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  • Rachel

Goals for 2020 - Part 3

Updated: Jan 19

Stay rooted in the present!

No, I am not a time traveler. Although that would be really cool! I was reminded of the importance of living in the present after a comment made by a Kindergarten student (for those who do not know, I am a classroom teacher). This student said, “I cannot wait to be an adult!” I literally had a flashback to my younger self saying those exact same words. I immediately became curious as to whether most of us had this internal desire to bypass being a kid. Why are we in such a hurry to get from point A to point B? Does society implicitly tell us that we will experience more freedom as an adult? Are we eager to reach certain milestones in life? Do we believe that happiness will come when we meet our ultimate life goal? I can recall mapping out my life from an early age. I created various education and career-related goals. I then methodically planned out steps that I would take in order to successfully achieve my goals. I started to live in the future. I missed out on precious moments, as I was so focused on my end destination.

Tunnel Vision

I have also been in a number of conversations with individuals who reminisce about the “good old days.” Engaging in reflection can be beneficial; nonetheless, it can consume you. As I age, I find myself thinking about the past more and more. I catch myself thinking or saying out loud, “I used to be happy,” “I miss being in school,” “I wish I chose a different profession,” “I should have focused less on my studies and more on developing friendships,” and so forth. I realize that I cannot change what has happened in my past; however, I still find myself wishing that I could. I constantly remind myself that the past has shaped who I am today. This does not satisfy me. Needless to say, I am living in the past and future, and totally disregarding the present. My goal this year is to remain rooted in the present. This is going to be a challenging undertaking; nevertheless, I believe that I can do it! But how?

One way that I intend to accomplish this is by adopting a daily meditation. Meditation encourages us to stay in the present moment. Know that there will be thoughts that come and go. For me, these thoughts include my "to-do" lists, recounts of my day, thoughts pertaining to my career and concerns about my health. This is why meditation is regarded as a PRACTICE. I realize that the internal chatter relating to the past and future will lessen the more I engage in meditation. I also know that dharana or concentration can help reduce the internal chatter. Simply-put, dharana is when we focus in on a specific mental object or silent repetition of sounds (e.g. an image of a candle or “OM”). When the mind begins to wander, think about that image or sound. Or perhaps try to tuning into your senses. Consider the colours you see, the sounds you hear, the scents in the room, the rhythm of your heart beating, as well as the temperature of the room. Even pranayama techniques (breathing practices) can be very useful in quieting the mind and staying in the present moment.

Thinking about the past and/or future is neither good nor bad. Instead, I have been taking some time to consider whether or not it is useful. For me, I have been experiencing mental anguish and dissatisfaction with my life for some time now. This is why I choose to live in the present. I still acknowledge the fact that my past has shaped my present, and that my decisions today, will inform my future. But remember, the PRESENT is truly a GIFT!

My goal starts in the PRESENT MOMENT! What are your goals for 2020 and beyond?


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