During a difficult life transition, I fretted about outcomes, sometimes feeling as if I’d spin out of control. Fortunately, I attended a weekly sangha, and our group meditations anchored my faith. One day, I admitted my fears to our teacher, Maggie. She acknowledged them, then reminded me to stay present to my new life unfolding. “It’ll be all right,” she assured me. “This is just what’s happening now.”
More than 20 years later, Maggie’s wisdom still resonates because it’s a hallmark of spiritual maturity: When we accept what’s happening now, we remember that we control little more than ourselves in life, so we can choose how we’ll flow with what is.
To find comfort in what’s happening now, we can:
- Remain anchored in our contemplation, meditation, prayer, and reflection practices. Breathe deep, belly breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Concentrating on our breath relaxes our minds and calms our racing heartbeats, anytime, anywhere.
- Do daily chores mindfully. Everything from peeling an orange and inhaling the scent to humming a favorite tune as we wash our hands is a grounding, mindfulness practice.
- Limit long-range planning, pushing for long-term commitments, or rushing to make decisions. Focus on present needs such as completing today’s projects and buying this week’s groceries.
- Dive into a creative activity: carving, coloring, gardening, knitting, painting, sculpting, etc. Work it step by step, noting accomplishments daily.
- Avoid instant gratification which may lead to later regrets. Ask: “How will I feel about this next week, next month, next year? Am I willing to wait? What other choices might I have?” Then list all the choices we discern are best now.
- Halt dramas and conversations about how awful or difficult life is, how hard we are/aren’t working, or what someone else is/isn’t doing.
- Beware offering or accepting unsolicited advice. As soon as we say or hear, “You should,” we likely need to pause and re-examine our intentions. This applies to our inner voice, too. No “shoulding” on ourselves; we’re doing the best we can.
- Get out of bed, no tossing and turning, if we awaken early, anywhere from 3:00 to 6:00 AM. During these “God Hours,” we’re most attuned to Spirit and our inner creativity, so they’re sacred times for extra meditation, study, or crafting.
- Acknowledge grief and loss. Those moments which seem like we’re walking through pools of molasses or crying for no reason are ways we mourn. Even if we feel silly, we can find comfort in hugging a pillow or stuffed animal, digging in the dirt, singing at the top of our lungs, pounding bread dough, or skipping around the neighborhood.
- Be physically distant for safety and well-being, but stay socially connected by phone, text, email, social media, Zoom, FaceTime, etc. Plan virtual visits to share meals, play music, dance, or continue book group discussions.
Remember, especially, that life sorts itself out. As we remain faithful, present to what’s happening now without attaching to it, we discover simple joys in things as they are. And as a new season unfolds, we can let the journey carry us to what’s next, trusting that this too shall pass.
© 2020 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved. – Image by Angeles Balaguer from Pixabay