5 Lessons about Being Present: Freedom is Where My Feet Are

Enjoying life

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” ~James Thurber

As I begin each day, I must remind myself, “Erin, stay where your feet are.”

If I keep my attention on the place where my feet reside, I have a better chance of remaining in the here and now. What’s here and now is all there is, so we’re told.

Most of us know this in our heads, but integrating it into our daily living is another thing. It’s a practice, one that must remain a part of our awareness if we hope to be released from suffering.

Sometimes when I am running, my head replays old movies—only they’re the movies of my past or the movies I am creating in my mind about the future.

All too often I notice myself feeling beaten up by my thoughts, because I remember things I’ve said that hurt people or embarrassed me. Sometimes I’m replaying movies of the things an ex-boyfriend or lover said to me, and I either begin to miss him painfully or feel incredibly humiliated for being so stupid to fall for his words.

“If only I had done things differently” becomes the soundtrack to the movies in my head. When I’m driving, I’ve become aware of the way I take the early stages of a relationship and progress them into the future, deciding how things will turn out in one year or ten years from that particular moment.

Or maybe I’m having a conversation with a client who isn’t even there, about how angry I am that they don’t pay me on time or respond to my emails about their invoice. All these thoughts are filled with judgment, and by living in them over and over again, I continue to attract more of them.

This way of thinking takes me away from my present experience.

When I live in the past or future, I miss out on the freedom and peace in the now.

Lately, I am becoming aware much sooner and quicker when this happens.

As soon as I begin to feel bad or caught up in how I want things to turn out, I find my feet and begin again. I must stay present as if my life depends on it, because it does.

When I truly look at my resentment with clear eyes, honesty, and an open heart, I can recognize my part in everything—even if my part is just that I am still holding onto it.

When I look beyond my petty resentments, I become aware of the fear, shame, disappointment, and pain that lie at the root of each grudge. With this kind of awareness I can see how I continue to carry heaviness with me from the past, allowing it to project fear and suffering into my future.

I can see how the past keeps creating my future, and when I am conscious of this, I get to make another choice. I get to forgive the past and embrace the now.

You see, anger, resentment, fear, jealously, envy, worry, doubt, mistrusting—these are all things that can feel very real to us at the time we are experiencing them. However, they are of the mind, and just excuses to hang on to yesterday or to live in tomorrow.

We should allow ourselves to really feel our feelings, and not avoid them, try to change them, or suppress them in any way; but some thoughts we must reject.

When my ego starts convincing me that I am not attractive enough, smart enough, or good enough, I remember these are not reality. These thoughts distract me from being in the here and now.

They take me out of the present and away from reality. When I notice myself spinning out in some dramatic story in my head, I become aware that I am no longer present.

So, I am learning and remembering to simply ask myself, “Erin, where are your feet?”

And then I hear, “Come home.” This voice is bigger than me, and it reminds me to forgive myself, take a deep breath, and to come back to the present, to the truth—to return to love and freedom, and to show up fully for others.

The Vacuum Law of Prosperity states that “two things cannot take up the same space, so we must let something go before the new can enter.”

In other words, there must be a space for incoming gifts before you are available to receive. There was a time when the current changes in my career and financial security, and transitions around my relationships and their healing, would have completely freaked me out. There was a time when I perceived life as happening to me rather than for me.

This old perception still haunts me from time to time, but I catch myself much more quickly these days, and it’s not nearly as intense. Then I just shift.

This consciousness is always available to us in the here and now. If we breathe, get quiet, look around, and simply observe, we will understand that by being right here in the now we don’t have to hurt.

Suffering is not in the fact but in our perception of the fact.

Our perception is usually based on anger, fear, lack, doubt, past, or future, or information given to us by someone other than ourselves.

There was a time in my life when I would have handled my current professional expansion and financial circumstances in a very different manner. I would have blamed everyone and everything for all the things that did not go my way or turn out the way I thought best. I would have been too fearful to fully embrace the slow unraveling of my vision.

These feelings would fuel a lack of faith and trust that would carry over into the next day and the next. My past became my proof that things never worked out in my favor, and that gave me the justification I needed to doubt and mistrust everyone and everything.

So the cycle would continue, over and over, until I broke the pattern and instead began to look around in awareness.

When I made a decision to let go of the past and to not worry about things that haven’t happened yet, I got to experience a paradigm shift in consciousness.

Today I know I am not losing anything. I know that I am, in fact, gaining everything I never knew I always had.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. As I rise up into new levels of consciousness, what is no longer in alignment with it or my highest good must fall away.

This can feel scary so it takes courage. One of my favorite sayings is this: “Courage is not having no fear at all, but it’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”

2. When I feel the anger of the past or the fear of the unknown, I simply find my feet and begin again.

There is great freedom, wonder, and mystery in the present. Look around, ask, seek, and discover that which is waiting to be discovered by you and expressed through you.

3. Whatever is showing up in your current experience is meant to be there or it wouldn’t be.

This helps me put my life into perspective and allows me to move from a victim place to the victor in every situation. Even if you do not believe in fate, it can still be very empowering to consider that everything can have some type of useful meaning.

4. Surrender to knowing nothing.

Sometimes we just need to wash ourselves clean of everything we have ever learned or think we know, and just surrender to the guidance of a power greater than ourselves. Surrender to your higher knowing within.

Knowing nothing makes us teachable. Let go of your perceptions of the facts and just let everything be as it may. Example: There is no suffering in Monday but only in our perception of Monday.

5. Let go of what you are still holding on to that needs to be released.

In order to be available, we must create a vacuum by cleaning out the stuff we no longer need. What negative feelings, resentments, bad habits, or old ways of thinking are you holding on to?

What relationships should have ended months or years ago? What clothes and shoes are cluttering your closet that you haven‘t worn in over a year? What junk is taking up space in your filing cabinets or kitchen drawers? Cleanse, clear, release, and in your emptiness you shall be filled with good.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

About Erin Lanahan

Erin is an Internationally Certified Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, and Motivational Writer and Speaker. Her mission is to inspire as many people as possible to return to their natural state of peace, abundance, health, inspiration & love so they may create the life the deeply desire. Visit her blog  and  You Tube Page.

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