Live in the moment, focus on here and now, be fully present…
Ever since the brilliant book by E. Tolle ‘The Power of Now’ has been published, the concept of living in the moment, rather than venturing into unsettling trips into the past or future, has become very popular.
The past is just a thought, the future is just a thought and the only thing that is real is this very moment.
So true, but somehow not easy to put into practice. Why is it so hard to break free from the magic spell of the past?
YOUR PAST CAN STOP YOU FROM LIVING IN THE MOMENT
Your past is much more than ‘just a thought’.
From the point of view of neuroscience, your past is still alive- right here and now, in the intricate neuronal connections and webs of your brain. And not only alive but, actively impacting how you feel, think and behave in the present moment.
From the time you were born (or even from the moment of conception) you have been shaped by both your genetic makeup and the impact of your environment. All important events, significant relationships, moments of overwhelm and moments of elation have left traces in the neuronal maps of your nervous system.
Your brain has stored all this information in order to create your own, unique strategies for survival.
Because your whole nervous system is working for you, always, to keep you safe and well. But the only way it knows -is to analyse the past, see what worked and try to repeat it forever. In other words, in order for you to ‘live in the moment’ = survive in the moment- your system is constantly trying to avoid dangers from the past. Even if they are long gone.
The problem is, what worked well when you were 5 years old might be a bit out of date when you are 50.
Just to give you an example, being a ‘good girl’ might have helped you to get love and approval from your parents. This was necessary for you to survive when you were a child. It might not work as well though, to create a thriving relationship with your partner, a successful career or help you become a consistent parent.
Yet, your system has learnt, due to factors far beyond your control, that being a ‘good girl’ is the best way to get your needs met. It won’t be very eager to let go of this knowledge unless you start paying attention.
YOUR PAST CAN HOLD YOU HOSTAGE
Let me tell you about my client Orla.
I have been working with Orla on my 1:1sessions for a few weeks now.
A lot of our work has focused on healing anger and resentment that was persistently lingering after Orla left a very toxic relationship a few years ago.
Orla found it hard to forgive (both her ex-partner and herself) and let go. No matter how hard she tried the emotions kept her awake and night and crying through most days. She felt very frustrated and even ashamed of not being able to move on. She felt totally stuck.
Last week in our session we did one of my tailor-made meditations/visualisations. It was then, that Orla found out how her anger towards her ex-partner was all entangled with her much older anger towards her father. She also discovered that her guilt and shame were very familiar to her from the time when she was a small girl.
The toxic relationship and the breakup were devastating as such. But what was even worse they sucked Orla into a ‘memory time hole’. Back into the time when she was scared and confused by her dad’s anger. And the time when she felt totally helpless (as we all feel when we are very young).
So often we don’t realise that everything that happens in our life is interconnected.
We underestimate the importance of events and relationships from our childhood and teenage years.
We believe we can just forget, move on and live in the moment.
But if you are not aware that ‘your body keeps the score’ and that your whole nervous system is literally shaped by everything that has ever happened to you – this is what happens:
Your PAST keeps creating your PRESENT. Your PRESENT keeps creating your FUTURE.
And…you are stuck in the vicious circle of re-creating and re-living the same PAST you are desperately trying to break free from.
How you react to your:
-boss asking you to stay an extra hour at work,
-teenage daughter leaving dirty dishes in the sink,
-husband having an anger outburst
might have nothing to do with ‘living in the moment’ and plenty to do with what happened in your life years ago.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO BREAK FREE AND START TO LIVE IN THE MOMENET
As long as you are not practising taking the pause, and bringing some awareness into what’s actually going on – you are at the mercy of forces you don’t even understand.
Living in the moment starts with awareness. Because your freedom starts with awareness. With recognising where, when and how your past still holds you hostage.
You won’t believe what happened to Orla after she realized the connection between her present and her past during our session!
She emailed me the next day after the session to say that the night before she had an amazing dream.
She dreamt about her father and herself walking through a very thick forest. It was dark and gloomy and they had to cut their way through dense bushes and trees. The undergrowth was thick and thorny and difficult to get through. Twigs and branches were leaving cuts and scratches on their skin.
Her father was walking first trying to clear the path for her as much as possible. And although she felt lost and scared and her body was in pain, his presence was a comfort to her.
It felt like they were walking and walking forever.
And then suddenly they came out onto a big, green clearing. A beautiful, grassy meadow under a canopy of tall trees. Her father stopped, looked at her with a warm smile on his face and said. ‘Go on, it’ll be much easier from now on”
YOU NEED TO FORGIVE AND LET GO TO START LIVING IN THE MOMENT
Orla told me she woke up in teras. Her heart was full of forgiveness and love. She said she wasn’t able to make much sense of the dream but she FELT it made perfect sense anyway. It felt like she was able to see through all the hurt and pain. And she discovered that there was love beneath them all the time.
For the first time in her life, she felt at peace with what her childhood was like. She felt at peace with what happened in her relationship with her ex-partner.
And, first and foremost she felt at peace with herself.
What is it that is you need to realize/understand/forgive to be able to cut through the thick forest of your anger/resentment/regret so that you not only live in the moment but also walk into the future light-footed?
These are the little/huge miracles that happen in my work all the time.
To live in the moment you need to understand and make peace with your past. Whatever it was like. You can’t even imagine the relief and freedom that comes with forgiving and letting go.
And there’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to experience this once you join the Self-Love Incubator Inner Circle. You will get all the tools you need and the supportive community of women around you will hold you through the process.
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