For years, the hamster on the wheel in my head kept a pretty steady pace. On to the next thing, then the next and the next….
My mom pointed this out as I started senior year of my bachelor’s degree. She said that I had barely noticed my final year of high school for focusing on life beyond.
I’ve had seasons of life where I was very much in the moment, Southern California in my early 20’s and staying home with two, busy, little boys, born a year-and-a-half apart in my early 30’s.
The hamster in my head didn’t take many breaks though, and contributed to episodes of anxiety and depression when I had flare ups.
Through prayer and meditation, I received insight that all I had to do was breathe. My creator God made it clear to me that not only could I choose to merely breathe and trust, but that’s all I could really do anyway, breathe and trust, and any notion that I was controlling circumstances by worrying them over in my mind continually was purely my own wishful thinking.
And then, a friend recommended the book “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle. This was my first experience with practicing mindfulness. It spoke so clearly to me. The past has gone. I will never get to the future because when I get there, it will be now. If I choose to spend time reviewing the past and imagining what may or may not happen next, I’m missing out on what’s right here, right now.
It was during this time I recognized a idiosyncrasy of mine I hadn’t been aware of previously. When I stood at the sink, either kitchen or bath, I stood with one foot facing forward and the other pointing in the direction of where I was going next. I’d done this for years while washing dishes, preparing meals, or getting ready in the morning. It suddenly came into my consciousness one day. It was so emblematic of how I had lived most of my life, hurrying through whatever I’m in the middle of currently to move onto the next, sending the small rodent on the wheel scurrying.
What we are going through now, as families, communities, states, countries, and the whole world; we’re all living in the now, like it or not. We don’t know what the future holds, so we’re not making a lot of plans. This an entirely unique event, so the past doesn’t provide references. It might feel uncomfortable because our society as a whole has been operating at hyper speed for quite some time, and then everything came to a screeching halt. Here we are, right where we are, right now. I hope, as we move forward, we’re able to keep some of this, slowing down, and being truly present.
When I stand at a sink, I stand with both feet facing forward as a reminder to myself to get out of my head and pay attention to now.