It has been a rough couple of weeks for me. After already not seeing my kids for the month of May, my ex-husband decided to take another 2 weeks off from his visitation. Smh Not only does this suck for my kids, but it really sucks for me. Keeping my children home (although absolutely wonderful) means I have to pay for child care on weeks that I do not have funds budgeted for child care. Single moms will totally understand the financial burden this created for me.
In addition to this difficult home situation, work has been immensely stressful. I was tapped to cover for a co-worker while she was out on vacation for two weeks. Now, normally this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, this time… the person asking was the assistant to my boss’s boss. Which meant going to another building and working around several millionaires with PhDs. Talk about intimidating!!! Not to mention the fact that my work was back-burnered while covering for my co-worker, so that when I got back to my job on Monday, I was super behind. *sigh*
So, with all of that going on, life has been hard. I feel grumpy and unsatisfied.
I have always had a plan in the back of my head. I want to have a few acres of my own, and a little house surrounded by nature. Recently this dream has been expanded to specify the house as being a lakefront cottage, but honestly…. all I want is a place where my soul is at peace. A little piece of earth I can belong to. That isn’t much to ask, right?
The problem is, when I am stressed or depressed, this desire becomes an obsession. It occupies all of my thoughts, to the point where I am on my phone looking at real estate rather than doing my work or enjoying my time with my kids.
Living in the present is extremely hard for me. I have always been a dreamer… literally as long as I can remember. I grew up HARD and dreaming was my escape. I used books to expand my mind, and my world, and ultimately my life goals. I’m actually getting a bit teary writing this because my mind has always been such an enormous part of who I am. I was divinely blessed with an abundance of imagination and an insatiable appetite for literature. It has been such a gift ❤
Until I grew up.
Now, my mind seems to constantly be working against me. I am not “normal”. I am not content with the life everyone around me strives for. I have been told I have an artist’s heart by people who admire me for daring to go against the grain of society. I have also been told I am simply a nonconformist by those who look down on my failure to assimilate. I don’t know which it is – maybe I’m both. But either way, I long for a future where I do not live in a cubicle 8-10 hours per day. A future where I do not hurry from one task to another, rushing my kids like a crazy woman. A future where I can go to Parent-Teacher Conferences without having to ask my boss for permission.
Due to my constant longing for a slow, simple life, it is extremely difficult for me to LIVE IN THE NOW. But, I am always conscious of the fact that if you’re not living in the present, you’re living an illusion. So these are some ways I use to stay in the here and now:
Breathe & Center Yourself
I have found that when I get obsessed with the future and start to daydream, my breathing pattern changes. By stopping, and doing some deep breathing techniques (I described them here) I am able to center myself. You can find some more tips about finding your center here.
Focus & Engage
What is going on around you? Are your kids playing? Is the sun shining? Whatever is going on, make yourself a part of it. My children love nothing more than when I go from spaced out on the couch to crawling around on the floor with them. Engaging with the people around you is like saying, “I see you.” If you’ve ever watched Avatar, you may remember them saying, “Oel ngati kameie” like this. It is that deeper recognition – seeing into the heart and soul of someone and finding a deeper connection. But we cannot find, have, or nurture this kind of a connection if we do not first focus our whole selves on someone else.
One of the best ways I have found to stop living in the past/future is to be grateful for what I have. Sometimes when I catch myself brooding over past mistakes, or dreaming about future circumstances, I will just stop and consider what I have to be grateful for. What in my life right at that very moment that I am thankful to have. Nothing seems to be me in the present more effectively.
Stay Grounded & Hustle
Do I want that lakefront house? Do I want my children to have the summer camp experience? Do I want to be able to provide for my family without anyone’s help? Yes. But I am not going to get there with my head up in the clouds dreaming about it! I need to work my ass off every single day and MAKE it happen. In order to do that I need to stay grounded and hustle. Grounding is an extremely helpful practice used by Cognitive Behavioral Therapists to calm anxiety and ease symptoms of PTSD. I use it to bring me back to the present and prepare my mind to buckle down and face what is directly in front of me. Last night I used some qrounding techniques outside in the rain. Feeling the rain on my skin, smelling the air… it was amazing, and I was left in a complete state of euphoria afterwards. (proof is in the pics) I highly recommend it!
We must always remember to live mindfully, and make ourselves completely available to those around us. For me, it is still a work in progress.
More info about grounding here:
More info about living in the present here: