December 16, 2013 (Monday)
As 2014 is coming ‘round the corner, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my past, present, and future. This past year has been a significant time of change, growth, and letting go. As the year closes, I keep moving forward in the direction of releasing things that no longer serve me, and welcoming in new beginnings that foster my highest self.
I began deleting old e-mails that were sitting around for ages. Next is my closet. Throughout this entire process, I’ve been “deleting old files” in my mind as well. And through exercise and yoga, I’ve been releasing old “issues through my tissues,” as a spiritual teacher eloquently stated. I love that phrase – “work the issues through the tissues” because it is true – our body is so smart and holds everything from our lives. If it’s not processed, as Seane Corn has also eloquently stated, we “act out in inappropriate ways” - hence, the addictions, impulsiveness, “bad behavior,” etc.
On this past episode of Super Soul Sunday, Jack Kornfield was interviewed by Oprah and he brought up the Buddhist teaching that the past is gone, the future isn’t here yet, and so all we have is the present moment. I have found that living fully in the present moment requires mindfulness and awareness. Otherwise, life becomes merely about going through the motions – wake up, coffee, work, home, TV, drink, sleep.
Admittedly, I was someone who constantly lived in the past, constantly wanting to know the WHY’s, unable to just let go. I wanted to know everything – why did that happen, why did that person act that way, why did he/she say that, why, why, why almost to the point of madness, to questions that mostly didn’t have clear cut answers or that I was unable to get. It came from a need to control everything.
I also future-tripped heavily, which bred more fear about work, relationships, friendships, living situations, money, future plans, etc. Where was the present moment? It was nowhere to be found because I was living heavily in the past and future. Time was ticking and life was moving forward but I wasn’t. I was stuck in my head, in outdated beliefs, habits, relationships, friendships, etc. I needed to catch up to my life and what I truly desired deep in my soul.
Oprah said everyday from the minute we wake up to the minute we fall asleep, life is “whispering” to us and sometimes, when we don’t listen to those “whispers,” they become a “thunderous roar.” She hit the nail on the head. That’s what happened to me January 2013. I was resisting, in denial, angry, unforgiving, stuck, fighting, drinking, unhappy…until the “thunderous roar” hit me. And woke me up.
It’s unbelievable to see how January 2014 is right around the corner. My, how time flies! Now that I’m standing here, I can see the changes in my life clicking into place. I like what I see. By no means am I perfect now or completely “fixed.” I’ve learned from great spiritual teachers that no one needs to be “fixed.” No one is “broken.” We are all whole and complete. It is so true that throughout our lives, we acquire all the BS society and those around us impose on us based on their projections, perceptions, fears, and experiences. I think this is where our intuition and listening to our souls becomes so important. That is where our confidence and strength lies.
One practice that has really helped me live in the present moment is meditation and listening to my body. Because I was always living in my head in the past, I rarely felt or listened to my body. As Iyanla Vanzant said about one of the guests on her show, I was also “dead from the neck down.” I know there are a lot of people in this world who are this way perhaps because of painful experiences in their past, an unwillingness to face uncomfortable situations and emotions.
I’ve been really enjoying listening to my body these days. Our bodies don’t lie! I can feel joy, happiness, sadness, discomfort, constriction, etc. through my heart or my gut. I don’t fight my intuition anymore either. I listen to it very carefully and discern whether it’s just my fear-based ego crying out for attention or genuine instincts.
Another practice that has helped me live in the present moment is gratitude. I focus on the things and people that I am grateful for in the moment – from little things to big things, from best friends to acquaintances. I particularly enjoy tea now. It has replaced alcohol. I connect with people through tea, walks, hiking, traveling together, phone conversations, etc.
Writing on this blog has also helped me live in the present moment because it helps me process what’s on my mind for the day. If nothing is really pressed for attention, I accept that too rather than forcing or pressuring myself to feel like I have to write the great American blog post every single time. ;)
Silence has also helped me live in the present moment. We live in a time where distractions are prevalent. There has been recent uproar over an iPad seat thing for infants. Something about that makes us adults’ cringe. Everything is instant now – our food, entertainment, text, e-mail…It can be challenging to actually sit alone at home and slow down. A term was even created for that – FOMO (fear of missing out). The term makes me giggle. What are we missing out on? One of the most precious gifts we can give ourselves is to be home alone in silence and reflect on what’s most important in our lives in the moment…
Recently, I started lighting incense during meditation because it reminds me of visiting Buddhist monasteries. The scent of incense itself has a calming effect. It’s like bringing the monastery into my room. It also has a cleansing effect. Tea. Meditation. Incense. Inner Peace Guaranteed.
I’ve also started falling asleep listening to the Jazzy Holidays station on Pandora. Isn’t there something magical about Christmas songs that are soothing and warm? Listening to those songs warms my heart like a cozy fireplace. It makes me look forward to going home for the holidays. I’ll get to meet my nephew for the first time. I’ll get to see family and friends I haven’t seen in like…a year!
Rockefeller Center. Snow. Mittens. Winter coat/hat. Winter boots. Tea (of course). Bagels. Doughnut Plant. Shake Shack. Mom’s good ol’ home style Korean cookin’. Even the subway! A good show. Museums. Central Park. Mmm. Warms my heart.
As 2014 approaches, may we all gracefully release our past, fully embrace our present, and remain open to the many blessings in our future!
Living In The Present Moment,