Perspectives on the past and future
Do you see value in living in the present moment?
As purpose-driven life seekers, it’s natural to want to make meaning of our lives by thinking about the past and/or future.
We look to our past to define ourselves right now. We look to our future in anticipation for something better or different.
I do believe that understanding our past helps us make informed decisions.
And I always vouch for holding onto a vision of our ‘end goal’ as it guides our steps and it ensures that our actions in alignment with that.
But I think we can all agree that insisting that the past defines our present, is not very productive, right? Or that life must happen in the way that we plan for it to happen…
Because insisting that you’re forever condemned because of that mistake you made or that your happiness will only happen if you end up with that person, is limiting and dis-empowering.
Rule of thumb: all thoughts of the past and future should only be considered to the extent that it empowers our “now” experience.
Because what we don’t want to do is go around in an endless, delusional loop trying to find joy in the past or future when it can be tapped into right now.
Challenges: should I just book a retreat to Peru?
Sure, if you’re into that sorta thing.
But, many of us don’t have the luxury of spending a few months out in nature to facilitate the quieting down of our mind to learn how to be fully present.
I admit I love our perks, though: access to so much information, reasons to hustle, a constant reminder to do better, strive for more… ALL THAT GOOD STUFF.
Because ya know what? I’m sure it’s easier to quiet down your thoughts when you’re surrounded by nothing but trees and peaceful woosa noises in the background. (Noises that we can only listen to through youtube, and even that doesn’t fully capture the peace).
This simply means that we’re challenged to play the game on a whole ‘nother level. Our struggles are turned up a bit.
And you know what they say about struggles, right?
That’s right. The greater the struggle, the greater the triumph.
And this “struggle” is one that will absolutely pay off because it will allow you to deal with other “struggles” in a more empowering way. I promise.
How to master the ability to live in the moment
Like exercising, being present is a skill set that anyone can learn; focus, determination, and consistency are a must for mastering it.
It’s also a lifestyle. The point is to adopt it as a way of life.
It’s not about being present when it’s all well and good and then suddenly turning it off when the shit hits the fan.
But like exercise, it’s also very hard. It’s hard to stay consistent. It’s hard to shut off the thoughts up there. And as you can imagine, it’s hard to stay present when… your present moment? Yeah, kinda sucks.
On the bright side, you know what happens when you stay consistent right? You see results.
Here’s the reassuring news, no one on this planet has ever shut their thoughts off completely. That’s like if the ocean just stopped moving. Not very likely, right?
The goal isn’t exactly to remove any and all thoughts that pop up, just because. Those are inevitable. The goal is to make peace with those thoughts; to realize their source and their true power over you… which is zip. Nothing. Once you learn to live with that, you remove the biggest, if not only, obstacle in your way of staying present.
Here are the results that I’ve noticed in my life from consciously deciding to be present, surrender to my moments, and making the decision to actually let them serve me instead of resisting it and wishing I was elsewhere.
10 Lessons learned from living life in the moment
1. Swim with the tide… not against it
I don’t know about you, but all I desire is my peace of mind. I want to live with my peace of mind and I want to die with my peace of mind.
Swimming with the tide is about releasing all expectations and resistance to the way things are happening.
Personally, this has taught me about discerning between my wants and needs. I’ve learned that the best thing to want is to want what you need (instead of wanting what you think you want, and then having a ‘be careful what you wish for’ moment.) As you can imagine, holding onto desires of things that you want while not having it is the cause of a lot of unnecessary pain.
This even includes desires of being anywhere else but right here, right now. Swim with the tide by being present and not resisting what is.
2. My past is defined right now
I’m going to take the saying “we are not defined by our past” to the next level and say, we define our past.
We give our past all the meaning that it has. It’s called re-writing our narratives, and guess when that happens? In our present moment. Only.
We all know we’re multidimensional and complex beings. But to make matters even more complex, the narratives that we hold onto from the past become an additional layer to the way we feel and interact with the world around us.
So it goes without saying (but I’m gonna say it anyways), the more we create empowering narratives from our past, the more empowered we will be in our present moment.
3. I give my present moment all the meaning that is has for me
Just the way you define your past, you also define your present moment. Being present gives you the opportunity to choose how you decide to experience it.
Two people can be going through the same exact thing, yet experience it differently.
If someone shared with you that their youtube channel on ‘how to cook with cheese‘ went from 10 subscribers to 50k in a year, how would you react? Will you think, “who am I to think this is possible for me?” or, “if they can do it, I can do it, too!” (or maybe you’ll just baby vomit at the thought of cheese, ha!).
But, whichever your perception is, it’s based on the meaning that you just gave that person and their story. And the meaning that you gave that person and their story determine the way you have experienced it.
