There has been much tragedy in my life;
at least half of it actually happened.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.
I always smile when people tell me they want to figure out how to live in the present moment. My response is – it’s impossible not to live in the present moment, the present is all there is . . . this very nano-second in time.
I’m simultaneously blessed and cursed. I remember very little of my past (including yesterday) and have difficulty thinking about the future. I have to concentrate to plan ahead, only have goals if they have been imposed and my sense of time is . . . if it weren’t for the sun or the clock I’d have no sense of time . . .
My brain doesn’t “think” whole thoughts but rather gathers impressions, patterns, concepts. When whole thoughts, words, come out of my mouth (or the computer keyboard) it’s the first time I’ve heard them.
It’s not that I practice living in the present moment . . . it’s simply how my brain is hard-wired. If your brain is similarly hard-wired you know exactly what I’m talking about. If your brain is wired differently you may be goal-oriented, remember details about your childhood, even be prone to anxiety and stymied about what I’m trying to describe.
It’s our THINKING that focuses on the past or the future. The measure of our peace of MIND is determined by how much we are able to focus our thinking in the present.
That’s largely why meditation, reading, sewing, exercise, painting . . . doing anything that captures your attention as you experience it creates the “flow” where past and future are not in your thoughts.
Every time we think “should have”, “could have”, or “would have” we are THINKING about past experience. Every time we become anxious or fearful we are THINKING about a future, which may or may not happen.
Maybe your reaction is . . . that doesn’t make sense, for someone who spent decades as a psychotherapist analyzing, dissecting, bisecting life’s experiences, expectations and beliefs.
Because we are a composite of all our past choices and experiences, thinking, reflecting on the past is important IF our focus is to learn and grow. Reflection about our past or future, without learning, is not usually helpful when we stay stuck in “shoulds”, “coulds”, “woulds” or “what if’s”.
Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is all you have, however, your brain is wired.
The Fate of young ladies who “demurred”
with Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg
In my opinion, one of the most “damaging” things we can tell our children, or ourselves for that matter, is that if we set our mind to it and have the perseverance we can do anything, accomplish anything, be anything. WRONG.
No matter how much I may want to be a nuclear physicist my brain simply will not grasp the finer, much less coarser, points of physics or math. No matter how much I might want to be a sumo wrestler, my body, dexterity and athletic ability forbids it.
So if I were going to talk to The Cat in the Hat I would tell him to change what he preaches to: