Are you aware of how much you live in the future? I wasn't.... I had no idea that having my mind on the next task, the next meeting, what we were having for dinner tonight, when was I supposed to pick up that birthday gift? How do I finish that painting? When are we going to go on vacation? You get the idea... My mind was ALWAYS out front, never right where I was at the moment.
I have to admit, I'm a racehorse. I like to work, I like to get things done, and I like the feeling of accomplishment when I do. This is no different than millions of Americans. We LOVE work. Especially when that work is meaningful. We see the fruit of our labor. We take great pride in helping others - getting those fund raisers going, helping out with the school concession stands, volunteering for everything someone asks us to volunteer for. So what is the problem with allowing our minds to LIVE in the future?
That is the problem.... There is no space... There is no space for our minds to be clear. To be quiet. To be recharging. In fact, we get so used to living in the future, that we don't even realize there's a problem until our bodies start speaking to us. First with a little nudge - lack of sleep, waking in the middle of the night with our mind racing like it's part of the NASCAR fleet. We wonder what the heck is wrong so we ask our friend who tells us, "just take some melatonin, or valerian, you'll be fine." It works! So back to the run, run, run... no time to be still. Why would we want to? We may have to actually sit with ourselves. And who would ever want to do that? (yes, I'm laughing out loud) Then our bodies speak louder.... maybe we experience numbness in our bodies, legs never stop moving, heart racing. Symptoms that we are not doing well on the inside - our minds are a runaway train. So we go to the doctor - and at this point, we might as well call them legal drug dealers. The first thing they want to do is drug us. Don't get me started on that. So we either take those drugs OR we try something else.... Listen to our bodies.
I believe we all WANT to live a life of balance and stillness at times. I believe we NEED that in order to be whole, complete humans. I also know that you don't know what you don't know. This became crystal clear to me when I started observing what my mind was doing and how I was allowing myself to be pulled down stream faster and faster only to get the most horrible feeling in the world... overwhelm. I will not allow myself to feel that way ever again. I see how easily it happens. Unfortunately, I see it more in children than I ever have. These sweet little kids show up for riding lessons and they are talking their heads off - the horse has checked out and following me because I'm completely present and I calmly say, "What would you do right now if I weren't here?"
It's the perfect question to get a person on a horse to become present very quickly. They realize that if they did not have me to support the horse, they would have to. They would need to be present, in the moment and only in the moment. It is the blessing of the equestrian lifestyle. It's the same when working a horse on the ground. The mindfulness needed to work with the horse creates a grounded mind or there's natural consequences.
Life is too short not to be present. What if you stopped what you were doing right now and took three slow deep breaths, planted both feet on the ground and sat quietly for five minutes. I know it's hard. I was there once. I'm up to 18 minutes now. I can still my mind for 18 whole minutes of the 1,440 minutes there are in a day. I look forward to those 18 minutes because of the clarity I have the rest of the day. It is incredible how sharp and creative my mind becomes. It is also incredible how I do not experience symptoms of anxiety any more. No more panic attacks. No more racing heart. No more living in the future... and yet, my future is amazing because of all the faith I now have that everything will be just fine, no matter if I throw all the cards in the air or not. I know now that there are people out there that want to encourage, help others to heal in a holistic way, develop life long habits that are good for the mind, body and soul. I know this because I am one. Reach out when you're ready to work on you. I'm always in your corner.