Be Present

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In an attempt to clear up some space on my hard drive, I’ve been sifting through old files. I’ve found a lot of pictures and writing that I forgot about from the past couple years. Some fun stuff, and some that I rather I hadn’t have found, given the times weren’t as rosy as they might have appeared to onlookers. Nonetheless, I like to reflect on what I’ve learned and experienced through things I’ve captured and written.

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Lately, I’ve been focusing on living by the 4 agreements. A principle laid out in a book I’ve not read, yet feel it is very useful for living a good life. The 4 agreements being…

Be impeccable with your word. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t take anything personally. Always do your best. 

Along with the practice of those things, being mindful and present as much as possible has been a game changer for me. In my digital digging tonight I came across a song I wrote last year that talks about the negative impact living according to your past (which you cannot change) or future (which you cannot predict) has on your present health and happiness.

“Can’t breathe—can’t breathe

The wind is too strong on these seas

Can’t sleep—can’t sleep

For flashback or forward

Both betray my peace”

Whether you are too focused on your past mistakes (or the mistakes of others in your past) or your eyes can only envision an ideal, future life situation that you haven’t attained… you will be robbed of your peace. You will be robbed of the joy of connecting both in relationships and to yourself. I was. For so long I was.

The idea of self and being present is so interesting to me. For one, I accept that I am unable to see myself as others see me. Even in the mirror, a reflection can easily be changed with lighting and angles and state of mind. I can look myself in the eye, and still only see a perspective of myself.

If I look in the mirror and see my failures, that affects my perspective as well. Or, I could look in the mirror and think of my potential for the future that I have to look forward too. Both scenarios don’t allow me to know my present self, or engage in my present world with peace and mindfulness.

“It’s your imperfections that make you perfect.” 

My boyfriend said this to me a couple weeks ago. Maybe it’s a little corny. Maybe we were talking about my legs that I hadn’t shaved. Regardless, it’s a perspective I’ve never been able to adapt on my own. The thought that in this moment, I’m my best self– the only self I have, the self I should be thankful for– had never crossed my mind. There was always something to be regretting or something better to be looking forward to.

What obstacles prevent you from living in the moment? How could you align your mindset with an attitude of thankfulness for the precise moment you are in? What benefits do you lose out on because you are looking forwards or backwards too much? What distractions could you eliminate that take you out of the moment?

I hope this was a helpful read for someone. I know as I practice being present I feel less anxiety, less fear… more love and more gratitude. Life is never perfect, but you’ll gain nothing by trying to fix something that is past or trying to reach something that isn’t here yet.

Do your best. Be yourself. Allow yourself to think only of the current conversation or task you are in.

Enjoy the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not guaranteed.

New Years Shift

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It’s just after 5 in the morning, and I haven’t slept yet. I’ve been engrossed in the content of a YouTube channel that I found a couple days ago. It has revolutionized my mind in the few dozen clips I have watched.

How is this that my mind has been moving and shifting like the insides of a lava lamp?

 

The channel, run by a gal a few years older than myself (mid twenties), blows every other one of my subscriptions out of the water in terms of valuable content. She asks the questions that no one else does, and does the research to back up what she has to say. She is well-read and one of the best critical thinkers I’ve come across on the YouTube. 

Her videos have begun to reframe many of the ideas I’ve grown up with, been taught or developed on my own through repeated exposure, experience or assumptions. Her videos have helped to shift how I have seen a few critical experiences in my life, and given me hope beyond any comfort that friends have been able to offer. Her words have challenged me to ask questions I didn’t dare ask, and take ownership of my life in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible. What she shares in her videos, have truly already made a difference in my life– I wish I had found her years ago. She is wise beyond her years both in her attitude and knowledge of her content. 

I apologize for the vagueness of what I’m talking about, but it is still a fresh change. Like new skin under a scab that hasn’t come off yet. It’s a process, but I look forward to the new stance I will work towards taking. I look forward to seeing myself in a different light. I look forward to saying goodbye to shame, pain, sadness, and submission to the cruelty of others. I look forward to the dreams I will accomplish when I let go of what is toxic in my life. The thoughts, the people, the attitudes, the stereotypes, the misconceptions, the assumptions… All of it. 

It can be hard to identify with yourself, those around you, as well as past or present circumstances in a new way. But let’s try this year. Let’s work to shift to a positive vibe. Let’s be intentional about self-love and confidence. Let’s not let the haters get us down, let’s not let the past hold us back. Let’s break down the lies we’ve heard and even told ourselves. Let’s get real about social justice and equality and the things that are important. Let’s tackle our fears. 

I don’t know if I can sleep. There’s just too much to think about. 

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Maybe…