Life is constantly moving. You may feel as if you are stuck right now, but life is still happening.
No two people experience life in the same way. That’s a matter of many different things, individually and separately. That can include culture, upbringing, environment, ethnicity, morality, socioeconomics, gender, and lots of other factors both great and small.
Then you run into the matter of past, present, and future. All of them are relevant and important. But where one puts their focus has a pretty powerful impact on what they experience.
Which is most important? I think Albert Einstein covered this well:
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Learn from the past, hope for the future, but LIVE for today. Because today is the time that is real and within your grasp.
During this unprecedented time, today for most is all we have. The instability and uncertainty in the middle of a global pandemic are overwhelming for most people.
The past, all the gatherings with friends, going to work, and attending concerts and such can be haunting — especially when faced with a future that is more unknown than ever. Look behind, look ahead, and you will become overwhelmed by it all.
To combat that and to maintain your sanity, the now — the present — is where you should put your attention and intention.
Attention, intention, and mindfulness
Inundated by news of unrest, distress, and all the negative aspects of this situation, it’s easy to have no set focus. You look back to all the things that were normal before COVID-19, then look forward and wonder how, when, and even if it will be that way again.
It’s a slippery slope — and totally human to go down it. That’s also why it’s normal to be feeling anxious, depressed, and deeply uncertain in the middle of this.
There are many different things you can do to work with this. If you need help, find it — lots of options are available out there. Do not hesitate to turn to friends, family, and professionals regarding your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
To help yourself, practice mindfulness and see where your attention and intention get placed.
Mindfulness is awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Said awareness is in the present, here-and-now. When you are aware of what you’re thinking, what and how you’re feeling, and the actions you are taking you gain the ability to alter, change, shift, and ultimately control them.
A long time I have searched for an explanation for HOW you take that control over your thoughts and feelings. Finally, I believe I have it: Attention and intention.
When you watch the news, read the articles on the internet, share memes, and look to the overwhelming negativity happening with all of this, that’s where you are putting your attention. It can be distracting, especially if that’s not what you want to be focused on.
Intention is actively changing your focus. If you find your attention is on the undesirable, intention is your door to change and control over your mindset.
Working in the present empowers you
Many of the things our “leaders” focus on are distractions to disempower us. They want you and me to be sheep, whom they can then herd to do things to further their power and all the false benefits they get from it.
That’s why there is a constant focus on how great the past was, how we need to go back to those non-existent better times. Why? So that we can build a better future.
Of course, that’s not how it works (that’s not how ANY of this works). As Einstein said, you can and should LEARN from the past — but you need to live for TODAY — the present. Trying to use the past — especially one that never truly existed — as a blueprint for the future is illogical.
Lessons of the past inform you about changes you can make for the future. But those changes can only be made with attention on and intention in the present. When you practice mindfulness, you gain more awareness of yourself — specifically your headspace, mindset, psyche, and overall being.
When you are aware of yourself you become open to having control of where you are AND where you hope to go.
Then, as an added bonus, awareness of yourself makes you more aware of the world at large. When your attention isn’t being focused by other people, you gain the power to use intention to see where you really are now. Then you become empowered.
Nobody but you can live your life. That’s just the way it is. Nobody else has any control over you — aside from control you cede to them. When you are present, conscious, and aware of yourself in the here-and-now, your attention is less scattered, more focused — and you become more empowered.
What are you empowered to do today?
The short answer is anything you set your mind to. Where you put your attention and work with intention, mindful and in the now, you can do just about anything you desire to.
But reality creates limitations and circumstances you may or may not be able to overcome. You may exist in an environment where you currently have needs you can’t just neglect and walk away from. The number of factors — real and artificial — that make you unique can reduce your choices and options.
But you have choices and options. EVERYONE does. Almost everyone has dreams, goals, and aspirations for their life. You are empowered to follow your heart and to choose new things to change your life.
Most of all, you are empowered to be you.
It is within the power of EVERYONE to know your mindset, to become aware of your conscious self, and to practice mindfulness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. That, all by itself, is empowering.
Because your attention is often pulled in way more directions than you can easily comprehend, you get distracted and disempowered. That’s where the whole notion of bread a circus comes into play — look at this thing here and don’t look within!
When you start to pay attention to your conscious mindset, you gain empowerment. Just knowing your thoughts and feelings in the present means you have taken control of your attention. That all by itself is empowering.
With your attention on today, you can work with intention to make choices and decisions that empower you. Even the smallest thing you do from a place of empowerment serves as a building block for bigger and better along the way.
You can only change you, not anyone else
Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room. When you are faced with so many entitled, unkind, selfish, surreal people driving the collective consciousness of the world, you become overwhelmed. How can so many people neglect reason? When did science and medicine become so easy to disregard? Why is logic and common sense so uncommon now?
What are you paying attention to?
More and more, my Facebook feed is full of all the awful things Trump his cronies are doing. Taking and taking and not caring how they destroy along the way. Then, when I see them giving support to equally awful people and their ludicrous fears, that just adds to the feeling of hopelessness and overwhelm.
The truth is I can’t do anything about that. Nothing I do in general can or will impact it. The only person I can exert any control over whatsoever is ME. My mindset, my headspace, my psyche.
Today I have only me. That’s not a selfish or self-aggrandizing statement. It’s recognition of my power and empowerment. Why? Because I am a good, generous, kind, caring, empathetic, loving person looking to give as much as possible to better the world while bettering myself.
To help anyone else I must help myself first. This isn’t selfish because it’s all about giving rather than taking. Having more to give for myself allows me to give more to other people.
Am I a good example? I certainly hope so. But how you judge me is outside of my control.
When I put my attention on mindfulness, I open myself to intention for the things I choose and decide upon today. Hopefully, what I am choosing to do helps, empowers, and inspires you.
My desire is to help you see how your attention, intention, and mindfulness empowers YOU.
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, as does our where we place our attention and intentions.