Today, I felt to pull a card for all of us. Micah has a message today about TIME... and that feels very "timely" indeed.
When you think about what time really is, you realize it is a series of cycles to measure time. Cycles of the sun, moon...cycles of age...summer, winter, childhood, adulthood...
We are constantly shifting cycles, in constant transition. But, in order for a successful shift to occur, we must go through the entire cycle.
When we get stuck in the past or future, we can find ourselves wishing and wasting away our time - we lose the present moment! Life can change in a single moment.
How many of us wish we had been more "present" in our past and feel like we missed moments or have foggy memories? I know for myself, when my Papa passed away in 2008, all I could think about was how I wish I had visited him more. But the more I focused on that (something I could not change) what was I doing? Wasting more moments.
Am I telling you not to dream about the future? Not to grieve the past? Of course not. I'm advising not to get STUCK. When you stay in one thought for too long, it can turn into an obsession, and then you cannot move forward and shift into the next cycle.
Around 2012, I was speaking to an therapist/author who was teaching me about "Living in the Now." I was clueless and felt a bit "slow" with understanding what she meant. We would be talking and she'd stay, you left the now! You're back in the past. I'd catch myself and thought... my goodness, am I not allowed to think about the past or future? I was in hard-core training and realized at the end I had to rewire my brain.
I was going through a rough time and even talking about what happened earlier that day was not living in the now, but dwelling on the past. You see, I was STUCK. I was always thinking about what HAD happened. I didn't stay in the present moment or even look to the future. I had to break myself down like a wild mustang.
Finally, I got it! Once I got it, I was able to stay present-minded and could then look back and forward, but not get "stuck" there - dwelling on it. It really does waste your "now" moments. You can get so blind-sided by it that years later you find yourself not even remembering moments well because you weren't all "there" to experience them. Your mind was drifting elsewhere.
Being stuck also can increase negative emotions. If you're stuck in a place of anger, a part of you remains angry. Why does that matter? Because it affects your health.
When you're angry, the adrenal glands flood the body with stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. The brain shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles in preparation for physical exertion. Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration increase, the body temperature rises and the skin perspires.
Anger can cause short and long-term health issues, including: headache, digestion problems, insomnia, increased anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, skin problems (such as eczema), heart attack, and stroke.
This is something we are doing to ourselves by remaining stuck in these past situations and not gaining healing, closure, finding peace, and allowing ourselves to live in the present moment - the NOW. What happened before is not your NOW.
"But, my thoughts don't make me feel angry, Tristan. I just feel sad..."
Every emotion does something to the body whether for positive or negative. You can guess which does what by knowing positive emotions (happiness, joy, excitement) - compared to negative emotions (anger, sadness, stress, guilt).
When you're sad, your heart literally hurts. You can actually die from a broken heart - it's not just an old saying. If you stay stuck in sadness for too long, you are at a higher-than-average risk for developing a disorder called cardiomyopathy, or "broken heart syndrome." This is well played out in the older film Somewhere in Time. And, yes, it breaks my heart watching it!
On the upside for some, crying is part of healing and can actually help you feel better (but, this doesn't happen for everyone). A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality in 2011 found that people with mood disorders (like anxiety or depression) are less likely to experience the positive benefits of crying.
I want you to fully realize that grieving is IMPORTANT. I am not telling you not to grieve. I'm not telling you not to get angry. What I am saying is not to get STUCK.
We know when we get stuck and can't move past something. It is when our thoughts can't move forward. When it's been over a year and you still think about your ex every day. When it's been 5 years, and you're still broken daily from the loss of your Father. It's when your thoughts keep you from living your best life. When you don't move forward and the world moves forward without you.
Now, back to TIME. The present moment is the only thing where there is no time. It is the point between the past and the future. It is always there and everything that happens, happens in the present moment.
Being present-minded is truly the key to staying healthy and happy. It helps you fight anxiety, cut down on your worrying and rumination, and keeps you grounded and connected to yourself and everything around you.
This way of life is not just some "trend" or "fad", it's backed by science. Being present and exerting our ability to be MINDFUL not only makes us happier, it can also help us deal with pain more effectively, reduce our stress and decrease its impact on our on health. It can also improve our ability to cope with negative emotions like fear and anger.
How to be Present and Live in the Moment
To get to this healthy balance, try to keep these guidelines in mind:
Of course, following these guidelines is easier said than done, but it will get easier with practice!
How to Live in the Moment but Plan for the Future
It might seem complicated to figure out this delicate balance, but it’s not as complex as it seems.
When we engage in mindfulness, we are not ignoring or denying thoughts of the past or future, we are simply choosing not to dwell on them. It’s okay to acknowledge and label our past and future-focused thoughts, categorize them, and be aware of their importance.
When we are aware and present, we don’t need to worry about getting caught up in thoughts of our past or anxiety about our future—we can revisit our past and anticipate what is to come without losing ourselves.
