I am not feeling it today. It’s one of those days where no matter how much I try, I am feeling down. It feels like there is a weight upon my chest, and I am distressed and feeling uneasy about…everything.
For once, this is not the result of reading news across social media. No, this one comes from going deep inside my head and getting frustrated by not being where I desire to be at this time.
This is not the immediate physical being, this is the mental/emotional/stabilized being. Having financial security, knowing that I am doing better with getting my body into shape, feeling as if the work I do is worthwhile and that I am not spinning my wheels — but going nowhere.
Life is not a singular race. Life is a marathon. But not just a straight-forward 26.2-mile marathon run, it’s also an obstacle course. Much more like one of those tough-mudder challenges, but in marathon form.
You have to pace yourself, and there are going to be times you will see yourself falling behind. The thing is, that doesn’t really matter, because the only competition in this marathon is you.
A two-to-eight-hour marathon, when stretched across a lifetime, is going to require different pacing along the way. Further, the nature of the obstacles are also going to majorly alter your pace.
This can get super-infuriating, or like I am feeling today, depressing. Why? Because living in the here-and-now is not how most of us practice living our lives.
Existing in the here-and-now
If, as Einstein said,
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Then the only reality that is at all real is your now. Right here, right now, this moment in time is your reality. You are. At this moment in time, you exist, and the experiences, including the thoughts and feelings you have in this moment are your reality.
Further, as the practice of mindfulness reveals, the awareness of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling are the only things over which you have true influence and control. Since you are the only one inside your head, you are the only one who knows what’s going on with you.
Ergo, the only real moment is THIS moment, right now, when you ask yourself questions that bring you into the now. These questions include,
· What am I thinking?
· How am I feeling?
· What am I feeling?
· Why am I doing what I am doing?
As well as other, similar questions that can only really be answered right here-and-now.
Lao Tzu summed this up pretty well:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Being mindful of this statement can provide perspective when you are feeling like I am feeling right now.
Getting passed the past
The marathon/obstacle course of your life is comprised of the past, present, and future. It is far too easy, while running in your marathon/obstacle course, to look to the past and get nostalgic and either regretful or otherwise depressed. Re-examining past choices along the way can make you feel bad, especially when you are not where you desire to be.
The thing to be mindful of is that the past is passed. Every single person I know has something in their past they wish they had done differently. Everyone made mistakes, screwed-up, and hurt other people. I previously summed this up in Five Truths about Yourself. You will:
· Screw up
· Be wrong
· Get hurt
· Hurt others
That’s human nature, and a part of the past none of us can deny. All we can do is learn from these truths and move on.
You cannot go back to the past. Part of the problem our fear-based society is currently contending with is how many people want to return to the past — but a past that never actually existed. Nostalgia tends to provide rose-colored glasses that only show what you want to see, but not the whole truth. The past is passed, and you can only go forward with your life.
Learning from the past is key. The lessons from before now can help you make wiser choices along the way.
Working towards the future while living in the now
On the other side of the same coin, if you are working on conscious reality creation, and the future you are developing is too specific, you may get anxious if it doesn’t come together fast enough. You start to question the past, worry about the future, and in the process experience what I am today. That sense of unease, disquiet, and displeasure about not having what you desire or being where you wish to be.
The future is not written. Getting upset over things that have not happened yet just frustrates you. I do it because I have a desire to create some amazing stuff in my life, and not as much patience as I need. So when I am having a day like today, where I am feeling down and the brain weasels are chewing away at my doubts, it’s important to see that this is normal.
This might be the time in the marathon/obstacle course to take a water break. Pause a moment, rehydrate, catch my breath. I am not a sprinter and know the value in such. Sure, there are dozens of people who have passed me on this marathon; but the end goals we are striving for are not the same.
No two people desire exactly the same things in their lives. They may have similarities, but they are not and will not be the same.
I want to make a real living as a writer. Not just making a few dollars to supplement the household income — it’s my desire to make an equal or greater contribution to the household. Why? Because I love sharing my ideas, stories, and more with readers, as well as the freedom of working from home and being my own boss.
Other writers won’t necessarily have that exact same goal.
Finding and setting the pace
I am no marathoner, but I have done plenty of obstacle courses of varying types and sorts. You cannot just rush over every wall, sometimes you have to pace yourself. Further, if you rush over a wall and exhaust yourself doing so, you may miss that you could have more easily or conveniently gone under or through that wall. It would have saved you trouble.
Ok, so today I am not feeling it. The frustration over not being where I desire to be feels bad. But this is a marathon/obstacle course. I need to take this as a sign I am better off taking a water break, stretching, and pacing myself. Further, I need to ignore the others I perceive passing me by because they don’t matter here.
Deep breaths. Calm. More than that, I need to not beat myself up over perceived mistakes, shortcomings, and the like. Hey, MJ, you are only human, and you are not going to be “on” every day. Accept it, take all the steps you know work from your mindfulness practices, and use that to reset your thoughts and feelings.
Maybe I should write about how life is a marathon/obstacle course and put the stuff in my head out to the world. Perhaps other people can relate to this, and use the same pep talk.
Like you, I have to pace myself and choose the best way over, around, or through the obstacles. Practicing mindfulness in the here-and-now is the key to overcome down days and continuing the marathon of conscious reality creation that is life.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter and can set the best pace for your life marathon/obstacle course.