What I’m about to share with you is something that can have a tremendous effect on your life. It is simple and may in fact be something you already know. this simple thing, however, is very difficult to master.
I am often asked for the ‘secret’ to my happy life. How in the face of challenges do i more often than not remain positive. It is through this practice, of which i am still working on, that my inner peace and positivity have been developed.
Before i share exactly what it is i strive to do, please allow me to put forth a question. Do you know someone, perhaps the person in the mirror who often finds themselves overwhelmed and burned out by their daily lives? Do you also know someone who is always full of life and eager for what is next? In life most of us have experienced a little bit of both. Sadly, most of us live in the former.
So how do we fill our life with passion and energy? The answer is at once both simple and perhaps our greatest challenge. In a nutshell there are only 2 thought patterns worth spending our daily energy on.
First is the present moment and what good we can find in it. This provides its own challenge especially in difficult situations. Staying present can at once allow us to savor good moments and put challenging ones in perspective .
The second thought pattern is what can i do in the near future to create the outcome i desire or at least move closer to it.
The past has its purpose in teaching us and noticing patterns of behavior , but to dwell and live in the past (the ‘if only’ thought pattern) robs us of our present moment and the opportunities of joy it contains. Not to mention there is no transformational value to Dwelling on the past. No matter how much we cry over spilled milk it will not put it back in the glass.
The same holds true with living in the future. True, it is important to know where we want to go and to set goals. Even taking brief trips to the future to visualize what we want to happen is helpful. Then it is time to return to the present and take actions that will lead us in that direction. Living in the future (the ‘i will be happy when’ pattern of thinking) also robs of the joy in the present moment.
When sharing this with a recent coworker she remarked how difficult this can be. The passing of loved ones, trouble at work, an impending divorce all take our attention elsewhere. Momentarily that is ok, but spending a great deal of time there drains our emotional energy and leaves us little if anything to show for it.
Is this easy? Not at all. In fact daily i am still working on it. One thing is for sure, it is worth it. When you find yourself able to stay present and focused you will experience a sense of inner peace and joy that is hard to explain. I welcome your ideas for staying present and limiting worry in the comments below