This is how manifestation works:
When I was around 21 years old (the year 2000), I made a website. It had a guestbook where strangers could leave a comment and "sign" it. One day, a young woman left a message that said, "I have been on this site for hours now and I feel like I already know you." The signature was: Vampriss98. Years later I can find this funny. :)
I emailed this person back and found out that she lived in Tucson, AZ - a place that I lived for 1 year in High School and loved it. We talked for a few months online, then fell out of touch.
When I turned 22, I worked for Delta Air Lines and could fly anywhere for free - I miss those days!!! I decided to fly to Tucson to see some old friends from my Junior year of High School. I had been feeling depressed in Atlanta, and the trip to Tucson brought me sense of joy.
When I went back home to Georgia, I packed my belongings, put in my notice at work, and was ready to hit the road! My grandmother kept me company on my road trip to Tucson to start my new life.
Fast-forward 1 month: I was reunited with dear friends and scored a nice job at AOL/Time Warner (remember AOL?). One of the friends I hung out with again was my ex-girlfriend from High School. We realized that she was friends with "Vampriss98" and she invited her to a party at her house.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting out on the patio, playing Cranium - a board game. I had seen photos of this "vampriss" so I was familiar with her.
Later into the night, I looked up and saw her at the patio doors. Her smile lit up the world, it felt. My jaw loosened and my heart beat quickened. There was something about her, beyond just hormones.
We talked for hours that night. It was very natural and just easy for us to go from one topic to the next. I couldn't tell if she had felt anything or not, but knew she was in a relationship... and so was I.
We had a thick barrier between us to be anything but friends, as we are both loyal & faithful people.
Vampriss98 has a name, and it is Amy.
Amy and I stayed friends, though at times, it did feel like an emotional relationship. The young woman I was dating ended up cheating on me, and I took her back eventually. It wasn't the best idea knowing now what would happen, but it had to happen.
I moved back to Atlanta and my girlfriend came with me. I was losing touch with Amy. After some time, my relationship ended. More time passed on, then Amy called me one day. The person she was with had been cheating on her.
It was a strange thing for us to have such a connection, but to remain faithful, and the ones we were faithful to were unfaithful with us. But, we did the right thing!
My hopes sparked thinking this could be the time for Amy and I to be together. I flew out to Tucson and met Amy at a nightclub we used to attend weekly for 80s night. We reconnected easily and the night felt incredible, until the moment I leaned in to kiss her.
She backed away and told me that she had started seeing someone just a couple of weeks prior. In my head, I thought NOOOOOOO this can't be! This is our chance! Our moment!
I walked her to her car, then flew back to Atlanta. We talked more on the phone until eventually Amy told me our relationship, though not physical, felt like emotional cheating.
We didn't speak for 8 years.
During that time, I would tell this story, and always say I was "Chasing Amy" - like the title of that 90s film. In my mind I had seen us together, I felt it, I believed it, but now we couldn't be in each other's lives.
While I moved on, even getting married, I would still think about Amy - even dream about her. I couldn't shake the memory of her and the impact of her presence in my life.
When 8 years approached, I saw Amy on Facebook and realized she had finally graduated and became a doctor. Even when we were in our early 20s, she was in school full-time working towards this, while also working at the hospital at the same time.
I was very proud of her and wrote a simple congratulations message... then, was hesitant to press send, but found the courage to do so.
I didn't hear back from her for several months, until I received a message with two words: Thank you.
It was a moment where I was happy to hear from her, yet it felt like a kick in the gut to only get such a simple reply. I ran with it. I messaged her back catching her up on my life, then with all bravery, I sent her a friend request.
By this time, I was getting a divorce. I had been separated already for almost a year. I was finally seeing the light at the end of that very, very dark tunnel in my life.
Months later, I noticed that Amy had accepted my friend request. Then one night, she called me. She already had a drink or two, which I'm sure helped her nerves to speak to me again after so long.
It was like time never had distance between us.
We picked up right where we left off and talked for hours. She was still with the same person she had been with, but they were having problems. I was much older and wiser, and knew I wanted to have Amy as a friend, so I sincerely gave her advice to help her relationship. I had seen plenty of counselors with my ex wife. From deep inside, I hoped Amy's relationship could be restored if it was best for her.
Then, the unexpected happened. Her partner left. Amy was now the one going through hell. The snowball effect hit her hard with one bad thing happening after another. My heart broke for her. I was there as her friend on the phone, listening to her, and offering a virtual shoulder to cry on. We talked at least once a day, growing closer.
The summer arrived and by the end of August, I flew to Portland. I was very nervous to see Amy again. Our conversation has hinted at flirtation and she even admitted to her feelings for me in the past, and how she also couldn't stop thinking about me over those 8 years. We had remained connected in spirit.
