Ever wondered how much time we spend thinking about things from the past? Regrets maybe or churning over matters that we can’t change. Many of us torture ourselves with thinking that distracts and stops us enjoying the now. My late Mum used a lovely old saying, ‘count your blessings’. How many of us stop long enough in our day or amongst troubled times to actually measure the fortunate bits in our life? Now I don’t want to sound like Pollyanna, but there is something to be gained from appreciating what we have instead of worrying about what we don’t have, or about things we can’t change from the past or now.
Recently, I’ve been trying to remind myself to live and appreciate the now. Sometimes I find myself settling into the worried space of background difficulties. One of the things I’m trying to do is catch myself out when I do this and move my focus back to the present. It might be working on my fitness. Yes, I said fitness…there are times when I go to the gymnasium and do the entire workout under the influence of thinking about issues related to family members or other concerns that I really haven’t got much control over. And, so my new method is to stay focused, in the now, allow myself to enjoy the exercise, the feeling of achievement and empowerment that good exercise provides. I’m not sure how much difference it’s made to my level of fitness but it sure contributes in a positive emotional way for the rest of the day.
Most of you by now will be saying…oh she’s talking about mindfulness, the therapeutic approach to self management. Well, yes I am I suppose but it’s also common sense and it works. For example, yesterday I made a Christmas cake and relished the hours in the kitchen, the chopping and mixing and the delight of making an old familiar recipe. There have been previous times when getting the cake made was pressure laden and felt like a chore.
Then, a little friend came over after school and my husband and I made snow flakes with her, you know the ones…squares of coloured paper, fold, cut and then unfold and behold. How can we not be present and in the moment with our little friend teaching us how to make snowflakes at the kitchen table with the aroma of a cooking Christmas cake wafting around us. Kids are amazing ambassadors for being in the moment, they do it so well, adults are not so good, it seems.
Of course, I’m not suggesting we abandon our responsibilities by flipping through each day and ignoring the larger issues and concerns in our life. I am however, recognising the personal advantages of being able to enjoy aspects of life even if there are other parts of our lives that don’t always feel so good.