I woke up this morning to a clear and cool day. Saturday morning! A free weekend lay ahead. I thought about the long list of things I had to do....things we put off all week, and sighed. I didn't want to do any of them!! I wanted to throw on my boots, grab my bike and my dog and head off on a new adventure. I was weary of the same old routine, slogging thru the weekend list of chores and obligations (that we put upon ourselves), only to end up exhausted Sunday night, and dreading yet another Monday - wishing I had one more weekend day to enjoy. How many times have you thought "Weekends are too short! Why cant we start the work week on Tuesday?" Or Wednesday? How much of your time is spent doing things you actually enjoy? Or when you DO actually commit to a fun activity or even some time for yourself, does your mind allow you to FULLY enjoy it? Or are your thoughts 5 steps ahead, thinking about what yet needs to be done, or what might happen in the future? Or worse, about what you should have done differently in the past? Perhaps you cant stop replaying a scene in your head about a past event. You are caught in the emotions of that event, your mind trying to work through a painful experience and make sense of it. Or maybe it's just the constant list of to-dos that never ends. Perhaps you are so focused on a goal, that your mind is constantly going over the steps you need to take to get you there. Constantly laying out a plan and strategy to follow that will help you achieve a different reality. All of these scenarios have one thing in common: your mind will not let you BE PRESENT in this moment. Your mind will not SHUT UP for one minute and let you actually ENJOY and JUST BE. There are thoughts, judgements, obligations, pressures, ideas, reminders and a constant chatter going on in your head - and it's too loud to ignore!!
If your are reading this, nodding your head, and thinking YES!! But then don't actually DO anything about that, then you are stuck. Welcome to the muck. Yes - you are in the swamp, stuck in the mud. Or, like our little friend the turtle up here, stuck on your back - with your arms and legs flailing, going nowhere, and certainly not happy about it.
So how do you get unstuck? First you need to recognize that you cannot think your way out of this muck. After all, it's your mind that is keeping you stuck in this ongoing loop. You are a prisoner of your thoughts. We have given our mind (also known as the EGO) way too much control and it has taken over EVERYTHING. Now, before you interject "Wait a minute - I need my mind! I need my thoughts! What would I be without my mind? I'd be a pool of jello. I don't want that!" I am not saying our mind is the enemy......our mind is just doing the job we asked it to do. Keep us safe. Find solutions. Fix this. Create. Calculate tax, distance, circumference. All good stuff. We need our mind to help us create. All matter comes from thought. And our thoughts create our reality. But what happens when we can't escape our thoughts? When we are constantly ruminating on the past, or projecting into the future?When we can't enjoy BEING in the present moment? Then it's time to do something different. When was the last time you had a new experience? Think about it. Every day is a new day. Every moment is new. But if it doesn't FEEL new, or different, it's because your mind is keeping you stuck. You really aren't IN these new moments or experiences, because your mind has been given too much control and is overriding the body. So now you are aware of your mind. Very good! You have taken the FIRST STEP at getting unstuck. Becoming aware.
When we shift our awareness outside of the mind, we suddenly begin to see the world in a whole new light. We begin to see the world in the present moment, and with this awareness new things pop up. You notice the little bird on the branch outside your window. Then you notice how beautiful that tree is. Then you notice the sun is shining, and you want to feel the warmth of that sun on your face!
Step TWO is allowing yourself to be curious about this awareness. Allowing yourself to have a new experience in this new moment. Saying to the mind "I don't want to hear about what this reminds you of.....I want to FEEL this new experience in my body, without your constant narrative and judgement". Imagine if you could turn down the volume of your mind, and turn up the volume of your body. You go outside and FEEL the warmth of the sun on your face. You allow your attention to rest on the body, and the sensations of being alive. It shifts everything!!! You are awake and alive in the present moment. You are not listening to the overactive mind - you are FEELING in your body. You are tuning in to your spirit. You can have new experiences in this way, without having to jump out of a plane. But perhaps what might arise is the desire to step out of your routine and HAVE some brand new experiences. Perhaps your awareness has reminded you that you haven't done anything new in awhile. Or perhaps your awareness has reminded you that you have been missing from your life. That you haven't really been present and aware. That you haven't been FEELING anything but old emotions from the past, or anxiety about a future that isn't here yet. You become aware of where your mind has been (and you with it). And you become aware that there is peace when you are fully IN the present moment.
Step THREE begins with appreciation of this present moment. Gratitude that this space is available to us. A reprieve from the pressures of the constant chatter of the mind, and a return to your spirit. A place free of judgement, control, and attachment. And a desire to explore this space as much as possible. In this space you are open and free, and it feels so good! It is a return to your child-like nature. Where every moment can be like a weekend full of possibilities and adventure. The present moment is where we are truly ALIVE in the body and spirit, and out of the repetitive patterns of the mind. This is where inspiration lives! Free from all constraints, inspiration flows from our spirits and we are able to FEEL the excitement and joy of new possibilities. Here, our spirit can remind us of what we love, because our spirits ARE love. You feel inspiration for life and want to jump into action. Maybe you decide you are finally going to enroll in that salsa dancing class you've always wanted to take. Or learn to play the guitar. Or that its time to finally take a vacation, or take a yoga class, or start eating healthy, or writing poetry. Your spirit calls out to you to remember that life is meant to be enjoyed, and inspires you to take action to create more love and joy in your life. It asks us to let go of what is holding us back (the mind), and surrender to the flow of love. Your spirit gets you unstuck when you allow yourself to be present, be inspired, and BE love. This awareness is not reliant on anything or anyone outside of you. It is within you always.
This moment of awareness and appreciation may be fleeting, and your mind will most likely come screeching back with all kinds of negative self talk, admonishments, requirements, rules and agendas. That's ok. You've found the beauty in the present moment, and you can choose to return to it any time you want by repeating steps 1-3. And the more you do that, the more you strengthen your spirit to take back your life. To do what you love. To let go and surrender to the energy of love that is within you.