“The future is always beginning now.” ~Mark Strand
Thinking too far ahead or too far behind has never really served me. Maybe you feel the same way or have started to get an inkling that it is not working out for you either.
Until fairly recently, I was spending a good deal of my time gazing back on my life, doubting and scrutinizing the decisions I had made.
When I wasn’t doing this, I kept busy by viewing my future through rose-tinted spectacles, making grand plans, and envisioning a “whole new me,” when in fact a “whole new me” wasn’t something I particularly wanted.
It started to become stressful and quite frankly exhausting, living my life in every time zone but now, so I started to look for a solution.
Where did I do this? The past and the future. I mean, for goodness sake!
I wracked my brains for something I had done or heard before that may be useful, and scanned my future goals to see if I could locate some new idea that I could action, probably in a few months’ time when I had worked up the courage to affect some change.
While casually surfing my favorite websites one day, I stumbled across a video that had been posted by one of my favorite yoginis, exploring the power of conscious awareness.
It has been an absolute revelation.
I have to be honest—the concept of conscious awareness was not something especially new to me.
I bring conscious awareness to my yoga mat, but somewhere between my yoga mat and the door, its powers are weakened as I become susceptible to the indulgences and distractions of the modern world.
It was the idea of taking that moment-to-moment awareness off the mat and applying it to every aspect of our day-to-day living.
Having watched this video a good three or four times in a row, drinking in every word, I felt a great sense of relief. This was the answer, and it had been within me all along, in every single moment of my life.
The power of conscious awareness, if we open our hearts to it and allow it the space, flows gracefully through our every waking moment.
We can continue to exist with the intention of “beginning tomorrow” or, we can choose actively, in each and every second we are given.
For me, this has had a tremendous impact in many different ways, but especially in my relationship to food.
The diet will no longer begin on Monday, and the possibility of just one more cookie has actually become an opportunity for active participation in my life and my future.
The only time in which we truly have the luxury of choice is this one. For example, if you were not enjoying my article, now would be the time to decide to stop reading. (Please don’t—it gets better, I promise.)
This conscious intention, when used in the present moment, is potent and ripe with the possibility of a greater existence, one that is rooted in everyday presence and mindful consideration of the here and now.
Knowing what is going to happen in the future, whether that be tomorrow, next year, or over the course of your five-year plan (yes, I had one of those) is not a gift that any of us really possesses.
At this stage you may be thinking, well, surely plans for the future need to be made, and yes, you are right. But we should try to make them loosely and with a hint of non-attachment.
Where we have the real opportunity to build the future we so desire is in this very moment. What we choose to do, right here and now, is the only sure fire way to achieve our goals and dreams.
Presently, one of my main goals is to lose a bit of weight (weight that I like to refer to as “love chub” because I gained it by enjoying too much of the wrong food with my husband).
I was really struggling with the way I was eating—not much during the day and then way too much in the evening before bed, and it really took its toll.
When hungry, I would reach for whatever was closest, and this usually took the form of fast food rather than food cooked at home, with love.
Sure, I knew better, but in that second I barely knew I knew and gave it absolutely no thought at all—until afterward. That’s when the guilt and eater’s remorse kicked in.
Now, I choose to choose. When I hear that little egotistical voice in the back of my head pipe up and start insisting on french fries, I stop. I listen to that voice and then I take it upon myself to consider my options.
It is in that moment of conscious awareness that the magic really happens.
Remember, this can be adapted to be of use to you in any situation. Mundane daily tasks, like washing the dishes, can be transformed.
Rather than thinking no, I can’t be bothered to do that now, take a moment and consider how nice it will be to come down in the morning to a sparkling kitchen.
It may just change your mind. It may just make your life more pleasant altogether.
With the application of conscious awareness in our lives, we can take those all-important baby steps, day by day, moment to moment, until one day, possibly without even noticing, we think, hey, I’m here, I actually did it.
That is the future we should be trying to build—one built on a solid foundation of conscious decisions that will benefit us and our paths ahead.
Photo by feli*