It’s incredible to me how mindfulness has changed my life.
When we understand on a very real level that everything we focus on we are bringing into our lives, we begin to see that there are fewer and fewer things that really deserve that kind of power.
This is incredibly liberating and powerfully creative.
As a result of the laser-like focus of mindfulness, I’ve learned the following life-altering things:
1. What is not in front of me now doesn’t really matter. So, so much of my old life was spent thinking about what might happen or what had already happened. I analyzed situations and motives until I couldn’t even remember what had really happened. I spent hours predicting what might happen, what someone might say, what the situation might be like and then developed resentments when reality was completely different. Becoming present has made it incredibly clear to me that this moment is the one I can act in. This moment is the one I can step into fully, make eye contact with others, and feel myself in my skin. No amount of recapping history or imagining an upcoming event can substitute for what I have now.
2. Asking myself, “what do I love now?” over and over again has made it powerfully clear to me what I want in life. I used to get so frustrated, wondering if I was doing the right thing or wondering if I should be in a different field. I would get derailed easily when someone else would be passionate about what they were doing, wondering if I should do that, too. It was all lack of presence. Now that I have the experience of asking myself, over and over, what I really want, I am not at all swayed by what anyone else is doing. I know that at any given moment, I know what I want in life, because I’ve spent time honestly asking myself and listening to the answer.
It’s also a joy now to hear about new things that others are doing, and to be excited for them. I used to be frustrated when I heard about a new technology or new fun thing that someone was learning – I felt like I “should” be learning it too, and it felt heavy and oppressive. Now I love hearing about their passions and can be genuinely happy for their interests and accomplishments.
3. Knowing what I want has made it easier to eliminate what I don’t want. There are so many amazing things in the world! It can be hard to choose from at first, when there are mountains to climb and people to meet and businesses to start and ideas to bring to life. There are an infinite number of amazing things to do and learn and love! I used to beat myself up for all the amazing things I wasn’t doing, and now I know that this isn’t possible, practical, or desirable.
In asking myself, over and over, in so many beautifully present moments, “What do I love now? What do I want to do now?” I have not answered with, “Write a novel,” “climb Kilimanjaro,” “go skydiving,” or “cure cancer.” Many other beautiful, perfect souls have these things on their lists. Maybe someday they’ll show up on mine – but not today! Today, my loves are: walking, eating amazing food (I’m pregnant, so food is powerfully important to me now), writing anything that helps someone else suffer less, collaborating with amazing friends, and having an online-based business. I’m fantastically in love with my little girl and I love doing things to prepare for her arrival. I love these things.
Should I feel guilty that I’m not: training for a marathon, writing the next great novel, learning Chinese and travelling constantly? Absolutely not! It’s so easy to lovingly eliminate what I don’t want. Not in a negative, harsh way, but in a beautiful acknowledgement of what I’m focused on and what I don’t need to worry about right now.
4. Outside messages have no power anymore. You know those messages that come from TV, family, friends, the internet, our coworkers…every message that used to make me feel like I wasn’t enough: “You’re not doing X, you’re behind the times,” or “You’re not size 0, you need to work harder,” “you’re not as fast at X task as Susan, you might want to work on that.”
Now, it’s obvious to me that being a size 0 is not on my priority list, and that’s perfect. Learning Susan’s task isn’t one of my favorite things, I’m so grateful that Susan is so good at it. There are so many great things that others are doing, and that’s wonderful! I have that much more time for what I do want.
The more present I become and clearer I get with what I love, the more absurd those messages sound. It’s hilarious how often we’re led to believe we should do something just because ten other people believe it’s a desirable goal.
5. The things I love multiply and come into my life at lightening speed. This is where that “magic” happens. As a result of not thinking about what I don’t want, not getting caught up in the messages of “should” and “shouldn’t,” not getting distracted by what isn’t happening now, I have incredible time and energy to do exactly what I love. I have the time to spend 30, 60, 90 minutes on writing my ebook that I previously would’ve spent chasing after something I “should” be doing. As a result? I’m about ready to release another ebook! I have more time to take walks, work on my business, and prepare for the new baby. Things happen so quickly in my life now that people tell me they can hardly keep up!
Mindfulness, presence, falling in love with this moment has been so transforming for me. I hope you’re encouraged to let go of the past and spend a little time here, too. It will change your life.