When you are present in this moment, you break the continuity of your story, past and future, then true intelligence arises, and also love.~ Eckhart Tolle
We all have a story. Our stories are based not only on what has happened to us, but how we experience those things emotionally, how we proceed to use those experiences in our present life and our plans for the future, and how we present all of this to ourselves and to the world. What many of us forget is that we can change the story. No, we can’t change what has happened to us, but we can change our perception of it and how we use it to shape our present experience. And although there is nothing wrong with making plans, the only thing that truly exists is this moment and how we choose to answer it’s call.
With the New Year just around the corner, many of us will be setting resolutions or intentions for the changes we want to make. There is nothing wrong with this either… but my question is why do we need to wait until tomorrow, or the New Year, or “next time”. What in our story are we clinging to that is holding us back from acting on those changes right now? If we desire change, but are putting it off or waiting for the right time, what benefit are we deriving from our idleness? Is it a sense of ennui? Is what we need to change not really what we desire? Do we prefer the comfort of a vice over the benefits of letting it go? Is there something that we get out of remaining a victim of our circumstances (attention, support, accolades for our strength, an excuse to escape from the world periodically, etc.)? Is it really just a matter of timing? If so, we can prepare then practice letting go… but if any of the above resonate, it’s time to take a closer look at how we tell our story.
Our story has the power to shape how we see ourselves, as well as how we present ourselves to the world. Being human, most of us simultaneously paint ourselves as both victim and hero of our lives, but few of us are willing to see, much less let others see, that we are sometimes our own antagonist. Some folks use self-deprecation as a form of martyrdom. We hold on to these things because they offer us a reprieve from how we see ourselves and the expectations that the world appears to have for us. We even compromise our own dreams for the illusion that we present to the world.
If we choose to live with intention, our default needs to be the present. Operating from the past or future keeps us from experiencing the blessings and lessons that the present moment offers us. Resolution is important, but if we are to succeed in any particular change, we have to put that change into practice. Anyone that has been in a long term relationship or career knows that commitment and perseverance are not a one time event, but a series of decisions that we make over and over again. They also know that sooner or later we lose steam, we falter, we make mistakes, sometimes we give up. But ultimately, any lasting change requires that we make a choice whenever the opportunity presents itself. When that choice is about what we will do in the future, we are not taking full responsibility for our response to the present moment. When we choose to do something different in the moment, even if it is a baby step, we are being pro-active.
Life is a process, not an event. So is letting go. They are a series of vignettes in which we make different choices about who we want to be and what meaning we want to derive from it. When we choose to live consciously, with intention, we are choosing to show up authentically, however that may appear. It may be that we are having a bad day and can barely hold ourselves back from breaking into tears. It may be that we are overjoyed about something that we’ve wanted or maybe not expected that makes us feel good about ourselves. It may be that we are just plodding along, with nothing really wrong except that we are missing a certain spark. All of these are perfectly human and normal… and when we embrace each one in the moment, we find that our sorrows subside to a more manageable level because we are no longer fighting them, our joys are reflected around us, and that routine may be providing a sense of comfort or familiarity which we crave as a sense of balance between extremes. In short, it all boils down to perception, being present, and honest reflection.
So whatever your resolutions are… go ahead and make them. But don’t wait to start… start now, and when you falter, start over…