In an instance, everything can be taken away from us like that. All of our belongings, loved ones, things that we cherish can vanish in blink of an eye. Most of us take for granted what’s in front of us right now - today - in the present. We focus on the past, mourning about things and people we’ve lost and we look too much into the future: who we’ll love, what career we’ll have next and where we will live. Many of us miss out on the best part: the journey. We let our emotions take control and drive us way back into our past or have it tinker with our desires in life and focus on what we don’t have. Desiring things are good, but skipping out on the path there, isn’t. By the time we figure it all out, we'll be too old to do anything about it.
For a long time, I was missing out on the “now”. I focused way too much on what I had lost, and focused way too much on the future. I spent too much time inside my own head mourning the past and not letting go. My mind was fixated with obsessive thought patterns. And, at times, if I’m weak enough, it’ll go back into that same mode. I’m only human. But, with time it got better. Last night while talking to my friend at a new bar and grill that had just opened up, I heard her say, “You know, you don’t talk about the past like you used to, in fact, I haven’t heard you speak of it at all these days.” I looked over at her and almost thought to myself: what is she talking about? Almost as if I have forgotten it. (Of course I haven’t forgotten it), but it was interesting to see myself responding, or better yet, not responding as I would have. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s more about how my time spent praying, meditating and focusing on God has healed me. The pangs of the hurt that I went through are no longer there. I thought they would never leave.
There came a time where I knew I had to do something. I tried everything from quitting drinking, changing my lifestyle habits and just making better choices for myself. All of that was wonderful, but there was something missing still. I needed more. I wasn’t healing properly still. I needed a breakthrough and I wasn’t getting one. I felt stuck; trapped inside my own mind like a prisoner of war. Obsessively thinking and drilling into the past, having it affect my present and future. I was torturing myself. All of these negative thoughts stealing all of my peace and joy. I had to do something and I couldn’t wait. I started to meditate. Everything was distracting me. Cars went by, horns were blown and construction guys were yelling obscenities from out on the street. “Focus”. “Breathe”. I then started seeing a professional who helped me find better techniques to focus.
We forget to breathe. It causes anxiety and lack of oxygen in our brains leaving us to lean toward negative responses. How can we respond properly if we don’t have sufficient oxygen in our brain? I began practicing. Meditation isn’t something you can master in one day. It really takes practice. It looks easy - but I assure you, it’s not. As time went on and I started to pray and meditate on a daily basis, my obsessive thought patterns have simmered down somewhat and I began enjoying life again in the “now”.
Our past doesn’t define us, however it does strengthen our character and endurance for the next time around the mountain full of new challenges. We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for our past. We can leave the past behind, but we can definitely use it to our advantage as a learning tool. Don't ever get old having regrets of not living in the moment. Life passes by more quickly than we can possibly imagine.
We know better "now".
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