The tendency to focus on what is not instead of what is impacts all of us. We dwell on things we feel are missing from our lives or we concentrate our energy on the areas of our life that we feel are lacking. Relationships, careers, our bodies and our health, even personal finances.
In a society hyper-focused on achieving it can be difficult to appreciate what’s right in front of us. This week, even as I’m writing this, I’ve been fretting about work, my growing business and all the other things happening in my life.
I consciously pull myself back into the present and let it go. Not easy, and I’m not as good at it as I’d like to be.
I had a conversation with a client who was struggling trying to control something that she had absolutely no control over. Anyone who knows me (I was going to say “knows me well,” but I'm not sure you have to know me well to pick up on this!) knows I like to be in control of things. My time, my surroundings, my plans, how I feel, my relationships, and control of my career; just a few things I try to “control”. This extreme type A personality can be a strength, but just as often, it can make life more difficult.
When I try to make sense of the happenings in my life, I often think it's the universe trying to teach me one big whopping lesson in the art of letting go. Particularly letting go of the picture of what I thought my life was going to look like at age 60.
If you had asked me years ago what I thought my life would look like, my answer would likely have included being an award-winning television producer, married to the man of my dreams with a home in Europe, a house on the west coast, spending most of my time in L.A.
Instead, I started Pure Joy Wellness, I’m single and living in New York. I have much to celebrate, and so much to be proud of. So why is it that I spend time dwelling on what is missing and what I have yet to achieve?
Gaining the awareness that this is a recurring issue in my life that I must work on, has helped so very much.
Meditation has been one of the greatest tools for quieting my chatty brain. It allows me to let go of what I can’t control. As I continue to work on letting go of preconceived notions of what I think my life is supposed to look like, I find more gratitude for all that I do have.
I realize that I cause much of the suffering and worry in my own life. And suffering isn’t required.
In these moments when I dwell on what is “missing,” what I have yet to achieve, and what I feel I could improve, that’s when I feel true worry, stress, and often sadness. I am not always able to let go of total control of things (and likely will never completely get there), knowing that it doesn’t serve me, and that I can choose to let go is a big help and comfort to me.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t always be striving to improve and be the fullest, healthiest, and happiest versions of ourselves. There is a difference between striving to be our best, and beating ourselves up to do so. Letting go of what we think we are supposed to be doing, and focusing on what truly makes us happy and fulfilled in the moment is a simple way to start.
Start this week and let go of one thing that is taking up negative space in your life. Let go of those 5 pounds that you don’t really need to lose, let go of your worries about money or the future. Maybe wear that favorite outfit more than once, relish some alone time, and let yourself have that dessert you love.
What are you holding on to? Where are you focusing on what is not instead of what is?
Where can you honor yourself in the present? Pick one thing and let go. Express gratitude for what is. Meditate and allow the chatter to calm.
Feel your body calm and find balance.
Always say 'yes' to the present moment... Surrender to what is. Say 'yes' to life - and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you. Eckhart Tolle