There is a place, the in-between, that can be passed by so quickly. It is the space of anticipation – right before the Next Thing becomes reality. It is the space of fear and not knowing – waiting for test results or a decision that is out of our hands to be made. This in-between place is often not comfortable, in fact I would say it is almost always filled with discomfort and we humans like to avoid discomfort in the present moment at much as possible.
I’ve been learning to live and be present in this in-between place. I have many things that are in the future: my husband coming back from a family visit, my birthday, the release of my new course, Halloween festivities, starting my clinical training, graduation, starting a private brick-and-mortar practice and so on. Many things that are far off, some that are just a few days away, and yet I have little to no control to making them happen sooner and so I sit in this waiting, in this in-between the last thing and this next thing, in this anticipation, and in some cases in this fear.
I get frustrated that I can’t make time move more quickly so I can get to that next thing. This frustration, this desire to leap ahead, blocks my ability to savor these now moments, the moments that are happening within and outside of the anticipation. I miss the quiet moments that pop up when I am too focused on the Next Thing and not paying attention to the now. I miss the joy of noticing what just made my girl giggle or feel proud. I miss connecting to the feelings behind the words my husband is sharing with me. I miss savoring the quiet before the chaos, the replenishing time to simply be and not worry.
So these past few weeks have been filled with excited anticipation while I try to not be totally focused on the coming events of this week, month, season and year. I’ve been putting away the laptop and phone more and snuggling with my girl as much as possible and listening to the feelings behind the words of my husband. I’ve been working on quieting the monkey chatter in my brain about All The Things That Must Be Done and letting there be moments of simply being in the now.
It is a balancing act: trying to find the right amount of space to focus on my future projects and staying in the here and now and not worrying about them. It’s a practice in balance for certain and I would argue that most of us are very unbalanced with our focus on the future, our worry about the yet to be, the long To Do list of things that may or may not be very important and yet are excellent distractions from the now. We, as a society, are obsessed with being and looking busy; it is a status symbol. I was caught up in this for years with my career and early motherhood and ultimately it cost me my health not to mention the time lost to connect with the people I loved in those now-gone present moments.
It is a process and a practice and I’m not sure I will ever get it 100% right. Yet, I practice to obtain this balance by continuing to practice being more and more present, bringing the now back into my life and not focus so incredibly much on the future. I continue to practice to recognize those moments of joy as they happen and to feel deep in my bones the pleasure and bliss of those moments, in those moments.
My mindfulness practice has been the center of helping me to be in the moment, to finding this bliss and pleasure of the now. Mindfulness has helped me to release worry about the future and stay present and focused as I need to be in the particular moment. Mindfulness has allowed me to tune into the anxiety or fear I may be experiencing and to get to it’s root and start to heal some deep-rooted pains. Practicing mindfulness has given me a way to appreciate and fully enjoy my life, as it is, right now.
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