Hello and Welcome to the Present! I know you are here, because you are reading this article! Allow yourself to be fully in this moment and explore what is here for you.
We have a strong tendency to focus on what ‘was’ or what ‘will be’ rather than what ‘is’. This habit can be a stumbling block when we allow regrets of the past or fear of the future to take over our present moments.
How do we know if we are giving more attention to the past or the future than the present? There are some obvious word-clues that we give ourselves to discover if we are over-focused on past or future. If you notice that you are frequently using any of the following phrases, you are probably dealing with some past challenges or future fears that are limiting you from being fully present to this life-moment.
Phrases indicating we may be Past Over-Focused:
If I only…
I should have…
I wish I would have…
I could have…
I am not good enough…smart enough…
Phrases indicating we may be Future Over-Focused:
I’m worried about…
I know I can’t…
I’m trying to…
I won’t be able to…
In addition to our thoughts/words, our bodies and emotions send up ‘help needed’ flags when we are spending a lot of time focused on the past or future. These physical and emotional clues are a natural part of life, it is when they are extreme or ever-present that we know an adjustment is needed.
Tension head ache - ‘trying to figure this out’
Restricted throat - ‘holding back words that want to be expressed’
Heart ache - ‘buried sadness’
Confusion, stress, anxiety, worry, sadness, anger…
When we are not present in the moment, we are not truly living, rather we are engaged with our past perception of ‘what was’ or our future hope of ‘what may be’.
That which we call the past, present, and future are reflections of life’s amazing spectrum. All are important for a full life experience. It is the flow between these aspects that keeps us in a healthy relationship with the whole of who we are.
The wonderful gift of Awareness, is that it happens ‘in the present moment’ and that is the space where all creation occurs. Therefore, in the Present is where we can make peace with the past and be in a balanced place to step into the next moment, which is the future.
Awareness can rise like the morning sun or whack us up the side of the head like a two-by-four. When I was in my early 30’s I had one of those rude awakenings. My beloved Mother passed and almost simultaneously, I became painfully aware that I was emotionally, spiritually and often physically alone in my marriage. In addition to my deep sadness, I also experienced the rise of intense anger that I did not know had been stuck in the muddy waters of my emotion. The dam I had built around the belief, “It’s not OK to get angry,” burst wide open and in the present moment I was flooded with years of repressed anger.
Gifts come in a variety of packages. The gift of this experience for me was the opportunity to be conscious ‘in the moment’ of an old belief that no longer served me. In that moment, I knew it was not only ‘OK’ it was ‘absolutely necessary’ to my well-being that I freely express the emotions that had been imprisoned for so many years.
With professional guidance and a safe, caring environment I discovered it was natural for me to be sad for my Mother’s loss and also to be angry that she was no longer here. It was natural for me to experience sadness and anger for the loss of what I thought was a marriage partnership.
In allowing the truth of these emotions to flow I gained freedom of the past and clarity for the future. In the space of recognizing and accepting ‘what is’ I could respond to the present rather than reacting to the past. When we are consciously present in the moment we are able to honor our past and make positive and life-giving choices for our future. If you notice a desire for a more harmonious Present, there is support for you at Resolve. Contact us Today!
ILENE KIMSEY, PhD
Resolve – Counseling and Wellness
Prairie Village, KS