Posted on March 01 2018
As you get you get your child ready for the first day of school or help prepare your friend for the first day at a new job, at some point, you’ll probably find yourself channeling your own mother as you hear yourself say, “Don’t worry. You’ll do great.” This is a message worthy of sharing with yourself.
Worrying has no upside. Allowing your thoughts to focus on an uncertain scenario in the future won’t change anything.
"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."~Mark Twain
Change starts in the present moment. Where you are right now is “life.” Learning to really, fully live means you have to stop multi-tasking. You can’t worry about the future or dwell on the past. You’ve already learned what your past has to teach you. Your future is up to you.
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength." ~Corrie Ten Boom
Every second, thousands of “doors” open and close in your mind. Will you stand up? Sit down? Answer one more email? Smile? Frown? Sign up for a class? The decisions you make in the present will be the script of your future.
Yoga and meditation are powerful tools for training your mind and spirit to be in the present. When you’re balancing on one leg or working toward an inversion, it’s almost impossible to allow your mind to wander. Mind, body, and spirit need to come together to enable your physical form to accomplish poses that stretch its possibilities to a new level. Meditation and breath work complement that. As you learn to release your “monkey mind,” you find that each second seems longer, calmer and fully realized. It’s easier to work toward Santosha or contentment (the second of Patanjali’s Niyamas.)
Contentment is more than tranquility or acceptance. It means that you are happy with your situation and with yourself. Although it infers that you trust that the Divine or the Universe will provide for you, it also invites you to take action. In order to be happy, you need to explore the possibilities of the present. When you’re cooking, you can think about the beautiful colors and aromas of the food you’re preparing as you chop. When you eat, you can visualize the nutrients of that food feeding your cells with vitality. And, when you’re ready for a walk or yoga class afterward, you can celebrate the meal of breath that animates your muscles and joints, bringing health, reducing stress and invigorating your physical being.
Santosha also doesn’t mean you don’t have to stop dreaming or just sit back and wait for good things to fall into your lap. If you start to work toward your goals in this present moment, you will feel content. It’s hard not to be happy when you allow yourself to begin trying to achieve something or experience something.
"Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present."~Jim Rohn
If you want to paint, being present when you’re looking at the bold lines of a modern building could be the inspiration you need to express something in a meaningful way. Really listening to colleagues during a meeting can give you that “eureka” moment that enables you to make a fuller contribution to your company.
The more attentive you become to your present, the more opportunities you see. Your senses become heightened and your awareness expands. Walking your dog moves from being a chore to an IMAX experience of color, sound, smells and touch. It becomes easier to discern what it is important, what makes your mind smile and what’s just a time-waster.
Developing your “present” focus takes the same discipline as developing your yoga practice.
"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."~Buddha
Maybe you’ll start with just being in the moment on your mat or turning off your car radio or iPod during your commute. Or, perhaps, you’ll set the table for dinner rather than crashing in front of your computer or TV or focus on what your friend is really saying the next time you meet for coffee. Set aside just five minutes during your day to meditate, whether seated or in movement. When you walk, use an open focus, allowing your eyes to activate your peripheral vision. Let the world come to you rather than tightly focusing on a point straight ahead. When you leave for lunch, concentrate on “feeling” the sounds of the city or the country striking your body—then enjoy their resonance after they cease. At least once a day, think about concentrating on one task in order to see it in a new way.
By taking care of the present, the future will take care of itself. No worries. :)