On Being Present and Mindful...

A pervading thread through so many topics I've covered in the past is awareness: awareness of action; awareness of negative self-talk and self-limiting belief; awareness of, well, awareness itself. Being aware of our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and intentions open doors for us we didn't realize were there in the first place. The ability to drastically change the course of our lives through new choices available to us becomes tangible.

An incredibly powerful and reverberating choice to make is to live presently and in the moment. I'm not referring to a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, rebel without a cause kind of attitude. Rather, living in the present moment and not fixating on the past or future. My wonderful wife shared a tidbit of wisdom she picked up whilst listening to numerous videos and podcasts on mindfulness, "To focus only backwards breeds depression, and to focus only forward yields anxiety". We learn from the past. We look forward to the future. In no way am I suggesting we turn blinders to both directions and stare at our feet. Rather, I urge everyone to become aware of where their focus lies.

If we focus only on our past, the depression is largely bred from guilt, shame, and regret over the mistakes we've made. Certainly we recollect the good and positive times, but negativity has an incredible way to capture our attention and lead us down a repeating spiral. As our own worst critics, our tendency to continually fixate on, and beat ourselves up over, previous mistakes can be debilitating. The repetition of "I'm ashamed what I did" to "I'm not worthy of..." holds sway over us, making it incredibly difficult to see things (especially ourselves) in a positive light, and holds us from taking meaningful steps forward.

Conversely, when we focus only towards the future, anxiety is created by the unknown. Obviously, we dream about positive experiences yet to come, and excitement for what the future holds. That infernal negativity takes root in our minds when we begin to play the, "what if?" scenario. Those who consider themselves 'planners' are definitely susceptible to this (I'll raise my hand as being guilty of this), as they attempt to mitigate uncertainty through thinking of all the worst case scenarios. It's as if we're trying to beat failure to the punch by thinking ahead of time about what all could go wrong, and attempting to 'be alright' with those outcomes. If we're spending all our time focusing on what could go wrong, we're more likely to manifest it in our lives, and forget about what could all go right.

If we are mindful and keep our focus predominately on the here-and-now, we stand to gain so very much. We are able to much more easily experience gratitude for who and what we currently have in our lives -- something largely overlooked when we focus backwards or forwards. We free ourselves of our past failures -- and past successes; many tend to ride both to extremes, and neither serve us well in the moment -- accept where you've not succeeded, be proud of what you've accomplished, but let their hold over you go, and focus on right now. Finally, we have a real sense of tangibility when we focus on the present. When we concentrate on what has happened or what might happen, we remove ourselves from our current state. We lose touch with our current experiences, because our head is figuratively turned in a different direction.

We want to remember our past, and keep an eye towards the future, but must train ourselves to live right now. Too quickly, these 'current' moments become our 'past', and if we do not experience them to their fullest, expressing gratitude for all that we have, how many more regrets will we spiral down into? Live in the present, and create the future you want to see for yourself -- don't focus on the myriad of outcomes that may come to pass. When you're ready to let go of the baggage from the past and the weight of possible futures, it will amaze you how easily you can fall in love with everything in the here-and-now.

** View the video for this post HERE **