Have you ever watched the second hand on a clock move from one second to the next? We’ve come to think of this passage of time as tick tock. Tick, one second, and tock the next second. Tick the past, and tock the future. But what’s between tick and tock? If you say the present, you’d be correct. If you say nothing, you’d be correct. If you said movement, you’d also be correct. Once the hand leaves tick, it’s done, over. You can’t go back to it. It becomes the past. But before tock, inbetween, there’s the present or nothing (free of the past or future thoughts and emotions), which is potential, and movement that activates that potential into something that becomes toc, the future. In this way, movement transitions the potential of what is into something that will be, or outcome. Why is this important to know?
What I see a lot in my work are people living in tick, the past, or living in tock, the future. They can’t seem to let go of the past so live there. Or wishing how they want things to be in the future to escape their present experience so live there, characterized by, ‘If only this would happen then I can do that.’ It becomes then, either tick or tock, both of which can be stressful, even painful and can make the quality of life they want to live seem at best, illusive, at worse, impossible.
So what do you do when finding yourself living in tick, repeating the past, or living in tock, the future you keep waiting for but never seems to unfold?
When I work with those who live in either tick or tock, one of the things I teach is the importance of mindfulness. Mindfulness helps them to be in the present. It provides the opportunity to become aware of the potential that can be transitioned, movement, into the desired outcome by revealing options, alternatives and choices unseen when living in the distress of tick or tock.
The peace that comes with mindfulness of being in the present can sometimes make it clear what you do or don’t want. With this clarity you may decide; that relationship is toxic and not good for you and it’s time to end it. That job is stressful and it’s time to move on. To stop wishing you could take that trip and take it. To say something to the person who is the object of your attraction instead of holding back. To take advantage of the opportunity you were afraid to take.
Having clarity of thought by relaxing the mind, reducing stress and being in the present is what mindfulness is about. Clearing the clouds of emotions away associated with the past and future to see things as they are in the moment to properly evaluate your thinking and choices, or just experience needed peace.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness.
Walking in the park and noticing what you notice
Soothing music that’s the focus of your attention to relax your mind
Sitting quietly with eyes closed, pushing all thoughts out of your mind by focusing on your breathing
Practice deep breathing
Deep muscle relaxation
And my personal favorite, Tai Chi
These are but a few mindful practices that can help you experience the transition of potential between moment to moment that can lead you to living the quality of life you want to live. Life is in motion from moment to moment whether you're mindful of it or not, so...
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