My heart raced as I knocked on her front door. I heard her from inside yell out, "What?!" from her excitement. She opened the door, and my eyes saw the face of the woman of my dreams - literally. I walked inside and we embraced, it was warm and comforting. Then, Amy pulled away from the embrace and kissed me.
I was no longer chasing Amy... I was now with Amy. 13 years after we first spoke.
3 months later after my 1st trip to Portland, Amy flew out to Atlanta and we took a long road trip to my new home.
It's now been almost 6 years, and I reside in the Pacific Northwest with Amy - my fiance', two chihuahuas (Glitter & Daisy), and step-cat (Jackson). My dream became a reality.
It wasn't in "my" time, but it was the "right" time.
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting." - Buddha
You have trouble sitting still when talking to someone
Your mind is constantly racing
Too busy to find time to sit down and do nothing
You have ADD / ADHD
You don't feel capable of meditating
You're constantly under stress
You have trouble getting to sleep
Do any of these sound like you? If so, meditation may appear to be a practice that feels like something you'll never be able to accomplish. I'm here to tell you: You CAN Meditate and this is a gift you deserve.
Finding the gift of meditation is something that can help change your life and literally rewire your brain.
I don't believe you have to follow rigid rules of meditation. In fact, I think that's what holds so many people back from even attempting it. Just know, that meditation is about "showing up" and creating a practice, something that works for you. Something that you can continually improve on at your own pace.
Rome wasn't built in a day (as they say), and quieting yourself takes work, and PRACTICE.
Here are several tips to help you start (or enhance) your meditation journey:
1. Count - Close your eyes. Sit up straight (where you are is fine). Smile. Take a deep breath in through your nose and silently count to ONE. Slowly let that breath out through your nose and silently say TWO. Repeat this until you get to TEN.
Start over each time your mind wanders and you lose count.
2. Take a walk - Meditation doesn't have to be motionless. Walking meditation is a form of meditation in action. You simply focus on walking. Go outside and take a walk and just have the actual walk be your focus. Don't pick up your phone and text people or use this time to call someone. No! Simply walk and take in the beauty around you (wherever you are, there is always beauty to be found).
Here is a guided meditation you can try:
3. Animal Time - Simply spending a few minutes petting an animal can be a very relaxing and calming activity, especially when it's done mindfully (when you're focusing on the activity rather than while you're doing something else). There is a two-pronged effect whereby your touch calms the animal and at the same time, releases feel-good endorphins in you, reducing your heart rate.
Don't have a cat, dog, or horse to pet? Even spending a few minutes watching fish swim will help you feel less anxious and less stress. Research has shown that your body actually goes through physical changes that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased.
4. Watch or Listen - Personally, I use guided meditations 50% of the time. It helps to focus my mind and I think of them as "personal trainers" for meditation. It's very important to find someone where their voice resonates with you. You can use the free meditations I provide on this website - click here for free guided meditations. I also have two people I listen to the most and both are on Spotify.
Since I practice the Law of Attraction, both of these meditations focus on that principal. Glenn Harrold - Law of Attraction is one that I thoroughly enjoy. He is British and his soothing voice allows me to go to the depth of within to a very calming place. Another is Rapid Hypnosis Success - Law of Attraction & Abundance Hypnosis. This one has over 16 hours of guided meditations. Her voice is soothing and I love the nature sounds in the background. The last one on Spotify I follow is a playlist simply called Guided Meditation (almost 20 hours worth).
Another thing I do is listen to music, but not just any music. Typically, when I meditate I want soothing sounds or voices only, not lyrics to a song being sung. I have a Native Flutes playlist and Tai Chi playlist that is also flute music.
Spotify and YouTube are my go-to's to find music that is calming. On YouTube I listen to music that will even focus on a certain chakra. I am mindful, focus on my breathing and the music/guided voice I am hearing. I also wear a sleep mask to tune out the light, headphones to cancel exterior noise (and hear binaural beats), and can even envision myself someone else, including another galaxy.
5. 60 seconds. 90 seconds. 180 seconds - Don't think that you have to sit and meditate for at least 20 minutes for it to count. To start out, sit and meditate 60 seconds at a time. Once the mind calms for 60 seconds, move to 90 seconds. Then to 180 seconds, and so on.
6. Say "Thank You" - Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that we can experience. Gratitude changed my life and it's something I practice every single day. It's a way to step outside of yourself for a bit and a great way to slow down.
Simply sit down and say "Thank you." It doesn't matter if you say it out loud or silently. Just say it. Then say it again. And again. Really feel and mean those words.
Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen." - Bodhidharma
Tristan Star is a certified Usui Ryoho & Karuna Ki Reiki Master, Angel Oracle Card Reader, and Law of Attraction Life Coach. Since 2013, he has practiced intention and manifestation methods with significant results. Tristan is also the designer behind Arcadia Jewelry Art.