I believe that stress is caused by living in the future and past. Worrying about what may come solves nothing. Matthew tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I’ve learned this the hard way. As a former CEO and entrepreneur, I have wasted tens of thousands of hours in a state of deep stress, living in the future. Planning for and preparing for the future is wise. Stressing yourself over what may or may not happen is a waste of the here and now. The same is true for those who seem to stress and worry about their past actions or missed opportunities. There is nothing we can do to change the past, so regret is wasteful.
All we have is the here and now, so embrace it with joy.
I’ll confess, of all the situations and circumstances I write about, this is the hardest for me. My previous life trained me to examine and analyze the past while living in the future. The present was always a blur, and to the detriment of my family and friends, I was rarely fully present. Once I realized that much of my life was wasted in the future, I switched directions and began reliving my past with deep sorrow and regret. Once again, my body was a hollow shell, as my mind and heart were reliving and regretting my past.
My kids laugh about an event they called “Freak-out Friday.” The stress of my week accumulated and often exploded out of me on Friday afternoons. Unfortunately, there is no way I can erase those moments from the memory of those I love the most. I can only apologize and make sure it never happens again. My grandsons will never see me “freak out,” as I continue my life journey, embracing and living in the moment.
I am realizing that to find true joy we must meet it where it resides ... and that is always in the simple, uncomplicated and often unexpected moments of the here and now. The present is also the only place we can love and heal ... and we all need both. I implore you to join me in the present moment.
Last week I wrote of being a “noticer” and asked you to look around at the beauty around you. How’s it going? Yesterday, Arlene and I were working in our vegetable garden, pulling weeds and pruning. In the middle of one of our walkways, almost overnight, a beautiful wildflower emerged from the rocks and blocked my path. It was a stunning, awe-inspiring moment. I didn’t know it at the time, but have learned it is a “Rose of Sharon.” I can only describe it as the color of ivory, with a deep crimson center and tiny golden seed-like protrusions in the very middle. I’ve also learned that it is mentioned in Solomon 2:1. “I am the Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley.” In my past, I would have ripped it out and tossed it away, destroying a life form without giving it a thought. But instead, I took in the awesomeness of how, even in a plastic- and gravel-covered path, life found a way to blossom. This little flower defied my attempt at creating a maintenance-free walkway and planted itself in the most unlikely and dangerous spot. An inspiration. It planted itself and is thriving in a hostile environment ... a lesson for us all. Instead of discarding it as if it didn’t matter, I gave it water and marveled at its beauty and boldness. It is a gift. That little flower deserves to live.
I found joy at 6:30 a.m. on a gorgeous Sunday morning in something I tried to prevent but happened anyway. I learned I am not always in control and there is beauty in not being in control. Let go ... and let God.
I believe once you live in the moment and find joy, it is impossible not to have a positive view of your life and find hope and optimism in your future.
In the moment as a "noticer" this week, I found ...
What did you notice?