With everything happening in the world right now, I thought it would be helpful to remember what the real crisis is. Disturbing, sometimes even unimaginable things will happen in our lives. However, those are not the emergencies.
The real crisis is when our internal state has wandered from peace, calm and serenity into worry, fear, sadness, numbness, full blown panic or any number of uncomfortable emotional states.
When you’re feeling a bit wobbly, It’s likely that your brain is hanging out either in the past or in the future, but definitely not in the present.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that there’s a whole lot of depression (past) and anxiety (future) permeating our planet right about now, which means there’s not a whole lot of calm, centered (present) people among us.
For illustration purposes, I’m going to go hyperbolic, but rest assured it’s human nature to spend very little (if any) time during our day in the present, even when major crisis isn’t abounding.
First, an example of living in the future: As many of you know, my ten-year-old Jaden was diagnosed almost three years ago with a degenerative neuromuscular disorder. You might imagine where my brain went.
How bad is it going to get? Will he be able to walk? Will his hands curl up preventing him from his love of drawing? I spent the first four weeks after receiving Jaden’s diagnosis in bed with a box of tissues, my phone to argue with insurance companies, and my Netflix remote.
I cried. A lot.
I spent a month living in my anxiety about the future.
At some point though, I remembered an old pal of mine; a trusty mantra. It went like this:
“In this moment, all is well.”
I hugged that guy. I squeezed him so close to me, there was no room for any thought to get between us. I still do because I’ve yet to experience a situation in which this statement is not true.
The present moment is the only place where we experience our inner knowing, where we’re grounded in our strength. The present is the only moment we have control over. There’s no room in the present to worry about the future or ruminate about the past.
That’s how I got (and quite frankly continue) to get through the moments my brain wants to drag me to Orlando and hop on The Tower of Terror.
Now an example of living in the past: When my oldest, Wyatt was a toddler, I went through a divorce. Unbeknownst to me (though I absolutely should have known), during that time, my ex was using Heroin.
That’s right, I didn’t say weed. I didn’t say he was a drinker. He was a heroin addict.
Any parents out there? Do you feel me? This means I left my precious three-year-old, my perfect little man-cub, the greatest gift I had received to that point, to be supervised at his father’s apartment, basically in a crack complex. Can you spell HORRIFIED?
You may ask, does this make me want to stab myself with sharp objects? Rip my hair out one clump at a time? Yes, it does. Even now.
But that sounds like an awful way to live, so why would I choose to do that?
It’s the past. If someone cut you off in traffic thirty seconds ago, it’s the past. As hard as it is to swallow, we do have control over what we choose to think about. Is it easy? No.
There are troths of people who are infinitely better at this than me. I have mentors who are able to get so Zen that they cured themselves from Cancer, just by getting their brain and body into balance. Do I envy them? Of course.
But people who are able to do this so well, are not able to do it because they are any more special, gifted, loved, or blessed than me. Their minds don’t run less than mine does. They don’t have less burdens to carry than I do. I’ve yet to meet anyone for whom this is “just the way they are.”
No. They’ve simply practiced longer. Or something clicked sooner. Or maybe they were born with an ability to calm themselves a little quicker. I don’t know. Who cares? I have no idea and it’s not my business. To ruminate on that, once again would only put my brain and body in a state of upset. My job is to keep working on my own capacity to stay in the present moment; to react less, to stay out of emergency mode.
Does this mean we never react to things? Of course not, we’re human. Like Dr. Joe Dispenza often says, the question isn’t whether or not we react, it’s how long are we going to react for? How long will we choose to stay out of balance?
The second we traipse out to into what happened in the past or what may happen in the future, we’ve lost our center and folks, what the world needs today is for all of us to be more centered. Please trust me when I say the greatest gift we give ourselves and those around us (including the whole planet), is when we center ourselves, when we’re at peace, when we stay in our own lane, in the present moment.