I’ve come to realize I don’t put as much emphases on forming a better version of myself as I’m sure I should. Oh, I’ll make plans to do it. I do that all the time. But much more often than not, the plans end up someplace in the dark back corners of my mind.
One of the things I do to prepare these plans is read advice, both blogs and articles. The other day I was reading an article (one of many) about how I should reach for my future and make it happen the way I supposedly want it. The more I read, the stronger I felt about the negativity of the topic.
How much am I missing by continuing to gaze on the horizons of my endeavors? I have this terrible habit of thinking about the actions themselves after I’ve exhausted all thoughts about the finished consequences. The actions involved are more of an afterthought. Has it always been this way for me? I don’t think so, although I’ve had to go pretty far back in my past to remember when I’ve thought about the activity itself first. My guess is that it’s been about thirty years, maybe more. That’s a lot of years of thinking first about the benefit or lack there of instead of really experiencing the task as I perform it.
It’s a dismal state of affairs. The outcome seeking attitude is taking away from the effectiveness and enjoyment of my life, both for myself and the ones I come in contact with. I’m not giving of myself with this sort of behavior. It’s all get, get, get and take, take, take. It’s an awful thing to admit, but it’s true.
The holidays are coming up. When I sit down to one of the celebrated meals, will I be in the moment of that festivity? Or will I be looking at and thinking about the results of the well-laid out food on the linen tablecloth and how I’ll feel after the day is over? I’ll miss out on the camaraderie surrounding the occasion with this type of attitude. The love I may feel will be superficial. I doubt that I’d really appreciate or relishing the time with those I love.
I can’t help but think of life the way it’s portrayed in the classical books, like Sense and Sensibility, A Tale of Two Cities, and Little Women. The authors showed the characters of these stories as actually engaging in life, savoring the very moment they’re standing in. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve lost the capability to really be in the here and now the way those characters are.
Even during a half-hour meditation, there’s a little part of me that is contemplating on what my next task is after I come out of that abstraction and what that will accomplish. Every minute of my days seem to be filled with deeds not yet achieved, apparently always think about what comes next. Have I gotten hooked — strung out — on results? What has happened to what is happening right this minute? Has it gotten lost in an invisible void somewhere?
The only answer I can come up with to stop this regrettable behavior is to consciously take the time to purposely put myself into the moment I occupy and pay closer attention to those in my life. I shouldn’t think of this as being difficult or easy to do either. After all, it doesn’t make any difference. The focus is and should be on doing better, nothing else.
Do you focus on the here and now? Or do you center your thoughts on the results?
Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be. – Eckhart Tolle