I started re-reading the Power of Now recently. Actually, in the name of full disclosure, I started it today. We had a snow day here in Goose Bay! Woot! So, I did some shovelling, followed by a hot bath and a sandwich and started turning the pages….
Anyway, for those of you who don’t know me, this book has basically been my salvation whenever I’ve been dealing with periods of anxiety, interspersed with depression or just maybe not feeling myself.
The most life-changing concept that emerged from this book, at least for me, that I’ve adapted to my own life is the reality that the past and the future are manifestations of the mind.
So what does that mean?
I guess what I mean by this, or my interpretation of this, is that the past is something that we re-create in our minds based on our own lived experience. When we dwell in the past, we usually linger on feelings and thoughts like guilt, shame and regret, all of which are deeply rooted in depression.
The future, on the other hand, is a projection of what we want, what we fear, what we hope we’ll achieve and so on. The future, and the fear thereof, is what creates anxiety. This is where our fear of what is to come can trigger panic, and near paralysis for some. Raise your hand if you’ve been there!!?! Me, I have!
The point is though, that right now and in this moment, all that ever really exists is the present moment. There’s nothing else. You are only ever alive in this very second. Wherever you are right now. There’s nothing else. The now is all that ever really exists. Wherever you’re breathing right now is all that ever really exists. Let that sink in for a minute…
You see, the past is gone. It only ever exists in our memories, and whatever it is we reconstruct based on our own perspectives. It’s essentially part of a narrative that we create to put our life story in perspective. And that’s okay. It’s just when we linger in this idea of who or what we are do we lose out on existing and living, actually living, right now.
The future may or may not arrive. The future isn’t promised and almost always it looks different than whatever we’ve projected in our own minds…
And that’s because life is insane! We can’t plan for it. We can’t plan everything out in some sequence and think it’ll all go off without a hitch. We’re not immortal, people die. Bad stuff happens. Better things happen. And sometimes our lives are derailed.
Sometimes good things fall apart. Sometimes better things come together. And sometimes good things fall apart, and a bunch of bad things happen, and then eventually something good happens again…but in the end, nothing is promised to you.
The universe or God or whatever you believe in owes you nothing. You are owed nothing.
I guess the important thing and the positive thing to realize whether you’re having a complete crap day or whether your depression is eating you alive, is that there is nothing that you can’t handle in this very moment.
You’re always equipped to deal with whatever it is that is bothering you in the here and now. There’s never too much going on that you can’t handle it in this moment. Second by second, you can honestly get through anything. I promise you that.
I remember this time in my life when I’d get to the end of everyday and just be so devastated that I had lost another day to depression. Another day of my life.
And so I told the mental health professional I was working with at that time, and she said to me, “Mandy, maybe you can look at it like this. Today wasn’t the day you wanted it to be. But it was a day in your life. And you got through it. And maybe think of something that happened during that day that you’re thankful for. Maybe just getting through that day is enough.”
And, what I learned, the more I tried to step back and observe my own thoughts and feelings, and my own day was this…in each day something bright happens. Even when you’re at your wits end with depression, there’s still something to be grateful for in everyday. So, hold onto that. And, getting through those rough days, well, that was enough.
Sometimes, just breathing and keeping your head above water is enough. And that’s fine. That’s more than okay.
And that’s what I’ve been doing lately, just grounding myself in the moment. Because from moment to moment, I know that there’s nothing that I can’t handle. Like, I’ve got this. You’ve got this.
Regret is one of the ugliest feelings in the world. Regret is one of those things that I have no room for in my own life. Have I made mistakes?! Well, hell yah. I’ve made thousands of mistakes. But like I said in an earlier post, living is learning.
And that’s what we need to take from the past, and ignore the rest. You live, you learn. And it’s through the mistakes that we make are we given the greatest opportunities for learning. Remember that too.
Ground yourself in the present. Learn from your mistakes but don’t dwell in them. Prepare for your future but remember that sometimes things aren’t going to go as planned, and that’s okay too! Find the good in everyday. Live your life. Don’t get so caught up in who you’re supposed to be that you forget who you are.