Past, Present, Future: where do you live?

By Angela Legh

February 24, 2022


“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” —

Abraham Maslow

The Past

We all know individuals who live in the past – Uncle Rico in the movie “Napolean Dynamite” is a great example. He wanted to re-live what happened in high school, he wanted to prove his worth by fixing his mistake that occurred during a crucial football game. His dreams of becoming an NFL player were crushed that day. He is not able to set that event aside and find meaning in the possibilities present in his current reality.

The Future

There are others who live in the future – dreaming of what could be. This was me for most of my life. I dreamed of becoming a middle manager in local government. Then, once I achieved that, I dreamed of something more. The future called me, I was a master at dreaming up situations that I thought would fulfill me.

I am an external person. My energetic field is one where the future comes to me, I do not build things based on what came before. I am not qualified to explain the energies associated with being internal or external, but I do understand that I must allow my future to pull me forward. Yet this does not mean that I must live in the future. Being in the present moment is to experience the magic in life.

The Present Now

The present moment is magical because it exists outside of time. If we try to pin down the now, it is gone the moment we focus on when it happens. Yet, when we sit in presence without trying to pin it down, we experience it for long stretches of time. We are always in the present moment, whether our attention lies there or not. It is through our attention, our awareness, that we access the present moment.

Breathe, and notice how you feel. You are in the present moment because you are focusing your awareness on that moment. Breathe, become aware of your surroundings, be quiet. Notice the noises around you. Notice the feelings inside you. You are being present.

Being present, quiet, aware is a magical space to be. When I am in this space, I notice the energy flowing through my body. I can identify the difference between feeling gracious and feeling certain, and how those energies show up in my body.

A powerful tool that I suggest parents use when their child is exhibiting anxiety is to ask, “Is this happening to you right now?” When we focus on the present moment, we are compelled to admit that nothing is happening to us right now; all of the potential issues are figments of imagination, existing only in our minds.

Live in the present moment

Notice, are you focusing your awareness on past events? Do those events threaten you now? If not, you can choose to shift your focus to what is present. When you do this you experience inner peace and calm; because you let go of resentments and regrets.

Are you focusing your awareness on possible future events? By focusing on the future (wishing), can you make it happen? Or, is it by focusing on the present moment, and taking action to move in the direction you want, that makes it happen?

Do yourself a favor, and focus on the present moment several times a day. Expand that awareness over time. When you focus on the past, let go and focus on the present. Equally for the future – just let it go and allow the present moment to be the vehicle that gets you to where you wish to go.

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