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Living in the Present Moment

"What they undertook to do they brought to pass; All things hang like a drop of dew upon a blade of grass." - William Butler Yeats, Irish poet and playwright, considered among the most influential figures in early 20th-century English verse and regarded by some critics as one of the greatest poets in the English language (1865-1939)We only need to take care of today. That is perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn for it helps us build a foundation upon which we can begin tomorrow anew. Why do we have so much difficulty with this? Why is it so tough for us to live in the present moment?

For one thing, we're so busy trying to figure out tomorrow and the tomorrows after that, that we find ourselves losing what's available to us in the here and now. In other words, we miss opportunities. Not only do we miss them, but we miss them by a mile. It's impossible to see what may become fortuitous if we're so concentrated on either of two times that are not reality: the future or the past.

Remember this: the past is dead and gone and the future isn't here yet. Neither of them are reality or what we are living right now. We can't undo the past and we don't live in the future. All we have is the present, the seconds, minutes and hours of today. Why waste them?

Yes, we do need to use our intelligence and make plans that will impact tomorrow, crafting goals and a means to achieve them that we will follow prudently. But it all begins with what we do today. When we take action today, we are helping to allay the anxiety and fear that creeps into our brain and clamps against our heart. While it may be a low level anxiety, it is nonetheless there. How can it not be?

But we don't have to give into this negative emotion.

Here's something to think about the next time we find ourselves consumed by worry over what happened in the past, or what might or might not happen in the future. Think about a time when we were so worried about something in the past, say, ten years ago. Better yet, remember what we were doing a decade ago. Did we have any inkling that we'd be here today, doing what we're doing, being in this spot? Most likely we did not. And not only that, but it's also very likely that whatever we worried so constantly about so long ago is no longer a concern. We may not, in fact, even remember it.

So, concentrate on today. Find purpose in doing what we can today. Feel joy. Experience every minute. Allow sadness its due, if necessary, and then move past it. When we divest ourselves of the anxiety and worry which, by the way, accomplish nothing, we can live a life that's less complicated, less stressful, and more meaningful and satisfying.

It doesn't need to be anything earth-shattering that we accomplish today. Strive to feel a sense of satisfaction in accomplishing the little things. Recovery is, after all, a building-block process. We learn as we do and we grow as we learn and do. It's as simple as that.

Look at our hands. Move our fingers about and focus only on the action that we are taking. This isn't the past and it's certainly not the future. It's us making a conscious effort to take action in the here and now. We see the results of what we intend. We can see the follow-through of our thought. Life is just like that. What we do now, here in the present moment, is all that we really can do. We can solve a problem that we have today. Maybe we will be helping ourselves to deal with the same problem easier tomorrow, should it reoccur. But we do so today, always today.

Another way to look at living in the present moment is that we have an opportunity today to do something really beneficial for our recovery. What we have is now. Let's take the gift we've been given - our life today - and do something special with it: live in the present.

Posted in Mental Health

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