The three P’s — Past, Present, and Peace

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.  If you are anxious, you are living in the future.  If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu

Easy enough, right?  Wrong.  Anyone who’s human knows that this is an everyday work-in-progress.  Living in the moment has to be a conscious decision.  Do you know how you know you’re not living in the moment, and how to live in the moment?  That’s the answer.  As soon as you recognize you’re doing it, or not doing it rather, is when you start living in the moment.  That’s it.  One day, one thought at a time.  Did you know that 85% of what we worry about never even comes true.  So, I started noticing I’ve been doing this a lot recently.  I’ll give you a prime example.

It was jut this early October when Hurricane Mathew was coming right for Broward County, Fl — where I live.  I pretty much had an anxiety attack the night before.  Please!  Living in S. Florida, I’ve been through many hurricanes in my 34-years living down here.  But, I’ve never been through one with a six and a two-year-old.  Whole different story!  It’s not just about me anymore.  I have two lives I’m now responsible for, and I was scared!  Even though Mathew did some serious damage to some places, including devastation in Haiti (and I’m not undermining that by any means), it didn’t do anything to us living here in Broward County.  Thank God!  I’m still praying for the people it severely affected, but my point is, all that worry, and I had a tree branch on my driveway when I woke up.  What did it accomplish or help?  Nothing.  It sure didn’t help anyone else out either.  We never know what the universe is going to deliver.  It’s hard to stay centered and in that state of peace in the present, and of course, faith – that all is as it should be exactly in the moment it is happening, just the way it is happening, even if it doesn’t make any sense to us.  We are not always going to have the answers.  But, we do have a choice on how to handle what’s been given.  So, during the process we mine as well enjoy the journey!  During staying in doors, stuck for four days preparing and recovering from a hurricane we never got, I cooked, baked, drank a lot of wine, and spent time with my family.  See?  I ended up making lemonade with lemons, and it actually tasted pretty good.  You get what I mean.  I enjoyed it!

I’ve been working as a writer for the last 12 years or so.  I have two finished manuscripts and one screenplay so far under my belt.  My future as a writer is still to be determined.  I have a great circle of professional, like-minded people around me who are helping me on my road to publication and success!  Have I gotten a published yet?  Unfortunately, the answer is “no,” to that… for now.  But the magical word is “yet.”  It doesn’t mean I won’t.  With that being said, I’ve learned something important recently.  Being a writer is not about the destination.  It’s really not about that finished novel, or column, or article, etc… it’s about the journey.  So, worrying about when and how I’ll get published needs to be irrelevant in my life, and is wasted energy.  It’s all about the process of doing what I do.   And if I can’t enjoy the process — the now — than I won’t ever be satisfied with the future.  There is no end to it.  I do it because it’s  what I love to do presently in my life — right now as I type these words you read.  And I hope you are enjoying this moment reading them, or whatever it is you’re doing in the “now.”  Maybe it’s reading a book to your five-year-old, watching your favorite show on TV, or wrapping up your evening at the office.  Enjoy it.

So, if you find you are feeling depressed, notice your thoughts.  Are you thinking about, regretting, or harboring things from your past?  If you are anxious, chances are your worrying about what’s to come.  Stop!  Because it won’t change the outcome.  Actually if anything, it only makes it worse because the anticipation is usually worse than the outcome, or we can create a worse one for ourselves than what it has to be.  Our thoughts create our reality.  I have a great prayer I use when I fear what’s to come, yet so simple, but it always helps.  “God, please release me from my fear-based thoughts.”  But, if you feel you are at peace… Ahhh!  You are enjoying the moment and relishing in what is, just how it is.  It’s so… weightless.

What’s happened is in the past.  Leave it there.  You can’t change it now.  Learn, grow from it, and move on.  Who knows what’s to come?  It may be even better than you can ever imagine it to be.  Don’t fool yourself in believing that you know what’s better for you than your destiny.  So, stop trying to control every little aspect of your  life.  Embrace it — let go, surrender, and be at peace.  Have faith that all is exactly how it should be… NOW in the present.  God bless.




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