As we know, life’s challenges can quickly overwhelm. A diagnosis. A disaster, natural or manmade. A death. A divorce. (Now I’m just getting tickled by how many “D’s” for disasters there are.) You get the picture.
We know so well the clenched stomach, the tensed jaw, the fierce inner focus, the search for solutions. There’s got to be a way, an answer, some logical plan. But… what if there’s not?
What if we just take a breath?
Instead of filling with fear, anxiety, and high octane pressure to figure things out, what if we open our awareness to this very moment? To what is actually happening? To the beam of sunlight on the oriental carpet… to music drifting in the window from a passing car, followed by a heavy truck chuffing by… to the cool autumn air on our skin… to a deep breath in, and to noticing how that relaxes our shoulders…
Breathing to a simple mantra: breathing in, breathing out… Breathing in, breathing out….
Being in the present moment, we experience that everything is ok. It’s not the tomorrow we are worried about, nor the yesterday we regret or perhaps were even traumatized by. It’s now. No need to go forward or back. In fact, the more time we spend living in the smallest slice of now, the more our minds settle, the more our nervous system calms. Good grief, we can actually relax! It is what it is, pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. No need to be frustrated because it’s not something else, something you would prefer. Say hello to now. Here’s how it is.
With more present awareness, we experience less fear.
It may seem upside down at first. Mightn’t it make more sense to watch something on Netflix? Chose a distraction, get away? I suggest you try going in, instead. It takes practice, being in the terrain of the smallest slice of now. But by choosing to practice, you can cultivate a different, potentially more skillful way of being. And it’s always there with you, the potential to be aware of now.
You can, in fact, keep the monsters at bay. After a time they may actually vanish. You may come to notice that they’re not actually here. Look around you. Are they here now? Or… now?
You can… just let them go.
As my dear teacher and friend Gene is fond of saying, We can wake up in this lifetime.
Try living in the smallest slice of now.
Try very… gently… breathing.