A big welcome back to my fortnightly blog, and greetings to you all at the start of another promising year. I hope you’ve all survived the festive season reasonably intact.
Christmas can be a tricky time as it can bring up a lot of thinking. For some it will be the pressure about having to make it truly memorable, the missing loved family member who has passed away and for others it’s with a sense of dread due to tight finances. We can really get really caught up in our thinking, whatever Christmas means to each of us. It can also be a time when we reflect back on Christmases past. For most it means spending more time with family, which can also sometimes be a challenge, with the different family dynamics. Then we’re into the New Year and those dreaded resolutions: to lose weight, give up smoking, start exercising; or whatever it is you have decided you want to focus on. December and January can be a time of spending a lot of thought around the past and about the future.
I can remember a family gathering around three years ago, and I was cooking a big three-course meal. On this occasion I had a turning point in my thinking, which has made family gatherings play out differently ever since. I love cooking and having family round, but I also used to be a bit of a perfectionist. We all are prone to having a vision as to how we want these special celebratory days to turn out, and for me that included beautifully presented, tasty food. This particular holiday though I had a new thought. My favourite parts of these family gatherings were the closeness, fun and connection we could have spending relaxed time together. This was completely at odds with the amount of stressful thinking I would have around everything having to be perfect. That was the first time I saw that my need to make things perfect at these gatherings was destroying the connected feel that I loved so much. That day I let go of that perceived need to control everything and make it my version of ‘perfect’ and it was a far more enjoyable day. I saw very clearly that control is at complete odds with connection and intimacy and prevents us from being very present in the moment.
This was a big shift for me and was before I came across the 3 Principles that I have been learning about for the last 2 years, which points to how being present makes for a much more enjoyable life experience. I see more clearly than ever that the less attached we are to an outcome and the more we are involved in the moment, the easier and more enjoyable life becomes. When we are in the moment those around us sense it. It gives us the ability to connect deeply and see through the made up importance of the detail. This really helps explain why occasions like Christmas can so often end up feeling like a hotbed of emotion and such a disappointment.
If we take any occasion (not just Christmas), how present we are to those around us has such an impact on our level of connection and feelings of closeness. This is why I also no longer make New Year resolutions. By doing so we are buying into the idea that the future is somehow better than the here and now, and we fall into the ‘I’ll be happy when…’ trap.
Robert Holden, a favourite author and speaker of mine writes "Beware of Destination Addiction…. a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are."
There truly is only ever now and this is where a good feeling with life lies. The past only exists as a memory, which is just another thought in the moment. My daughter once said to me that she thought her earliest memory was around the age of two and a half and as she recounted it she said that she wasn’t sure if she was really recalling it, or whether she was recalling it from a memory of what someone had told her. She listened with interest when I explained to her that there was really no difference. We never truly, accurately recall an experience from the past, it is all just thought in the now.
This last weekend, once again, I saw something very differently and that was that our feelings and thoughts are like the law of gravity. The principle of thought in the moment plays out each time with no dependence on what has gone before. Gravity doesn’t behave in a certain way on a Tuesday because of how it behaved on a Monday. If I keep bouncing a ball, the way gravity affects each bounce independently does not carry to the next bounce and does not have a memory. Gravity just is, in fact gravity doesn’t even know the ball or we exist. The principle of thought is exactly the same. So when we’re tied up in knots around our thinking, for example expectations around Christmas Day, it can feel like it’s about what’s gone before or what’s to come, but that is just not possible. It is ALWAYS about our thought in the moment and only in that moment.
When we are truly present to any given moment there is no room for anxiety around the past of the future. For those of you that are parents, have you ever noticed that when your kids are upset they calm down when you bring them into the now using humour or hugs, they really feel you being very present with them?
Michael Singer’s true account in The Surrender Experiment, a very beautiful and insightful book I am reading at the moment, points to how letting go of perceived control and living in the ebb and flow of whatever life presents can bring wondrous things beyond our imaginings. This is exactly what I wish for myself and for you for the coming year, a happy new year to you all.
If you are curious about how life could be with a clear mind and clarity of thought and would like to have a chat around how the three principles work, then I would love to have an enlightening conversation with you. You can send me message on the form link below:
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