Monday, March 12, 2012

Staying in the Moment

Oh, is this ever something I have trouble with.  I am so forward-focused, future-oriented, whatever term you want to use, that I really have to make an effort to live in the now.  Ok, I may never live in the now, but I try to at least visit it several times a day.

Part of this is just who I am, and I gladly accept that.  But I also know that part of this comes from my disease.  As an alcoholic I drank to escape from my depression and my everyday reality.  Focusing exclusively on the future, or the past, is another way of doing the same thing. 

The trick, as always, is keeping things in balance.  Its perfectly acceptable, and even fun sometimes, to reminisce about the past.  Listening to the oldies station on the radio, having your favorite songs from when you were growing up on your MP3 player, having a movie or TV marathon of your favorite shows and movies is great. 

So is planning for the future.   Financial planning, estate planning, budgeting, these are all forward or future focused activities that are perfectly acceptable, even desirable.  In fact, I've returned to college and am always planning ahead to make sure I can afford my classes and for scheduling my classes so that I can work, run my business, practice my craft, sleep, maintain my health and still do well in school.    Okay, maybe with all that on my plate focusing on the future makes more sense. LOL

The problem is staying that focused on the future, or the past for that matter, deprives us of the present.  And that, really, is all we can be sure of having.  We can never be sure of what the future holds, we can never truly go back to the past, but we always have the here and now.

I've worked hard to get sober and to get where I am in life.  I'm not really where I want to be yet, but I'm getting there.  I just need to remember to enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination.  And to enjoy where I am; its a pretty good place all on its own.  But compare it to where I was 4 years ago, and its a phenomenal place.

I spend time every day playing with and snuggling with my cats.  Nothing will bring me into the present and keep me here like having a little bundle of fur make me his/her whole world.  All they ask for is food, clean litter, and love.  In return, they love me no matter my mood-Silva even lies with me while I balance my chakras and balances her own at the same time.

I also make a point of enjoying the trees and plants I see every day.  I don't drive, so I walk a lot, and that does make it safer to truly focus on the trees and plants growing all over, even in the city.  While I'm walking, I try very hard to enjoy the weather.  I live in upstate NY so it can be a struggle to enjoy the 20 degree days with high winds, or the mile plus walk to work with the wind blowing snow or rain in my face.  But those are the times I truly am focused on the now, even if it is sometimes with a grumbling in my soul.

I've found that the more I focus on the little things, even if only for a moment or two during the day, the calmer and happier I am, and the more I enjoy my life as it is now.  I take my pleasures where I can: a favorite TV show, a beautiful sunset, a few minutes with the cats, I just make sure to take a few of these moments every day.

I know enjoying what I have now, even as I plan for what I want in the future, is one of the keys to staying sober and enjoying that hard-won sobriety.

Blessed Be!

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