Worry, one of my biggest defects, often keeps me in the future. But for me, more than having a problem living in the past or future, I have a problem living with the emotions of now.
I’m grateful that years of practicing the program has enabled me to internalize lots of these principles to a huge degree. I know that people I talk to who are not in the program have some sense of needing to live in the present. There’s that “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery” poem that gets mailed around and printed out. There’s a certain truth there we all can see. But I’ve had meetings and readings and conversations about this through the years, and I think I am better for all of it.
This has helped me when I’m panicky, like when giving birth or on a plane or waiting for something very bad that I think is coming. I’ve been through a few times when had to not only live in the present time but also in the present place and state of not knowing something drastic. We had to drive about an hour to get to the hospital where my son was on a respirator. I didn’t know why or what had happened or what was wrong or how bad it was for that hour.
I pull this thinking in pretty quickly when, like recently, I knew my job would be changing, and I always fear I won’t like my job anymore if it changes. A few seconds of that is all I need and then I can remember that all I have is here and now. I’ve used this thinking recently when dealing with menopausal issues. Things happen that would drive me insane if I had to live with them forever. But I don’t have to live with them forever, just for now.
Also when times and situations are very good, I can be a bit sad that they won’t last forever and may never happen again. Those years of practice do tend to bring me back to the here and now, and I’m really grateful.
So, what is the present? Where are my feet? That’s what the present is. I have some hopes and plans but things have changed before and they will change again. Today always call for an instant gratitude list of people, places, things and situations that are very good. I may have made a mistake a few hours ago at work, and said something I shouldn’t have said. I’ll have to see. I can’t go back and unsay it. I can take responsibility and apologize if it turns out to be bad, and hopefully stop myself next time I’m going to say something like that. But tonight there is nothing I can do, and it’s not here, and it’s not now, so I’ll try to attend to what is – here and now.