For many of us, 2020 has been an unexpected year. Quickly, the excitement, hope, and anticipation of a new year seemed to fade away and was replaced with uncertainty, disconnection, loss, and fear. The current situation may have many of us thinking about the past while simultaneously thinking about the future and the coming weeks, months, or even years.
It’s natural to look back at the past with longing hearts at what was and what this time could have been. We are looking backward because the current reality is different, unknown, and it’s our brain’s way of attempting to find meaning amid uncertainty. While you may find yourself thinking about the past, you may also be frequently thinking about the future. Thinking about the future whether anxiously or with hope is another way our brain attempts to cope and react to current experiences.
So, if we are looking both backward and forwards simultaneously, what are we missing that is right in front of us? What does remaining alert and focused on the present moment offer us? The present moment, while at times challenging, offers us the ability to practice concepts like patience and grounding. Engaging in these concepts does not diminish our current experiences as they may be hard or scary or sorrowful, instead, it simply is the practice of noticing and acknowledging thoughts and feelings with acceptance and nonjudgment to reconnect with ourselves and develop strategies to face the next moment.
Mindfulness teaches us that remaining grounded to our current reality strengthens our understanding of patience. Patience allows us to practice restraint in our reactions when faced with delay, trouble, or suffering. Grounding ourselves in patience does not diminish the emotions surrounding experiences but provides perseverance and strength in the face of uncertainty. Patience builds our resiliency, character, and allows space to further learn how we respond to adverse experiences. It deepens our inner ability to connect to our values and letting what we can not control pass us by. There is a beautiful balance between responding to our current situations and accepting the space you are in.
Let us collectively take a deep breath. Notice the wandering of your mind to the past or future, your brains attempt to control or respond and come back to the present moment. Thank your body for sustaining you at this moment and thank yourself for engaging in the practice of leading into the next moment with your values and center.
Let us go forward with patience and perseverance.
“Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now, and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is. So, relax. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Breathe deep. Let go, and just live right now in the moment.” – marcandangel
Written by: Chardyce Kott, MSW