Updated: 6 days ago
Are you living, haunted by your past? For many of us, this is what can so frequently hold us back in life, often without us even realising it.
When we are in a position in life that we are not happy with, it becomes commonplace to either, escape to the past or dream of the future. Life isn't perfect, so we are all prone to this at times. The trick in mindfulness is, to first become aware of our habit to do this because the most joy in life only exists in the present moment. It is the ultimate gift, and that is why it is called the present.
So why do we escape the present when it is where ultimate joy exists?
The answer to this is relatively easy. It is all about fear! Fear of life never getting better, fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of success, and a whole host of other fears, that then take hold and grip our everyday life. When we become gripped in this way, we don't accept life as it arrives, finally becoming resistant and ultimately stuck.
The interesting part is that often fear has gripped us for many years. In fact, for some of us, all our lives both the present and past, don't look like a whole lot of fun at all. When we are in this space, we wish, hope and dream of a better future. So we wish the working day away if we hate our job. We wish for Friday to hurry up and get here. All the while missing the beauty, wonder and joy to be experienced in the present moment.
Then one day, we wake up and wonder where the years went! Does this sound familiar? It is more common than you might think.
The power to redesign your relationship with your past lays in the beautiful, and yet humble, yogic art of surrender. When we learn to stop resisting the life force that is blowing through us, we learn acceptance and can become calm in any storm.
COVID has been that perfect storm for many. How are you weathering the COVID storm in your life? Are you gripping, or are you surrendering and allowing the winds of change to flow right through you?
Surrender comes from patience, something that in our modern fast-paced world is in short supply. I understand this just like everyone else. I learned through social and cultural conditioning to be extremely impatient in life. I like many grew up wanting everything right now. It was not until I connected deeply with mindfulness that I truly learned how to be patient. It was something that I had to work very hard at in the beginning, to enable me to break the cycle of impatience. I learned that patience is not the art of waiting. Instead, I discovered it is how you handle yourself whilst you wait. A vastly different proposition indeed.
How do you wait? Do you pace? Does your mind race? Can you feel the heat in you like the saying goes, 'with your blood boiling'?
True patience can be only found in discovering the calm amongst the storm blowing around you. In this, you become like the eye in the middle of a cyclone, still and quiet. With some support and guidance, anyone can achieve this in life. Finding your calm amongst the storm is individual and therefore does not look the same in every person or circumstance. Once you understand what yours looks like, then you can foster it to grow and improve over time.
COVID taught me a lot about surrendering to the storm all around me. The storm I endured was significant. My mindfulness practice taught me how to hold my ground, stay calm and present to the gifts of life, even when my world had been turned, what seemed completely upside down. Restrictions saw my new business forced to close. Amongst all that storm, I also endured the loss of my mother and my beautiful dog. I manoeuvred through the storm, calm and present to the joy that remained.
I share my story not so that you feel sorry for me, to the contrary, I simply want you to see what is possible when you learn to be mindful in your life.
Many people in the world must endure suffering, it is simply part of being human. Even though we have no control sometimes of the circumstances we find ourselves in. We do however have control of our reactions to those circumstances completely. Our reactions to challenges and disruption become a choice that we make every day.
What choices do you make in difficult times? Looking back, on occasions, would you have preferred that you had made better choices?
The mindfulness practice of surrendering can help you to make better choices in difficult moments. These are all things that can be learned. However, first, you must unlearn some social and cultural conditioning you have collected on your journey in life, to change your responses in the future.
Today is a gift, no matter what in life you are enduring. During times of hardship and suffering, there are seeds containing the way forward. When you learn to be quiet in the storm, you discover those seeds and move forward effortlessly in flow, accepting life as it arrives, resisting nothing.
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Your future is in your hands. What are you doing with that power?