2014, though soon coming to an end, was deemed the year of mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply going about a task or activity with total focus presence and curiosity. You can do any activity mindfully. For example if you're going to do the dishes, truly feel how the water feels on your hands, what does the lemony soap smell like, how does the light hit the bubbles causing little rainbows, then one floats away and pops with the little spray water. Suddenly, you find that you have a kitchen full of clean dishes and you basically meditated the whole time. Thich Nhat Hanh says you can either do the dishes to have clean dishes or you can do the dishes to simply do the dishes. The physical outcome is the same but the emotional ramifications are completely different. Being mindful is simply staying in the present moment. Because really that is all we have.
We cannot change the past no matter how often we dwell on it and we cannot control the future no matter how frequently we want to worry about it. I had a client whose husband had been diagnosed with cancer. He had gone through the cancer treatment and was deemed healthy. But there was concern that the cancer had come back. She worried about whether or not the diagnosis was going to be positive and if so how could she live without him. I reminded her that he was there with her now alive and well. Why should she suffer twice?
That is an important lesson and I have seen many people including myself to this. We hold the cat close and cry worried that it could die someday. We limit what we're going to do in fear of the future. We miss out on opportunities with those around us because we worry they might be gone someday. All we have is the present and I encourage you to live it to its fullest. Dwelling in the past simply manifests a new stress response. Worrying about the future pulls you out of the joy of the moment. Why suffer twice?