“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”
I can’t wait until the holidays are over…
I can’t wait until it is warm outside
I wish I were thinner
I wish I didn’t have to work every day
I wish I looked like Jennifer Lawrence
I can’t wait to get out of this meeting
I wish I were “normal”
I can’t wait until this class is over
I can’t wait until I see my family
I can’t wait until I retire….
How often do I say these things to myself, essentially wishing for things to be different from how they are in this moment. The truth is, this moment may be the only one I have so how can I make it count?
I was in a staff meeting the other day and someone said something that really hurt my feelings.
At first I drifted off into a litany of thoughts about how bad that person made me feel and how bleak my future was going to be at work now. I then realized that I had the power to change the dialogue in my head to something more compassionate. I am not a victim of the world I see. I don’t need to give anyone permission to rob my peace in this moment. I was able to acknowledge the way I was feeling and give myself the choice about how I would frame that thought and how I would deal with it. Staying present in the moment was empowering and enabled me to address the person in such a way that acknowledged both of our feelings. I utilized the tools in my toolbox that I have learned over the years of therapy, support groups, etc to reframe my anxious thoughts.
As a young girl growing up, I drew much strength from reading about Helen Keller. When it comes to living in the moment, I can’t think of anyone who illustrates an example of accepting one’s state of being more than her. Before she was given the tools to accept her conditions of blindness and deafness, she was wild and unruly. Once Ann Sullivan taught her how to reach out to the world around her, Helen was able to bridge those gaps and “see” the world in a different way. It took a long time for her to learn how to cope and compensate for her disabilities, but she went on to accomplish many great things.
Dealing with mental and emotional illness is no less daunting at times and it would be easy to give up hope. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and seek the tools and answers that will allow you to make peace with what is in the present moment. It will take practice, perseverance, and patience, but it will be worth it.