When traveling along the path to change my life I would hear people give instructions like "practice mindfulness" and "being present". Although they're important and true, for someone who desperately wanted to improve life, these words just felt like cliches. Truth be told, I would get annoyed just hearing them. Maybe it was the "Mr. Rogers" tone of voice they were delivered in that would trigger me....I mean come on man! Don't you know I'm trying to claw my way out of a state of panic? How can you be so passe?
But seriously...although I didn't completely grasp it back then.....I get it now....and the NOW is exactly what they were talking about. There is REAL POWER in the NOW and it's not some pie in the sky cliche. Here's why......
The mass majority of the time your mind is dwelling in the past or the future. Your past is all memory. Your future....even when it's predictable...is still unknown. Anything can change. Call it the "yet to be experienced". If you're worried, fearful, anxious...etc... typically it's because you're thinking about the future or remembering the past. RARELY is it because at this exact moment you're in some kind of danger. Think about that for a minute. If you are in a state of worry right NOW.....while you're reading this....then it's because you're thinking about something in the future or in the past....because right NOW you are actually just reading this blog. There is no REAL threat to you at this EXACT NOW moment.
Why is this so important? Because if you can notice the "now" moment and grasp the fact that you are OK and safe right now, then you can move to the next step...which is realizing that whatever you're concerned about doesn't even exist right NOW. It just exists in your mind as a memory or as a possible future event. Once you embrace this realization, you can move yourself to a feeling of relief....even if it's just for this moment....and then this moment.....and this moment....and this moment... Do you follow me? Try to connect the moments to each other for as long as you can. If you can practice this feeling over and over and over....your brain is going to make new neural pathways. When you learn something new, a new neural pathway is established. If you don't think about it again, then it quickly dissipates. That's why repetition when learning is critical to retention. Even better...if you combine thought with a strong feeling then that neural pathway is more deeply engrained. Think of any experience you've had where a strong feeling was attached to it. You remember it well.
Use the power of the NOW moment to give yourself relief, even if it's just for a moment. Tell your brain you can worry and fear later if you want to. (See Arrow Tip #34.) Right NOW you are OK. Then practice this feeling of relief and calm over and over until it becomes a more dominant state of being. Doing this practice will establish new neural pathways that create states of calm rather than continuously reinforcing the pathways of anxiety in the brain.
When you find yourself in a state of worry, fear, or anxiety, stop for a moment and notice that right NOW, in THIS EXACT MOMENT, you are OK.
Feel the feeling of relief, peace, calm in this moment.
Practice accessing this thought and feeling as much as you can so you create a better state of being.
*Remember: YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE.