“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
― Mother Theresa
I wanted to tell you about the beginning of my week. I am a cancer fighter of four years and on Monday I had an appointment with my oncologist. My doctor informed me that the chemotherapies known to be effective for my situation where no longer doing their job. If we did nothing, I had eighteen months. The recommendation was surgery, but it was unlikely as a tumor was literally on a main blood artery in my liver making it too dangerous to operate.
Now I am usually centered, but this knocked me off my base and inner peace was not present. My doctor had basically told me my life had an end in sight. She made me an appointment with a surgeon to take a closer look at the tumor in question for Tuesday. Despite meditation and other skills I use to maintain a sense of calm, I spent the evening future tripping. I must have traveled through 100 ‘whatifs’. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night.
All this stress and fear went in with me to meet that surgeon. He basically told me that it was operable and even told my doctor it was a slam dunk. With a few words, most of that stress just melted away. Once again, I was in the same place as most people, tomorrow may not be promised but I didn’t know an estimated timeline.
As I was drinking coffee this morning, I thought about all the energy that went into those ‘whatifs’. I could have been writing on my next fantasy book, reading, or enjoying the town I traveled to, instead I sat almost paralyzed. I compared this to life. There are going to be events in life that knock you off center no matter how good you are at centering. The goal is to get back on your feet as quickly as you can.
A friend once told me that he had failed more times in his head than he ever had in real life. When we get stuck in the worst-case scenarios, we may miss opportunities that would pull us out of our situation. We emotionally live through those ‘whatifs’ and may even have a panic attack. All that angst for something that may not even happen.
So how do you get out of future tripping? The first thing is to take care of yourself. Curl up with a cup of tea and soft music. Pet your cat or dog. What ever it is, it must be something calming or nurturing.
The next thing to do is to find that center I spoke about. Prayer, meditation and mindfulness are all helpful. By using mindfulness to focus on what you are doing right now, you can keep out of your own head. There is also an app called “Tell Me Later” that sends positive messages and quotes throughout the day to support keeping a positive mindset.
Third, make a list of six things you need to do today. I say six because research has shown that six is the average number of things people get done on to do lists. Having your responsibilities on a list in front of you helps to reduce the sensation of being overwhelmed.
Try to maintain your balance with these three activities. The longer you remain in a sense of being overwhelmed and out of control, the harder it becomes to regain that center. The truth is, the longer you spend with your thoughts on the future, the more opportunities you miss today. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, so let’s keep our focus on the beauty and mystery of today. Even with something like cancer in your life, there is beauty all around us. Make memories today regardless of the fear of what tomorrow will bring. You will make memories that make you smile instead of looking back with regret.
If you are struggling to establish a sense of inner peace and life success, contact me. I would be happy to help!
Have a great day!
Inner peace coach