I am often asked when the grieving ends. Everyone is different. You can’t put a time frame on the healing process. What I do know is that the longer you avoid your pain, the longer it takes to recover. We must confront our pain and process it in order to heal and move on. Writing about it helps, expressing ourselves helps, meditating helps. All of these things help, but it is up to you to put these things in motion for yourself. No one else can do it for you and until you do, you will remain stuck. You will not thrive. It is your choice.
Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.
By learning from the moments in life, we become more compassionate and can aspire to live in the now. We can relax and open our heart and mind to what is right in front of us in the moment. We see, feel and experience everything more vividly. This is living. Now is the time to experience enlightenment. Not some time in the future. Keep in mind, how we relate to the now creates the future.
“Nothing we can do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.”
~ Ashleigh Brilliant
When we find ourselves in a mess, we don’t have to feel guilty about it and angry. Instead, we should reflect on the fact that how we RESPOND to the situation determines whatever happens next for us. We can become depressed and cynical or we can look at it as an opportunity to make ourselves strong. It is all a choice. Being brave enough to be fully alive and awake every moment of life, including the dark times, is to truly experience life to its fullest. What seems undesirable in life should not put us to sleep or deaden us. Instead, it should wake us up and remind us of the things we should appreciate.
We must lighten up, relax and go easy on ourselves. Many of us find it easy to have compassion for others, but have very little for ourselves. It never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. Self-Compassion is the key to healing. Living life with an unconditional love for ourselves changes everything. We get rid of the “should haves” and the “could haves” and gradually discover ourselves by being honest and staying in the moment. Without any agenda except for being real, we begin to find ourselves again. We assume responsibility for being here in this messy world and realize how precious life is.
The only true path to enlightenment is to drop all inner resistance and be honest. We must be true to ourselves. We must allow ourselves to feel our feelings and not be ashamed or afraid. In my opinion, all of our anxiety in life comes from:
REGRETTING THE PAST
WORRYING ABOUT THE FUTURE
Eckhart Tolle explains that each of us has a voice in our head that reminds us of troubles from our past and also encourages us to worry about our future. Some individuals listen to this voice more than others. Certain events or experiences can cause this voice in our head to run incessantly. The emotional abuse that occurs in a relationship with a Narcissist creates this obsessive-compulsive thought. This has been proven and studied for years now.
Tolle helps us understand that all negativity is caused by too much focus on the past or future. He explains that worry and anxiety are caused by too much future focus and not enough presence. Being stuck in the past, either feeling resentful or guilty, is a result of too much past and not enough presence.
By focusing on the past or future and denying the reality of your present, you remain stuck. Identification with your mind causes thought to be compulsive. Tolle explains that this mental noise prevents you from finding the realm of inner stillness inside you that is necessary to achieve enlightenment.
Since the beginning of time, spiritual teachers of all traditions have pointed to the Now as the key to enlightenment. Meditation is one way you can learn to live in the moment and I highly recommend you explore it. It takes time to learn to stay focused on the present, and you may need to try more than one method before finding one that works for you, but please don’t give up. It is easy to get distracted by time, noise, anxiety and fear. However, learning how to live in the moment is worth every bit of effort. Once you know how to do it, it is truly life-changing.
Eckhart Tolle points out that in life threatening situations, the shift to living in the moment happens naturally. The personality that is time-bound is replaced by an intense conscious presence that feels incredibly alive. Tolle says this is why some people enjoy engaging in dangerous activities, such as skydiving. I know this is why my brother enjoys mountain climbing and running incredible distances.
It makes sense. While you may not be aware of it, dangerous and challenging activities FORCE you to live in the present. In a life or death situation, you must stay 100% focused on the present moment in order to ensure your survival. Slipping away from the present for even a second could prove deadly. My brother caught a mountain-climbing companion at the last second from falling through a crevice that came out of nowhere. If he had not responded with cat-like reflexes, she could have died. This feeling of living in the moment reminds you that you are alive. It is intoxicating.
While it may not be easy at first, we can learn to enjoy the present moment and live life to its fullest by accepting that we are on a journey into the unknown. Instead of being afraid, let this inspire you!
Life should be a journey - an adventure. Travel is a wonderful way to get in touch with yourself. About five years ago, I spent 19 days traveling the Greek Islands. It was amazing to me how getting away from the noise of the city and my every day routine while journaling helped me find myself. It was a truly transformative experience I will never forget.
Live each day as if it were your last and cherish every moment of it. Learn to live with uncertainty for I believe it is the first step on the spiritual path of awakening.
It is easy to forget the many blessings we have, which is why I encourage you to create a Gratitude List in your Recovery Journal. In this journal, you should write down everything you are grateful for in your life. Whenever you think of a new gratitude, add it to your journal. By writing this down, you will begin to see how truly blessed you are and appreciate the abundance in your life.
The present truly is a gift to be cherished. An attitude of gratitude can change your life. If you stop in the moment and ask yourself if you’re ok, you realize you are not starving, you are not oppressed and you are not a prisoner of war somewhere. You are in a safe place and have much to be grateful for in life.
One of the best ways to learn to live in the moment is to stop allowing yourself to regret the past or worry about the future. This little saying helps me re-focus when I find myself struggling to stay in the moment:
Yesterday is History
Tomorrow, a Mystery
Today is a Gift
That’s why it’s called
It is a daily conscious effort to stay in the moment, especially in today's busy world. Appreciating the simple things in life is a good lesson for those who need to learn to live in the moment. By doing this, we begin to engage our senses to the point where everything we experience becomes more real and vivid. When we sense everything around us, we start to feel life.
This is when we begin to ENGAGE in life rather than merely OBSERVE it.
This is living!
Become fascinated with nature. The beauty of nature is one way God shows us he exists. Beauty provides us with a source of inspiration that is available everywhere to everyone. Embrace the gift of the present moment and realize how blessed you are. The present moment is all we really have.
The present should be the primary focus of your life. You can always cope with the present moment. However, you cannot cope with something that hasn’t happened yet and you cannot change the past. You can control how you respond to the present moment, and how you respond to the present moment determines your future. We have a choice to be happy and embrace the moment or be miserable and remain stuck. I choose to be happy and hope you will join me in my journey.