Whatever you dream to do, be sure to do it well.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Future" Problems

Happy Monday, folks! Okay, I know Mondays don’t rank high in everyone’s favorite day, but any marker that signals the start of something is all right in my book. Maybe it’s my obsession with beginnings and endings. Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend. I saw Invisible Man yesterday night at the Huntington Theatre with my friends and it was more spectacular than I expected. Be careful out there with the flu outbreak if you live in the U.S. Virtual hugs if you are sick! :)

Couldn't resist. I want a Kitty now!

SO, in the midst of my personal devotion today, I took some time apart for meditation. I focused on breathing and the three principles of love, kindness, and compassion. My meditation has no complex formula. It just is. My thoughts meandered about while I tried to refocus them back on the circular path of breathing and the three chosen principles. I filled my lungs to full capacity, deflated them of all air, and filled them again, deflated and back again. In the next second, I reached farther into myself because anxiety had been an issue lately and I wanted to address it before the day ended. What happened next surprised me.

A flurry of thoughts burst through one after the other like an onslaught of black arrows that rained from an unseen enemy: “I want to be successful now. I want to help my family financially now. I want to be financially independent now. I want my own place now. I want a cool apartment now. I want to be published now. I want to hold my book in my hands now. I want to enjoy time with my friends in New York now. I want to be in Japan now. I want an acceptance letter to a school in California now. I want all these things now. Now. Now. Now! I want them now!”


My eyes opened and I exhaled. Okaaaaay. Apparently I wasn’t aware of the two-year-old living deep inside the recesses of my mind. And what an annoying two-year-old she is. With a rise of embarrassment, I pinpointed the source of my anxiety. You know how people tell you to forget your past or how not to let your past control your present and determine your future? Well, my problem was that I let the future intrude on the peace and sanity of my present. I wanted the future I desired now and my refusal of the present brought irritability and pain. I fell back to an old habit of ascribing value to my life through a negative mind frame: my life is valuable if I have these future things now. False.

When I resumed meditation, I told myself that this present moment mattered the most and I already had everything I needed right now: the breath that gave me life, my mind, food for my physical body, shelter, good friends here in Boston, my family’s health, a teaching gig ready to start in a few weeks, memories of an unforgettable experience in Korea, and so on and so on.

When the future happens and I have those things I wanted today, I will say same thing: I already have everything I need right now.  

How about you? Ever have “future” problems? How did you deal with it? Would love to hear your responses!

Thanks for reading,
CSS :)


Geo. said...

Re: Ever have “future” problems?

Remarkable post. Excellent question. I'm an old grampa now but have always seen the future as a navigation of variables. I have goals but their coordinates are marked on an elastic calendar. The thing changes, stretches and constricts, all the time but the goals are still on it.

CS Severe said...

Thank you, Geo! So true. I understand what you mean. I may make plans and goals, but the road there is never how I expect it to be yet my goals still remain.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post Sammy. I'm betting every reader can relate to your experience. As to the future getting in the way of my present I'm like Geo, I have goals and they are on an elastic calendar. (Brillaint visual Geo, thanks for that.) But I SO remember having the same struggle you just did when I was much younger. The lovely thing about this post is that you share how to overcome that onslaught of anxiety. Well done! :-)

CS Severe said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! I'm happy I can share experiences that others can relate to and what I do to move on to the next level. So happy you shared too. :)