The present is now

Thoughts to Ponder – March 10, 2015*

 “There is no vacation from reality, 
but when we strive to remain present in every moment, 
a vacation becomes a part of our reality, 
instead of an escape.”
Window 704 – The prison of our mind
https://awindowofwisdom.wordpress.com

This interesting quote not only discusses being present, but it also brings up the concept of reality. Let’s talk about being present first.

Remain present and live in the moment were strange words to me when I first heard them. I couldn’t imagine a life without my brain bouncing forward to worry and backward to hurts or regrets. That was simply the way it functioned. How I ever got any real-time work accomplished is a mystery.  In addition to not working up to my abilities, my vocabulary was filled with buts and ifs. It’s no wonder that what my teachers wrote on my report cards, “Doesn’t work up to potential” was replicated year after year on my performance reviews.

After hearing live in the present more times than I could count, I decided it might be worth a try. At first I struggled and had to constantly remind myself that I was here, today, in this place and not in whatever time and place was filling my thoughts. Sometime later, I moved from struggling to striving. Striving was easier. It was a goal I set myself each day, and still do.

For the most part, I now live in the moment or at least in the day. When I find myself focused on events of the past or possibilities of the future, I remind myself that I am here, today, in this moment and bring my thoughts back to the moment. That allows me to be fully aware and functioning on a higher level. A bonus is that my performance reviews have improved significantly. I still keep a schedule, but now it is a guideline, not an “OMG, how will I get all this done?” list.

The writer’s phrase, “… a vacation becomes a part of our reality, instead of an escape” struck me as strange until I realized that vacations are now a treat, not an escape. I still count down the days to my upcoming adventure, but my perspective is different. I no longer think, “Only 10 more days and I’ll be out of here for a week.” What a difference this has made to my attitude and my work ethic. This isn’t to say I never get tired and look forward to a break. I do, but the thought process makes all the difference.

Just a quick note about reality:  Reality is a concept, a personal construct. Just because I experience an event a certain way doesn’t mean that my experience is the only one. Each of us has a different perception of what happened. This is enough on that topic, for today anyway.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, March 10, 2015

*This has been a long month without writing. Regrettably, I spent most of that time slogging through the worst head cold I’ve had in years. My sinuses were so stuffy that my brain didn’t have room to function. My thoughts centered on only one question: Will I have time to reach for another tissue before the next sneeze comes?  That certainly kept me in the present. Thankfully, the cold has passed and I’m now functioning as I should and glad to be back at the keyboard.

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at: energywriter@cox.net

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Step off the cliff

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,

but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Maria Robinson

 Some of us have lived several decades, others only a few years. Most of us have regrets. Some allow those regrets to shape our lives. Others have allowed “words of wisdom” to forever shape our lives and our futures.

Those thoughts have influenced our decisions, sometimes for good or bad. My dad used to say, “Once you are in debt, you are always in debt.” That was his experience. However, after his retirement he and my mom sold their tiny house and moved into a low-income senior community. They paid all their bills and paid cash for their first new car. They were able to take a few budget vacations and live more comfortably. While their life seemed Spartan to others, it was good for them. Retirement allowed them to make a new beginning.

A few years ago a relative I hadn’t seen for many years made contact. While reconnecting was a joyful experience, I couldn’t help feeling sad for her. During that and subsequent conversations, she stated firmly, “—- has always been this way and will always be this way.” She had experienced unpleasant events and was filled with anger.

She was convinced that since these situations had been her past, they would be her future, not allowing new experiences to come into her life. The last time I saw her, another disaster had befallen her family and she was bowed under the weight of more responsibility. I hope that the fairies will clean her window so she can see a brighter future.

Life was similar for me for years. I saw life as one crisis after another with little happiness between. Even joyful events seemed to have time limits. However, something within me, encouraged me to take a risk and another and another. Some brought me a measure of joy, some brought painful lessons. Yet . . . .

The past 15 years have shown me that lasting change is not events, but thoughts. We can choose to feel trapped or to see a path leading into a sunnier future. Not all my choices have turned out as I wished, but they all led me forward. This last year I’ve faced several minor health crises that initially made me feel afraid. However, as I proceeded through diagnoses and treatments, I saw that each crisis resolved a long standing health issue allowing me to move forward with more energy and enthusiasm.

For example, a few weeks ago I saw a podiatrist for an ingrown toe nail. She provided standard treatment and asked a few questions. She then added a pad to my arch support that allows me to stand straighter. Not only is my toe healing without stress, but also my steps are straighter and more sure. No more wobbling. No more fear of falling.

Last evening during meditation my guides took me on a trip. The details aren’t important. The lesson is. They showed me is that it is safe to step off a cliff, metaphorically speaking. If I’m brave enough to take that next step, adventure and joy will follow. Just as my health issues are resolving themselves day by day, my courage can also grow if I let it. When my courage grows, my joy will grow.

Creator Spirit,

Thank you for these lessons, even those that come with bumps and bruises. Each lesson brings us closer to learning that peace, love and joy is all there is. You are showing us that we can only experience the best life has to offer – if we are brave enough to take that next step, whatever it might be. Open our windows to the world and show us that our past does not have to be our future.

And so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, January 29, 2015

If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at: energywriter@cox.net

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com