded." Visit BobWoodyard.com to learn more about this remarkable woman, and to understand what it is like to Nurture the Now. Stay updated on the latest news for Bob and Vicki HERE.
Soup to Nuts: From the feedback
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Thank you to all who sent notes welcoming me back. It is good to be back in the harness, and I have plenty of work to do. I am always grateful to hear from you, and I send out my wishes for blessings in harmony with your needs. Happy third day of Hanukkah!
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