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.
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.