“Think about it: you’re driving and there’s a giant windshield and a small rearview mirror. Ever wonder why it’s so small? So you can only glance at it once in a while. If you stare and dwell on what’s behind you, you’re gonna crash!” - Derek Hough (Taking the Lead – Lessons from a Life in Motion)
Today I want to challenge you to have a quick honest chat with yourself about where your mind and focus usually is.
Are you spending a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror?
Are you hung up on past experiences, a past broken heart, past failures, past missed opportunities?
Are you possibly projecting your past onto your presence in an indirect way?
When I was going through one of the darkest valleys of my life, I had to learn a lesson. It was an incredibly difficult one and honestly, I was kicking and screaming – not wanting to look the presence in the eyes. I was hung up on the ideal world that I thought I had created in the past (which was a total illusion); however, that type of thinking was destroying all possibilities of living my life to the fullest potential in the now.
I will never forget the moment, when my therapist said this to me: “I need you to stop being obsessed with the past and the future. I need you to tell me what it feels like to live in the presence. I need you to write down everything you feel about walking through this dark valley, this pool of ‘feces’ (she used a different, more fitting word here).”
In other words, I needed to have a real honest chat with myself about where my mind and heart was focused. It seems like a silly exercise, but let me tell you, learning to embrace the presence, focusing on the here and NOW, no matter what it brings, will start bringing with it a sense of empowerment, a sense of control in your life, a sense of peace. The past can hold you captive. It can imprison you in a way that you feel powerless and like a victim of your circumstances. It will not let you face the presence in order to actually move forward positively.
Constantly living in the past can paralyze you emotionally, spiritually and even physically. It can take away energy needed to practice discipline, to develop internal motivation and to experience true joy. The past is part of your story, but it is NOT YOU!
Some of you right now may think: this is not me - I don’t live in the past! Maybe you don’t, but maybe you are obsessed with living in the future instead! The future can bring hope and I am extremely supportive of dreaming, planning and setting goals; however, not at the expense of living in the HERE and NOW – living your life to the fullest!
If you are up for a personal emotional fitness challenge, take a few moments and do the following: (do this at your own risk and/or seek help from a licensed therapist if you feel you need the emotional support and guidance)
1. Reflect and have an honest conversation with yourself: do I tend to focus on yesterday? Do I tend to get upset about things that already happened? Am I bitter about experiences I had or with people that hurt me? Do I enjoy 'bathing' in a pool of past experiences?
2. Whatever your current life situation is (your career, your health, your relationships, etc.), write a little essay describing what it feels like to live in this/these situations that you are in right now.
3. If you discover that you are not entirely happy and content with your life right now, I suggest that you start reflecting on why you are not happy and what you wish was different. Then strategically start working on yourself and the things you CAN control. A good start would be to explore how to start becoming unshakeable. Next, you need to find out what 'music you are dancing to' in your life.
I believe that we each actually have a lot of power to take charge of our mind, our behaviors and our responses to the circumstances in which we are. Don't wait! Start living NOW!
With all my love – Dominique