As I am writing this, I feel tired but content. As I wonder about what to write, I am thinking about how I would rather be in bed on this chilly—yet sunny—day here in the Chicago suburbs. (When it is chilly outside, I love being inside with my cozy socks on while snuggled in a favourite blanket.) Then, I thought about how I am wishing I was somewhere else. And, that is the topic of this blog post: Why wish to be somewhere else? After all, when you get there, you’ll wish you were someone else yet again.
How can I re-train myself to want to be where I am right now?
I learned and absorbed the concept of being in the present moment in improv training at The Second City in Chicago in the 1990s. The object of an improv scene is not to control the scene and direct others to exactly where you want the scene to go. But, rather, you must allow the scene to unfold. One of my favourite improv teachers and a Second City legend, Martin deMaat, would say that improv is “very zen.”
When I find myself wishing and worrying, I can recalibrate and re-centre myself by:
· Expressing gratitude for this very moment. AND…
· Accepting and enjoying this very moment
Where in your day do you find yourself worrying and wondering…about what was or what will be? Monitor when you are feeling anxious. Are you worried about a mistake you made in the past or concerned about what will happen tomorrow? Doing this will take away from your joy in this present moment…and the next moment…and the next moment after that.
In the foreward of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Where You Go, There you Are,” it states: “Mindfulness is considered the heart of Buddhist meditation, but its essence is universal and of deep practical benefit to all. In essence, mindfulness is about wakefulness. Our minds are such that we are often more asleep than awake to the unique beautify and possibilities of each present moment as it unfolds. While it is in the nature of our mind to go on automatic pilot and actually lose touch with the only time we actually have to live, to grow, to feel, to love, to learn, to give shape to things, to heal, our mind also holds the deep innate capacity to help us awaken to our moments and use them to [the] advantage for ourselves, for others, and for the world we inhabit. Just as a garden requires attending to if we hope to cultivate flowers and not have it be overrun with weeds, mindfulness also requires regular cultivating. We call the cultivating of our own mind to bring it to wakefulness meditation. The beauty of it is that we carry this garden with us, wherever we go, wherever we are, whenever we remember. It is outside of time as well as in it.”
May you find peace and joy in this very moment.
About the author: Julie Ostrow