That is the power of perception.
4. I create my future
The past and the future are both illusions. The only moment that matters, that’s real, and that exists is right now in this very moment.
The actions that we take right now have the potential to set in stone a million gazillion possibilities.
At this moment, I am writing my 11th article. I could decide at any point to put my laptop down and watch t.v. I could decide to get up and clean. Or cook. Or browse the web.
I could even pack my things and sleep over my moms for the night. Or I could book a flight to Florida to plan a new life for me and my son.
Each decision that I make sets in motion another potential reality where other choices become more probable.
We always have a choice, and it is therefore by our choosing that our future is determined.
5. I always have the choice to be the version of myself that I would prefer to be
We can be whoever we want to be. This can be understood, in the way that I mean it, with a small shift in perspective: we are not here to find ourselves, we are here to create ourselves.
We create ourselves by living in the moment and being conscious about the way we internally chose to experience it.
We create ourselves by choosing to respond to what’s happening to us, instead of reacting to it.
Because it is in a moment by moment basis that we get to choose who we prefer to be.
6. I am always learning what my preferences are
While the last one is more an internal experience, this one is more external.
#5 is more about learning who we prefer to be. This one is about learning what we prefer to experience. And I don’t mean that in terms of our perceptions and attitudes, I mean it in a real and practical sense.
By the Law of Attraction, you are powerful beings, and you emanate your frequency out into the cosmo, which attract the people, places, and experiences that are a vibrational match to that.
Through living your life, you will experience things you prefer to experience and things you do not.
Your preferences become stronger for you when you go through experiences that you prefer.
And when you don’t? Your preferences become clearer.
This clarity allows your compass needle to become more accurate and you gain a clearer sense of what you want to experience in life (again, this is different than how), which makes it easier for setting accurate intentions and having a defined goal that’s more authentic to you because you have learned from experience what it is that you truly need in life.
7. I can shift my current mental programming
The personal growth journey is not for the faint-hearted. Having to put our thoughts under a microscope requires strength and brutal honesty to oneself.
Our current mental programming plays out in the form of,
- Recurring narratives
- Emotional triggers
- Irrational thoughts and patterns
How does this look like for you, moment by moment? Once you become aware of that, then you can use each moment as an opportunity to shift your mental programming to your advantage.
8. I heal in the present moment
“Healing takes time” is a belief that the majority of people have bought into. Me, included.
What if, instead, we chose to believe that it can be instantaneous if we let it? Can it really happen right now?
Here, I’m speaking of the wounds that are rooted in emotional trauma and pain.
We can heal because we always have the choice to not act from these emotional triggers. In that single moment, healing has occurred.
Even though consistency is required for it to become permanent, never underestimate the power of making that deliberate choice in each and every single moment.
9. There’s always a bigger picture
Have you ever taken a moment to slow down, look around, and dissociate yourself from what’s happening in the present moment?
By dissociate, I mean detaching yourself from your body and personal experience, and view yourself as just another person in the room.
Notice how anything you believe is contributing to feelings of insecurity, shame, worthlessness, or any negative feeling state, is literally only happening in your mind?
One time, I was having a conversation with my co-workers. One particular coworker had a very dominant personality. She demanded attention. At that moment, I began to feel insecure. My voice felt small. My input felt irrelevant. I was embarrassed. I looked around and wondered if anyone was noticing or if anyone was thinking the same thing about me.
Of course, no one was.
Then, my attitude completely changed. I realized this was only happening in my mind. I stepped back into my power and re-centered myself. I decided I was not going to act from this limited perspective. I saw things as they were and released the scenario from my mind and all the negative feelings that came from it.
10. Everything is pretty simple, not easy, but simple
We humans love to complicate things.
Our emotions get mixed up in the simplest of logic and it holds us back by overcomplicating something that could be so simple.
In our relationship with people, in the way we chose to respond to people and life events, in the way we chose to spend our time, etc.
Let’s look at a simple example (see what I did there?). Let’s say a high school student, Sindy, needs to ask a question to the instructor but just can’t seem to conjure up the strength to raise her hand to do it. The choice is simple, right?
Now, that may be a simple decision, but for Sindy, it could be very, very hard. She could be extremely afraid of what others think. She could be trying to appear cool for her crush. She could believe that no amount of asking would get her to obtain a better grade. We can go on and on.
When it comes to making decisions in your day to day, it would be productive to think about what’s a logical and simple solution. This takes self-awareness and practice. Once you become aware that you have an emotional block that’s preventing you from making practical and simple decisions, probe into that.
It may not be easy, but it can sure as hell be simple.
And remember, it’s on a moment by moment basis that changes in perspective, behaviors, and actions happen.
So take action, NOW.