In my previous post, I wrote, ‘If we place ourselves on our own life journey timeline, we’re always in the upper right corner?’
Life is lived in the upper, right-hand corner of our life journey time-line.
Life can only occur in the upper, right-hand corner. Everything else is history. Everything else is the past or future. Everything else is an interpretation of or projection for our life’s journey.
Here is the good news – we get to make up the interpretation of our past. We are the author of our own life journey past.
Here is the bad news – living life in the present is difficult. A difficult choice. Living life in the past or future is simpler. We don’t have to take responsibility for today when we live in the past or future. It takes Gumption to live in the present.
My new daily challenge is to continuously remind myself that I’m living in the present moment.
I’m always in the upper, right-hand corner.
All the stuff to the lower left is a made-up version of my past. And nobody else cares about my past like I do. They’re all busy caring about their own, made-up pasts.
So that brings us to the present moment.
I awoke today in the upper, right-hand corner. I get to decide what I’m going to do today.
I get to decide where I’m going next. And somewhere off in the future, there will be plenty of time to write the life chapters that I participate in today.
Being stuck in the past prevents a person from living and loving in the present.
That could also be said about a person stuck living in the future.
For most of my life, I spent my present looking into the future.
Accomplish this, accomplish that. Goals. ‘When I achieve [fill in the blank], then I’ll be happy’… ‘When I accomplish [fill in the blank], then I’ll start living large.
I delayed gratification. I was the marshmallow kid with ten marshmallows collected hoping that some day I’d be rewarded with a thousand marshmallows.
I spent the majority of my time thinking about where I wanted to be; what I wanted to accomplish. Completely missing where I was.
I was living in a future-based world.
I was not living in the present. I was not in the upper, right-hand corner. I was somewhere off the chart to the right. Dreaming. Fantasizing. Day-dreaming.
In 2009, I started my year of transformation. At that time, I instinctively knew that I wasn’t really happy. I wasn’t living a fulfilled life. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted in my life. I didn’t fully recognize it at that time, but I was tired of living my life in a someday mindset. I began to realize that the pile of marshmallows I accumulated weren’t doing me a darn bit of good.
Part of the process of transforming myself was looking backwards and re-examining my past. The process took several years and eventually I discovered decisions I made as a child, teen, and young-adult that kept me focused on the future – and not living and loving in the present.
One thing that Forrest Gump did brilliantly was live in the present.
Gump hardly ever worried about his past. He worried about his future even less frequently. Forrest ate just about every marshmallow that came along.
Lao Tzu said, ‘In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is acquired. In pursuit of wisdom, every day something is dropped.‘
I spent my life up until 2009 trying to be knowledgeable. Acquiring. It’s now time to start being wise. Dropping things.
Alan Cohen said, ‘The ego romanticizes the past to avoid the true romance of the present.‘
I also spent too much time romanticizing my past and future. Missing the romance and love of the present.